CHICAGO—According to a statement released Thursday by the Chicago Cubs front office, fans of the 136-year-old baseball franchise are now too fat to attend home games.
The statement—which confirmed that members of the team's fan base are no longer able to fit into stadium seating and, even if they could, are physically unable to walk up the number of steps necessary to get to their seats—confirmed that Wrigley Field would temporarily close until alterations could be made to accommodate the obese fans.
"The average weight of a Cubs fan is between 375 and 425 pounds," team president Theo Epstein said in the statement, adding that while there are still a few fans whose weight does not prevent them from attending games, there aren't nearly enough to fill the seats, because all of them are tourists. "One person filling up two or three seats throughout the entire bleacher section is not a sustainable business model. And we don't have enough room to accommodate all of our fans' motorized scooters."
"The bottom line is that Wrigley is an old stadium never intended to hold 41,000 morbidly obese people," Epstein continued. "If we keep forcing it to support that much weight, it could very well collapse."
Stadium-limitations aside, sources close to the team, as well as medical personnel, have confirmed that it's physically dangerous for Cubs fans to attend games, mainly because it would involve them being outside for more than 90 minutes at a time.
Stadium records indicate that besides the more than 12,000 sweat-drenched, massively overweight fans who have passed out due to dehydration this season, Wrigley Field has also been the site of nearly 4,500 heart attacks and strokes in the past year, as well as almost 2,000 incidents of fans going into diabetic shock.
In addition, during the 2012 baseball season, more than 500 obese fans have choked to death on hot dogs or nachos.
"In order for us to provide a safe environment, we would need to have a fully functioning hospital on site and seats equipped with ready-to-use oxygen tanks. We'd also need to hire 150 additional ushers trained in CPR," head of ballpark operations Carl Rice told reporters Thursday, reiterating that Cubs fans are just "very, very fat." "Now, we could probably cover the cost of these things through concession sales, but the truth is, I can't in good conscience serve these people the number of Italian beef sandwiches and bags of popcorn they want, because they would be leaving the stadium on gurneys every night."
"And that's its own problem," Rice continued, "because we would need to special order extra-large gurneys, which are very expensive."
Until a long-term solution can be reached, a few alterations to the stadium are already in the works. Some of the changes include widening box seats by more than 3 feet, turning the current loading dock into the stadium's main entrance, and installing defibrillators at the end of every row.
However, Cubs officials said those changes alone will not be nearly enough.
"We only expect our fans' weight to increase," Rice said. "If their current rate of gain continues, by 2016 the average Cubs fan will weigh 600 pounds. And unfortunately that means we'll have to tear down Wrigley and build a new, state-of-the art stadium that allows ushers to roll supine game attendees from their bus, car, or subway into the stadium and into their spots, where they can continue to just lie there and watch the game. Basically, we can't have Cubs fans physically moving on our premises, as any movement on their part would certainly kill them."
At press time, reporters had reached Cubs fans for comment, but had to wait for them to finish chewing first.