Alfonso Soriano’s fear of the brick outfield wall at Wrigley has been well-documented. In hopes of quashing the phobia of their $136 million man, Cubs officials have added ball pits to the warning track, enticing Soriano to dive into the area.

“It’s like going to Chuck E. Cheese, where I love to hop into the big pit of multi-colored plastic balls,” said Soriano. “It’s almost as much fun as hitting the home run.”

While many critics believe Soriano’s defensive deficiencies can never be fixed, others like Cubs skipper Lou Piniella feel that the ballpark changes will be of significant benefit.

“Look, that ball pit is one heck of a great idea,” said Piniella. “I’m not sure that it will help Sori, but instead of going into the clubhouse for my fifth inning nap, I’ll be able to take a snooze out in the warning track. Now all I have to do is find a bat boy to wheel me out there.”

From the May 2010 issue by Jeremy Barewin. Click here to subscribe today!

Jeremy Barewin