At long last, Wrigley Field bleachers open

At long last, Wrigley Field bleachers open

CHICAGO -- The majority of the Wrigley Field bleachers officially opened on Monday night, with fans occupying the left- and center-field seats for the first time this season.

Fans poured into the bleachers when gates opened for the Cubs' series opener against the Mets, and they left happy after a 4-3 Chicago victory.

Kris Bryant wasted no time christening the bleachers, hitting the second homer of his Major League career in the first inning.

Bryant homers into new bleachers

Approximately 3,500 bleacher seats were available, with the Cubs anticipating a sellout in that area.

"It'll be fun to see everybody out in the bleachers tonight," general manager Jed Hoyer said before the game. "I think it's the cost of doing business, having empty bleachers. It'll be a lot more fun when the bleachers are full."

The right-field bleachers, which were delayed because of sewer issues this fall, are scheduled to open in mid-June. The entirety of the bleacher portion of the project -- including new concession spaces, other amenities and final touches -- is expected to be completed in July.

"We think fans are pretty excited, and we'll see how it goes [tonight]," said Colin Faulkner, vice president of sales and partnerships.

Three of the biggest additions include:

• A left-field well that features a standing area and bar stools near the bottom of the bleachers that can be rented out to groups of 15 to 20 people. Ticket prices vary from $22 to $85 based on the opposing team.

• Porches in left and right field underneath the video boards. The left-field porch opened on Monday, though the porch under the right-field video board -- which also was unveiled on Monday -- won't be available until the right-field bleachers are complete.

The left-field porch holds about 100 people and also includes two rows of reserved bleacher seats immediately underneath. Ticket prices range from $52 to $115.

• "The platform," the space beyond the center-field bleachers that, once completed, will have more room for fans and concessions. The concourse behind the bleachers is expanded by as much as eight to 10 feet in some areas.

There also will be additional concession spaces beneath both the left- and right-field bleachers.

Fans weren't the only ones excited to return to the bleachers. Outfielder Chris Coghlan admitted that home games have been "awkward" without the bleacher bums.

"Any time time you look out there and there's not the same hometown crowd, and as hectic as they are and as fun as they are, it's been kind of a bummer not to have them," Coghlan said.

Reliever James Russell -- who pitched for the Cubs from 2010 to 2014 before rejoining the big league club last week -- anticipated a raucous crowd.

"I'm sure they're going to be a little wild," Russell said. "They've got to make up for lost time."

Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.