Late Monday night, a 4.5-magnitude earthquake rocked the Windy City. After extensive backtracking of the quake’s epicenter, the National Earthquake Information Center confirmed its origin near first base at Wrigley Field, where Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder had just laid out for a ground ball.

“We are neither confirming nor denying that last evening’s earthquake was sparked by Prince’s diving attempt,” said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. “We’ve had Prince on a special diet of Miller Lite and nachos since 2009, so there’s no way he could spark an earthquake by simply diving for a catch. No way, no how.”

Replays and ground indentations were reviewed by seismologists and it was determined the earthquake was the result of a fifth inning ground ball by Darwin Barney to first base, which caused Fielder to dive into the dirt in a failed attempt to record the out. Experts say Chicago is the fourth MLB city this season to experience what they’ve termed a “PrinceQuake.”

“I’d like to extend my sincere apologies to the city of Chicago, its fans and the Cubs organization,” said Fielder during a press conference. “It was not my intention to instill fear and panic. I will pay for all structural damage in and around the greater Chicago metro area.”

Damage assessment reports came back early Tuesday morning. Cracks were reported in the walls of the Willis Tower, John Hancock Building and Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

Commissioner Bud Selig confirmed early in the week via Twitter that beginning with the 2012 season, earthquake rules will be mandated in baseball. All parks and stadiums will be required to either place insulation underneath their infields or install huge shock absorbers underneath park and stadium grounds to ensure fan safety in the future.

By Morgann Spicer

Morgann Spicer