BCB's David Sameshima visited Wrigley Field and attended Friday's game. Here are his comments, including some photos of baseballs that were hit into the baskets both during batting practice and the game (Chris Coghlan's first-inning home run). That's particularly interesting given what happened Saturday.
I got tickets to Friday's game in the grandstands, so I took the opportunity to take photos of the plaza from inside the ballpark. I arrived to the game early, so I would have plenty of time to roam around.There were already long lines for the bleachers along both Sheffield and Waveland. Due to a special Friday bleacher promotion, they also had a band providing entertainment outside the bleacher gate.I entered the ballpark at Gate K on Waveland. Once inside, I went up the stairwell in the northwest corner. I was surprised to see the eastern wall of the groundkeeper's cottage had been removed. The eastern face was open, in preparation for the structure to be connected to the ballpark.As I made my way along the western side of the ballpark, I took as many photos as possible of the plaza work through any gaps in the fence. It was very cool to see that they are now working on covering up the space which will become the Cubs future clubhouse. Those angled pipes that were supporting the sides of the underground structure appear to be permanent. They are being set in the concrete flooring that was poured.I happened to catch the grounds crew after batting practice retrieving balls which had been trapped in the outfield baskets. I also captured them having to roll the batting practice cages around the ballpark using the warning track, to reach their storage area in the outfield. I had never noticed that they need to turn the screens sideways, in order to fit them through the door.I did also see that the elevator in the left field corner is still out of service. I made one last trip to take more photos of the plaza, before the game began. I documented the Cubs bullpen staff as they made their way to the bullpen. I had never noticed the ritual that the players have when they arrive in the bullpen. Too bad that this will change when the bullpens are moved next year. The bleachers were also quite colorful, as they had a neon cap promotion for the bleachers only. It was considered a 1990s promotion, but I actually remember the neon caps and apparel as being a late 1980s trend. I actually still have the neon caps that were given away back then. I got both the yellow and pink versions in a closeout bin, years ago.After the game, I did stick around for a while. The friend I was with likes to stay around to take postgame photos inside the ballpark. We were able to stay long enough to see the video boards being turned off, until the staff started to clear the stands.
You can see how long the lines were for the bleachers on Friday. I heard reports that on Saturday bleacher lines stretched all the way to Addison on the Sheffield side. The VIP gate in the left-field corner also had its longest line of the year, perhaps 200 people in that line alone at the time the gates opened.
Regarding the groundskeeper's cottage, it's still on the supports that they put it on when they moved it back to the Wrigley site from the parking lot. Eventually it will be moved back adjacent to the ballpark itself and completely rehabbed -- as you can see, it's been totally gutted down to the outer walls.