Cubs owner buys three more rooftops, has brief respite from “Wrigley Field is health hazard” news

Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts is continuing to solve his ongoing disputes with neighboring rooftop owners over his video board spite fence by just buying them out: Ricketts picked up another three buildings with rooftop views of Cubs games this month, bringing the total he’s bought to six. (Three holdouts are still suing him over their obstructed views.) As expected, this whole rooftop lawsuit kerfuffle is mostly coming down to how much Ricketts will have to pay to buy everyone out, and as sale terms haven’t been disclosed, we can’t even keep score at home.

Meanwhile, in more Cubsy news, the Cubs’ concession stands have been hit with health code violations, including “MEN’S RESTROOM ON THE LEFT FIELD SIDE IN THE UPPER DECK HAS NO HOT WATER” and “FOUND COLESLAW AT 45F INSIDE THE 1-DOOR REFRIGERATOR.” Which is probably par for the course with these inspections, but Ricketts still must cringe these days whenever he sees a news story with “Wrigley” and “restrooms” in the same sentence.

Cubs took commemorative Wrigley bricks and dumped them in a landfill

Say whatever else you will about the Chicago Cubs‘ Wrigley Field renovations, but they sure are providing some just terrible Internet fodder. Playing Opening Night with the bleachers covered by a giant tarp and not enough working restrooms was bad enough, but now there’s this:

Personalized pavers that once lined Clark and Addison streets near Wrigley Field, home of Chicago Cubs, have been found around Pontiac, purportedly coming from the nearby landfill. The bricks had been billed as “permanent fixtures” by the Cubs organization when they began selling them in 2006.

Yes, the Cubs took several commemorative bricks that fans had bought and paid for, bearing such messages as “NICK BODELL  LOVE FOREVER  GRANDMA 2007,” and threw them in a landfill. And here you thought throwing Wrigley Field’s 100th birthday cake in a dumpster was bad form.

Cubs execs said that they warned purchasers back in March that they’d have to remove some bricks and replace damaged ones as part of the renovation process, which is all reasonable enough. But still, as the kids today say, bad optics, guys.

Wrigley bleachers reopen tonight, new video board operator prepares by smoking crack, apparently

The redone Wrigley Field bleachers are reopening tonight for the Chicago Cubs‘ game against the New York Mets, and how do they look, Bleed Cubbie Blue blog?

wrigley1Okay, I cheated: That’s actually a photo by BCB’s David Sameshima of the right-field bleachers, which don’t open for a few more weeks yet, thankfully. Here’s the left-field bleachers:

wrigley2That looks kinda sorts done-ish, though the construction crews might want to leave those porta-potties there during the game, just in case.

Finally, here’s a view of the new right-field scoreboard, which will be in operation even if the right-field bleachers won’t:

wrigley3That doesn’t look so garish, so long as the background remains green with white and yellow lettering. Which it won’t throughout games, I’m sure, since the whole point of a video board is to show videos, duh, so expect the old-timey lineups to disappear plenty during games for ads and “MAKE SOME NOISE” and the like.

Also, while I’m slightly alarmed to see that the Mets will have the injured third baseman David Wright leading off and playing catcher while the injured catcher Travis d’Arnaud bats second and plays first base — not to mention injured reliever Jerry Blevins starting in right field despite his broken arm — I’m at least happy that the scoreboard operator has anticipated neither team getting any runners on base, as is their respective traditions.

Cubs really need less ironic slogan for Wrigley renovations than “Making the Confines Friendlier”

Putting up some kind of barrier so that fans can’t hassle players for autographs while they’re walking to their cars isn’t all that unusual. Doing so while in the middle of renovations that have left fans without enough restrooms for two months, then slapping a logo on top reading “Making the Confines Friendlier” — that’s so Cubs.

(Incidentally, can anyone tell me who’s actually being protected from whom by this autograph barrier? It looks like it’s on the corner of Seminary and Waveland, adjacent to the “triangle building” site that’s under construction in the background. But I see what look like fans on both sides — do the players walk a gauntlet between the two fences to the lot on the north side of Waveland? And do they have their own restrooms there?)

Cubs add porta-potties to ease bathroom crush, now neighbors complain new sound system too damn loud

The management of the Chicago Cubs is deeply sorry about having only four functioning restrooms for 35,000 people on opening day, leading to lines spreading into the seating areas, some fans peeing against walls and in beer cups, and others leaving the stadium to use the facilities at nearby stores. They’ll fix it soon, they promise, even if it takes installing portable toilets.

Also in need of fixing, meanwhile: The new public address system atop the new godawful huge video board is too godawful loud.

