Wrigley Field was very active Wednesday -- not with baseball, of course, but with preparations to (hopefully) open for baseball April 5, just 24 days from now. This photo gallery is larger than some of the recent ones as there's quite a bit to show you. Here's Wednesday's report from BCB's David Sameshima:
I arrived at 4:15 p.m. It was 44 degrees (+37 wind chill). Most of the snow is gone from around the ballpark. Unfortunately, a lot of surprises were left behind (photo 27). Be very careful if you walk along the fence line on Waveland, as it must have been the preferred spot of many dogs. There's actually quite a bit on the sidewalks too, so watch your step.I happened to meet Mike Bojanowski along Waveland when I arrived. He had already walked around and noticed the changes since Tuesday. There was quite a bit more steel up in left field, as evidenced in the photos. The big surprise was that there were steel vertical beams up in right center field. Mike told me that those beams were not there yesterday.Mike also noticed that quite a bit of work has been done along the right field wall. While we were talking, one of the concrete barricades being used to brace up the inner wall was being removed. With the sun going down, it was difficult for me to take many detailed photos of the right field wall.Mike also pointed out that the opening to Gate K was open. I took a few photos of the interior concourse. It wasn't much of a view, but better than nothing.As I was leaving, I saw some work going on above Gate D, at Addison and Sheffield. I was surprised to see that the worker in the basket had a "stop sign".
Mike took one of the photos (photo 39) in the sequence. Here you can see the difference between the time he took it and the time David took a photo of the same location (about an hour later, photo 40), quite a lot of work was done in that time. He also sent me this:
Much of the vertical steel was put up in right field, all in one day, including the very necessary backing steel against the bricks (seen best in photo 36). Also, the concourse floor has been poured and is curing. David took some nice images of that (photos 13-16), which I improved via Photoshop, as they were taken in deep shadow. This leaves only the concourse ramps, which can be carpentered if need be. Also, workers were walking in the upper center-field tier freely. The infield dirt was freshly spaded, that's underway as well.
Mike also mentioned the following regarding photos 13-16:
There is a new floor pouring along the west half of the concourse, for about one hundred feet. The east half may or may not be finished, I consider the view inconclusive. The wide view looking inside Gate K (photos 13 and 14), whether the surface here is old flooring, or a cover protecting newly finished flooring, is inconclusive to me. The two closer views inside Gate K (photos 15 and 16) definitely show new flooring. Any ramp work would be behind the vertical steel shown on the right in photo 16, it can't be clearly seen from these views.
Regarding the center-field bleachers and whether they are accessible, I present photos 53-55. Photo 53 is from November 6, showing that the stairs to upper center field no longer exist. The ramp only goes up to the lower center-field bleachers. The same scene does play out on the left-field side. Currently, the only access would be climbing a ladder from the center-field concession stand level to the upper center-field bleachers. This would also include access to the CF broadcast camera position. Photo 54 is from February 1, showing the removal of stair access to center field behind the TV camera booth. The ramp to center field is still intact, but only provides access to lower center field. And photo 55 is one I took of the Cubs' model of the renovated Wrigley Field, which shows why these stairs were removed -- they are being relocated behind the scoreboard.
We know that the Ernie Banks flags were both put up on the scoreboard and taken down -- someone did have to be inside the scoreboard (or at least on top of it) to do that. Just because that happened, or just because construction workers were seen in center field, doesn't mean that gameday employees could do the same, or access the center-field camera hut, in my opinion.
We hope to have more photos here tomorrow, if not, certainly by Saturday.