Pro baseball

Cubs fans ready for Wrigley renovations

2013-05-29T18:20:00Z 2013-06-06T21:23:25Z Cubs fans ready for Wrigley renovationsBrian Vernellis brian.vernellis@nwi.com, (219) 933-3370 nwitimes.com

CHICAGO | For Cubs fan Joe Selby, the decision to renovate 99-year-old Wrigley Field is clear. Do it.

Cubs owner Tom Ricketts announced at the start of May a $500 million renovation plan that would bring modern features to one of the oldest ballparks in the nation.

The Cubs' plan calls for $300 million for renovations and $200 million for neighborhood development. Topping the renovation list is a 6,000 square foot videoboard that would sit atop the left field bleachers.

"I'm liking it," Selby said before the start of Wednesday's crosstown series with the White Sox. "I'm liking it a lot because it needs it. We need something really bad. I like the scoreboard going in left field."

Besides the scoreboard in left field, other ballpark renovations include a 1,000 square foot sign in right field and four new signs in the outfield.

Part of Ricketts' idea for neighborhood development includes a 175-room, 91-foot tall hotel on the northwest corner of Clark and Addison streets. The renovations are scheduled over a five-year period.

In all, the organization would like to add 41,000 square feet available for signage inside and around the ballpark. The club believes the increase in ad space would greatly help its revenue, equating to a more competitive team on the field.

"The theory behind it I don't know if it will work, but I'd like to see the money going into high-priced ballplayers rather than waiting 10 years," Cubs fan Dennis Dusek said.

"I don't know how much longer I'm going to be around to wait for a World Series. Put the money in now."

To give a sense of what the left field videoboard will look like, the organization erected mock-ups Tuesday as Ricketts watched. 

"Where I sit, it's not really going to affect my experience of the game because I'm in the left field bleachers," Cubs fan Alex Dorf said, "but I think having a Jumbotron is much better than having a Toyota sign. If it's between one or the other, I'd rather have the Jumbotron."

And yet, for all the modern accessories planned for Wrigley Field, Ricketts and his front office want to restore the ballpark's feel of its younger days.

Some of Wrigley's new look would be a nod to its old, recreating the ballpark's architectural design from the 1930s by reintroducing wrought iron fencing and terra cotta canopies. 

"Wrigley Field is a legend," said Joan McMillan. "I hope they don't make a lot of huge changes. They need to keep a lot of the originality where it's at."

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