While fans at Wrigley Field for last night’s Chicago Cubs home opener had a potty problem, fans outside the park were dealing with a different one: noise.
Whether it was the new speakers atop the new left field video board or a reflection off of the video board itself, sound from the ballpark traveled much farther throughout the north side than ever before, if the number of complaints to the local alderman’s office were any indication.
The office of Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, received “three or four dozen calls and emails” complaining about the noise level coming from the stadium last night (they typically get just a handful on opening day), with some reports that the sound of the organ could be heard as far as Fullerton and Halsted Avenues—more than a mile and a half away.
Others on Twitter reported Wrigley echoes as far as Armitage Avenue, which is about two miles from the park.
But unfortunately for the complainers, the Cubs weren’t technically breaking any rules. The city’s noise ordinance prevents such long-range sound travel, but athletic events at stadiums like Wrigley Field are exempt from such rules, said Bennett Lawson, Ald. Tunney’s chief of staff.
Of course, that didn’t stop his office from reaching out to the team to see whether they could down the sound. And the Cubs are complying.
“They’re looking at everything,” said Lawson. “They’re on it and going to make tweaks.”
Part of the issue may be due to the positioning of the speakers and the fact that the bleachers are empty pieces of steel that aren’t absorbing sound as they typically do. Cubs spokesman Julian Green also noted that weather and wind conditions also impact how the sound travels out of the park.