LAKEVIEW — Although the Chicago Cubs will likely play to empty stadiums this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, fans can still cheer them on from the rooftop clubs that overlook Wrigley Field.
Cubs spokesperson Julian Green said they plan to have the Wrigley Rooftops open and fully operational by Opening Day on July 23 or 24.
“There are many details to be worked out, including taking every available precaution to ensure a safe environment for our fans,” Green said Monday. “That said, any plan must be approved by the City of Chicago prior to operation.”
But neighbors in Wrigleyville could hear the crack of a bat as soon as Wednesday, which is when Major League Baseball players are set to report to training camp at their home ballparks.
Under MLB’s agreement with the players union, each team will play 60 games: 40 divisional games and 20 geographically-appointed inter-league games. The schedule is still being finalized.
At least for now, any games in Chicago would be played without spectators due to state rules prohibiting gatherings of 50 people or more. Gov. JB Pritzker and Mayor Lori Lightfoot have also said they don’t think it would be safe to have crowds in the stands during games.
Green said the team hopes fans will eventually be allowed into Wrigley, “but the decision to open the ballpark must be driven by medical guidance first to ensure safety.”
He said the team is working with the city, health department and MLB to figure out the safest ways for fans to return as spectators.
The 2020 baseball season is facing major obstacles as it attempts to start amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams have reported players and staff members testing positive for the coronavirus — and outbreaks during the season could halt play.
The MLB is trying to mitigate those risks by imposing changes like having staff members wear masks in the dugout and testing players every other day.
Contributing: Dan Brown
Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.
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