More than 2,000 Cubs season-ticket holders will be without the seats they purchased until May 11 or later, Cubs business president Crane Kenney said Saturday.
The off-season’s first phase of the Wrigley Field renovations was long known to be delayed, with bleacher-related reconstruction problems in October and November assuring those seating areas would be unavailable by the April 5 season opener.
But continued hassles with such issues as weather have pushed back the opening of the left-field bleachers until the May 11 opener of a seven-game homestand, and the right-field bleachers won’t be ready until at least the next homestand in May because of additional sewer-work issues, Kenney said.
And forget about the center field bleachers while you’re at it. Because of “ingress and egress” access related to the two other sections, that’s likely to be closed until at least May 11, too, Kenney said.
The most obvious and popular question from fans and media seemed to be: Wasn’t this foreseeable?
“It was going to be a really tight schedule [from the start],” Kenney said after informing fans of the details during the business operations session of Cubs Convention. “We were hopeful we could find some time [to make up] in the process. We didn’t find the time.”
Kenney said the club is confident the bleacher opening won’t be pushed back beyond the May dates.
The Cubs outlined three options available for affected season-ticket holders to be compensated:
–A full refund for all games before May 11 (or more if applicable);
–Credit on the ticket owner’s account for the lost games;
– Relocation to another area of the ballpark for affected games.
Fans must notify the Cubs of their preferences (via wrigleyfield.com) by Jan. 29; otherwise credit will be applied to accounts as a default choice. The notification date is tied to determining what’s then available for single-game sales that open in early March.
Cubs officials from chairman Tom Ricketts to Kenney vowed no home games will be moved from Wrigley Field under any scenario – a one-time option examined and dropped two years ago, Kenney said.
“Listen, we’re rebuilding a 100-year-old facility,” Kenney said. “There’s going to be inconveniences for everybody. For us, for you, and for our fans as we get this done. It’s just a reality.”
What will be completed in time for the Cubs’ nationally televised Sunday night opener against the Cardinals is the larger of two planned video boards, in left field.
That doesn’t require the same level of support structure, the Cubs say.
The bleacher support structure, on the other hand, requires monthlong curing processes (at temperatures above 35 degrees) for the massive concrete pours.
“You might actually look out there and see the steps and risers [on Opening Night], and it’s going to look like it’s occupy-able,” Kenney said. “But it actually has to sit for about 28 days.
“We were hopeful if we could get everything poured and the weather cooperated it might be able to be cured by early April. And we’re going to miss it. the issue on this part is we’re going to do it right, and thoughtful, like we try and do everything. And if we miss the month of April we do. And that’s unfortunate, but that’s the reality we’re facing.”