When Mark and I got home from last night's rainout, he started asking questions about today's makeup doubleheader.
First, he wanted to know when the second game would start... I told him, usually 25-30 minutes after the first game ended. Then, when I left him his ticket for today's game (Jeff is picking him up since I'm at work), he said, "Where's the ticket for the second game?"
That's when I realized -- he's never been to a doubleheader before. Doubleheaders are so infrequent these days, and generally only played in rainout-makeup situations like this one; if you're younger than 40 or so, you probably don't remember the days, which still existed when I was a kid, when teams played doubleheaders nearly every Sunday, and also on holidays (now, some teams are even scheduled off on holidays, which totally puzzles me).
Now, of course, teams want to maximize income; a crowd of 40,000 at Wrigley Field generates over $1.3 million in gross ticket revenue, not to mention concessions, souvenirs, etc.; so you can see why no team wants to give "two for the price of one" unless they have to. This is why the split-admission doubleheader (one game generally at noon, the other at 7 pm) has become popular among teams wanting to maximize revenue for rained-out games. The Cubs have had a couple of these in recent years, most memorably the September 2, 2003 split DH against the Cardinals, where the Cubs won the first game in 15 innings when Sammy Sosa homered, and lost game two 2-0 on a disputed umpiring call on a Moises Alou ball that could have been a bases-clearing double; it was ruled foul and Alou wound up flying out.
Players, other employees, broadcasters all hate them, since it puts them at the ballpark for more than twelve hours on that day. Doubleheaders also used to be more appealing when the average game times were shorter than they are today; Mike has often reminded me of this 1976 doubleheader between the Cubs and Phillies; the first game ran 1:32, the second 2:19. He said it ended before 4:30.
That 1:32 game, incidentally, is the shortest game at Wrigley Field in the last 30 years.
We can only hope for one -- or what the heck, BOTH -- of today's games to be as short.
|Game 1 Starting Pitchers|
|Game 2 Starting Pitchers|
The last time two rookies started a doubleheader for the Cubs was on September 3, 1978 vs. Houston -- Dennis Lamp, who started and won game one, and the eminently forgettable Manny Seaone, who started and got a no-decision in a 4-2 Cub win in game two. Hat tip: SABR member and unofficial Cub historian Ed Hartig.
Someone else who's been around forever is, of course, Kerry Wood, who announced last night that he's not having shoulder surgery, after "exhaustive" consultations, but will rehab instead and come back as a reliever.
Well, about time, Mr. Going-To-Be-Thirty-Next-Year. If you'd have done that two years ago, the Cubs would likely already have you as a dominant closer. Instead, they're going to have to offer you an incentive-laden contract to stay, which in my opinion, they ought to do, and reading between the lines, I think Wood also wants to stay.
Incidentally, last night and today's games were both originally scheduled as WGN-TV games, and WGN WILL carry both games of the doubleheader at noon CT.
Discuss amongst yourselves.