Hey! Hey! Wrigley's New Bleachers Ready


11:06 a.m. CDT April 7, 2006

CHICAGO - When the Cubs take on the Cardinals in their home opener Friday afternoon, new players won't be the only addition to the Friendly Confines.

The Cubs open their home season with a brand new section of bleachers, named the "Bud Light Bleachers." There will be 1,800 additional seats for the famous "Bleacher Bums."

Fans said the Cubs hit this project out of the park.

"I come past here every day going to work," said one man. "I saw it from when they started and now I see the finished product, and it's nice."

The project cost $13.5 million, NBC5's Amy Jacobson reported.

"In the short term, there's revenue, obviously," said Mark McGuire, vice president of operations for the Chicago Cubs. "But long term, we're creating more Cubs fans."

Crews were still putting up televisions and security cameras, but officials said everything would be ready to go on Friday.

The cement, which is currently white, will be painted hunter green to match the old bleachers. There are 100 spots for wheelchairs, as well as an elevator.

"The truth was the old bleachers were really not a very good situation for someone in a wheelchair," McGuire said. "When you build something in the 1930s, it wasn't built to accommodate wheelchairs."

Outside the park, there are brick pavers, an overhang and a spot where fans can see a glimpse of the game from the sidewalk. Eventually, ivy will grow on the new outside walls, but that will take between three and five years.

"It's very, very aggressive, and it's hard to kill once it starts to grow," said Peter Lindsay Schaudt, a landscape architect. "So, it was important to use an ivy that takes in urban conditions, like most weeds."

Another change to the 92-year-old stadium will be a new place called the "Batter's Eye," which will be a restaurant. The Batter's Eye will replace the old evergreen bushes.

"We looked out at the bushes and said, 'We can do better than that,'" McGuire said. "When you're in Wrigley Field, every cubic inch is important to you, and we try to make it all work."


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