Wrigley Field’s interior is still littered with heavy equipment, there’s no grass in place, and the seating and dugout areas are still incomplete. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the renovations are running behind or that there’ll be any issues with having the place fixed up in time for Opening Day.
“I’m here to remind everybody that we’re on track and, in fact, a couple days ahead of schedule for our plan for Opening Day,” Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said Thursday.
The 2018 Wrigley Reveal begins! pic.twitter.com/h7SMYflX2w
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) March 15, 2018
According to Kenney, the work they’ve performed this offseason is the most extensive and expensive of the ongoing 1060 Project, and boy does it show. In addition to completing work on the American Airlines 1914 Club, the Cubs are adding additional premium experiences and even eight new concession stands (only four of which will actually be open by April 9) for the regular folks. Oh, they’re also putting in new elevators to provide access to the suite level.
And those are just the fan amenities. Even more time-consuming and noticeable are the changes to the dugouts, which are being widened and shifted nearly 30 feet down each line. There will also be a camera well on the home-plate side of the Cubs dugout.
Then there’s the matter of the grass, which is nonexistent at this point but is supposed to be laid next week. If you think it seems pretty late in the game to be installing sod, remember that they didn’t even get the first shipments of green stuff until March 30 last season. And if you’re not yet familiar with the process of growing and harvesting sod, it’s actually quite fascinating and worth a few minutes of your time.
As optimistic as he sounded about Wrigley’s readiness for the regular season, Kenney was anything but when it came to a bid for the All-Star Game. He managed to throw shade at both Commissioner Rob Manfred and Alderman Tom Tunney — both of whom are lightning rods for derision — while describing how teams are expected to go about landing the Mid-Summer Classic.
“In the past, Commissioner Selig would sort of decide himself who deserves it next, or the clock might dictate who gets it next,” Kenney told reporters. “Rob is running this more like a competition, where both the city and the team need to make a commitment to attract the game.
“So that’s really what the problem is. It’s pretty well known how little help we’ve gotten from our alderman.”
Were this any other circumstance, I’d say that’s probably not the best way to engender warm fuzzies and get additional support, but the relationship between Ald. Tunney and the Cubs is far too contentious to mend at this point. And who knows, maybe a public tweaking now and then is the best way to deal with the irascible politician.
The All-Star Game can wait, though, since the only thing that matters now is having Wrigley ready for Opening Day. Regardless of what Kenney says, all I know is it’s a good thing the Cubs start the season with 10 road games.