Cubs, Wrigley Field prepare for home opener

The Chicago Cubs and their fans are preparing for Friday's home opener and the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, as some Wrigley residents prepare for the first day of a controversial new fan parking lot.
April 3, 2014 3:19:57 PM PDT
The Chicago Cubs and their fans are preparing for Friday's home opener and the 100th anniversary of Wrigley Field, as some Wrigley residents prepare for the first day of a controversial new fan parking lot.

On the eve of the Cubs' home opener, there is a flurry of activity going on in Wrigleyville.

Crews are busy going through the park getting everything spruced up for the start of what the cubs say will be a special season in celebration of Wrigley Field's 100th anniversary.

About 16 blocks away they are also sprucing up, as 3900 north Rockwell will serve as the Cubs new remote parking lot this year, with shuttle service to and from the park. Some neighbors, though, are unhappy about the expected increased traffic congestion and noise.

"It's potentially 1,000 spaces, free shuttle, running two hours, I think, before the game, and up to two hours after the game," said 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney.

The Cubs will celebrate Wrigley's centennial with lots of historical events throughout the season.

They'll have throwback uniforms from every decade, bobbleheads of some of the athletes who have performed on the field, including Gale Sayers and Babe Ruth.

The ballpark walls on Waveland and Sheffield are adorned with shots of some of the more memorable events in the park's history.

"The park today really looks very similar to what it looked like when it was built 100 years ago, and it's a great asset for us," said Cubs marketing director Alison Miller. "As much as people are baseball fans, they're also fans of the park, as well."

The home opener is also a huge event for businesses in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Bars like Yak-Zies depend on Cubs fans for a huge chunk of their business.

They are setting up for an opening day radio broadcast and concert featuring the band Los Lobos.

"It just makes such a big difference for all the businesses here," said Yak-Zies owner Joe Spagnoli. "A lot of them don't even stay open throughout the offseason. They might be open a couple of days a week."

Wrigley Field is arguably the most hallowed original stadium in baseball and that's why artist Thomas Kincaide was commissioned to paint it for this anniversary.

While he died before its completion, artists from his studio completed this detailed view from the outside the ballpark circa 1939.

"His studio artists worked very diligently to match Tom's initial vision," said Pat Kincaide, the artist's brother. "All the notes we have on it, all of the discussions he had with people about what he wanted to capture."


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