Wrigley Field opens part of iconic bleachers to fans

CHICAGO (AP) No more silent nights in the outfield at Wrigley Field. The bleachers are open again.

The Chicago Cubs let fans into the bleachers in left and center field for Monday's game against the New York Mets. A smaller videoboard in right also was up and running for the opener of a seven-game homestand.

The outfield seating had been closed to the public while work continued on renovations for the cozy neighborhood ballpark. Another section in right should be finished this summer after bad weather and other issues delayed construction in the offseason.

Among the first people to make it to their new seats was long-time Cubs fan Christopher Sorlie, who sprinted to his spot, yelling the whole way. He quickly set up his area in the front row and greeted familiar faces as they settled in behind him.

''You just feel the energy in the crowd today - it's unbelievable,'' Sorlie said. ''There has still been a buzz in the ballpark because it's the Cubs, but it's just weird because when you look out (in the bleachers), you don't see anything.''

Cubs outfielder Chris Coghlan said it had been awkward hearing nothing but silence coming from behind him this season. Coghlan is in his second year with Chicago after beginning his career with the Marlins and getting years of grief from Wrigley's bleacher bums as an opposing player.

''In (batting practice), they were just hammering me,'' Coghlan said. ''You're like, `This is crazy - even in B.P., and they're locked and loaded.' But it helps us because anytime the crowd makes it difficult for the visiting team, it helps.''

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