Chicago Sun-Times
with sports reporters Chris De Luca and Gordon Wittenmyer

Cubs get nicer digs, look for wins at home

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It's a new Cubs team that hits Chicago Monday for the long-awaited home opener.

OK, maybe the team's not so new - or even so different from last year's second-place disappointment, if early returns mean anything.

Well, it's a spruced-up Wrigley Field that greets the team, complete with upgraded weight room and clubhouse kitchen, and a new players' lounge - as well as several improvements to restrooms and seating areas.

A team nutritionist, who already has banned soda and other junk food from the clubhouse, also is on board this season, along with a team psychiatrist (granted, probably a year late).

So what competitive edge might the Cubs expect from all the amenities and specialty personnel?

``[The ballpark upgrades] make it a much more pleasant experience for our fans [and players], but you win on the field,'' said manager Lou Piniella, who hasn't seen much of that in six road games so far.

``The dietician doesn't get any base hits,'' he said. ``The psychiatrist - I haven't seen him hit a two-run homer yet. But he can help. ...

``You've got to play on the field. All those other things might prepare you a little better to play on the field. But, still, when the umpire says play ball, you've still got to play.''

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They darned well better look better because they have pretty well smelled up the ball parks they were in so far. Hitting has been pathetic, and bullpen pitching absurd at times. The only positive note is that starting pitchers have looked good before anemic hitting and bull pen walks have killed the hopes of a victory that seemed pretty much of a sure thing. I'll have to give Wrigley Field another chance to show me that it's not just a minor league stadium with pretensions of grandeur. I suppose it's too much to ask for Wrigley to be on a competitive basis with Miller Park stadium's intelligent design and viewer convenience, but extensive renovations have long been needed. I suspect some Cub fans drink to make their discomfort more bearable.

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This page contains a single entry by Gordon Wittenmyer published on April 11, 2010 9:04 PM.

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