Chicago Cubs to utilize Wrigley Field for COVID-19 response efforts
With no baseball on the docket, the Chicago Cubs will use Wrigley Field and nearby Hotel Zachary as staging areas for COVID-19 response efforts.
At least for the foreseeable future, the Friendly Confines won’t play host to Chicago Cubs baseball. But that isn’t stopping the organization from putting the storied ballpark to use.
According to MLB.com, the Cubs will team up with Hickory Street Capital, the Ricketts family-owned real estate development company, to convert Wrigley Field as a temporary food packing and distribution center in the coming weeks. This will benefit the nearby Lakeview Pantry, while Ricketts will provide rooms for medical first responders and healthcare workers at Hotel Zachary across the street.
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Starting this weekend, Lakeview Pantry will begin distribution services at Wrigley from noon to 2 p.m. CT every Tuesday and Saturday. This is by no means the only response made by the Cubs or their players, of course. Anthony Rizzo continues to support those impacted through his foundation and other players, including Jason Heyward, have made donations in wake of the COVID-19 outbreak.
We all miss baseball. Despite the fact that Chicagoland woke up to the landscape blanketed with snow on Wednesday, spring is undoubtedly in the air. And, to be blunt, it’s not the same without the buzz we’ve all come to love in the air surrounding Wrigley Field.
Social distancing practices remain in effect across most of the country – including Illinois. Governor J.B. Pritzker continues to provide updates daily and it appears the curve is flattening in the state. But the situation remains fluid and wildly uncertain. One thing is for sure: the fight is not over.
The nation’s leading COVID-19 spokesperson and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Dr. Anthony Fauci made it abundantly clear: the only way we see baseball on a national level this summer is through exhaustive efforts that will be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced here in the United States.
"“(…) there’s a way of doing that because there have been some proposals both at the level of the NFL, Major League Baseball, National Hockey League, to get these people tested, and to put them in big hotels, you know, wherever you want to play. Keep them very well surveilled, namely a surveillance, but have them tested, like every week. By a gazillion tests. And make sure they don’t wind up infecting each other or their family. And just let them play the season out. I mean, that’s a really artificial way to do it, but when you think about it, it might be better than nothing.”"
Again, we don’t know what the 2020 MLB season will look like – or even if it will be played. Major League Baseball continues to plan for as many contingencies as possible as the landscape shifts on a near daily-basis. In the meantime, teams like the Cubs not only have to consider what their on-field product could look like this year, but also how they’re supporting their communities during these trying times.
Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs are intertwined into the very fabric of the community on the North Side. Seeing the Ricketts family, who certainly face their fair share of criticism as owners of one of the most valuable franchises in the sport, step up to be a leader in the community is something all Cubs fans can take pride in.
It may not be the marketing campaign tagline anymore, but all I could think upon hearing this news was: #EverybodyIn.