Last summer, Joe Maddon was emphatic in stating his opposition to the multiple different starting times for games at Wrigley Field. Here's what I wrote about this last September, quoting Maddon from a Tribune article:
"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."
It played out exactly as Joe asked for:
#Cubs have decided to forgo the scheduling of 3:05pm Friday game times. All Friday home games will start at 1:20.— ChicagoCubsOnline (@TheCCO) January 16, 2016
Kenney: Maddon and Baseball Ops wanted more consistent start times at Wrigley #Cubs— ChicagoCubsOnline (@TheCCO) January 16, 2016
Last year, Cubs home games had six different starting times: 12:05, 1:20, 3:05, 6:05, 6:15 and 7:05. Even given that the 12:05, 6:05 and 6:15 times were largely dictated by network TV, that's not good for getting players enough rest and getting on consistent work schedules. Any of you who work odd hours or do shift work, as I did for many years in my TV job, can attest to that.
So in 2016, at least 73 of the 81 Cubs home games will begin at either 1:20 or 7:05 (or 7:15, see below). Here's the entire home schedule on one BCB page, which has times listed for 75 home games (six are still "TBD" for possible network TV dates).
40 games are listed with a 1:20 start. 32 are listed at 7:05 (with one additional night game, June 18 vs. the Pirates at 7:15, for Fox-TV). Just two, as of now, both Saturdays, will begin at 3:05: May 7 vs. the Nationals and September 17 vs. the Brewers.
This makes a great deal of sense for the players, who I am sure will be happier to have a more consistent schedule. I know there are a lot of people here who preferred the 3:05 Friday starting time, but if not having it produces happier, healthier and more rested players, I think that'll wind up being much more conducive to winning.