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Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel says Wrigley Field ‘looks like Baghdad’

Wrigley Renovation Baseball

With opening day just around the corner, the Chicago Cubs are full of hope as the team gears up for one of the most highly anticipated seasons in some time. It’s a shame that in some respects that while the outlook on the season is hopeful, the Cubs’ home ballpark is not necessarily in opening day condition.

Despite the fact that Wrigley Field looks to be in somewhat disrepair due to ongoing renovations, Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel is nevertheless excited about all the improvements being made to the historic ballpark, although he made a curious comment to describe its current state as the team prepares to head north.

“I’m excited,” Hammel said, via the Chicago Tribune (by way of Big League Stew). “It looks like Baghdad, but you know there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow there. It is what it is right now, and we’re going to deal with it, but it’s exciting. It’s a long time coming and fun to be a part of, even if it will be a little sketchy to get around.”

For the record, likening a stadium sitting smack dab in a beautiful neighborhood that is undergoing a multimillion dollar renovation to the war-torn Iraq capital city probably isn’t the greatest idea.

Despite Hammel’s questionable choice of words — although no offense was likely intended — the fact remains that things haven’t gone swimmingly with Wrigley’s renovation.

A long and hard Chicago winter has delayed the renovations of Wrigley. While team officials insist the ballpark will be serviceable and safe — neighborhood rat problems notwithstanding — come Sunday when the Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals in its season/home opener, the first phase of renovation is nowhere near finished.

While a brand-new Jumbotron has now been completed (below), the left field bleachers won’t be ready until May 11, with the right-field bleachers expected to be ready for fans by mid-June.

Despite the setbacks, Hammel speaks for Cubs officials, players and fans when he says he is looking forward to seeing the historic ballpark all polished up and updated once all the construction is completed.

“All that stuff will be so cool,” he said. “It’s like jewels on an old crown, I guess. It’s a beautiful stadium. I don’t if that’s a good metaphor or not. If you look at a basic crown, they’re boring, but throw a couple jewels on it, and it’s nice.”

[H/T Big League Stew, top image credit:]