The Cubs’ plan to move the Wrigley Field bullpens under the bleachers — which would leave AT&T Park in San Francisco as the only stadium with bullpens on the playing field — has been put off until 2017.
The Tribune’s Paul Sullivan reports that both the home and visiting bullpens will remain where they are (and have been for some time) for the 2016 season.
And while the Cubs’ new clubhouse and underground hitting cages are scheduled to be done by Opening Day 2016, the cages that are supposed to go on the visitors side of the field won’t be. Because of that inequity, both teams will continue to use the batting cages beyond the outfield walls and underneath the bleachers in left and right fields.
Thus, no room for bullpens.
Which likely means the end of Bullpen Chicken, where the goal for bullpen personnel is to stand still and tough out in the face of foul balls that are coming their way or even hit them.
A piece from ESPN Chicago in May 2014 revealed that several Cubs relievers seemed to be ready to embrace a renovated bullpen and a move away from the crowds off the third base line and under the bleachers. Among them were pitchers who happen to be on the 2015 roster and projected to be under team control for a while, including Justin Grimm and Hector Rondon.
Additionally, the Tribune reports that Phase One of the Wrigley renovation project seems to be near completion, albeit there are have been kinks to work out along the way.
You can check out the details and original timeline of the four-phase project here.
The Cubs seem to have made progress with the triangle property. Steal beams were recently erected earlier in August and this phase of the project is expected to be finished in late 2016. You can see some of the progress below:
— Wrigley Field (@WrigleyBlog) August 4, 2015
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) August 12, 2015
Update on the Rizzo/Bryant compound: pic.twitter.com/kz4SnJuOIw
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) August 11, 2015
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) August 18, 2015
— Brian Cassella (@briancassella) August 19, 2015
— Bruce Miles (@BruceMiles2112) August 31, 2015