Cubs opening day is here, and along with peanuts, cracker jacks and headache-inducing North Side traffic, some changes are afoot at Wrigley for 2013.
While the fourth most-valuable team in Major League Baseball heads into the home opener without a hotly-anticipated ballpark renovation deal (more on that below), they did get a few things worked out in time for the first pitch at 1:20 p.m.
For a dose of Cubs nostalgia, Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will lead the 7th Inning Stretch Monday, while ABC Chicago reports 1,000 replicas of a gold glove worn by Darwin Barney will be doled out as part of various promotions and giveaways.
Food-wise, more veggie-friendly options are on the concessions menu for 2013, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Veggie dogs and salads will join the existing veggie burger and tempeh barbecue sandwich offerings, while the retro-futuristic Dippin' Dots ice cream has been added for dessert.
The festive home opener also means a glut of bar specials around Wrigleyville. DNA touched on a few — noting as well that pubs start pouring at 7 a.m. (perhaps much to the delight of cornhole players around the neighborhood).
Though the number of night games is still being sorted out, as of Monday, parking restrictions around Wrigleyville go into effect at 5 p.m. during night games.
Tickets were still available Monday morning, which indicates for the first time since 1997, the home opener won't have a capacity crowd.
For fans unable to make it to the game (or those surreptitiously listening in at work), WGN Radio (720 AM) will cover the Cubs over the air.
Other than the final box score of the Cubs-Brewers matchup, the most anticipated news expected from the home opener was a cemented deal on the propposed ballpark renovation.
The previously-reported home run has been looking more like a strikeout after weekend efforts to reach an agreement appear to have stalled out.
The Sun-Times reported negotiations started going off course Saturday, snagged by an agreement the Cubs former owners inked with the Wrigley Rooftop Association — a deal the current owners want out of.
Owner Tom Ricketts said talks were “productive,” in an interview with CBS Chicago (embedded) early Monday — but beyond repeating that stakeholders were "committed" to reaching a deal, Ricketts offered little else.
Mayor Emanuel is said to now be personally involved in the negotiations, according to Fox Chicago. The Chicago City Council's finance committee has a 10 a.m. meeting Monday where, according to Fox, the Wrigley plans will be a "central issue."
In addition to the battle over rooftop views and outfield scoreboards, other lingering issues include parking, and the number of night games at Wrigley; the organization is aiming to up the number of night games to 40 or more this season.
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