- Bruce Levine, Chicago baseball beat reporter
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said on Wednesday that renovation plans for a new expanded clubhouse in Wrigley Field may be delayed until 2015.
Epstein had hoped to get a new dwelling for his team that would include a batting cage and expanded weight and cardio area.
Epstein tied in ownership getting the go-ahead from city commissions to renovate the entire ballpark as a tome line to helping his club have the facilities he believes it needs to compete for the top players in the game.
"There are a lot of variables in play as to the business plan and how it effects the baseball plan," Epstein said. "We talked to our players -- we meet with them every month or so and see if there are any issues that need to be addressed. We told them about the clubhouse and we had told them last year we had hoped to have it ready by Opening Day 2014. We told them that is still the hope but it really depends at this point how long the public approval process takes."
The Cubs will have a state-of-the-art clubhouse and training facility when they begin spring training in their new facility in Mesa, Ariz., in February. The team hoped those amenities would be consistent in Chicago as well.
"If it drags on too long it will be unrealistic to get it done this winter," Epstein said. "Then we are probably looking at Opening Day 2015 for the renovated clubhouse. They (players) voiced their opinion and are eager to get the new clubhouse for 2014. We are all hoping we can get this thing going, not just for the clubhouse sooner rather than later."
Epstein says he will also have to wait for more concrete revenue streams through the new ballpark ad sales before he can project a higher budget for his baseball department.
"It depends on the timetable and how quickly things get done," he said. "How quickly different aspects get built so then we are able to sell them and start getting the revenue. It isn't instantaneous but it is important we start soon. The sooner we can get started with the project the sooner we can build our revenue base up."