Chicago Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein wanted his players to be the first ones to see their new clubhouse when they returned to Chicago. The players were taken from the airport to Wrigley the night before Opening Night at Wrigley. As you can imagine, the reaction, as seen in this short video, was positive. Media was the next afforded an opportunity to tour the new 30,000-square-foot clubhouse.
The locker room itself is arranged in a circular shape. Each player’s locker is the same size so no one has more room than anyone else creating equality among the players, according to Epstein. Neon lights flank each locker. Loungers and televisions are positioned in the center of the room for relaxation.
The new clubhouse includes a cafeteria style dining room for players where meals are cooked to order. Epstein said more players are eating meals in the new cafeteria, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some players are even having meals made to take home. Having meals at Wrigley, said Epstein, helps camaraderie, as well as knowing players are eating well.
Off the cafeteria is the players’ lounge, normally off limits to everyone but the players. It includes an air hockey table, ping pong table, oversized loungers and televisions, as well as video and other games.
The workout and rehabilitation rooms feature state-of-the-art equipment, hot tubs, an underwater treadmill and infrared and steam saunas. This allows players, such as Kyle Schwarber, the opportunity to rehab in Chicago close to the team, rather than rehab in Mesa. Epstein said it helps the players feel like they are still part of the team. Epstein also said that x-rays can be taken at the ballpark now, eliminating the need for transport to a hospital if only an x-ray seems warranted.
The media room, where players, coaches and scouts can watch videos, is also the home for determining whether challenges should be made on close plays. This is also where every pitch is tracked.
A new interview room for pre and post-game interviews has been built, replacing the small cramped interview room available before.
The other off-limit area is the celebration room. The celebration room, as Epstein explained it, is for the players to celebrate each win and not damage the new locker room. According to Epstein, the celebrating will last about five minutes and then the players go into the clubhouse and concentrate on the next game. Anyone who has been on a tour of Wrigley Field will remember what the old clubhouse and player’s lounge looked like. The old lounge is now the celebration room. The old locker room has been converted into a real batting cage.
Walls in the hallways and the tunnel that connects the clubhouse to the ballpark are adorned with photos and memorabilia, giving a sense of history of not only the team but baseball in general.
President of Business Operations Crane Kenney said the new Cubs clubhouse is the first not to be located within the ballpark. As plans were being made for the new player facility trainers, conditioning coaches, and players. were asked how much room they would need and what equipment they would need to be able to do their jobs most effectively. This gave the Cubs and designers a gauge for what space would be required to make the best facilities for players and coaches. It became clear that the room available within the ballpark was insufficient, but there was plenty of room under the new Triangle Building and plaza. In the past, it would take 30 seconds for players to get from the dugout to the clubhouse. It now takes about a minute.
Epstein admitted to sometimes feeling like an interior designer, asking his players about types of chairs, colors, things of that nature. It appears everyone associated with the team had input into the facility.
What areas, if any, of the new clubhouse will be included in non-game day tours is still being discussed