Over the weekend festivities at the annual Cubs Convention, what we knew for a while now became official. The Wrigley Field bleachers will not be ready by Opening Night. In fact, the bleachers will not be ready for use for the entire month of April. The target dates for the completion of the bleachers is early May for the Left Field bleachers and late May for the Right Field bleachers. That means, for the first month of the season, the Wrigley Field bleachers will be completely empty. Of course, Ryan Dempster took this opportunity to take a playful jab at the Chicago White Sox fan base.
— Zack Pearson (@Zack_Pearson) January 17, 2015
Being on National television and having a half completed ballpark with empty bleachers is going to be one of those facepalm moments. That will be one of those moments which you know will bring some embarrassment and of course jokes from the White Sox fans; as well as the St. Louis Cardinal fans and frankly most other teams across the league.
The fact that the bleachers would not be ready for opening day left an issue that needed to be addressed, what to do with the season ticket holders who had seats in the bleachers. The unfinished bleachers will have an impact on the first 15 home games, leaving those season ticket holders seatless. Over the weekend, that plan was revealed.
The Cubs have offered the Bleacher Season Ticket Holders three options.
First, they can get a full refund on all Cubs home games up til May 11 which is the target date for completion of the Left Field Bleachers. In this case, they can stay at home through the cold month of April, pocket the money the Cubs send them and return to the ball park in May when the Bleachers are ready for fans to actually sit in them.
Second, instead of having money returned to them, the Cubs can give a credit to their account for all home games up til May 11 and use that for next years deposit if they wish to remain season ticket holders. Much like the full refund, these fans can sit at home and watch games on television avoiding the cold month of April.
The third option, would be a seat relocation program. For the Season Ticket Holders who pick this option, they will be allowed to exchange their seats in the bleachers for ones in the seating bowl. If they choose this option, they will either be charged or credited the difference in price between their seats and the ones they chose, for the games up until May 11. I understand that the fault is not on the fans, and there might be some grumblings about them having to pay the price difference, but you cannot expect the Cubs to give free upgrades to any seat in the park. If that were the case, the fans would all chose the expensive seats right behind home plate. Imagine if every seat on an airplane was the same; would you chose coach, economy class or first class? The choice would be very easy. There will be a designated section with a price that is similar to what their seats cost, and if the fans want better seats, that will be on them to cover the difference in costs.
Once the Left Field bleachers are completed, Bleacher season ticket holders will once again be required to sit in their normal seats. The boards should be ready by the time the bleachers are, though, so we’ll see how they affect the existing rooftop businesses, including the ones the Ricketts Family just purchased.
I understand that there are some fans who are not too happy that the Bleachers will not be ready on time. They do not like that their usual group will be scattered across the park, and they will be unable to sit with one another. As a season ticket holder myself, I can understand their disappointment; you get used to sitting with specific people every game. Season ticket holders tend to sit with one another and form relationships with each other. You become almost a family, they are your Summer family. The Cubs likely will not be able to accommodate everyone who is a Bleacher Season Ticket Holder so they can sit with the other Bleacher Season Ticket Holders that they normally sit with. That will take a massive amount of organization and planning that might be impossible without the entire group meeting with all their season ticket representatives at the same time.
So while they will be inconvenienced, that will only be for a total of 15 games. There is no reason to get overly upset at the short term change in seating arrangements. The Cubs will take care of you, because they love you. They want you to be satisfied and will bend over backwards to keep you happy, and keep their business with you. Will this be a perfect situation? No, there will be hangups and issues with some fans who will not be satisfied no matter what the Cubs do. To those fans, all I can say is too bad, so sad.
What the Cubs are doing is for the betterment of you, the fan, and to the players, neighborhood and city. The short term inconvenience will will be worth while when all is said and done.
As Crane Kenney mentioned many times, they want to make sure they get the Bleacher reconstruction right, and not get things done fast by cutting corners. Kenney also mentioned they did have discussions with the Milwaukee Brewers about playing their home games in Miller Park for a year or two so they could work on Wrigley Field without any stoppage, but ultimately decided against this idea as they did not want the Cub fans to watch their team grow up anywhere but Wrigley Field.
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