The Cubs will have to complete the bleacher reconstruction one day earlier than planned, according to a press release from the team:
The Chicago Cubs and ESPN today announced that the 2015 opener at Wrigley Field has been moved to Sunday, April 5 to accommodate Major League Baseball’s Opening Night and an exclusive national television broadcast. The game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals is scheduled to start at 7:05 p.m. and air on ESPN2.
This will mark the first Opening Night in Wrigley Field history.
Due to this shift, the Cubs-Cardinals opening series will be adjusted as follows:
Sunday, April 5: 7:05 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Monday, April 6: OFF DAY
Tuesday, April 7: 7:05 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Wednesday, April 8: 1:20 p.m. vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Thursday, April 9: OFF DAY
Tentative schedules posted last September had a day game April 6, a night game April 8 and a day game April 9; this will add one night game to the Cubs' schedule, which is permitted under city ordinances because the extra night game Sunday, April 5 is being televised on a national network.
The lure of the reconstructed bleachers and video boards in Wrigley Field for the first time must have been the deciding factor for ESPN, which could have broadcast the World Series champion Giants opening the season in Arizona against the Diamondbacks in a weather-controlled environment. Now, the network and the teams have to hope that it doesn't rain -- or snow -- on Sunday, April 5.
This also reduces the countdown to Opening Day to 142 days.
In 1990, after a lockout made baseball adjust schedules, the Cubs were scheduled to open at night at Wrigley Field against the Phillies Monday, April 9. It rained all night and the game was postponed and the Cubs opened Tuesday, April 10, in an afternoon contest. If there are weather issues next April, the Cubs have now left Monday, April 6 as an off day and moved the other two dates in the series up from April 8 and 9 to April 7 and 8.