The Chicago Cubs will begin the 2015 season without the Wrigley Field bleachers open, the team announced Saturday.
There will be a total of 15 Cubs home games affected by the delay in the construction of the Budweiser Bleachers, which will open by May 11.— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) January 17, 2015
The current target date is May 11 for the left-field bleachers, which will affect a total of 15 Cubs homes games. Wrigley Field is currently undergoing a $375 million renovation, and the bleacher reconstruction is the first phase.
The right-field bleachers are targeted for completion in late May, according to Crain's Chicago Business.
"We always knew this was going to be a challenging project," said Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney, citing the tight 26-week time frame to demolish and rebuild the bleachers. The work is part of the first phase of the team's $575 million plan to renovate the ballpark and redevelop its surrounding area.
"We're rebuilding a 100-year-old facility,” Kenney said. “There are going to be inconveniences for everybody -- for us, for (the media), and for our fans as we get this done. It's just a reality."
The 100-year-old stadium has approximately 5,000 bleacher seats. Only the left- and right-field bleacher sections are being rebuilt, but the center-field bleachers won't be open until the left-field construction is completed due to safety concerns, according to ESPN.com.
The Cubs will offer bleacher season-ticket holders the choice of a full refund for the 15 home games between April 5 and May 11, a credit toward tickets for other games or relocation to the grandstand for those 15 games.
The stadium's new 3,990-quare-foot video board in left-center field will be ready for Opening Day, the Cubs said. The debut of a video board in right field has been pushed back until May, according to Crain's.
The Cubs previously held "serious discussions" with the Milwaukee Brewers about playing at Miller Park for as many as two seasons to help speed up construction, but elected not to pursue that route, according to Crain's. Kenney said on Saturday that the Cubs do not plan to play home games anywhere but Wrigley Field during the bleacher construction.
The Cubs open the 2015 season April 5 vs. the St. Louis Cardinals at Wrigley.
- Mike Fiammetta