Principal Park, the home of Chicago Cubs Triple-A affiliate the Iowa Cubs, suffered significant damage when the team’s temporary hitter’s new eye fell and knocked down the park’s center field fence during Tuesday night storms.
Iowa Cubs vice president and assistant general manager Randy Wehofer said team officials discovered damage around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday that included the exterior wall structure between the stadium suites in left field and the area from the party deck in right field. Wehofer said the rain fell under the batter’s eye, which “gave way and hit the back of the outfield wall,” causing the damage.
Wind gusts at Des Moines International Airport were in the low 50s on Tuesday, and the storm had sustained winds of nearly 40 miles per hour.
“It’s just unfortunate,” Wehofer said. “So we’re working on cleaning it up and had city crews and different partners for electricity, scaffolding and all sorts of things.”
The batting eye, comprised of scaffolding and a windscreen, was installed last month so the team could properly meet the standards of facilities set out in the Cubs’ professional development license. ‘Iowa and the Chicago Cubs. The PDL, which kept Iowa affiliated with Chicago, set out requirements, including stadium upgrades, that teams had to make.
Adding the batter’s eye, to block off the Iowa State Capitol building, was one of the requirements. The team planned to deal with it in the offseason but decided to move forward with a temporary issue during this season. Another area the team planned to tackle was the old park wall. Wehofer said the wall, which still had painted panels under the upholstery, was part of the first phase of renovation plans.
“It’s old,” Wehofer said.
Iowa Cubs employees were at the park at 8 a.m. Wednesday, cleaning up the mess. says Wehofer. The plan is to build a new temporary drummer’s eye and a chain-link fence with padding and a windbreak. Wehofer did not provide any estimate of the cost of damages. But the hope is that it won’t impact Iowa’s schedule. The team is on the road and does not return to the Parc Principal until July 12.
“Everyone seems to have a good understanding of our timelines,” Wehofer said.
Tommy Birch, the Register’s sports entrepreneur and featured reporter, has worked at the newspaper since 2008. He is Iowa’s 2018 and 2020 Sports Writer of the Year. Contact him at [email protected] or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.