Wrigley Field is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Major League Baseball, but these days the "friendly confines" look more like "Baghdad," Chicago Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel said.
The Cubs will host National League Central rival St. Louis on Sunday in the opening game of the 2015 season at Wrigley Field, but because of significant renovations taking place, the famous outfield bleacher seats will be conspicuously missing.
"It looks like Baghdad," Hammel told the Chicago Tribune. "But you know there's a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow there."
Photos of the construction at the stadium haven't exactly instilled confidence that Wrigley will be ready for opening day, prompting the Cubs to shoot down those rumors Tuesday, guaranteeing that the field will be ready for play.
Wrigley has remained vastly unchanged since it was first built in 1914 -- the stadium only added lights to play at night in 1988. But this season Cubs fans will be treated or horrified -- depending on whom you ask -- by the presence of a brand new video board in left field.
The seats below the new structure in left field, however, are not expected to be opened until May 11. The right field bleachers won't open until mid-June. In all, the entire $575-million project is expected to be finished in 2018.
"It is what it is right now. We're going to deal with it," Hammel said. "But it's exciting. It's something that's a long time coming and it's fun to be a part of, even if it is going to be a little sketchy to get around."