Despite approval from the Chicago Landmark Commission on Thursday, the Cubs likely won’t have enough time to install a Jumbotron scoreboard at Wrigley Field in time for the 2014 season opener.
“Our aim is to start some of that work in the offseason,” said Julian Green, the Cubs vice president of communications and community outreach. “It’s just based on how these approvals go over the next couple weeks. We’ll have to see.”
The Cubs proposal will next be presented at an upcoming City Council meeting, though Green did not say exactly when that would be. But even once the plan is presented, the Council won’t decide on it until the following month.
“We could be nearing the end of the baseball season (before that happens), so it’s pretty tough to say definitively when construction would start,” Green said.
Green added the priority for construction will be upgrading the clubhouse before turning attention to anything else, including the proposed scoreboard. The planned Jumbotron would be 5,700 square feet and placed in left field. A 650-square foot scoreboard would go in right.
The Cubs want to focus on the clubhouse first in order to upgrade facilities that are well behind the times. Green pointed to their new spring-training facility in Mesa, Ari., and a $7 million baseball academy in the Dominican Republic as ways in which the Cubs are looking to improve players’ quality of life while with the organization.
“They’ve got these great facilities and then you go down to the clubhouse (at Wrigley) and there are eight shower heads,” Green said. “We’ve got to make sure we do better for the players here for the Chicago Cubs.”
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Green also downplayed the possibility of the Cubs leaving the city for one of the suburbs, something that was rumored as a hard-ball tactic the Ricketts family might use in persuading the city to approve their proposal.
But the Cubs have already received enough support from the city and Mayor Rahm Emanuel that the likelihood of them vacating Wrigley seem highly unlikely. Emanuel helped the Cubs move Friday afternoon start times from 1:15 to 3:05, and also for the addition of more night games.
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“The mayor has delivered for us, so the family trusts in the mayor to get us to the finish line,” Green said. “We think we’re in the red zone, but obviously we’ve still got some ways to go.
“Last Thursday was a significant accomplishment for us to continue this approach to make this $500 million investment. In the Ricketts’ family heart of hearts, they’d like to see Cubs baseball here, and that when we finally win that world championship it happens right here at the corner of Addison and Clark.”