Finally. I won’t say things are going to be back to “normal,” but it’s definitely a significant milestone. And after the intensity we saw at Wrigley Field this past week and weekend, I’m gonna say it will be a net very good thing.
Chicago is removing pandemic-related business restrictions on June 11, joining the State of Illinois on that date, and that means Wrigley Field can return to 100% capacity for that weekend series against the Cardinals:
In a statement to the Tribune, the Cubs seemed to confirm they are moving forward with 100% plans for next weekend:
(W)ith the Cubs set to host their National League Central rivals the St. Louis Cardinals for a three-game set at Wrigley Field starting June 11, Cubs spokesman Julian Green said the North Siders were looking forward to big weekend crowds.
“The ability to welcome 100% of our fans against one of our biggest rivals as we sit atop the NL Central is huge for the team, and represents a huge economic impact to the city as we continue to put people back to work,” Green said. He thanked Lightfoot for working with the team to navigate the pandemic.
It’s been clear as fans have returned to Wrigley Field that there is a lot of pent-up energy for being there and experiencing the Cubs in person (I, myself, wasn’t entirely sure how much I would feel it until I was there – it was kinda overwhelming, to be honest).
From David Ross to Anthony Rizzo to pretty much anyone in the neighborhood, the commentary has all been about how 60% capacity for the Reds and Padres series sure felt a lot more like 100%. So what happens when it’s ACTUALLY 100% for the first time in a year and a half, and it comes for a summer weekend series against the Cardinals, to boot, when the teams are vying for first place?
It’s gonna be awesome. Just a guess. More tickets figure to be released by the team soon, though they presumably have to coordinate with season ticket holders – many of whom have basically been on hold since the end of 2019 – first.
The Cubs will have played 31 of their 81 home dates under capacity limitations, and most of those will have come in the very early part of the season when (1) the energy about the team’s chances weren’t quite wasn’t quite where it is now, (2) the weather wasn’t nearly as good as it is now, and (3) kids were still in school. That is to say, as a separate point from the improved fan experience of being at Wrigley in its fully raucous form, it’s also probably true that the Cubs will have not lost that much gate revenue this year when all is said and done, compared to what they would’ve projected in a normal season. That, in turn, probably augments the discussion we’ve heard from the front office about how the money will be there in the near-term for trade acquisitions and in the long-term to get back near the luxury tax level.