The sun came out in Chicago Wednesday after a couple of gloomy, rainy days, so I decided to head over to Wrigley Field to see what was going on regarding offseason construction. I didn’t expect to see much activity, and was somewhat surprised to see quite a bit going on.
The first thing I came across were workers taking seats out of the ballpark... two at a time. The reason I posted five of these photos is that there were at least that many workers dedicated solely to this task, maybe more. Two by two, the seats slowly came out. I was at the park for 20 minutes, making a complete circle, and when I left they were still at this. If they are taking out full sections of seats to do work on the concrete, and I suspect this is what’s happening, this sort of thing is probably going on all day.
You can also see the batter, ball-strike, and out panels have been taken out of the center-field scoreboard (photos 7 and 20). I noticed during the season that there were a number of occasions where these panels stopped working, sometimes for several innings. They are now 80 years old and have worked nearly flawlessly for almost all that time, but after eight decades you can imagine they might need some tweaking. That’s probably what’s going on here.
Photos 9 and 10 show that all the messages left in chalk on the bleacher outer walls during the postseason are still there. This surprised me a bit, considering the ballpark now has construction fences surrounding it. You’d have thought they would have powerwashed the walls before putting up the construction fences, as they did last year.
Also as last year, portions of the brick walls in the right-field corner have been removed, in order to allow for construction equipment to be staged on the field. You can see this in photos 13-15.
Those of you who noted via seeing a webcam view of the Sheffield & Addison corner were correct — Billy Williams’ statue is still in place, surrounded by construction fences, but the Ron Santo statue has been removed, presumably to allow space for staging of construction materials.
Both of the projects outside the ballpark have shown considerable progress. The Hotel Zachary has many of its windows installed, and most of the brick is nearly complete. It’s supposed to open next year, though an exact date hasn’t been specified. The Addison Park project — which has no connection to the Cubs or the Ricketts family — also is supposed to open in 2018. The crane which has been putting things in place at that project has been quite visible at Wrigley much of the season. This photo was taken during a rain delay on July 23:
As I have noted before, much of the work being done at Wrigley Field this offseason will be interior to the park — and a fair amount underground — so it won’t really be visible from the street. We’ll try to get as many photos of what actually is visible over the course of the offseason. With the Cubs’ exit from the playoffs last week, the team has about two extra weeks to work compared to last year before the home opener April 9, 2018, which is 165 days from now. (I’m sure they’d have happily given up those two weeks, as would all of us.)
Opening Day will be here faster than you can imagine.
One final note: While I was in the area I stopped in to a couple of the souvenir stores near the ballpark, as well as the Cubs official store, to see if they had anything on sale. I didn’t buy one, but I can tell you that if you’ve been wanting a Jake Arrieta jersey, now’s the time to get one at a real good price.