We are in Year Three of the five-year Project 1060 makeover of Wrigley Field, the $750-million overhaul of the Friendly Confines. What can fans expect for the 2017 season? New seating options and new bullpen locations.
Wrlgley Field is one of baseball’s most iconic venues, and it’s safe to say the changes under the Project 1060 umbrella are the most dramatic since permanent bleachers were added for the 1937 season, complete with the planting of the outfield ivy and the construction of the massive outfield scoreboard. Previous changes centered on player amenities, mostly in the form of a new 30,000-square-foot clubhouse located under the triangle area outside the ballpark. The Cubs went from one of baseball’s smallest home clubhouses to one of the largest, complete with training areas, offices and a conditioning center.
This season will see some high-profile fan amenities added to the mix. The seating behind home plate is being upgraded; we’d expect something wider and more padded than the typical Wrigley Field seating. (One of the bad things about attending a game at Wrigley Field: the seating was designed and installed during a time when the average person was much smaller than the average person of today.)
Down the road: the 2018 season will see the opening of the American Airlines 1914 Club, located between the dugouts. That area is being positioned as a VIP area, befitting the upgrades to seating behind home plate. The dugouts will be moved down the lines to make room for this club, which also has the benefit of freeing up space for a full gridiron. Hosting more football is a stated goal of Cubs officials: an annual Northwestern University game is expected to resume in 2020, and a college-bowl bid could be in the offing as well.
Also freeing up more space for a full football field: the move of the bullpens from the field to underneath the bleachers, due for the 2017 season. New seating will be installed in some of the bullpen space.
These are just some of the changes fans can expect for the 2017 season. Some more ornamental and decorative changes are in the works as well. But midway through the Project 1060 work we can see a vision of how the new Wrigley Field will work when construction finally ends: what had been a slowly decaying facility is now positioned as a flagship MLB ballpark, keeping the everyman vibe alive while adding enough high-end perks to keep everyone happy.
Rendering of American Airlines 1914 Club Courtesy Chicago Cubs.
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