Rebuilt Wrigley bleachers won’t reopen until mid-May at earliest, Cubs fans emit “collective groan”

Remember those reports that the Chicago Cubs‘ renovations to the Wrigley Field bleachers might not be quite ready by Opening Day? Well, it is so, so much worse than that:

The left-field bleachers won’t open until May 11 at the earliest while late May is the target for the right-field bleachers, according to Crane Kenney, the Cubs president of business operations. Safety issues will prevent the center-field section from being open before May 11.

Kenney blamed delays in final approval of the renovations, which pushed back the date on which the team placed its steel order, which meant they couldn’t pour concrete as early as they wanted, which meant that they’d have to wait for temperatures to be warm enough to start putting railings and such in place … actually, you’d think that Cubs execs would have remembered that it’s bitterly cold all winter in Chicago, so it’s not clear how they thought they were going to have this ready for Opening Day even if the steel had been ready months ago. Maybe this was a way of making fans give them credit for trying, even if it was just forestalling the inevitable? Maybe this is just the Cubs being the Cubs?

Either way, anyone with bleacher season tickets will now have the choice of getting refunds for the first few weeks of the season, or getting relocated to the grandstand. At least those who get relocated will get to stare at those new video boards starting with game one: Those will be ready to go as scheduled, because they don’t need to wait for any concrete to dry.

So the vision of the Wrigley outfield walls in the spring will likely be bare brick (since the ivy won’t have had time to grow back) with a bunch of empty poured concrete behind it, and then towering scoreboard/ad boards behind them. And likely rooftop owners with flaming torches behind those. Time to re-up my subscription, because I don’t want to miss a minute of this.

7 comments on “Rebuilt Wrigley bleachers won’t reopen until mid-May at earliest, Cubs fans emit “collective groan”

  1. That whole area is a cluster*ck right now. The Cubs have both Waveland and Sheffield completely blocked off. That’s not even the right word. The temporary fences extend all the way to the far sidewalk so those streets are now part of the job site (wonder if the Cubs are paying for the use of city streets).

    I should maybe go check the plans and see what’s all supposed to be built because there is some massive machinery in the northwest corner of the lot that looks like it’s for driving things deep into the ground, but it doesn’t look like it’s part of the bleacher re-do at all.

    Anyway, sure this looks embracing, but really, after Opening Day, it’s still so miserably cold in Chicago until mid May that the bleachers aren’t a great experience. It’ll also spare some people from actually watching Cubs baseball.

  2. Not sure i believe this usually its all pre fabbed and laid down and benches just bolted down.

  3. The delay in final approval came about because the City delayed parts of the project, due to water main replacement. Once they got underground and saw the condition of the pipes, they decided to replace them now instead of waiting until construction finished, tearing the streets up again, and inconveniencing the community for (much) longer than originally planned. Water main replacement has been on ongoing project across large parts of the city for a while now, in my neighborhood about 1 1/2 – 2 miles northwest of the park it’s been a nightmare for a year or so.

  4. Yeah, which is why if it were me, I would have done the bleacher reconstruction in two phases, LF one year, RF another. But I guess they reeeally wanted those new ad boards in place ASAP, even if it meant risking a bleacher-less spring.

    In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t matter all that much — people will live with no bleachers for a couple of months. But it’s not exactly the seamless job that, say, the Red Sox did over several winters. The Cubs really should have hired Janet Marie Smith.

  5. “it’s been a nightmare for a year or so.”

    My street was about 7-8 months. Was such crap (basically it was an unpaved dirt road) that it fucked the sensors on my breaks and they had to be repaired (thanks, Chicago). Then when they finally did get it paved, it was heaven… for about 2 weeks.

    There was construction on a new home and they cut into the pristine pavement, then did a shit job patching it. Two goddam weeks. They could hardly have messed it up worse if they had tried.

    I do wonder how they prioritize how quickly they work. My girlfriend at the time had her waterlines redone and from start to finish it was barely a month. Think she lived near the Alderman at the time.