I spent a bit more time in the ballpark this weekend and took more careful note of my surroundings as I tried to sense how my game experience would be enhanced as the offense didn't score and the bullpen continued to blow leads the Cubs were lucky enough to have.
On Saturday, I stopped in while the Astros took batting practice. I wandered about the park and noticed that the previously curmudgeony ushers seemed to be universally more friendly. I didn't interact with all of them, but as I wandered through the aisle separating the field box and terrace box sections, I was greeted more than once by ushers in a friendly manner. Some asked if I needed assistance finding my seat. Some asked if I wanted to go down closer to the field while batting practice was in session. Some just said, "Hope you enjoy the game." It was a very welcoming atmosphere and closer to what I have experienced from ballpark employees at other ballparks when I have visited, like PNC, Busch and Fenway.
As I climbed the stairs through the terrace reserved section, I noticed that a few peanut shells started to appear. More stains. More peanut shells. The state of the rows got more dirty as I climbed.
When I got to the upper deck, I noticed a similar hierarchy of cleanliness. The first few rows of the upper deck box were pretty darn clean (though nothing compared to the field and club box areas), the upper sections got a little dirtier, and the upper deck reserved was the same level of old residue Cubs fans have come to accept in the ballpark.
I want to stress, that none of the areas can be considered dirty in relation to how they get after a game. The fact that rats aren't actively running along in the seating area as people file in is a testament to how hard the cleaning crews work to get Wrigley into usable condition again after a game. However, it appears that particular care has been paid to the most expensive seating areas as far as improving upon previous years' cleanliness standards.
It was getting nearer to game time, so I figured I might as well check out the bathrooms we all heard so much about in the offseason. I didn't notice much different. The urinal troughs might have been new, but once a few thousand people have used a bathroom fixture, you have to figure the bloom is off the rose as far as that goes. The sinks appeared to be the same, which I've always said is problematic because it is really just a different kind of trough and easily mistaken by the drunken asses as a urinal trough. In fact, there used to be signs designating that it was a sink and not a urinal which are now gone.
There were plenty of fresh urinal cakes, so there's that. Also they added some hand sanitizers that don't resemble anything you should ever pee on, so at least there is a method to wash your hands that doesn't come with a risk of coming into contact with urine.
I have to say I am extremely underwhelmed by the bathroom renovations. Maybe they are more pronounced on the lower levels. I'll have to investigate later.
This is turning out to be a pretty long post, so I'll get into the concessions at a later date. Mmmm... bison dogs.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Check this out at Aisle 424: In Search of the Cubbleupagus and Other Musings on Year OneTweet this! Posted by SixRowBrewCo at 3:35 PM