Wrigley Field to keep its essential character

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The Cubs’ new owners may do a lot of things to upgrade Wrigley Field. And with each step they take, there’s always going to be someone watching closely to make sure that the grand old ballpark is not ruined. Some things are obvious: you don’t tear down the ivy. You don’t replace the brick backstop with stucco. You don’t change the name of the place to “Planters XTREME Southwestern Spice Corn Nuts Stadium.”

Other things, however, are not so obvious. Things that make up the very essence of the place. Things like the big stinky urinal troughs in the men’s rooms:

The Chicago Cubs have announced that, while the washrooms at their vaunted ballpark will be renovated this off-season, the stainless steel urinal troughs will remain.

Thank God. For a minute there I was worried that the next time I visit Chicago I’d have to pee with a modicum of privacy and without the overpowering stench of recycled Old Style pouring out of every corner of the park.

Astros clinch postseason berth with 11-3 win over Angels

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No surprise here: The Astros are headed back to the postseason to defend their title following a landslide 11-3 win over the Angels on Friday. This figures to be their third playoff run since 2015, though they have yet to wrap up the AL West with a division title.

First baseman Yuli Gurriel led the charge on Friday, smashing a grand slam in the first inning and tacking on a two-run homer in the second and RBI single in the fifth to help the Astros to a seven-run lead. The Angels eventually returned fire, first with Mike Trout‘s 418-foot homer in the sixth, then with an RBI hit from Francisco Arcia in the seventh, but they couldn’t close the gap in time to overtake the Astros.

On the mound, right-hander Gerrit Cole clinched his 15th win of the year after holding the Angels to seven innings of three-run, 12-strikeout ball. His sixth strikeout of the night — delivered on an 83.1-MPH knuckle curveball to Kaleb Cowart — also marked the 1,000th strikeout of his career to date. He was backed by flawless performances by lefty reliever Tony Sipp and rookie right-hander Dean Deetz, both of whom turned in scoreless innings as the offense barreled toward an 11-3 finish with Jake Marisnick‘s sac bunt and George Springer‘s three-run shot in the eighth.

Despite having qualified for the playoffs, the Astros still carry a magic number of 6 as they look to clinch a third straight division title. They’re currently up against the Athletics, who entered Friday’s contest against the Twins just four games back of first place in the AL West.