Cubs extend Wrigley Field dugouts to keep players engaged, out of stands

Tim Stebbins

The Cubs plan to practice social distancing as much as possible during games this season. They also want their players and coaches - and those from their opponents - to be comfortable.

The solution? Extending Wrigley Field's dugouts further down the foul lines. 

As sports return worldwide during the COVID-19 pandemic, players will need to social distance as much as possible. During games, one way to do this is having teams sit in the stands rather than their dugouts. David Ross said that was a concern for the Cubs, however.

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"That was a concern of ours, that sitting on the bench is way different than sitting in an actual seat in the stands," Ross said on Saturday. "You're gonna want to be active, you want to get up, move around, you want to go down to the cage and take some swings. 

"Just a little bit closer to the action and to help with the energy in the dugout and root guys on."

Ross said the Cubs don't know whether players have strong feelings against sitting in the stands. He put himself in their shoes and thought about the drawbacks of not being in the dugout.

"You don't want to sit for three innings in that environment and then try to get up and get loose and then hit," he said. "We have nervous energy, I guess I'm speaking for myself, but you've got energy that you want to get out, move around, stay loose. 

"You may want to run up to the clubhouse, check your locker, all that stuff. I just think it's a little more convenient for the players."

As MLB embarks on the challenging season ahead, keeping things as normal as possible for the players may help alleviate the added stress from this season.

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Cubs extend Wrigley Field dugouts to keep players engaged, out of stands originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago