Yesterday, we heard from the Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein. So today, it’s only natural to hear from the Cubs President of Business Operations, Crane Kenney, right?
Yin and yang.
You can check out Kenney’s full comments from Carrie Muskat (Cubs.com), Mark Gonzales (Chicago Tribune), Steve Greenberg (Chicago Sun-Times), and Patrick Mooney (The Athletic), but we’ll cover the highlights, alongside some thoughts of my own, below. You know the drill.
- Let’s kick things off with some video of Kenney at the Tribune, discussing the readiness of Wrigley Field for Opening Day. Citing the aerial shots of Wrigley’s construction we’ve seen from time to time, Kenney says “I think folks [fans] are nervous about Opening Day, so I’m here to remind everybody we are on track, in fact a couple of days ahead of schedule for our plan for Opening Day.” Kenney added that we should expect to see the boards coming off the field this week and the field being ready for play on Monday.
- Before the Cubs started these renovations, according to Kenney, only two of Wrigley’s concession stands had in-stand grills with the ability to create fresh food right on site. Last year, the Cubs added four grill-ready concession stands to the mix. And this season, eight more are coming online. Only four of them will be ready by Opening Day, but that’s actually ahead of the schedule Kenney shared at the Cubs Convention. In case you’re wondering, the other four will be ready in Mid-May.
- In other positive news, Gordon Wittenmyer reports that the Wi-Fi and cell service at Wrigley Field this season should be “vastly improved,” which is something a blogger like me can really appreciate. In the past, the service/Wi-Fi inside Wrigley Field during games is … very rough.
- On that tent-fight-issue with Alderman Tom Tunney, Kenney was expectedly tired: “This, for me, of all the things we’ve had to address, to think that putting up a tent on our own property would be something we had to address with our alderman is kind of hard to believe. But I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this stage.”
- Kenny also discussed the Cubs’ desire to close down Clark and Addison around the perimeter of Wrigley Field for two hours before game time and one hour afterwords for safety reasons. “Vehicles as weapons have become the more popular thing than, really, live shooting,” he said. “You guys know how far it is from the Addison side of the ballpark to the curb. It’s probably eight feet.”
- The Cubs, together with the City of Chicago, have made a join application to host the All-Star Game (presumably hoping for 2020, as we’ve discussed), but there’s no update on the status of that request. “The mayor has tried to help as much as he can,” Kenney said. “We obviously have an issue with our alderman. The problem is it’s pretty well-known how little help we’ve gotten from our alderman.” I’ll remind you that the Cubs haven’t hosted the All-Star Game since 1990, which is the third longest drought behind the Dodgers and A’s. With that said, I recall the Commissioner being pretty clear about the Cubs being front-runners as soon as they update the visitor’s dugout.
- Hotel Zachary, across from The Park at Wrigley Field, will be ready by Opening Day, as will the new restaurants – including the obligatory McDonald’s – inside.