I've written about this before, and I bring it up again only because there is a new quote from Cubs manager Joe Maddon on the topic of 3:05 p.m. Friday afternoon starts at Wrigley Field:
Manager Joe Maddon confirmed he has spoken to Cubs business officials about maintaining consistent starting times for Friday home games in 2016 — preferably 1:20 p.m. instead of the 3:05 p.m. starts that annoy his players because of the irregular time. "The thing I talked with them straight up was consistent start times — that's all — so players could get into a proper routine," Maddon said. "So that was the request, and we'll see how it plays out." According to the Cubs' tentative 2016 schedule released, the starting time for 12 Friday and Saturday home games starting May 27 are to be determined.
This is, I think you'll agree, a valid point. One of the things that's most stressful about a major-league player's life is the constant changing around of game times. It's difficult enough going through four different time zones during the season; Maddon's just saying that at least the team could give Cubs players more consistency at home.
I understand the arguments in favor of 3:05 starts. Many fans like them because it can get them to a Friday afternoon game they otherwise wouldn't be able to attend if they can take a couple hours off work late in the day on Friday. On the other hand, ending a game around 6 p.m. on a Friday dumps 40,000 people into rush-hour traffic. Plus, the shadows you see around the plate during the late innings of a 3:05 start can cause trouble for hitters.
You might say, "Why not play all the Friday games at 3:05? That would be consistent." That would be true, but the latest agreement between the Cubs and the city of Chicago allows only six 3:05 starts on Fridays. It would be easier if the city would allow the Cubs to play some Friday night home games, particularly the first home game after a road trip. The Cubs have actually avoided this issue in 2016, as all the homestands that start on Friday have an off day before.Cubs GM Jed Hoyer is quoted in this Bruce Miles article as saying he understands Maddon's concerns:
"I think the inconsistent game times are something that players and managers and coaches complain about, and rightfully so," Hoyer said. "Everyone wants to be on a normal schedule and know what to expect. That sentiment certainly has been given to the appropriate people, and we'll see if we can get some of those changed."
So what do you think? Do you agree with Joe Maddon? Vote in the poll.