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The Wrigley Field visiting clubhouse is terrible

Jun 26, 2012, 5:06 PM EDT

Wrigley Field

We hear a story about this every couple of years, but every couple of years some new parks have come online to make the differences between their amenities and those of the venerable Wrigley Field all the more stark:

The clubhouse, which was last renovated in 1990, is more notable for what it lacks than what it offers. There is no cafeteria, no TV lounge, no video room and no couches. The only indoor batting cage is under the bleachers in right field. And while players are free to use the Cubs’ weight room, the visiting clubhouse offers only a stationary bike.

“On some levels, it’s very similar to Dodger Stadium, but there, you’ve got little corridors and things that they’ve added,” Mets left fielder Jason Bay said. “At Wrigley Field, there’s no room to go anywhere.”

The home clubhouse is better, but that much better.

And your first impression may be “poor little millionaire ballplayers,” but the fact is, dudes have to work in this place for six months out of the year. If the money is fairly even on a free agent offer, bad facilities could make the difference.

The Cubs need to improve matters soon. Even if it they can’t get $300 million in taxpayer money to do it, which is the current plan.

  1. bloodysock - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:17 PM

    Yikes. There are only eight stadiums (including Wrigley and Tropicana) that are older than the last time the clubhouse was renovated.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Who would have thought that a building built around 1915 woulldn’t be ideal for 2012 standards.

    • bloodysock - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Even a 1915 vintage building should be able to handle a flat panel on a wall.

      • jwbiii - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:43 PM

        The only “louge” area in the visitors’ clubhouse is a widened corridor with a half dozen or so card tables bolted to the floor. If you hung a flat panel on the wall, very few people could see it.

        I imagine the corridor was widened when the Bears played there. Visiting football teams would have had to dress in shifts.

  3. dawgpoundmember - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:37 PM

    It’s like how the visitors locker room for the Iowa hawk eyes is painted pink, home field advantage?

  4. bigleagues - Jun 26, 2012 at 5:57 PM

    I am quite certain that the Home Clubhouse will somehow be brought up to State of the Art.

    However, don’t expect much to change in the Visiting Clubhouse. One only need to look to Boston to understand that limiting the amenities is intentional.

  5. mybrunoblog - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:03 PM

    I think it is not out of the realm of possibility to think the Cubs may someday advocate the tear down of Wrigley. Don’t give me the “historic landmark” or “tradition” argument. The place is nearly 100 years old and sadly outdated. If they tore down Yankee Stadium they can tear down anything.

    • bigleagues - Jun 26, 2012 at 11:58 PM

      That’s what Haywood Sullivan and the Yawkey Trust said about Fenway. Now the home clubhouse is as good as any in baseball. They have a private indoor batting cage (never existed prior to the Henry group), significantly expanded seating, expanded the concourse onto the surrounding streets, expanded concessions, installed state-of-the-art HD video boards, and reinforced foundational structures throughout the park.

      Tear down Wrigley someday? Yes. Perhaps 75 or 100 years from now. Or maybe never. The Red Sox proved that you can renovate and restructure on the fly without the need to play elsewhere.

      Indeed old Yankee Stadium had a ton of history – more than any other park in pro sports . . . but strip away all of that history and the stadium lacked the unique charm of Fenway or Wrigley.

      • hockeyflow33 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:12 AM

        lipstick on a pig.

      • bigleagues - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:34 AM

        Try BBQ sauce on pulled pork.

        The longest consecutive game sellout streak in North American professional sports history.

        750+ and counting . . .

      • thesixersbench - Jun 27, 2012 at 10:02 AM

        “Try BBQ sauce on pulled pork.

        The longest consecutive game sellout streak in North American professional sports history.

        750+ and counting . . .”

        That’s a clown streak, bro. Everyone knows it’s bogus.

      • bigleagues - Jun 27, 2012 at 10:20 AM

        I don’t expect people who have never worked in pro sports to understand how attendance is calculated, but there has been nothing clown-like about it, bro.

        Furthermore, if MLB – or other teams – had a problem with ‘The Streak’ it would have been dealt with a long time ago.

        If you have the MLB package or MLB.TV flip over to NESN each night and come back and tell me where the empty sections are. There aren’t (haven’t been) any.

        So no, it’s not bogus. It’s legit.

      • mrstpaul - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:05 PM

        “Indeed old Yankee Stadium had a ton of history – more than any other park in pro sports . . . but strip away all of that history and the stadium lacked the unique charm of Fenway or Wrigley.”

        The original Yankee Stadium didn’t exist after 1973…not saying it had the charm of Fenway or Wrigley, but it looked a lot different before Steinbrenner remodeled. it.

      • derklempner - Jun 27, 2012 at 3:52 PM

        “The Red Sox proved that you can renovate and restructure on the fly without the need to play elsewhere.”

        I’ll give you credit for proving it’s possible, but just because they could do it at Fenway doesn’t mean they can do it at Wrigley.

        I used to work for the Cubs up until last month. I’ve been in both clubhouses, and they are both small. Very small by comparison to basically every other MLB park. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of extra room for them to renovate either clubhouse.

