Doubleheaders used to be baseball's way of getting more people to the ballpark. "Two games for the price of one!" was the promotional line. In the 1950s and 1960s many teams scheduled doubleheaders on Sundays and holidays throughout the season; in 1962, for example, the Cubs had 11 scheduled Sunday doubleheaders and played five others due to rainout makeups.
There's too much money involved in modern baseball to do this. Can you imagine the Cubs, or any team, giving up 11 home dates to play two games in one day for a single admission charge? Nope, me either. The last scheduled doubleheader at Wrigley Field was July 4, 1983, against the Nationals' predecessor franchise, the Montreal Expos. The attendance trick might have worked one last time. The twin bill drew 39,394, the third-largest crowd of that season. The Cubs got swept that day, 6-3 and 4-2. The last single-admission doubleheader of any kind at Wrigley Field happened August 3, 2006 against the Diamondbacks. The game the day before had been rained out and August 3 was the last scheduled date that year between the two teams, who had no common off days. That's about the only way you'll see a single-admission DH at Wrigley in the future.
Today's doubleheader is unique in that it was scheduled to avoid conflict with Sunday's Pride Parade in the Wrigleyville neighborhood -- that event brings so many people into the area that it would likely have caused problems for people trying to get to a Sunday afternoon Cubs game.
One note on the usual game thread outine, posted below: There will be only ONE StoryStream for this doubleheader, which will contain all the threads for both games. If I have time in between games, I will recap Game 1 -- otherwise, a recap of both games will appear Sunday morning. A separate preview for Game 2, with pitcher info and lineups, will post within this StoryStream at 5 p.m. CT.
It's early this Saturday morning. As such, no lineups were available at the time I wrote this post. Please check the BCB Twitter feed for the lineups -- I'll tweet them as soon as they're out there.
Today's Starting Pitchers
Dallas Beeler is making his major-league debut this afternoon. Often, when teams haven't seen a pitcher before, they have trouble, despite scouting reports. Beeler throws strikes and can induce ground balls if he's on; if he can do that, he can have success even against a tough lineup like this one.
Gio Gonzalez had an excellent first year with the Nats (2012), a not-quite-as-good second year (2013) and is struggling this year, including having spent a month on the DL with a shoulder issue. His last start against the Brewers was very good (six shutout innings). He hasn't faced the Cubs in more than a calendar year (May 12, 2013), when he threw seven scoreless innings. Not quite sure what to expect. This article from the Washington Post says his velocity is down, but the Nats aren't worried.
Today's first game is on WGN.
For 2014, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as 2013. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.