KRWG

Wrigley Field Hosts Last Cubs Game As A 'Classic' Ballpark

Sep 24, 2014
Originally published on September 26, 2014 9:12 am
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RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Tonight the Chicago Cubs are playing their last home game of the season. And perhaps more significantly it is the last time players and fans will experience the 100-year-old stadium, Wrigley Field, in its current form. A $575 million renovation will usher Wrigley into the modern era. Mallory Black, of member station WBEZ, sent this postcard.

MALLORY BLACK, BYLINE: Cubs fan Kris Malis flew out from Los Angeles for these final games, including tonight's. She's decked out in blue, white and red Cubs gear and she's here to see Wrigley field one last time before renovations began.

KRIS MALIS: I love that it's a ballpark that doesn't have a lot going on. It's classic. It makes me feel like I'm kind of going back in history. So between the brick wall and the ivy and the scoreboard and, you know, you have the organ playing...

UNIDENTIFIED CROWD: (Singing) Take me out to the ball game.

BLACK: That's the organ music Cubs fans hear throughout the game and is part of the experience but that experience is about to change. Starting tomorrow construction crews will begin renovating Wrigley Field. There will be more bleacher seats, a new clubhouse, seven additional outfield signs and a wider concourse.

JULIAN GREEN: We're going to put up a new LED board in left field which is...

BLACK: Julian Green is a spokesperson for the Cubs. That LED screen he talks about will be massive and the crown jewel of the renovation. Hopefully, it will generate more attendance and more advertising revenue.

JULIAN GREEN: This particular project, when it's said and done, is going to deliver millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to the city of Chicago and the state of Illinois.

BLACK: But for those who are nervous about the looming change to the Wrigley Field experience, Green says some things won't change - like the manually operated score board in centerfield.

GREEN: The atmosphere won't change. This will be the same electric and magnetic festive ballpark that your grandfather came to. It will be the same ballpark that you will bring your grandchildren to.

MALIS: Well, I hope there's no dancing hotdogs and I hope they decide to keep the mounds where they are for a little while longer. And other than that, you know, give us the good stuff and don't give any good stuff to the visiting clubs because we don't want them to win.

BLACK: As Cubs fan Kris Malis finishes her tour of the old Wrigley Field, she hopes to be back at the new Wrigley Field - maybe even to see a World Series. For NPR News, I'm Mallory Black in Chicago. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.