Jons Lesser: Portable Toilets Another Sign of Cubs Missteps

It’s probably revisionist history to label Sunday night an abject disaster, though I’m not sure what else to call it when you consider all the facets of the game. Both the Cubs and their fans peed down their legs and neither Jon nor the jons were working as expected.

The lone bright spot in the Cubs’ performance would have to be the bullpen though, as the relievers absolutely shut down the Cardinals after Lester exited in the 5th inning. Taking a cue from the baseball side of things, Crane Kenney’s crack team was able to call in some relief of their own in the form of 74 portable toilets. Boom, problem solved!

I’m not sure whether Levy Restaurants, the Cubs catering vendor, has done anything about the bun shortage, but perhaps fans are better off low-carbing it anyway. That’s how John Cusack does it, though I’m pretty sure he uses ketchup, so perhaps that’s not the best example to follow.

If you’ve read my work before, you know that I’m not above inhumane treatment of horses, particularly when we’re just talking about equines of the metaphorical variety. To that end, I have no qualms with writing about either the bathroom situation or the repeated pattern of failure and bad timing of Cubs business operations.

On one hand, I’d love to just wave my hand and dismiss this with a simple, “That’s just so Cubes.” But why is this allowed to continue? When we talk about the players on the field, particularly the situation in which Kris Bryant is currently embroiled, we constantly say or hear that this game is a business.

So how is it that the baseball side of the house seems to understand business but the business side continues to play games? Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer aren’t always transparent, but neither do they engage in willful negligence and implausible excuses. Crane Kenney and Julian Greene, on the other hand, seem incapable of shooting us straight.

Even by Beastie Boys standards, biz ops has repeatedly engaged in ill communication. After denying that there had been any impetus to seek out alternative locations for Opening Night, the Cubs rushed to ready Wrigley with efforts that amounted to little more than putting lipstick on a pig.

One of my most frequent parental directives is to order my 6-year-old son to clean his room, a task he seems to find monumentally difficult. On more than one occasion, I have conducted inspections and given an initial seal of approval, only to find loads of clothes wedged behind a dresser or the in the corner of the closet. Without fail, his excuses bear little rationale.

So am I saying the Cubs business team operates like a bunch of kindergartners? That might be a bit of a stretch, but they sure seem to be employing some of the same logic. It just feels as though they are relying on the shiny new objects on the field, not to mention the Ernie Banks tarps, to draw attention away from the mountain of clothes they’ve stuffed into the corner.

But why worry about that, right? After all, we’re talking about biz ops and not the actual team. The thing is, though, it’s exceedingly difficult to build a consistent winner if both sides of your organization are not working in tandem with relatively similar efficiency. And right now, one side feels more like an anchor than a springboard.

I’m sure I’m just blowing things out proportion and turning a molehill into a mountain, but I can’t help but think that this track record of failures — though, admittedly, some have been minor — is something that’s eventually going to haunt the team. It just hasn’t mattered yet because the Cubs have been so terrible from a baseball perspective as well.

Neither the bathrooms nor the bleachers will be completed by late May, by which time everyone will have probably gotten used to the temporary fixes. With that in mind, I’m going to withhold further derision of Crane Kenney until June, or such time as they do something else that absolutely merits it.

Besides, with Kris Bryant up and Addison Russell on the horizon by that point, I’m not sure I’ll even remember that the business side exists.

UPDATE: Just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse, the Cubs managed to squeeze even more bad PR from their porta-party. I was going to make a joke here about being able to dress and relieve your weiner at the same time, but thought that would be in poor taste. Oops, too late.

This picture of a porta-potty was making the rounds on Twitter. (attribution unknown)
This picture of a porta-potty was making the rounds on Twitter. (attribution unknown)










Nothing says fun at the old ball game like putting relish on your hot dog while the malodorous mix of embalming fluid and human waste wraps you in its putrid embrace.


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