Fans weigh in on Wrigley Field's changes — and room for growth (more for kids?)

Sitting by the bullpen at Wrigley Field several years ago, a young fan's Nintendo DS binge was interrupted when former Cubs pitcher Carlos Marmol walked over, gave the boy a baseball and told himto watch the game.

Cyndie Stiller knew then that her son Jake would become a lifelong Cubs fan.

Now that bullpen is gone. Its move to under the bleachers is one of the many renovations Wrigley has undergone, and bringing it back, as unrealistic as that is, is near the top of several fans' Wrigley wish list.

"(The relocation was) kind of disappointing," Lori Behan, of McHenry, said. "It's always fun to watch them."

Another item is more player-fan interaction.

"Don't get me wrong, I would love some autographs for my now older kids," said Stiller, of Cary, as she watched children play catch before Tuesday's Cubs game in the Park at Wrigley. "But these guys — these little ones — they need more."

That more is shared experiences with the Cubs, which the on-field bullpens used to provide.

In interviews with many fans inside and outside Wrigley, the consensus was that the changes to the ballpark were mostly positive, but there were some suggestions for improvement.

Some fans agreed that Wrigley could be more kid-friendly. Whether that involves a batting cage or just a small jungle gym, there should be more for young fans to do inside the ballpark.

"I know you get between 12,000 fans and 40,000 fans, but it'd be nice to have a little bit more activities for the kids," said John Vetor, who has been visiting Wrigley for the past 49 years and travels in from Marion, Ind. "I don't know where the room would be, but I mean, that's something they'd have to figure out."

Some suggested that the new video boards also should engage more with the fans.

"What about a kiss cam like they do at the basketball games?" Behan said. "But maybe not just a kiss cam. Maybe it could be the craziest outfit somebody has on."

But all agreed that Wrigley is a special place, better than it ever has been.

"The beauty of the field sells itself," said Rusty Schopp, who said he attended his first game at Wrigley in 1969 and lives in Bloomington, Ind. "When you go in there, it's different than any other ballpark."

Really, it's not so much what fans would like to see changed, but what they don't want changed. Fans said they love the renovations mainly because they haven't altered Wrigley too much.

The old scoreboard remains. The ivy still covers the outfield walls. The brick still shows character.

"We got the World Series win," said Ginger Peak, of Chicago, who said she has had season tickets since 2003. "So what else could you add?"

twaack@chicagotribune.com

Twitter: @terrinvictoria

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad
77°