Chicago getting ready for baseball season

March 26, 2008 4:46:30 PM PDT
With the warmer weather of late, fans are no doubt starting to feel a little baseball related fever.And city officials are making sure opening day results in a homerun for everyone.

After a winter we won't soon forget, you may be wondering about opening day, which is Monday for the Cubs. Are they really ready for it? Better yet, is the field really ready for it after the winter we've had?

The Cubs and city officials say the game on opening day at Wrigley Field is a great Chicago spring ritual. But lately, the Friendly Confines have looked more like a frozen tundra.

Last Friday, after yet another snowstorm, crews removed tons of snow from the field. And for the past couple of days, there's been a large tent covering much of the infield.

The Cubs say the tent was to heat the field and dry out the grass so conditions will be playable for Monday's home opener against Milwaukee. Meanwhile, city officials held a news conference at the 911 Center Wednesday to remind Chicagoans that parking restrictions and added police patrols will begin Monday and continue for the rest of the season.

"We want to remind residents to enjoy the season safely. Residents should be aware of parking restrictions. They will begin to take effect around the ballparks," said Tony Ruiz, OEMC executive director.

"We want to make sure that the first shades of three million fans will start embarking on our field as of Monday. And to have, you know, this is a residential community," said Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward.

The CTA is urging people once again to take the Red Line to either Wrigley Field or U.S. Cellular Field. On Sunday, the CTA says all southbound Red, Brown and Purple trains will be using just one track southbound between Belmont and Fullerton as part of the Brown Line expansion project, making Monday morning's commute slower than usual for many CTA riders.

The White Sox home opener is the following Monday, April 7. Eleventh Ward Alderman James Balcer said he believes the vast majority of Sox fans have been getting the message.

"There's been a downward trend in outbreaks of rowdiness. But one incident is too much," he said.

The Sox will be taking on the Minnesota Twins for their home opener.

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