If you thought the front office and fans were eager to see what happens when Wrigley Field finally gets renovated, imagine how it is to be a player in the actual park.
It has been no secret throughout baseball that Wrigley Field has some of the worst player facilities in the Major Leagues. There are no hitting cages, as Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has demonstrated. Instead, for hitters to warm up in the middle of games, a protective piece of plywood has to go up in front of the clubhouse television and a net must be strung up between the ceiling and floor. Instead of a pitching machine, a little league tee is set up in front of the net in the clubhouse and hitters warm up using that.
Visiting players love the heritage and history that surrounds the park, but as San Diego pitcher Andrew Cashner states, most players find it to be in deplorable conditions. That is all scheduled to change now. Even though litigation may pose to be a problem for the organization and city, Cubs ownership plans to move forward with the idea of renovating and expanding Wrigley Field, intending to add several places for sponsors to place advertisements, including a modern video board in left field.
Those who occupy the field the most, the Chicago Cubs, are tired of countless delays and promises that conditions will improve. The clubhouse was supposed to be renovated beginning in July, but those plans have been delayed as well. One player, first baseman Anthony Rizzo, expressed his frustration to Carrie Muskat of MLB.com.
“They told us again that it was going to get approved, and it didn’t get approved, and I know a lot of guys aren’t happy about that,” first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Friday. “It’s kind of a shame because we get excited about it. Give [the Cubs] credit, they’re working their tails off, but it got shut down. It’s kind of a bummer because we all thought it would happen. Now we’ll just wait and see like everyone else.”
Rizzo opines that the playing conditions and facilities may be prohibiting bigger name free agents from wanting to play in “The Friendly Confines.” The club itself seems to be headed in a good direction under the new leadership of Jed Hoyer and Theo Epstein; the farm system has been replenished, the players on the field right now have bright futures, and they have the resources available to acquire winning pieces. Now it’s a matter of whether those winning pieces will willingly come to Chicago as free agents.