And you’ll forgive me, dear reader, if I write about the subject of the ban on Friday night games at Wrigley Field once again, because it will affect the Cubs two days from now.
They’ve got a 6:15 p.m. CT game in St. Louis Thursday, then have to play at 1:20 p.m. CT Friday at Wrigley Field against the Reds. The first bit of blame here has to go to the Cardinals, who really should have scheduled an afternoon game Thursday. Yes, I get it, it’s late September and kids are in school and a weekday afternoon’s not going to draw what a weeknight is, though with the Cubs the opponent it likely would have.
The Cubs did get permission from the city of Chicago to play on Friday night three weeks ago when they were coming off a Thursday night game in Pittsburgh. At the time, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) said this would be a one-time exception, not to be repeated.
As I mentioned in the previous articles on this topic, there were two Friday night concerts at Wrigley Field this year. There were two postseason games at Wrigley Field last year. I have yet to hear any reasonable explanation — any explanation, in fact — as to why these differ from allowing two or three Friday night games per season in situations like the ones noted above, coming off a night game on the road the previous day.
Most likely, this quick turnaround won’t matter. Hopefully, the Cubs wrap up the N.L. Central title either Wednesday or Thursday and then the team’s regulars, likely weary from a 10-day, three-city, two-time-zone road trip, can rest up Friday.
But what if that game does matter? That certainly isn’t fair to the Cubs.
It’s way past time for the city to give in on this and permit the Cubs to play a couple of times a year at night on Friday in situations like this. Major League Baseball might help out — supposedly, the new collective-bargaining agreement mandates afternoon games in situations like this week’s, and the Cardinals would be required to schedule a day game Thursday under that scenario.
In the meantime, let’s hope Friday’s game is like a spring-training contest, because the best-case scenario for Cubs players returning from St. Louis is to get home about 1 a.m.