It was a great undertaking. Cubs Fan Song
One that wasn’t to be taken lightly.
The entire community had an opinion on the subject yet, in spite of this, everyone agreed on one thing: It was going to change the neighborhood forever.
Wrigley Field Rehab is in Phase 1 of a 5 year, $1B project that will completely rehab the structure of the oldest ball park in MLB.
The cranes and the cement mixers started showing up on the day, the hour, the minute that the 2014 season was over. Demolition began when fences went up all around and wrecking balls took down the bleachers. The signature brick wall with the iconic ivy was retained. But everything behind it was going away.
Sox fans screamed, “Keep going!”
as the walls began to crumble around Wrigley Field.
There are big plans for the park and the surrounding area. Hotels, restaurants, workout and training facilities for the players and their physicians.
It has been in the works for 3 years now, planning and researching the best way to bring this beautiful historic park up to par with the rest of the ball parks around the rest of the league.
Wrigley is part of our city in a way that no other park is anywhere else. We began with what was once a city park across the street from a firehouse. The history is well documented in several books and videos and online. Let me tell what this park is and does for Chicago.
It is part of the neighborhood. It fits like a good pair of leather gloves. But lately it has become more like the pair of gloves OJ Simpson used. Tight. Cracked and stained.
I remember the old Milwaukee County Stadium before it was torn down. The concrete reeked. It was so old that the memories had memories of memories.
Now they have Miller Park. It is a long walk from the parking lot to the sterile and sanitized park. There are no restaurants or bars except for the one IN the park itself. No character. No personality.
I was in Phoenix last year and I saw the baseball park there from the outside. It was a monstrosity. Gargantuan. It was a mall inside of a mall inside of a retail village. Across the street there were more entertainment facilities like restaurants and more shops and more malls. It was ridiculous.
I get it. Owners need to pay for these multi-million dollar contracts somehow. We can’t support them with higher ticket prices. So the corporate money and the big box stores move in and capitalize on the loyal followings of the sports teams. I get it. No sweat.
But Wrigley is a neighborhood. Most of these bars have been here forever. Maybe longer. I’m sure most of these bars that are coming in now have strong corporate backers. The big money always follows the big money. Even when the Cubs suck (and they always do), the fans keep coming out year after year. Why?
Because Wrigley and the neighborhood is a unique experience. Live music venues, cabaret theaters and art galleries mix well with sports bars and unique restaurant experiences. The Cubs have successfully marketed and sold sunshine and beer for decades. Until they stop making beer, they can stick with that formula for a long time to come. Hell, they don’t even have to put a winning team on the field and we’ll still show up.
But right now the left field bleachers won’t be done until May 1st. The right field won’t be open until June – or later. It’s been a cold February this year. Colder than usual. One of the coldest on record. Colder than Anchorage AK. Steel doesn’t go into frozen ground effectively. I don’t know about these things but I’m willing to bet that the guys who are putting those beams in want to make sure they don’t collapse. Good idea, doncha’ think?
So the Cubs management gave the press a tour of the facilities as they are yesterday so they could give a report on how things are progressing. And the word is this thing, this Wrigley Rehab is not going to be done in time for Opening Day. The bathrooms will be unfinished. The ground is still a bunch of dirt with steel plates layed down. You’ll have to wear a batting helmet just to find your seat.
Will the Cubs Fans care? I doubt it highly. We’re still going to show up and rot for a team because, on Opening Day, every team is in first place.
See You There …