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Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Wrigley is grossest, filthiest ballpark ever

By Steve Etheridge
Special to ESPN.com

Chicago Cubs
Public places aren't expected to be spotless, but Wrigley Field apparently is a den of filth.
The Chicago Cubs are the most dependably futile franchise in sports, an IRL manifestation of Charlie Brown trying to kick the football. Right now they boast a triple-digit loss column and somehow, miraculously, are not in last place, depriving fans the consolation of saying, “Well, things can only go up from here.”

You have to wonder about the stadium. Like a pet fish that gets sick from old, feculent water, you have to wonder if Wrigley Field, pungent with the stank of defeat and seven-dollar Old Style, is haunting these Cubs teams, if the ghosts of 104 years of crappiness are mouth-breathing on the players’ necks, moaning, “You guys are gonna suck so baddddd, and why shouldn’t youuu??? No one has any expectatttttions.”

It’s possible. But even more possible is that waves and waves of germs are slowly weakening the players’ immune systems, wearing down their bodies and munching away at their talent.

A new study of the cleanliness of MLB stadiums found that Wrigley Field is the least sanitary ballpark in baseball. Graded on 79 different health-related criteria, Wrigley flunked spectacularly, giving basic human hygiene the ol’ Steve Bartman treatment.

On many occasions, researchers spotted vendors working without gloves, handling customers’ money — and then their food — with the same bare hands and hairy knuckles and bacteria-hoarding fingernails.

But the real wellsprings of nastiness were the men’s bathrooms, where the 30-man urinal troughs can accommodate way more streams than the sinks can hands*. Accordingly, 79 out of 100 men (the number observed in the study) don’t wash their hands after using the bathroom, meaning that everything at Wrigley should probably be quarantined in plastic like the house in “E.T.,” or at the very least power-blasted with Purell.

Gross. Very, very gross. Indeed, it is not a good time to be a Cubs fan. But keep those chins up, North Siders, you still have a lot to be happy about:

• The Cubs made it to each and every game this year. Perfect attendance!

• Darwin Barney is good at catching stuff.

Fifty-cent tickets!

• Eddie Vedder likes the Cubs, so you get to have something in common with Eddie Vedder.

• Sam the Eagle from the Muppets likes the Cubs, so you get to have something in common with Sam the Eagle.

• The Cubs won a road game against the NL West.

• All the players did a great job staying hydrated this year.

• No one died or caught on fire.

• ... sportsmanship?

What are some other nice things we can say to Cubs fans? Let us know in the comments.

* Vaguely related: Ex-Bear Tommie Harris was arrested and charged with publicly urinating in Wrigleyville on Monday night.