The Chicago Cubs had their official groundbreaking ceremony for the Wrigley Field renovation/restoration/expansion/development (the “1060 Project”) this past weekend, and it was actually a pretty cool event with hundreds of folks affiliated with the Cubs and the community sitting together on the infield to celebrate something several years in the making.
For a moment, it was easy to set aside the struggles to get to that place. To set aside the financial concerns or upsides. To just enjoy the most important and beautiful ballpark in baseball, and dream – as Theo Epstein remarked in his comments – about playing games there in October.
Getting ready to get underway. Gotta love that backdrop. Probably still good with signs. pic.twitter.com/LkXoveV4uD
— Brett Taylor (@BleacherNation) October 11, 2014
The many speeches of the day were punctuated by the sounds of construction beyond the right field wall, which was actually a lot of fun. Presidents Kenney and Epstein said nice things about the organization and the process. Chairman and Owner Tom Ricketts recounted the history of where the Cubs and Wrigley Field have been and looked ahead to where they are going. Commissioner Selig shared that the first game he ever took in was at Wrigley Field, and praised what the Cubs have coming soon, both at the ballpark and in the organization. Alderman Tom Tunney spoke, and sounded like he was stumping on the campaign trail (Mayor Emanuel was the MVP of the process, Tunney said, and he, himself, was the cleanup hitter … OK). Mayor Emanuel opened his comments by joking-not-joking that he was so proud that the project would be privately financed.
They did the ceremonial dig, and then Clark struck up the band in the grandstand. It was nice. My only regret is that, because the ceremony was inside the stadium and heavily controlled, fans who wanted to walk up couldn’t really see or participate in something that is as important to them as anyone who was sitting on the field. The logistics, I’m sure, would have made large scale fan participation unrealistic. But I wish there had been a way to let the public be a part of the celebration after so many years of support, frustration, and relief.
Of course, the process of actually renovating and expanding Wrigley Field will take four years, and the fans can and will definitely be a part of that, so that’s not a bad consolation. To that end, the Cubs updated their WrigleyField.com website, which now lives at the Cubs.com page, and has a ton of information on the renovation plan, including a relatively detailed construction schedule here. There are also all of the visual renderings if you’ve missed any of them. I know they’re just renderings … but they’re so pretty.
So, then, on to the work. This week, the Cubs got into some serious demolition work. And yesterday, the meatiest part of the demotion got underway: bye bye bleachers.
This is happening now at Wrigley more later. pic.twitter.com/oJdhQafS2n
— Andy Masur (@Andy_Masur1) October 16, 2014
WRIGLEY FIELD RENOVATIONS: There go the left field bleachers! pic.twitter.com/F5ECCJMXEA
— ChicagoDrives (@ChicagoDrives) October 16, 2014
— Ross Wallace (@itsmerossw) October 17, 2014
Left Field Bleachers partially gone, leaving only outfield wall standing. pic.twitter.com/NRar7GPzQ3
— Wrigley Blog (@WrigleyBlog) October 16, 2014
— Wrigley Renovations (@WrigleyRenovate) October 16, 2014
It's all happening. Wrigley Field bleacher tear down begins on Waveland Avenue. pic.twitter.com/HMetLLoRq4
— Brian Cassella (@briancassella) October 16, 2014
You can watch some of the demolition here: