Some more changes coming to Wrigley Field

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Fractional ownership suites aren’t the only new things coming to Wrigley Field next year:

The
Cubs are following the lead of the Boston Red Sox, opening up the space
underneath the right-field bleachers for corporate pregame events, and
for bleacher fans who may want to come down during the game and watch
the action on flat-screen TVs.
A
pane of one-way glass will separate fans from the right-field batting
cage, allowing them to watch b.p. in the area that Guillen claims has
been a long-time haven for rats.

But wait, there’s more!

  • There
    will be a “30 percent overall increase in bathroom capacity” and improvements in the womens
    bathrooms. Not sure how they measure “capacity.” Not sure I want to know.  Also, according to the stadium’s manager the men will also have more room, “but the look won’t change
    much.”  Thank God, because we all go there for the ambiance.

  • Bleacher advertisements.  They messed with this last month, but apparently those were just mockups.

  • The rectangular, granite slabs on the sides of the outer walls are being taken down and replaced with fencing, which should let more light in.

  • The
    Sheffield Grill restaurant in the right field corner will be opened up
    for fans on game days. Previously, the grill was reserved for corporate
    events, which will be moved to Murphy’s Bleachers. Or maybe to that new area under the bleachers. I’m hearing different things here.

  • The left field bricks will be replaced. The right field bricks are cool because of the coriolis effect or centripetal force or something.  We got guys working on it.


In all seriousness, though, it’s good to see the Rickettseseses taking the Fenway Park approach.  Wrigley Field needs lots of work, but it’s worth saving. Moreover, it’s worth saving slowly, piece by piece in a well thought-out manner, rather than doing what they did to Soldier Field and just dropping some spaceship of a modern stadium on top of some of the old walls and calling it a “renovation.”

Bruce Maxwell is the first MLB player to take a knee during the National Anthem

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Athletics’ rookie catcher Bruce Maxwell did not stand for the National Anthem on Saturday night. He’s the first MLB player to do so and, like other professional athletes before him, used the moment to send a message — not just to shed light on the lack of racial equality in the United States, but to specifically protest President Donald Trump’s suggestion that NFL owners fire any of their players who elect to protest the anthem by sitting or kneeling.

“Bruce’s father is a proud military lifer. Anyone who knows Bruce or his parents is well aware that the Maxwells’ love and appreciation for our country is indisputable,” Maxwell’s agent, Matt Sosnick, relayed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser on Friday. He continued:

Bruce has made it clear that he is taking a stand about what he perceives as racial injustices in this country, and his personal disappointment with President Trump’s response to a number of professional athletes’ totally peaceful, non-violent protests.

Bruce has shared with both me and his teammates that his feelings have nothing to do with a lack of patriotism or a hatred of any man, but rather everything to do with equality for men, women and children regardless of race or religion.

While Maxwell didn’t make his own statement to the media, he took to Instagram earlier in the day to express his frustration against the recent opposition to the protests, criticizing the President for endorsing “division of man and rights.”

Despite Trump’s profanity-laced directive to NFL owners on Friday, however, it’s clear the Athletics don’t share his sentiments. “The Oakland A’s pride ourselves on being inclusive,” the team said in a statement released after Maxwell’s demonstration. “We respect and support all of our players’ constitutional rights and freedom of expression.”

Whatever the fallout, kudos to Maxwell for taking a stand. He may be the first to do so in this particular arena, but he likely won’t be the last.

Alex Wilson broke his leg on a 103-MPH comebacker

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This one is brutal. Tigers’ right-handed reliever Alex Wilson was diagnosed with a broken leg after taking a blistering 103.8-MPH line drive off of his right leg during Saturday’s game against the Twins. According to the Detroit News’ Chris McCosky, it’s a non-displaced fibular fracture, but will still warrant an extended recovery period and signal the end of Wilson’s season.

Wilson replaced Drew VerHagen to start the eighth inning and worked a full count against Joe Mauer. Mauer roped an 93.3-MPH fastball back up the middle, where it struck the pitcher on his right calf. While Mauer took first base, Wilson got to his feet and tried to toss a warm-up pitch, but was in too much pain to continue and had to be helped off the field.

Even in a season that isn’t going anywhere in particular, this isn’t how you want it to end. The Tigers have yet to announce a recovery timetable for the 30-year-old reliever, but he won’t return to the mound until 2018. He exited Saturday’s outing with a 4.35 ERA, 2.3 BB/9 and 6.3 SO/9 over 60 innings.

The Tigers currently trail the Twins 10-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning.