Left- and center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field opened for business last night, as the Chicago Cubs unveiled a very visible part of the remaking of the Friendly Confines — a job that will take several years.
The Cubs had planned for bleacher renovations to be done by the start of the season, but after work went slower than anticipated this winter, the team announced work would continue into June. That’s still true — work on the right-field bleachers, which includes installation of a new seating section as well as new bullpens — and of course other upgrades to the ballpark as part of the $375-million 1060 Project will take place for the next four years, expected for the 2019 season. As Paul Sullivan writes in the Chicago Tribune:
The Cubs may be the only team in baseball that could spin a five-week construction delay as part of the master plan instead of a self-inflicted glitch. But they managed to pull it off, and if anyone was too upset they were robbed of a chance to sit in those seats during this cold, gloomy spring, they definitely were in the minority.
“It’s nice to change it up,” said Ken Keefer, a bleacher refugee who caught the first batting-practice home run in the new bleachers, a shot off Starlin Castro’s bat.
“They’re trying to sell it to a corporate crowd, which is fine. These people out here hate it, but hey, it’s business, and the Cubs are catering to where the money is, not to these (goofs).”
Appropriately, Kris Bryant hit the first homer into the new bleachers.
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