MLB officials have been inspecting 101-year-old Wrigley Field in anticipation of home playoff games Players and fans relished the playoff-like atmosphere at Wrigley Field over the weekend that may have served as a preview should the Cubs host postseason games. Officials from Major League Baseball have surveyed Wrigley and other venues over the last month to address security and logistical issues before the postseason starts. “It’s not an easy time,” said Katy Feeney, MLB’s senior vice president of scheduling and club relations who surveyed Wrigley with John Blundell, MLB’s vice president of communications. “All parks are different.” And 101-year-old Wrigley, in the midst of a multiyear renovation project, presents its own set of challenges. “Sometimes you get creative,” Feeney said. The Cubs haven’t hosted a playoff game since 2008, but intense security was in force during a White Sox-Cubs series at Wrigley in May of 2012 while the city of Chicago was hosting the NATO summit. Thanks to airtight security administered by MLB and local and federal government officials, there were no major incidents. Aside from a bathroom fiasco on opening night and the lack of an elevator for the first 51/2 months, fans have adjusted to the ongoing construction at Wrigley without major incidents. In 1914, a local businessman named Charles Weeghman bought land and built a ball park for the Federal League baseball team, known as the Chifeds. Weeghman Park opened in 1914 and two short years later, the Federal League would fold, the Chicago Cubs would call Weeghman Park home, and William Wrigley Jr. would be the proud owner of the Northside field. For most of the 1920s, Weeghman Park was simply called Cubs Park, even after it was officially renamed Wrigley Field in 1926. Starting in 1921, the famous field was also home to the Chicago Bears football team and many other events, such as wrestling, boxing matches, and society events.
And the Cubs expect to have enough resources and creativity to host playoff games without major glitches. “We’re preparing in the event we’ll be successful,” said Julian Green, the Cubs’ vice president of communication and community affairs. Green declined to elaborate on details, but the Cubs and other playoff entrants face the following issues: Accommodating sponsors: Some teams put a cap on their season tickets to make room for international and national sponsors. This isn’t a requirement, but some teams relocate season ticket holders to accommodate sponsors. Space is at premium at Wrigley, which actually seats nearly 3,000 more than the Pirates’ PNC Park, which opened in 2000. “It definitely varies from park to park,” Feeney said. Media space: A storage room under the first-base stands has been used in the past as an interview room at Wrigley. That’s likely to continue. But there are more major concernssuch as providing work space for reporters and photographers. The number of credentialed media swells with each round of playoffs. Wrigley Field, which opened on April 23, 1914, is a quintessential Chicago building: practical, quietly graceful, a creature of function, not fashion. Despite those rationalist roots, it’s a vessel for human emotion: hope, dreams, escapism, nostalgia, wonder — and, as Cubs fans know all too well, disappointment, disgust, and bitterness.
It’s not uncommon for press dining rooms to be transformed into work rooms. And upper-deck sections and bleacher seats often are transformed into auxiliary press boxes. “You have to be cautious with the numbers,” Feeney said. Clubhouse space: When the Cubs move into their spacious new home clubhouse in 2016, they’ll have the luxury of celebrating in comfort if they clinch a playoff berth or championship. The Red Sox held their 2013 World Series trophy presentation on the Fenway Park infield instead of in their cramped clubhouse. The Cubs have the smallest home and visitor clubhouses in the majors. “There’s a little bit of extra everything,” Feeney said.