MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told the Inside The Clubhouse (on 670 The Score radio station) show on Saturday morning that “it makes sense” for the Cubs to get an all star game in the near future. Since the All Star games are set through 2018, the earliest the Cubs could host the game would be 2019. However, given the Cubs remodeling schedule for Wrigley Field, combined with the fact that MLB usually gives teams three years notice, I’d say the stars align for 2020.
“It makes sense the Cubs get an opportunity ahead after the new renovations are complete,” Manfred said. “This will provide the Cubs and Ricketts family a chance to showcase the unbelievable renovation they are in the midst of doing for Wrigley field. Timing-wise we have the schedule of cities set through Washington (2018). We will have an open and complete competition for the All Star Game beyond that time.”
Meanwhile, the Cubs plan to have their full remodeling of Wrigley Field, including the hotel and area around the ballpark ready for the 2019 season. But with the efforts to accommodate the big game, it would likely be better for the Cubs if MLB were to wait until the following season to award the game to them.
Whether it’s 2019 or 2020, either way, it will be a great showcase for the Cubs and Wrigley Field. It will be the fourth time the team has hosted the game, having previously hosted in 1947, 1962 and 1990.
As for the renovations, the McDonald’s across the street from the park is closing on March 1st, so the Cubs can begin building a hotel on the property. And, as you can tell if you drive (or walk) by, the marquee is currently under construction as well. The marquee hadn’t been moved since 1933.
A large new office complex of buildings housing Cubs employees, called Triangle Plaza, is planned for the area outside the park.
The best thing for the club is that the home clubhouse and weight room will be expanded and batting cages added. There will be an honest-to-goodness actual bullpen for pitchers to warm up in, under the bleachers. A big patio in right field is in the works, with a “home plate club” under the seats. All seats, from the left field foul pole to the main gate, will be removed and replaced and new concessions and bathrooms will be added. An upper-deck exposed concourse will be added along the south and west roof-line of right field.
The 1060 Project, as it’s called, is quite an undertaking when you consider how much of the park is under landmark status, so the Cubs have to be careful while making changes that they do not introduce any changes that would put them in jeopardy of fines and/or a shutdown due to violations.
In the end it will be nice for the fans and players, and is much needed, although personally I would have ripped it down and moved the club elsewhere. I’m probably in the minority with that viewpoint.
The Cubs have never won a World Series since they have played at Wrigley Field.
After completing all of this, the Cubs deserve to host an All Star game in order to show off what it has accomplished. The Cubs smaller seating capacity and unfriendly media and player accommodations have long been cited as reasons why Wrigley wasn’t chosen more times for the honor.
Look, all these changes sound great, but the main change I’d hope to see is a World Series banner flying atop the ballpark.