Wrigley Field Spruced Up For Monday's Cubs Home Opener

Lisa Fielding
April 06, 2018 - 5:07 pm
Wrigley Opening Day Preview

Wrigley Field was being prepped Friday for its Home Opener, next week. (WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding)

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The sound of lawn mowers, hammers and the smell of fresh paint waft through Wrigley Field as dozens of grounds keepers and construction workers hurry to put the finishing touches on the ballpark ahead of Monday's home opener.

"Opening Day is like Christmas Day and everybody's excited," Julian Green, the Chicago Cubs vice president of communications, said during a tour Friday.

Fans will notice a few new changes inside the ballpark, including bigger dugouts, larger safety netting and several new concession stands.

"We have eight new concessions stands that are coming online, four that will be ready on opening day. The other four will be available as the season progresses," Green said.

WRIGLEY HOME OPENER FIELDING

Most significantly, there will be more concessions on the upper deck.

"About 30 percent of the fans in Wrigley Field sit in upper-deck seats, but now we only have one concession stand that services those customers, which is why most of those customers come down to the ground level and main concourses. Which contributes to more congestion. By next year, we will have more service and choice and quality upstairs in the upper deck," Green said.

The concourse may seem wider because many of the portable kiosks have been removed, and empty spaces were turned into additional concessions.

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"Fans will see an enormous change in terms of traffic flow and the types of food you can get here in the concourse,” Green said. “We also used to fix food off sight and then transport it to Wrigley Field, not having the option to prepare fresh food here. We now have concessions food prep food space right below the field. They are set up as commissaries so we can prepare fresh food on site."

“We're increasing the food quality here for the fans," Green said.

Also inside the park is the new, 600-seat American Airlines 1914 Club behind home plate; new batting cages and a brand-new visitor’s clubhouse, complete with a new weight room.

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"A significant upgrade on the visitor's side,” Green said. “It's well known that many of the players and coaches over the years have commented about Wrigley Field's lackluster accommodations. I think they will find a really great upgrade this year. It's probably one of the smallest clubhouses in major league baseball, but our goal is to provide better amenities to meet Major League standards for our visitors."

Outside Wrigley Field is the new Hotel Zachary. Several new restaurants have moved into the hotel's first floor.

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"The McDonald's is back -- I know a lot of people will be happy to see that," Green said. "There's a new barbeque place, Big Star, West Towne Bakery. You'll see a bunch of new food and drink options. It's transforming this neighborhood into a wonderful attraction that we think will rival any experience in sports and entertainment."

On the southeast corner of Addison and Clark, the 2.5-acre project across from Wrigley Field is expected to be finished by the end of the baseball season. The project includes apartments, a 10-screen movie theater, a Harley Davidson store and a Lucky Strike bowling alley.

WRIGLEY FIELD HOME OPENER PREVIEW

The Cubs home opener is Monday against the Pirates. Game time is 1:20 p.m.

The Cubs remind fans to come early, take public transportation and plan your entrance ahead of time because metal detectors will delay entrance to the ballpark.

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