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Wrigley Field Construction Update: April 4

One day before the season opener, the ballpark was extremely busy Saturday.

This is the largest photoset we have run on the construction and various other activities at Wrigley Field, and you'll see the reasons why when you look at all 107 photos. The Cubs got the ballpark ready for tonight's opener in many different ways. BCB's David Sameshima helpfully sent me all the photos with timestamps, so I'm running the entire set with them in chronological order so you can get an idea of what was happening when. Here's David's report, and he would like to thank you all for your generosity in helping him replace his broken camera equipment.

Saturday was a bit overwhelming for me. There was so much to document, and I stayed much later than I planned to. Then when I got home and went online, I was overwhelmed by the response to the GoFundMe campaign set up by #1 iowan cubs fan. Al had approached me about setting up a fundraising effort, but he was traveling back to Chicago at the time.Thank you all for helping me replace my equipment which was damaged earlier this week. I am just so touched by the response to this effort. Besides you readers, my friends from the ballpark and musician friends also kicked in. I am also a huge supporter of the local music scene, and photograph a lot of amazing performers right here in Chicago. Thank you, thank you, thank you!Okay, where to start as far as the ballpark. It was not planned, but I happened to join up with Al and Mike outside the ballpark. We took Al on a tour around the ballpark, so he could soak in all the changes since he was last there in November.I have so many photos here since besides the construction work, I wanted to capture the scene around the ballpark as they set up for the season. Obviously this is a little different this year as a result of the construction.The doors were reinstalled at Gate Q, but it is clear that there are gaps where the doors are attached. The Ernie Banks tribute tarps to the bleachers were attached, and they are made with a fabric where you can see through the backside. Various test displays were being presented on the video board. Concrete was being poured in the left field corner of the bleachers.One interesting change was at the broadcast bridge. I had heard about curtains being hung from the bridge. I dismissed them as being inaccurate reports. I was surprised to see that they do exist. They must be a privacy curtain for players having to cross over to the park from the new VIP/Players Parking Lot now located across the street. I do see a possible problem with this curtain blocking a public street and the firehouse. We did speak with a few employees that we knew, and they were not yet aware of how these curtains were to be used.I was planning to leave when I saw preparations being made for the return of the Ernie Banks statue. The original location of the statue is in the construction zone, so the pedestal is now located in front of the marquee. I went over to the catch the very end of the return of the Ron Santo statue. It is back at its original location at Addison and Sheffield.I did go a bit overboard with the number of Ernie Banks statue photos. Ernie is such a special figure for Cubs fans, and the installation process was very interesting, so this is why there are so many photos today.I decided to take one last walk around the ballpark, after they installed the statue. I found some ballhawks packing up. I missed Cubs batting practice when I was waiting for Ernie. They informed me that two balls made it out to Waveland, and one to Sheffield. Thanks Moe and Dave.I hope you enjoy the photos while we await this historic Opening Night. Thanks again for the contributions. I am amazed by all the support that I've received, after having such a crappy week. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In just a few hours there will be baseball at Wrigley Field. Thanks to David (and Mike) for all the photos of the offseason project, which, of course, is not quite finished. We'll continue to document the bleacher construction with photos until the bleachers open May 11.

In the meantime, let's play ball!