Friday, July 30, 2004
Wrigley protective netting is in place
CHICAGO -- City building inspectors gave the go-ahead for
the Chicago Cubs to play at Wrigley Field on Friday after
protective netting was installed to keep chunks of concrete from
falling from the upper deck onto fans.
Buildings Commissioner Stan Kaderbek announced early Friday that
inspectors accepted an interim safety inspection report the Cubs
submitted to the city, clearing the way for an afternoon game
against the Philadelphia Phillies.
"The netting is a prudent precaution intended to make the
ballpark's seating areas safe for the general public," Kaderbek
said, adding that a final safety report will be required after the
Cubs complete its inspection of the entire park.
The nets will remain up all season as a safety measure, Cubs
president and CEO Andy MacPhail said Friday. Inspections indicated
no structural problems with the upper deck, he said.
The city could have prevented the game at the 90-year-old
ballpark if the netting wasn't fully installed or if inspectors
concluded it didn't adequately protect fans. The netted area covers
seating beneath the upper deck.
Kaderbek said more than 50 percent of the upper deck had not
been inspected, adding that no deadline has been set for when the
inspection should be completed. The netting should be able to
protect the fans beneath it, he said, noting that it is designed to
withstand the fall of a 350-pound chunk of concrete falling 50
feet. Kaderbek said there are no indications that would happen.
The Cubs have committed to performing a visual inspection of the
underside of all non-netted areas before all games at Wrigley
Field, Kaderbek said. The city also has directed the Cubs to give
annual, hands-on inspections and to notify the city of any
There have been three reports of falling concrete at the stadium
since June. No injuries have been reported.
On June 9, a fan told the city a piece of concrete fell along
the first-base side of the park. The fan said the debris was the
size of a small brick.
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 game on July 16.
A Wrigley Field employee found a third piece of concrete July
21, Cubs officials said. That piece was about the size of the palm
of a hand.