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.

Masahiro Tanaka to throw off a mound this weekend

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Earlier this month Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka strained both of his hamstrings while running the bases in an interleague game against the Mets and was sent to the 10-day DL. Today it was announced that the beginning of the end of most DL stints for pitchers — throwing off of a mound — is in Tanaka’s immediate future.

Tanaka is scheduled to throw off a mound Sunday, which will be his first real (well, fake real) pitching action since the June 9th injury. Assuming the session goes well, Tanaka is expected to return to the Yankees’ starting rotation sometime in early-to-mid July. With the All-Star break coming the week of July 16, it would not be hard to imagine the Yankees giving him a few extra days to get right.

Tanaka is 7-2 with a 4.58 ERA and a K/BB ratio of 73/19 in 72.2 innings on the season.