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Tribune Co. Tries To Slip One By

My buddy Mike e-mailed me the other day asking me if I had seen an article in last Friday's Tribune (free registration required) which was mostly about the city's efforts to save a landmark South Side church.

Buried in the article were the following paragraphs:

Meanwhile, a committee of the Landmarks Commission preliminarily approved a request from the Chicago Cubs to disassemble the brick wall behind home plate at Wrigley Field and move it about 9 feet closer in order to accommodate 210 more seats.

The committee also gave preliminary approval for the Cubs to replace the LED scoreboard under the existing center field scoreboard and add two upper deck scoreboards along the right- and left-field foul lines.

The proposal to add seats was originally put forth by the Cubs more than two years ago, along with the bleacher expansion (which may have now been shelved), buying the car wash at Clark & Waveland and building a Hall of Fame/restaurant/museum there (pending the city's decision on whether the Cubs actually own the right-of-way next to it, which used to be part of Seminary Avenue), and a proposal to slowly go from 18 to 30 night games a year (which has been given preliminary approval and could begin as early as 2004, with two additional night games next year).

Click here for some renderings of what the additional 210 seats will look like. It appears they are going to shoehorn three rows of 70 seats each in between where the dugout steps now are, and replace the brick wall in front of them. This will seriously reduce the amount of foul territory behind the plate (and I think this violates current MLB policy on how far the backstop has to be behind home plate), and could have the effect of raising batting averages, as more foul balls will wind up in those seats.

Just in case you missed it, which you probably did; it got no coverage anywhere else in the Chicago media, to my knowledge, and I'd have missed it myself if Mike hadn't pointed it out to me.