“It was like someone was standing with a bullhorn and aiming it into my condo,” said Katie Miller, who lives about two blocks from the ballpark near Seminary and Cornelia avenues. “You could hear everything. Every single word.”…

[Cubs spokesperson Julian Green] said the team was redirecting two of the larger speakers on the left-field video board Monday to address the sound issues outside the park. … Green said the current setup will not be the permanent arrangement. Speakers in the grandstand eventually will be replaced during a later phase of the ballpark renovation project.

It will all get better eventually, presumably. (The Wrigley renovations are even supposed to add an entire bathroom once they’re complete.) Except for that video board, which is never going to get better ever.

Wrigley opening night features Banks memorial tarp, humongous video board, Cubs fans peeing in cups

Last night’s nationally televised opening night game at Wrigley Field had everything! The Ernie Banks memorial construction area tarp!

That new video board in left field, which from certain angles looked almost bigger than the stadium itself (and from other angles didn’t look much smaller)!Screen Shot 2015-04-06 at 8.26.55 AMScreen Shot 2015-04-06 at 8.36.24 AMFans peeing in cups in the corridor because the men’s room lines were half an hour long!

The tarps and the video board were expected; the peeing in cups less so, and frankly hard to understand, given that the Cubs sold 5,000 fewer tickets than usual thanks to the bleachers being closed for construction. (I guess the bleacher restrooms were closed as well, but still.) Maybe the Cubs were just trying to get all of the awfulness out of the way early in the season — they also got shut out 3-0. Everybody will be peeing in the right place once Kris Bryant is allowed to arrive!

Cubs win right to keep building ad boards, cheering fans of televised construction sites

Good news for Chicago Cubs owner Tom Ricketts, at last! A judge has refused to issue an injunction against the giant video boards the team is putting up atop the Wrigley Field bleachers, meaning the team can keep building them even if it blocks the views from neighboring rooftops.

That’s got to be a relief from the incessant run of bad press that the Wrigley renovations have been generating in the runup to the Cubs’ home opener on Sunday, and Ricketts can now sit back and rest easy that—

Cubs Pitcher Jason Hammel Says Wrigley Field ‘Looks Like Baghdad’

Well, that was fun while it lasted. Back to the piling on!

Wrigley Field video board is bigger, uglier than Cubs owner promised

The first photos of the newly installed first-ever electronic video board for Wrigley Field are in, and it is just as big and obtrusive as you might have feared, and that’s even before it’s been turned on:

zkoqlof0pnv8bph2pws2Let’s compare that with what the Cubs ownership said the board was going to look like:

Even allowing for different perspectives, that looks a lot bigger than the renderings that the Cubs released. (Compare it to the size of the manual scoreboard in center field.) The size is set in the landmarks approval that the Cubs received, so what looks most likely is that somebody was doing some hanky panky here with the initial renderings. But at least Cubs fans this year will have some nice video replays and commercials to distract them from the unholy mess that is the bleacher construction project, not to mention distract them from the Cubs.

Wrigley Field still complete wreck nine days before opener, Cubs considering Banks “tribute” to hide it

Apologies for not posting any recent photos of the mess that is Wrigley Field as opening day approaches. Fortunately, Deadspin has us covered, with a full gallery of Wrigley bleachers destruct-o-porn courtesy of their readers. This is probably the wrecked-est looking one:

Of course, fans on opening day (just nine days away, people! on national TV!) won’t see all this mess, because Cubs management has a great idea to take care of that:

The Cubs are considering covering the incomplete bleachers with a tribute to late Hall of Famer Ernie Banks, Ricketts said, but nothing has been finalized.

The Ernie Banks Memorial Tarp — I can hardly wait.

Wrigley renovation could take extra year, everyone finding new reason to laugh at Cubs

Lots of things can go wrong with construction projects, I know, so delays really shouldn’t be a surprise. Still, the Chicago Cubs‘ renovations of Wrigley Field are turning into a p.r. nightmare: Now, not only won’t the rebuilt bleachers (which were mostly rebuilt to support some humongous video boards) open until mid-year, but the entire project could take a year more than previously expected:

Dennis Culloton, a spokesman for [Cubs owner Tom] Ricketts, confirmed Wednesday evening that the project could very well bleed into a fifth offseason, one more than the original plan.

“That could still be the way it works out,” Culloton said of the original four-phase plan. “But it could take longer. Just take this winter for example, and we have found not only the problem with the weather but the water pipes that we had no control over. It could be four years, it could be five. It’s hard to say.”

On the bright side, the other renovations involve more off-the-field stuff — new bullpens, clubhouses, and luxury suites, and a new hotel next to the ballpark — so there’s at least hope that the games themselves won’t take place in a construction site in future seasons. And it looks like Wrigley will be playable for opening day this year, if you have a generous definition of playable. Still, for a team that’s openly trying to emulate the Boston Red Sox, this isn’t going like the phased renovation of Fenway Park did at all.