        The tunnels, extra weight room, video room, etc. that are adjacent to the home clubhouse can’t be extended or moved to different areas of the ballpark. As for the visitors’ clubhouse, there isn’t enough extra room nearby to expand it at all, unless they wanted to remove large parts of the plumbing system for the park.

        I love Wrigley, I really do. However, it’s probably time to start realistically looking at building a new stadium for the Cubs. It would do wonders for revenue gains by expanding seating and adding modern amenities (beyond the free wifi that seems to be the most modern part of Wrigley). That money could then be used to improve the on-field product, thereby making the Cubs a legitimate playoff team more than once every 15 years.

      • derklempner - Jun 27, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        @hockeyflow33: “lipstick on a pig.”

        I don’t know why you’re describing your girlfriend in the comments section of an article about Wrigley Field.

      • bigleagues - Jun 27, 2012 at 5:27 PM

        derklempner:

        I haven’t not walked the hallowed underbelly of Wrigley, but I did do just that at Fenway in 1999. The said all the same things about Fenway, that there was no room to expand the home clubhouse, no way to expand concourses, no way to put seats on top of the Monster (even though I can tell you that everyone of my friends growing up thought that would be the coolest seat if they could ever pull it off), so way to add seating on top of the right field roof, etc . . . but what I learned from following all of the renovations over the last decade is there is a reason they pay the best engineers and architects a lot of money.

        After walking in and around the Red Sox Home Clubhouse in 99 – I would have sworn the same thing . . . that there simply was no way to find additional room. I had seen AA clubhouses that were as big or bigger than the Red Sox clubhouse. No lie. And now it’s one of the bigger most modern home clubhouses in MLB.

        The problem with building a new ballpark for the Cubs . . . and correct me if I’m wrong . . . is

        1) Wrigley Field has been the business plan for most of the last 30-50 years. Without Wrigley Field and without a sustainably winning team in place, you are playing with fire.

        2) Short of an incredibly ambitious AT&T ballpark type project on Lake Michigan – Wrigleyville must remain the home of the Cubs.

        I can attest to the fact that most, if not many Red Sox fans were extremely reluctant to move on from Fenway without having broken ‘the curse’ first. I suspect a large number of Cubs fans feel similarly and the more casual fan could or would lose interest. Not that this has any rational place in any true discussion about a new stadium – but then whats rational about being a fan anyway?

        All I can say is I hope your wrong. You cannot manufacture the history of a building. It just happens. And a new Wrigley would be just that – with none of the storied history that went along with the old Wrigley.

      • thesixersbench - Jun 28, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        “I don’t expect people who have never worked in pro sports to understand how attendance is calculated, but there has been nothing clown-like about it, bro.

        Furthermore, if MLB – or other teams – had a problem with ‘The Streak’ it would have been dealt with a long time ago.

        If you have the MLB package or MLB.TV flip over to NESN each night and come back and tell me where the empty sections are. There aren’t (haven’t been) any.

        So no, it’s not bogus. It’s legit.”

        MLB attendance isn’t rocket science – I understand it’s tickets sold and not entrance at the gate. I also understand many of those tickets are sold only to then be re-sold on the secondary market – which is where they’ll languish.

        I have the MLB package and have watched quite a few Red Sox games this year – there are plenty of games where you can spot sections thinning like LeBron’s hair.

        So, yes, the “sell out streak” is legitimate in the way they calculate it, but by no means does it coincide with the colloquial definition of a sell-out.

  6. hojo20 - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:30 PM

    The Cubs should play in Comiskey for 2 years so they can tear up the entire Grandstand and redo it. It’d get them more luxury boxes, better locker rooms and take care of the falling cement issue. The Yankees played at Shea in 1974 & ’75 while Yankee Stadium was being refurbed, so it can be done.

    • proudlycanadian - Jun 26, 2012 at 6:49 PM

      “falling cement issue” Good grief! Fan safety is at risk! No World Series until after this place is replaced.

    • jwbiii - Jun 26, 2012 at 7:46 PM

      Ricketts is trying to get state money to do this. Gov. Quinn’s position is that he has increased taxes and cut Medicaid, so no.

    • foreverchipper10 - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:10 PM

      The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees are also doing this. They are playing a full season of roadies as the stadium is being redone.

  7. pjmitch - Jun 26, 2012 at 7:56 PM

    Maybe I don’t know anything about construction but isn’t it possible to build UNDER the stadium and build all these things that are needed? Heck if they can build a tunnel under rivers and oceans, can’t they build a weight room under Wrigley?

    • mckludge - Jun 27, 2012 at 7:56 AM

      Concur with ^ this ^

      In fact, buy up some of the land across the street and build workout facilities there, with an underground tunnel to them. It’s not like you have to cross a highway. For those who have never been to Wrigley, it is literally in a neighborhood. Sheffield and Waveland are 2-lane roads with street parking.

  8. TheNaturalMevs - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Personally think the players can suck it up for three games at a time (as the visitors) so the fans can continue to enjoy the mecca of baseball. And I’m not even a Cubs fan. One trip to Wrigley Field and I wanted to move to the city.

  9. dragonsofdaytonohio - Jun 27, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    The longest consecutive game sellout streak in North American professional sports history….wrong…try the Dayton Dragons, Midwest League…..PLEASE research before you post ignorant stuff.

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