They’re going to level it out and install a high-tech drainage system. Alleged genius groundskeeper Roger Brossard is in charge of the project, after similar projects at Fenway and Comiskey (sorry, U.S. Cellular – I hate corporate named ballparks).
If I had my way, they’d continue right on and tear down the outfield bleachers and move them back 30 or 40 feet, reconfigure the fenceline, and then move home plate further out into the field to provide more foul territory, and make the new outfield bleachers taller to provide more seating.
Never gonna happen, of course. It would require closing both Sheffield and Waveland avenues to traffic, though they could be turned into pedestrian malls lined with brick and landscaping to blend in nicely with the stadium.
All of this would fix the major weaknesses of Wrigley, which in my opinion, hold back the team because I believe it has encouraged ownership to pander to the “uniqueness” of Wrigley Field:
- not enough foul territory, which inflates batting averages
- power alleys are too short, down the line is too deep (field is shaped like a square, more or less)
- needs more seating in the outfield
- park in general looks odd and unbalanced due to tiny outfield seating structure
In other words, the “hitter’s park” designation encourages too much interest in home runs, and not enough in winning baseball. Make the park more like other parks, with center 410 or more, and power alleys at least in the 380-390 range, and then lots of the home runs that currently make it into the first 4-5 rows would be long outs. Down the line could stay about what it is, or even be shortened a tiny bit, since few home runs leave the yard within a few feet of the foul line and just into the first few rows. I.e., if you pull the ball that hard, you probably hit the tar out of it anyway.
Just my $.02. I came up with this plan over twenty years ago, but strangely enough, no one ever called to ask me for it! Huh. Fancy that.