Cubs home opener snowed out, White Sox still play

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Cubs home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates has been rescheduled to Tuesday.

ABC7 will have pregame coverage starting at 12 p.m. and will broadcast the game at 1:20 p.m. On the South Side, where there was lighter snow, the White Sox game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays went on as planned. The Sox lost 5-4.

The Sox were able to get their game in because the snow tapered off a bit earlier than at Wrigley. But still, Head Groundskeepr Roger Bossard had to get creative to make sure the team could play ball.

"I actually used my mowers as, to push the snow, as snowplows. And I've never done that before," he said.

For those who planned on going to the game, tickets from Monday will be honored on Tuesday, according to the team's website. No ticket exchange is necessary.

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The Cubs home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates has been rescheduled to Tuesday at 1:20 p.m. But down on the South Side, the Sox game went on.

The Cubs tweeted photos of several players having "snow much fun" taking selfies and making snowballs during the delay.

Fans layered up in the morning, ready to brave the bitter cold and Clark, the Cubs' mascot, started his day making snowballs.

Cubs fan Alexis Murphy was bundled up and fired up for the first pitch to be thrown.

"I have jeans, snow pants, two layers of socks and I have a sweatshirt and two shirts," she said.

Many fans took refuge in nearby bars and restaurants, until the postponement was announced.

But while Mother Nature's frozen spring got the better of the planned home opener, it did not get the better of Cubs' fans' spirits.

"It's okay," said Paula Walker, visiting from San Francisco. "We're coming tomorrow."

"This weather doesn't bother me at all. It's different, but you see us, we're all here, we don't care. We just love our cubs," said Kristy Davey, Cubs fan.

The area around Wrigley has gone through some major changes in the last year, all part of the vision Tom Ricketts had when his family bought the team nearly nine years ago.

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Tom Ricketts spoke with ABC7 Eyeiwntess News about the new development around Wrigley Field.

"It's crazy now to look at that hotel. A few years ago that was a drawing on a napkin," Ricketts said of the newly-opened Hotel Zachary.

The hotel sits on land that used to house a standalone McDonald's. The McDonald's is now inside the hotel.

On the opposite corner, a massive development is still under construction. It will include a bowling alley, movie theater and restaurants.

The new development will further change the neighborhood previously known for lots of family-owned quirky bars and restaurants.

"I think it's changed for the better," said Joe Spagnoli, who has owned Yak-Zies for 29 years.

But some longtime fans fear the Cubs and new corporate neighbors are pricing out the little guy. Ricketts insists the area is still family friendly, and said the development is part of a plan to make the neighborhood more of a year-round attraction.

"I don't know if anyone's getting priced out. The only thing we did was build buildings on empty parking lots," Ricketts said.

Named for the architect of Wrigley Field, Zachary Taylor Davis, the hotel has about 175 rooms with spectacular views of the ballpark. Hotel Zachary has six restaurants in the building with food ranging from barbecue to tacos, plus the new McDonald's on the main floor. Cubs fans from near and far can stay at the hotel starting at about $300 on game days and $200 on non-game days.

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The Hotel Zachary, located directly across from Wrigley Field, is now open.

Another change outside Wrigley itself is to the name of the outdoor plaza immediately adjacent to it. Formerly called The Park at Wrigley, the Cubs announced a new name for the area, Gallagher Way, and aim to double the number of events held there.

"I think the great majority of our neighbors are supportive of what we're doing here in the ward," said Julian Green, a spokesman for the Cubs. "We're really doing something good here for the community. We're adding to the quality of life, we're enhancing the economics of the community. ... We're hopeful that if we can get past the obstructionists and some of the barriers that are put up by our local alderman, we can do some really good things here."

Cubs fan Dave Richardson is pleased with the changes -- as long as the team keeps some signature symbols around.

"At first it's just all new but it's neat," he said. "Change is good as long as they keep the scoreboard and the ivy, I'm happy."

The Cubs are offering a new ticketing deal inspired by the musical "Hamilton" with its "Ham for Ham" ticket lottery, which offers last-minute tickets for only $10. For every home game of the 2018 season, fans can sign up online starting 48 hours before the game and at least 60 people will be chosen to get a $10 ticket for that game. Why 60 $10 tickets? It's a nod to the Friendly Confines' address at 1060 W. Addison St. There are still single tickets available for those that don't want to roll the dice on the new lottery system.

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The Cubs are offering a new $10 ticket lottery inspired by the "Ham for Ham" $10 ticket lottery for the musical "Hamilton."

Wrigley Field itself has undergone some major upgrades. Players will enjoy improved dugouts and some additional stretching areas, while fans can enjoy some new food options, faster wifi and the new American Airlines 1914 Club for premium ticket holders.

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Monday is the Cubs Home Opener, and fans will see plenty of new features at Wrigley Field.

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Updates were made inside the park too, including upgraded dugouts, additional ADA seats and faster wifi.

There are eight new concession stands opening this year with choices ranging from street tacos to prime rib sandwiches.

Rest assured that diehards' Cubbie blue blood is already flowing once again on the North Side.

"I grew up right there on 35th. I never liked the Sox, always been a Cub fan and, hey, it's the best," said Taya Grant.
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