Right field bleachers at Wrigley open
CHICAGO (AP) Wrigley Field's iconic bleachers are again at full strength.
A month after the cozy neighborhood park's left field and center field outfield seating area opened to the public for the first time this season, the right field bleachers made their debut on Thursday.
Wrigley's bleachers remained closed until May 11 due to a multiyear stadium renovation plan that was slowed by harsh winter conditions, delaying construction. The right field seating area, which workers were putting the final touches on four hours before the Chicago Cubs played the Cincinnati Reds, will accommodate about another 2,000 fans. The renovations added about 500 seats to Wrigley's bleacher capacity, which is now 5,460 and includes about 500 standing-room only spots.
The next phase of the renovations will include the opening of outfield concessions areas in early July, increasing the number of bleacher points of sale from 63 to 86.
Among the early-arriving fans Thursday was Chicago resident Dave Davison, who took his spot near the top of the right field bleachers armed with two baseball gloves, including a super-sized model, hoping to snag a batting practice home run ball or two.
Davison has taken in about 10 games from the left field bleachers this season, but was happy to see the remainder of the bleachers open.
''I thought I'd come over here and see how it looks,'' Davison said.
The Cubs entered Thursday tied for second place with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NL Central, 6 1/2 games behind first-place St. Louis. But with Chicago over .500 in June and plenty of excitement still buzzing about the Cubs' postseason hopes, fans like Davison expect a full complement of bleachers to only add to the Wrigley environment.
''It's going to be rocking,'' Davison said. ''You've got a good team here after four or five years and the bleachers have to help the players get pumped up with the fans going crazy. So it's exciting.''
Cubs' players expect to notice a difference now that the bleachers are again completely open for business.
''You heard it when the left field and center field opened up,'' first baseman Anthony Rizzo said. ''Now with right field opening up it'll just be louder. It's good timing - summer's hitting and we're about to get deep into the season the next few weeks here.''