Wrigley's field tested on Opening Day
After offseason drainage project, rains consistent in first game
CHICAGO -- The most nervous person in Chicago on Monday may have been White Sox groundskeeper Roger Bossard.
Bossard was the overseer of the $1.5 million drainage system installed at Wrigley Field this offseason, a system which was tested immediately on Opening Day. Rain delayed the start of the Cubs' season opener against the Milwaukee Brewers by 41 minutes.
A major part of the change involved leveling the field. Before, the surface had a crown, and it was difficult for anyone in the dugout to see players past the mound.
"I can see second base from the dugout for the first time ever," Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. "I can see my left fielder. The grass is very short and very fast, which is very strange for Chicago. But it looks nice. They did a lot of hard work, and it looks good."
The outfielders noticed a difference, too.
"We can see every play, and I think we'll feel better and see the ball better," Chicago's Alfonso Soriano said. "Sometimes you hit, and I see the pitcher's mound and the pitcher looks too big. Now, it looks normal."
There are still some tweaks to be made. The slope from the field to the bullpen mounds along the left- and right-field lines is steep, and outfielders must make a quick adjustment.
"We have to learn how to play with that," Soriano said. "It's like a new field. We have to learn how to play on this field, because with the warning track, the grass, the ball is moving quickly, the mound in the bullpen, we have to learn how to play on this field."
Cubs manager Lou Piniella talked to both Soriano and Kosuke Fukudome during Sunday's workout about the changes.
"We made them aware of it," Piniella said of the bullpen mounds. "Over the next few days, they might slope the back of it a little more gently. The problem is the weather has not been conducive."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.