Catcher David Ross truly believes the Cubs will receive the full boost they’ve sought when they return to Wrigley Field to play in front of the newly opened right field bleachers Thursday night.
“That’s our home field advantage,” Ross said. “That’s what drives us. It’s a lot of fun to hear the fans screaming and yelling. And I know as a visitor they get on you a little bit. It will be a great atmosphere, and I’m looking forward to it.”
The Cubs noticed a significant difference after the renovated bleachers opened in left and center field on May 11. The Cubs embarked on a six-game winning streak – all at home.
“The left field (bleachers) made up for (the right field bleachers under construction) because the fans were super loud and intense, and it really stood out when nobody was there,” Ross said. “When the left field bleachers opened, it was ‘woah, this is going to be very awesome when right field opens.’ “
Center fielder Dexter Fowler added, “More people, more the merrier. More seats to get in there, more fans, more support.”
Pitcher Jake Arrieta noticed that fans have been unwavering in their support despite the construction.
“The atmosphere will be similar to how it’s been this year – tremendous,” Arrieta said. “Even when the stands and the entire outfield wasn’t open, we had good turnouts, and the fans always were loud.
“But to surround the field with fans on both sides, it’s going to be a good feeling. Every time we came home with something new added to the yard, whether it’s a scoreboard in left, a scoreboard in right, bleachers in left and right, it’s an exciting time for us and it’s fun to see the transformation of Wrigley starting to come together. We’ll be ready to embrace the fans (Thursday).”
Manager Joe Maddon said it’s up to the Cubs’ players to take advantage of the extra support.
“We talk about enveloping,” Maddon said. “It really is when you get out and see all that. It’s very close up, and you can feel it.
“Saying all that, we have to make Wrigley into our home field advantage. We have to take advantage of winning there. If we’re going to do anything, you got to win plenty of games in that park. We got plenty of support. We got tremendous vibe on a daily basis. We got to make hay when we get back.”