As a result of numerous delays and setbacks, the reconstruction of the famed Wrigley Field bleachers will not be complete before Sunday night’s opener between the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. As a matter of fact, the left field bleachers are not expected to be completed until May at the earliest, and the right field bleachers may not be completed until June.
Obviously, those circumstances have created a dilemma for the Cubs financially and logistically. In fact, the team was forced to scramble a bit last month in order to appease season ticket holders and other fans who will be squeezed out due to the lowered seated capacity. Beyond those headline issues, though, the delays also led us to wonder how exactly Wrigley Field would be presented to viewers early in the season given the awkward and unmistakable appearance of an active construction zone.
Well, we finally have our answer to that question, and it turns out the Cubs found a way to turn a negative into an overwhelming positive in the form of a unique and special tribute to Ernie Banks.
As seen above and below, crews were on hand at Wrigley Field covering the open spaces in the bleachers with tarps bearing photos of Banks from memorable moments in his career. The tarps will be a big part of the opening night tribute the team has planned for ‘Mr. Cub, ‘ who died on Jan. 23 at age 83.
These tarps are a brilliant, if not obvious touch that will only prove to enhance the tributes and the overall atmosphere on opening night.
According to Joey Nowak of MLB.com, the finished product will include 10 1,200-square-foot photos of Banks. In addition to that, the Cubs will debut their new jumbotron in left field with a special video tribute. On the field, the bases used during Sunday’s game will be covered with Banks tribute jewels. Those, along with the game-worn jerseys bearing a commemorative No. 14 patch, will be auctioned at a later date to benefit Cubs Charities.
Without question, it’s going to be an emotional night on the north side of Chicago, but overall it promises to be both entertaining and memorable. For their part, the Cubs deserve a lot of credit for being able to work around the construction issues to make it all possible.
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