The Cubs new clubhouse is as advertised and then some. Ownership and the front office has created a state of the art facility outside of the second oldest ballpark in the majors with every possible amenity the players could ever need.
“It’s been a real rewarding week for all of us because this has been many, many years in the making. We talked for a long time about our theoretical plan on the baseball side and our theoretical plan on the business side and our theoretical plan for the restoration of Wrigley Field. Those were just visions. It’s important to have vision but it’s another thing to execute.
“We’re not all the way there with our baseball building but we like the progress that we’ve made,” Theo Epstein said. “We’re not quite all the way there with the restoration of Wrigley Field and we’re not at the finish line for our business plan either. In all three areas we feel like with a lot of teamwork and a lot of hard work and with the support of ownership and the contributions of literally a hundred people, we are making significant progress.”
“That’s a nice feeling to have it sync up and the symbiotic relationship between the baseball and the business side and the support of ownership, it’s getting us closer to where we want to be which is obviously celebrating a World Series in a brand new ballpark with healthy and thriving business side as well.”
Theo Epstein, Crane Kenney, Carl Rice, Julian Green and Kevin Saghy took the media on a tour of the new clubhouse Tuesday afternoon. And Theo showed us the player lounge and celebration room for a one-time behind the scenes look at the new facilities at Wrigley Field.
The total size of the clubhouse is 30,000 square feet. The old facilities at Wrigley were around 9,000 square feet. The old clubhouse is now a single batting cage and the old player’s lounge is the celebration room.
The Cubs walk up a tunnel from the clubhouse that is about 150 feet further from the dugout than the old clubhouse. Instead of 30 seconds from the clubhouse to the dugout it takes about a minute.
The tunnel from the clubhouse to the dugout is lined with quotes from Ernie Banks and Joe Maddon. One side says, “Don’t let the pressure exceed the pleasure.” The other side is a tribute to Mr. Cub with ‘Let’s Play Two,’ ‘Go Cubs Go’ and ‘There’s sunshine, fresh air and the team’s behind us.’ At the top of the stairs just before entering the old clubhouse area just outside the dugout is ‘Embrace the Target.”
Crane Kenney would not reveal the total cost of the clubhouse. He did say it is the most expensive clubhouse in the majors. And at 30,000 square feet, it is second only in size to the one in the Bronx. The Cubs have the only clubhouse in Major League Baseball housed outside of the park’s footprint.
The diameter of the clubhouse is 60 feet, six inches. Theo Epstein said the Cubs explored oval, square and rectangle design options. In the end, he felt the circle design fit the team better.
The Cubs did an excellent job recognizing the history of the team throughout the clubhouse.
The photo of Ron Santo and Ernie Banks outside the entrance to the clubhouse is simply perfect.
Cubs Player Lounge
The Player’s Lounge is just ridiculous. There are at least seven televisions, two air hockey tables, and a Golden Tee. Guitars are hung on columns and there are amps for the players to plug in and use.
There are two signs in the Player’s Lounge. One is like the welcome to Las Vegas sign and reads “Welcome to the Cubs Player Lounge – Chicago.” The other is a raised dimensional sign on the back wall the that states, “Cubs Family (what happens here, stays here).”
Photos and video were not permitted in the Cubs Player Lounge.
The Cubs created a space outside the dugout for the players to celebrate after a win.
The Celebration room has black walls, a huge flat screen with what appeared to be karaoke, fog machine, strobe lights and ‘Rizzo’s Disco’ as its been called even has drains in the floor.
Theo said the Cubs did not set out to have a celebration room as part of the new clubhouse, it just happened last season.
Players have five minutes and only five minutes to celebrate a win, then it’s on to the next day.
Celebrating wins is important to the players and has the full support of Joe Maddon.
The idea behind the designated area was to give the players a place to celebrate a win because it’s hard to win games in the big leagues. Another reason for creating the space for a celebration room was so the players don’t trash the new clubhouse.
Epstein said, “Gotta have fun and recognize the accomplishment.”
The Cubs turned everything on and it is exactly as its been described.
Photos and video were not allowed in the Cubs Celebration Room.
The new training facilities allow the Cubs to have all their players rehab in Chicago and not Arizona, which was not an option before.
Kyle Schwarber will be able to rehab at Wrigley if the team and medical staff determine that’s the most appropriate place for him to rehab. Epstein pointed out that would be terrific for him because he would be able stay with his teammates and for the team, they would be able to really supervise his rehab in a hands on manner.
The Cubs can do everything in house now that is needed to take care of the players. The new space provided the necessary room for the equipment. And the Ricketts family has spared no expense to ensure the players have what they need off the field.
Cubs Clubhouse Photos
Wrigley Restoration Photos
The visitor’s clubhouse will receive a “facelift” and a batting tunnel.
The visitor’s clubhouse will be upgraded toward the end of the project. The visitor’s side should be completed in two years. The Cubs are in compliance with MLB’s rules in terms of the facilities for visiting teams.
Visiting teams have access to batting tunnels under the right field bleachers that will house the bullpen next season.
The Cubs remain on schedule to move the bullpens underneath the bleachers next season. This is the final year of the bullpens being on the field down the left and right field lines.