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Cubs roll out plan for patio deck, scoreboard in right field

The Chicago Cubs announced the addition of the Budweiser Patio to the right field section of the Budweiser Bleachers for the 2012 season. The Budweiser Patio will include LED signage with the capability to display game information such as pitch count, player pictures and statistics.

It’s not the Green Monster seats that Fenway Park has, and that wasn’t even a vague inspiration, the Cubs say.

But a new patio deck and overall look to the revamped right-field bleachers at Wrigley Field should be the most dramatic aesthetic change to the ballpark’s interior in years when it’s unveiled for the home opener April 5.

“It’ll be a great section for groups,” Cubs business operations president Crane Kenney said ­Saturday as the team announced the plan during the second day of the Cubs Convention. “What we’re finding is that people want to be able to circulate. Certainly, you see it on the rooftops. Places where you can bring clients, move around in the space, and not just be fixed.”

The new patio area atop the ­renovated, raised bleacher section will have a capacity for 150 standing-room-only tickets, the prices and sales plans for which haven’t been finalized, said Kenney.

What seating survives the renovation was raised in part to alleviate some obstruction issues and in large part to accommodate a 70-foot-long LED board with rotating advertising and information-display capabilities, but not likely any video-replay functions. The height of the section doesn’t change, and none of the changes will affect the scoreboard, ivy or brick of the outfield wall, avoiding landmark-protection issues.

Notes

Long-term plans for the Rickettses’ recently purchased McDonald’s property across from Wrigley on Clark Street haven’t been determined, chairman Tom Ricketts said. It’s expected to be incorporated into larger ballpark renovation plans the team is hoping to help fund with public money.

“In the short run,” Ricketts said, “we’re going to do something pretty cool [on that south lot] for Opening Day.”

â—† Ricketts said during the family’s Q-and-A session with fans that money that otherwise would have been budgeted for draft bonuses and international signings – spending capped under baseball’s new collective-bargaining agreement – will be redirected into further ramping up the scouting department.