I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm excited about finally seeing the new playing field at the Friendly Confines in action tomorrow. Since I wanted a preview, I went and checked out the webcam that's inside the ballpark. Here's a representative photo:
For comparison, this is a shot of the old infield from an almost identical angle:
I'm kind of disappointed that the infield itself looks different. I always thought that Wrigley's infield had some unique features: it always looked a little "thin" in terms of where the outfield grass started, it had long "umpire paths" behind first and third (which exist in about a third of all major league parks, but are all shorter than Wrigley's old one), a straight dirt line instead of a rounded one in front of home plate, and even the relatively long "extra dirt" around first and third base.
Oh, and the fungo circles, on either side of the plate.
In short, the old infield had some character to it, and this one doesn't. I know, this is not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things, but I kind of feel like the Cubs are just getting a cheap copy of everybody else's infield, and its no longer unique to Chicago.
Anyway, there are couple other changes that can be seen from that webcam, should you wish to take the time. The first is that the warning track is not only larger, but it extends all the way around the entire field, including foul territory, so the bullpens consist mainly of dirt in between the mound and the plate. The second major change is that the Cubs added a few rows of seats on the left-field side of their dugout, and it just squeezes the stands in a bit tighter on the field -- it looks like they may have moved the bullpen a bit closer to the foul line to compensate, but it's hard to tell from this angle.
Oh, also, that logo behind the plate is hideous. "Opening Week"? I know that MLB has been doing this for a few years, but, come on -- since when is "opening week" celebrated?
I've spent a decent part of this morning clicking around this webcam, generating personal excitement about tomorrow, opening day. Only one more day to go, folks. =)