CHICAGO (CBS) — Opening Day is next week for the White Sox and the Cubs, so Chicago police and each team’s alderman were reaching out to fans Friday to prepare them for a few changes in store this year.
Opening Day for the White Sox is Monday at 3:05 p.m. against the Twins. The Cubs’ home opener is at 1:20 p.m. Friday against the Phillies.
Fans going to both stadiums should give themselves more time for new security measures.
“There is an extra security presence in our ballpark, in the sense that every fan is subject to a screening when they enter the ballpark; and bag searches,” said White Sox spokesman Marty Maloney.
Major League Baseball has required all teams to implement new security screening measures for fans by 2015, either with handheld metal or walk-through metal detectors.
On the North Side, the Cubs have a new remote parking lot with about 1,000 free spaces at 3900 N. Rockwell St., about two miles west of Wrigley Field.
“Hopefully, we have less congestion near the stadium. We’ve been working very closely with CDOT on the plan,” Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said. “There will probably be traffic control aides getting you there, and it’s going to take a couple weeks for people to figure out that this is a great new opportunity.”
The new lot has double the capacity of the previous remote lot at DeVry University, which was rarely used because of the $6 price for parking 1.6 miles from the stadium.
Chicago police officers will be patrolling the Wrigleyville area longer after Cubs games than in the past. Police and traffic aides used to leave an hour after games, leading to complaints from neighbors about rowdy crowds that stuck around Wrigleyville longer.
“There will be an increased police presence; three hours after each home game on the weekends, two hours during the week,” said Town Hall District Cmdr. Eli Voulgaris.
Those officers will be on the lookout for incidents of public drinking, trespassing, and illegal peddling.
The Cubs have 38 night games this season, up from the 30 night games a year they’ve played since 2004 – after the city raised the limit as part of the deal to expand Wrigley.
On the South Side, White Sox fans can use the Red Line to get to U.S. Cellular Field again. They had to rely on the Green Line – two blocks further east from where the Red Line stops on the Dan Ryan.
The south end of the Red Line was closed last year for a major overhaul, so trips to U.S. Cellular also should be faster than before the renovation project.
The White Sox also have several new food offerings inside the stadium, including a pork chop sandwich, carved deli sandwiches, bacon on a stick, Beggars Pizza, a chicken and waffle sandwich, and a three-pound banana split sundae served in a full-size batting helmet.
Ald. James Balcer (11th) said he expects fans to behave, even after being cooped up all winter.
“It’s a great city, and I expect people to respect the communities, and respect the areas,” he said.