By Brendan Perkins | Dubois County Herald
JASPER, Ind. (AP) — Respect. The Chicago Cubs finally have some on a widespread scope after their tantalizing run to a World Series championship this past season.
Actually, the Cubs have been surrounded by respect all along. More specifically, they’ve been sitting in it. As part of the team’s ongoing megamillion-dollar renovations to both the park and subterranean clubhouse and office spaces, the Cubs’ home has a local flavor with the chairs that were selected for the new clubhouse, as they were supplied by National Office Furniture and manufactured in the company’s 11th Street facility in Jasper.
The specific model of the plush rolling chair the Cubs selected was called “Respect.” Yes, chairs have names. Ones like “Eloquence” and “Result,” and “Triumph,” and other regal-sounding monikers. And sure, it’s only a chair that’s used a couple minutes before or after every game at Wrigley Field, but perhaps it was fitting the “Respect” seat was picked, since it aligned with the entire makeover the franchise made in a couple years — upgrading everything from the on-field talent to the clubhouse accents so everything had a championship feel.
“If you’re familiar with some of the Cubs promotional gear, there’s a T-shirt called ‘Respect’ that’s out there. I had to go get that,” said Mike Cebry, a National Office Furniture district manager in the Chicago territory whose team worked on the project.
“When this all started, who would’ve thought they’d be World Series champs? Early on, it was just exciting because it was an organization that’s been around a long time, that’s very well known. … They have an ownership that’s been determined about changing culture of the team; not only that, but the environment that they’re in.”
National Office Furniture was among a handful of vendors selected to supply accessories to the new clubhouse. Cubs officials toured National’s showroom in Chicago while considering the bids, and upon being selected, National supplied about 45 of the “Respect” chairs in addition to a few other chairs and barstool-style seats around the clubhouse plus some conference room furniture.
The leather “Respect” chairs were tailored to fit the look the team wanted, with a deep indigo shade and the Cubs’ “walking bear” logo embroidered on the back of each one. National had to hustle to fill the order, because when the bid was being finalized earlier this spring, the team’s management was out in Arizona for spring training and the new chairs needed to be rolled into the Wrigley clubhouse in time for Opening Day.
“They wanted the players, when they walked in for the first ballgame, to see the kind of environment they’d be living in that entire season,” Cebry said of the clubhouse upgrades.
Before the renovations?
“They sat in folding chairs,” Cebry said.
Prior to the facelift, the Cubs’ clubhouse was one-third the size it is now, and among the smallest in Major League Baseball. The new one is the second largest, behind only the Yankees’. The old locker room was a congested rectangular space; the new one is a vast expanse with lockers arranged in a circular form. The lighting and polished chrome give it the feel of a nightclub, and it comes equipped with everything from saunas and a yoga room to a game room with ping-pong and air hockey tables.
It comes complete with a little piece of southwestern Indiana. And every time guys like Kris Bryant and Jon Lester and Javier Baez get off their feet, they’re able to take a seat of Respect at their lockers.
“It’s so exciting,” said Abby Troutman, a marketing communications specialist at National’s Jasper office; doubly thrilling for Troutman since she’s also a Cubs fans. “It’s exciting now to be able to share that (about the project) and just be able to show how proud you are that it came from your facility. It’s just cool that it’s up in there, in their clubhouse.”
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