CHICAGO (CBS) — The World Series champion Cubs take on the Dodgers on Monday night for their home opener, and fans will notice lots of changes inside and outside Wrigley Field.
The Cubs will raise their World Series banner ahead of Monday’s home opener, and on Wednesday, fans will help present rings to the coaches and players. The team selected 20 “ring bearers” as part of an offseason contest.
The home opener starts at 7:05 p.m., and Hall of Fame players Ryne Sandberg, Ferguson Jenkins and Billy Williams will help raise the banners. Cubs players will be wearing uniforms with gold trim and members of the Ricketts family, who own the team, will throw out the first pitch.
The Cubs made lots of changes to the stadium in the offseason, both big and small, from new padded seats behind home plate to new bullpens and a new plaza outside the ballpark featuring a team store and eventually a tavern-style restaurant named after broadcaster Jack Brickhouse.
During the offseason, the bullpens were moved off the field along the foul lines to a spot under the bleachers, allowing for better accommodations for pitchers and outfielders. The move also allowed the Cubs to add a few more rows of seats along the left and right field sides.
The plaza will give fans a place to hang out before and after the games. However, it won’t be open to the public at game time. Fans will need a ticket to the game to get into the plaza two hours before the game.
A new western gate also will open adjacent to the new plaza, reducing congestion on the concourse before and after games.
The Cubs also want to make sure all fans are safe in and around Wrigley Field, so extra police will be around the ballpark watching for problems, enforcing parking restrictions, coordinating traffic and guiding pedestrians.
The stadium also will have metal detectors at every gate, and security teams will conduct bag checks at the entrances. So fans have been told to arrive early to make sure they get through security screenings before the start of the game. If you bring a bag, it can’t be larger than 16 inches.
Driving around the park also will be restricted. Truck traffic won’t be allowed around Wrigley from two hours before the game until at least one hour after.