January 24, 2021

Kenney: Wrigley rooftops will be open

When the abbreviated baseball season opens in late July, Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts has come to grips with no fans being allowed games at Wrigley Field.

Ricketts is hoping that changes as the summer progresses, for myriad reasons.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is keeping the door closed for now as the coronavirus pandemic continues, but she’s also hoping it eventually swings open at Wrigley as well as Guaranteed Rate Field.

“There’s no bigger sports fan than me, and I want to be able to enjoy live sports in the stands myself,” Lightfoot said. “But we’ve got to do it at a time when we know it’s appropriate under the public health guidance. And we’re not there yet.”

An old, revered ballpark, Wrigley Field has some unique features. One of them is rooftop seating.

Speaking on 670-AM Thursday, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said the rooftops are going to be open for business at the start of the season.

“Even now with the mayor’s phasing of the city’s reopening, we would be allowed to open the rooftops,” Kenney said.

The seating would be reduced and spaced out, but at least the Cubs would have some fans in view during the early stretch of the short season.

Most major-league teams are going to be relying on TV revenues to combat the massive financial damage COVID-19 has inflicted since mid-March.

The Cubs are no longer on Comcast or WGN or ABC 7.

Their televised games have moved to a new home, the Marquee Sports Network. As of now, Marquee and Comcast, Chicagoland’s largest carrier, have no carriage deal.

Kenney is confident that will soon change, and he even dropped some possible exhibition news.

“I would expect we do reach an agreement with Comcast, in particular as we see the potential for some spring training games, potentially with the White Sox, coming even ahead of the July 23 or 24 opening day,” Kenney said. “The pace has picked up and we’re optimistic we’ll get something done soon.”

•The Cubs signed three of their draft picks, all pitchers.

They agreed to terms with second-round pick Burl Carraway, a left-hander from Dallas Baptist University, fourth-round pick Luke Little, a lefty from San Jacinto College and fifth rounder Koen Moreno, a right-hander from Panther Creek (N.C.) High School.

The 21-year-old Carraway was 6-2 with a 2.47 ERA and 11 saves over his final two seasons at Dallas Baptist. He had 89 strikeouts in 51 innings during that span.