With each passing year, Wrigleyville becomes more and more unrecognizable to generations of fans who’ve watched the Cubs play at Wrigley Field. More modern and commercialized than ever before, the neighborhood charm – at least in the area immediately surrounding the ballpark – is very nearly a thing of the past.
Gallagher Way, Hotel Zachary and the condominium and retail development that stretches down Addison – now have huge footprints in the neighborhood. In the next year, one of the last undeveloped areas near the Friendly Confines, a small, triangle-shaped plaza at the corner of Sheffield and Addison, will house a new structure – the Wrigley Field sportsbook.
According to Patrick Mooney of The Athletic, ahead of construction, the team has removed the statues honoring a pair of Cubs Hall of Famers: Billy Williams and Ron Santo, placing them in a storage facility in Michigan for the foreseeable future.
There are currently no details as to when these two statues will return – but one can hope that they’ll be back for the unveiling of a statue dedicated to Fergie Jenkins this summer. It stands to reason that the Jenkins, Santo and Williams statues will all be permanently re-located near Ernie Banks, which is near the main gates and marquee at the corner of Clark and Addison.
Chicago Cubs: More money that can be pried away from fans at Wrigley
The new sportsbook, which will undoubtedly be a cash cow for ownership, will be more than 22,000 square feet – and two stories tall. Back at the height of the pandemic in Sept. 2020, the organization inked a massive 10-year, $100 million deal with DraftKings as the Cubs’ exclusive betting and fantasy partner.
Between the ongoing Marquee Sports Network train wreck that fans are still pretty upset about, the teardown of the core from the 2016 World Series championship team we bore witness to last summer and the most expensive game day prices in the league, the optics around building a sportsbook aren’t great right now.
It’s harder than ever for a family to go to Wrigley Field with what games cost, but now, there’s yet another way to pry the money out of fans’ wallets that will, at least in some fashion, benefit ownership. You can bet that early this season, until folks realize these statues are in storage, it’ll just be one more instance where fans get all riled up about change in and around the Confines.