The last time most of the Cubs players saw the clubhouse was January, and it was still under construction. After six weeks in Arizona for Spring Training and a road trip to Anaheim and Phoenix, it's time to come home. Jason Heyward joked that it's good timing on his part to sign with the Cubs now. He won't miss the cramped visiting clubhouse.
"They said the batting cage was the home clubhouse, and I know how small that is," Heyward said of the new digs. "I'm happy it'll be bigger for us."
"I can't wait," reliever Justin Grimm said. "From the pictures, from what we saw in the offseason, I think it's come a long way. I think it will be state of the art."
Grimm didn't realize just how big the new space will be.
"I'll get lost in there somehow," he said.
Lester expected everyone to snoop around to find their lockers, the weight room and the new Pilates room.
"I would imagine everybody will go in and take a peek and 'ooh' and 'ah' and take a tour and all that stuff," Lester said. "I think guys are really excited to get back and see it and how it turned out."
Lester will start the Cubs' home opener against the Reds, and the game will mark Heyward and Ben Zobrist's debut at Wrigley in the home whites.
"I've always loved playing there -- great vibe, great atmosphere. I can't wait to be a part of it," Heyward said. "It'll be crazy in a good way for us."
He plans on tipping his cap to the bleacher fans, and will wait to see how they respond. Heyward isn't planning a Sammy Sosa-like dash to right.
"If they initiate something, I might get involved," Heyward said.
The players are hoping Kyle Schwarber is included in the pregame introductions, as well, on Monday. Schwarber, out for the season because of a knee injury, was flying to Chicago with the team Sunday night.
"I think it'd be awesome, absolutely," Heyward said. "He is on the team. Obviously, he should get that chance to do it. It'd be awesome for him, and awesome for us. I know the fans would love it."
Manager Joe Maddon didn't realize Schwarber's postseason home run ball that landed on the top of the right-field video scoreboard was no longer there.
"He'll just have to hit another one up there," Maddon said.