For the first time in a long time, it’s the Cubs leading the way and the Cardinals chasing. That’s going to take some serious adjusting for Cardinals fans to get used to. Or at as the popular St. Louis-based sports blog Joe Sports Fan is encouraging, some serious resisting.
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) March 4, 2017
I had a chuckle, which you have to these days given the craziness in the country and world right now. I have to admire them for their bit of creativity.
Anyway, as with the Cubs being the new kings of the division (for now, anyway), the area around Wrigleyville is also transforming into what should be a very vibrant entertainment center. At some point, the Cubs will be challenging other suitors for an upcoming All-Star Game, but in the meantime, some changes have already taken shape around 1060 West Addison.
From the awesome Wrigley Aerials Twitter account, we can see the updates over the past few weeks as the days tick down towards April 10. Here, we see that the gigantic hole behind home plate has been covered up:
Wrigley's home plate seating looks more like a giant web than a place to watch baseball in 6 1/2 weeks. They'll get 'er done. pic.twitter.com/i3Mwt8hhax
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) February 24, 2017
One presumes that while the fans are sitting up above to check out the games, construction crews will continue working underneath to get the new luxury club up and running. Speaking of new seating:
Wrigley's old and new left field lines. pic.twitter.com/5GzCzbTIts
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) March 2, 2017
Now that the bullpens have been razed and moved under the bleachers, that means more seats along the foul lines, but also less foul territory for corner fielders to work with. This might be good for one Kyle Schwarber, who won’t have as much territory to patrol, but hopefully he doesn’t try to run through the new wall with his surgically repaired knee. Not having to climb a couple of bullpen mounds does help keep guys like Schwarber from getting injured, but learning a new outfield contour might prove interesting at least in the first several games. And since we’re on the subject of the new bullpens:
Still working on the new Wrigley bullpens – can see their outline through the tarp. Whether and how the openings will be covered is unknown. pic.twitter.com/6d7EPJd3At
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) February 27, 2017
I’ve seen a few renderings of what the bullpen doors might look like, and lots of people have asked how we will know which pitchers are warming up. My guess is that the bullpens will have mesh doors with protective matting to reduce outfielder injuries upon collision. As for knowing who is warming up, that’s what the various video boards are for, and I am sure the Cubs will find a way to streamline that into the new fan experience.
It’s not just the ball park that’s getting a face lift, as the surrounding areas west and south of Wrigley Field are also being developed:
Your Wrigleyville construction zone. pic.twitter.com/GYSuP7SMJI
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) February 26, 2017
The Cubs’ new office building is pretty much done:
Cubs new offices on Clark, video board up, almost ready to go. pic.twitter.com/0SJ9aTHQNN
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) March 1, 2017
The plaza, to be open to the public this summer, is taking shape:
Top-down view of the upcoming plaza at Wrigley. Cubs' offices to the left, Clark Street and Hotel Zachary below. pic.twitter.com/ZC7PQxVcVA
— Wrigley Aerials (@WrigleyAerials) February 25, 2017
You can also see the new west gate and stairway is up, which should reduce congestion into and out of the park. I will be going to the Race To Wrigley with some students at the end of April, and my first game (that I know of, unless some of you are feeling generous, wink wink) will be May 20. Anno will be there much earlier (most likely Opening Day since he’s a season ticket holder) so pictures of the hopefully completed renovations will be available then. While the weather patterns have been weird (and frankly, especially for a science nerd like me, a bit concerning), it has allowed the Cubs to keep building all winter long, so this should be done without too much trouble before first pitch.