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Let There Be (More) Lights

Today's Sun-Times reports that the Cubs and the city have reached a deal which will allow the club to phase in 12 additional night games per year, over the next four years.

The article states it could begin this year, "even though season tickets already have been sold." As a season ticket holder, I can report that the price I paid included the possibility of 22 night games this year (up from the original 18 last year), with the promise of a refund if the additional night games weren't approved in time. The current schedule as released last month contains 17 scheduled night games, with one further date probably reserved for ESPN's Sunday night schedule.

There were three occasions last year when the Cubs had to return for a Friday day game at home after a Thursday night on the road; this was justified by saying that the games were "close enough" (i.e. within a one hour flight) so as not to make this a problem. The players and Dusty Baker complained, and rightly so, that although the flight was short, even a quick night game got them home after midnight.

The 2004 schedule shows only two such dates: Friday, April 23, home vs. New York after a Thursday night game in Pittsburgh, and Friday, June 18, home vs. Oakland after a Thursday night game in Houston. Presuming Friday night dates are approved under this deal, I'd guess those would be two of the dates that would be changed.

Finally, the article goes on to describe the 200-seat addition of "premium seats" the Cubs now have approval to add before Opening Day, and that the club will realize more than $3 million in annual revenue from these seats, and says that because of this, the bleacher expansion may not be such an immediate concern because of this additional money.

Let's hope so.