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Wrigley Field construction update: December 1

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Some notes about what’s going on inside the ballpark.

Oct 1, 2017; Chicago, IL, USA; A general view during a game between the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

I don’t have a photo gallery for you in this update; instead, this article will focus on a summary of some of the changes being worked on at Wrigley Field, noted in this cubs.com article.

The photo at the top of this post was taken during the last 2017 regular-season game. The dugouts at Wrigley have been in that position since 1978, when they were reconstructed and enlarged. In order to accommodate the new underground clubs, the dugouts are being moved:

Vice president of Wrigley Field restoration and expansion Carl Rice said the netting that was behind home plate will be expanded to protect fans from foul balls and errant bats.

"We have already committed that we'll have the netting go to the edge of the dugout, and since the dugout is moving farther down, the netting needs to extend for that, and we're evaluating other changes," Rice said.

The dugouts will not only move closer to the first- and third-base bags, respectively, but they will be wider. The TV camera booths will now be on the other side of the dugout and closer to home plate.

The last sentence is interesting; it will change the way you see much of the game on TV from Wrigley. Those TV camera positions are used primarily to show batters in the box. Obviously they still will, but the angle and background will be different. Those cameras, being closer to the plate, will also have a different angle on plays at the plate, and the one nearest the third-base dugout might have a better view of close plays at first base.

Regarding the nets, Carl Rice’s statement above would indicate to me that the netting will extend about one full section farther down the line on each side of the ballpark.

For those who have asked about the visitors’ clubhouse, here’s the answer:

The batting tunnels, which were temporary for both the Cubs and the visiting teams this year, will now be permanent. The visitors' clubhouse will be remodeled after the 2018 season, but teams will see changes this coming year.

"This offseason, we're doing a lot of improvements for the visiting team, which includes a new batting tunnel, a new visiting weight room, a new visiting video room, meeting space -- all of that is happening behind the dugout," Rice said.

Hopefully, visiting teams aren't expecting a 30,000-square foot clubhouse similar to what the Cubs have. There simply isn't room. Instead, the visitors will have the same amenities they do on the road at other Major League ballparks, but they will be on two levels.

The Cubs have said that they want to have all the renovation/restoration complete by Opening Day 2019, but that depends on a lot of factors, in particular weather (so far, this winter has cooperated) and how long a postseason run the team has next October. I’m sure the Cubs would happily extend the construction for one more offseason if it meant another World Series win next fall.

The article concludes by noting the Cubs are “still evaluating their options regarding changes to the press box.”

We hope to have more photos here over the weekend.