With the re-opening of Sheffield and Waveland avenues this week, the first round of Wrigley Field renovations is in the books, though work on the other Friendly Confines changes will continue for months.
The first round of renovations took much longer to complete than anticipated; that’s usually what happens when you begin work on a century-old structure, no matter if it’s a brownstone or a ballpark. At Wrigley Field, the first round of improvements included a new videoboard, new bleachers, new bullpens and some concessions upgrades. Still under construction: a new Cubs clubhouse and the new team offices in the so-called Triangle building. And still to be planned out: how the team will use Sheffield and Waveland avenues next season, as the Cubs have the power to close down the streets and implement some form of fan entertainment a la Yawkey Way at Fenway Park.
But for the most part the big changes are done for the year: the clubhouse is slated to be ready for the 2016 season opener, with the building completed before the end of 2016.
While some Wrigleyville residents saw the Wrigley Field upgrades — particularly the videoboard — as being a sign of the impending apocalypse, the impact on the area has ended up being pretty manageable. From the Chicago Tribune’s Paul Sullivan:
The video board isn’t perfect, but the Cubs have refrained from the truly obnoxious stuff like “Make Some Noise,” or having cheerleaders on top of dugouts. And unless I’m mistaken, Harry Belafonte’s “Daaaay-o” chant that is a staple in most ballparks for reasons unknown has not been played.
As for the noise issue, the Cubs insist it’s all in the ear of the beholder. Green said complaints have “been reduced significantly since opening day,” when music was first played from the video board.
But that doesn’t mean the problem’s fixed. It’s still too loud much of the time, as many fans and people who work there, including the Giants’ announcers, can attest.