Cubs

Cubs: Kenney discusses amenities to new Wrigley bleachers

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Cubs: Kenney discusses amenities to new Wrigley bleachers

Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney stopped by the CSN booth with Len and JD during Monday's Cubs-Mets game to discuss the opening of the new and improved bleachers in left and center field, giving updates on what amenities fans can expect to see when they head to the Friendly Confines. He also gave updates on when the right field bleachers will open, as well as a July 3rd date to celebrate the entire bleacher section being open to the public. See what Kenney had to say in the video above.

On the bleachers opening in left and center field: "It's great to have at least 2/3 of our bleachers open, so room for 3,500 (fans) in left field and center. And some new amenities they'll see when they're there, the first part is that there's more room to move around and we got rid of some of the choke points that happened really in center field where the concession lines would interfere with the pedestrian concourse and having new spaces behind there will allow everybody to get around.

"The second part is we're able to bring some new amenities in terms of better concession, fresher food. We've got 20 new points of sale, so in addition to getting through the concession lines quicker there's going to be a better food product once you get there.

"And then the last part, we've got some new spaces, some group spaces in left field what we call The Well, and then under the new video board there, one of our porches is open. So you'll see some great spots to view the game."

On new group seating areas in The Well: "Those spaces, there's room for 15. The middle space is a little bit bigger, more like 25, and you have a view right over the wall. It's all group space, so it's mean more to mingle and walk around and visit with everybody in your group rather the person on your right or left, which is one of the things we learned when we opened the Bud Patio a couple years ago.

"It's divisible into three spaces, so if there were three groups you could each have your own spot or you could take the whole thing. And then the upper patio is up to 100 people can fit under the scoreboard, and what's neat about that space is you've got both shade and a sun deck at one end, and your own concession service. So, it's really something that our fans told us after we opened the patio."

On the video boards in left and right field: "We've learned a lot by being last with our video boards, seeing what everybody else does. Some of it we like and some of it doesn't fit for Wrigley, and we're not going to do. But knowing the lineup, especially in the first game of a series with the Mets coming to town for the first time and they've got some new faces, they've got some injuries - David Wright's not there - so for our fans to see who's on the visiting squad and where they bat and what their averages are and to be able to kind of refer to it throughout the game really helps."

On a timeline for the right field bleachers: "So June 11 we'll open right (field bleachers), a month from today. And then we're going to celebrate the bleachers being fully back online in July 3rd. So they're still a work in progress; left field, still a little bit of work going on underneath. Everything works in terms of concessions and restrooms and obviously the seating, and the same thing will be true in right field. June 11 it will be open; we'll still be doing a little bit of work behind the scenes but we thought we'd have sort of a grand celebration for the bleachers coming online in their fullest sense on July 3rd, so those are the next two milestones."

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

Texas Rangers hire Cubs' Shiraz Rehman to be assistant GM

The changing of the guard continues for the Cubs this offseason. 

After the team hired a new hitting coach yesterday, it was reported today that they're losing a front office member: 

Rehman, who has been with the Cubs in the same position for the last seven years, will reportedly head up the Rangers' analytics department. According to the Chicago Tribune, Rehman's role was " evaluating existing systems, and recognizing and applying solutions in an effort to create competitive advantages for the organization." 

All reports indicate that he'll be doing similar analytic-based work with the Rangers. 

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis after being ousted by Cubs: 'There were multiple players in there I didn't connect with'

Chili Davis didn't go all scorched earth on the Cubs in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times, but he had quite a lot to say after being ousted by the organization after just one year as the hitting coach.

The Cubs made Davis the scapegoat for an offense that faded down the stretch, struggling for the entire second half and scoring just 1 run in three of the final four games of the year.

When he was hired a year ago, Theo Epstein and Joe Maddon talked up Davis' impressive resume that includes a 19-year MLB career, two separate stints as a successful hitting coach with the Oakland A's and Boston Red Sox and a philosophy that they hoped would withstand the test of time in the game today, preaching more contact and using the opposite field.

Throughout the 2018 season, Maddon often commended Davis for his ability to communicate with players, particularly in the area of mental approach to each at-bat.

Now that the dust has settled a bit on his firing, Davis felt he had some issues getting through to some Cubs players.

I learned a lot this year," Davis told the Sun-Times' Gordon Wittenmyer. "I learned that the next situation I get in, before I say yes to a job, I need to make sure I know the personnel I'll be dealing with in the clubhouse. I hope the next guy connects better with the players, because I felt that there were multiple players there I didn't connect with. It wasn't that I didn't try; it just wasn't there.

The Cubs hired Anthony Iapoce as their new hitting coach Monday afternoon. Iapoce comes over from the Rangers and has a direct link to John Mallee, who was the Cubs' hitting coach for three seasons before being let go when Davis became available last winter. 

Iapoce also spent three seasons with the Cubs as a special assistant to the GM, overseeing the organization's minor-league hitting from 2013-15. Presumably, he found a way over those years to connect with the Cubs' top young hitting prospects — guys like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber and Willson Contreras that are now leading the big-league lineup.

Hopefully he has better success at this than I did," Davis said of Iapoce in the Sun-Times article. "But regardless of who's there, certain players there are going to have to make some adjustments because the game's changed and pitchers are pitching them differently. They're not pitching to launch angles and fly balls and all that anymore. They're pitching away from that. They're going to have to make that adjustment whether I'm there or not.

Davis had a whole lot more to say on the matter and I encourage you to read the full interview with Wittenmyer over at ChicagoSunTimes.com.

A healthy Bryant very likely could've changed everything for Davis and the Cubs' 2018 lineup. Contreras hitting like he's capable of in the second half would've made a huge difference, as well.

But the end result is a finish to the 2018 campaign that was viewed universally as a disappointment — particularly in the offensive department — and the Cubs are left with their third different hitting coach in three seasons.