Cubs will meet with city over falling concrete

Updated: July 27, 2004, 10:19 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- City officials want more information about netting the Chicago Cubs promised to install at Wrigley Field to protect fans from falling concrete before they decide if the team can play at the historic ballpark Friday.

Cubs officials ordered the netting put up because three chunks of concrete have fallen from the undersides of the park's upper deck since June 9. No injuries have been reported.

The City of Chicago asked Wrigley officials to conduct structural engineering inspections and report back to the city with findings and recommendations. Department of Buildings spokesman Jack Beary said Tuesday that the city expects to receive further details on the installation of the heavy mesh netting Wednesday.

Beary said the city has the power to prevent Friday's scheduled game against the Philadelphia Phillies at the 90-year-old stadium if the netting is not fully installed or if city officials conclude the netting does not adequately protect fans.

"We expect it would be in place before the game played on Friday," Beary said. "If not, the team would have to make other arrangements."

Those other arrangements, he said, could include moving the game to a different location.

Cubs spokesman Mike Lufrano said he wouldn't speculate on the fate of Friday's game if the netting is not up in time.

"We're hopeful we will meet the city's expectations by Friday's game," Lufrano said.

Department of Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbek said at a press conference Tuesday that city officials plan to meet with the park's owners before Friday's game to discuss the recommendations and findings.

A fan reported to the city June 9 seeing the first piece of concrete fall along the first-base side of the park. The fan said the debris was the size of a small brick, Kaderbek said.

The second piece of falling concrete was reported by a man who said the chunk, measuring about 6 inches long and 3 inches thick, nearly struck his 5-year-old son at a July 16 game.

A Wrigley Field employee found a third piece of concrete July 21, Cubs officials said. That piece was about the size of a palm of a hand, Lufrano said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press