Yes, we know we’ve not even reached the end of the league championship series, but planning for the 2019 MLB season is already well underway. Here’s a first look at what teams have planned for their fans next season.
We covered this over the weekend: the Arizona Diamondbacks are planning to scrap the current grass turf and install a new synthetic turf. For the team, it’s a matter of reducing the resources needed to keep Chase Field cool while opening the roof to grow the grass, saving money and water.
The Philadelphia Phillies are making one large change to Citizens Bank Park: the McFadden’s sports bar has closed, reportedly to be replaced by a Shake Shack. McFadden’s opened when the ballpark did in 2004 and is viewed by many as an institution. Shake Shack has proven to be extremely popular at Citi Field, however, where Mets fans will form long queues to get burgers and shakes.
The Chicago Cubs have embarked on major renovations at Wrigley Field in recent years, including the unveiling of the American Airlines 1914 Club at the beginning of the 2018 season. Work on these renovations continued throughout the 2018 season and will continue in the offseason, including a new upper-level club space and an additional public space.
Though it’s not a physical change, it is a big change for the Seattle Mariners, as the naming-rights deal for Safeco Field ends before the 2019 season.
The Coors Field area will continue to be a construction zone, as the Colorado Rockies are adding an office tower next door to the ballpark. It’s requiring some changes to the area, including the removal and later reinstallation of commemorative bricks and a ballpark sculpture to the reconfigured area.
Though nothing’s been announced, we expect the Miami Marlins to make some changes to Marlins Park for 2019. The rebuilding of the team is reaching everything associated with the franchise, and even if it’s just an overhaul of some major concessions, change is inevitable for Fish fans.
Similarly, the Houston Astros have announced further upgrades to their home under the Minute Maid Park 2.0 umbrella. Nothing has been formally announced, but options range from a new downtown outdoor plaza to the ballpark to new group and social spaces.
Finally, it wouldn’t be a story on MLB ballpark renovations without the Minnesota Twins having a Target Field project in the works. For 2018, it was the addition of the Bat & Barrel sports bar/social space to the right-field corner. For 2019, it’s a revamping of the public plaza just outside Bat & Barrel, as the team plans to expand the area by some 5,100 square feet after moving the security gates farther toward First Avenue. Gate 34—named for Kirby Puckett—is by far the most popular gate at Target Field, and the expansion of this plaza will give fans more space to hang out before a game. The Great Clips seating section is going away, while the Fox Sports TV set is being moved. Target Field is built on a pretty compact footprint, and anything that opens space for folks strolling around the ballpark before and during a game is a good thing.
Image courtesy Arizona Diamondbacks.
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