While MLB and MLBPA negotiations continued through MLB’s lockout, the first two series of the 2022 regular season were cancelled.
Or were they? The email that was sent to Cubs season ticket holders simply said: “The first two series have been removed from the schedule.”
When the CBA agreement was made, Commissioner Rob Manfred stated that a full 162-game season would be played. Presto! The cancelled games were magically un-cancelled.
For the Cubs, that involved two series: A three-game set to open the season against the Reds in Cincinnati and two games against the Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
Today, MLB announced how those games would be rescheduled.
The opening series, for all teams, will be played after the previous season-ending date, Sunday, October 2. So the Cubs, after playing a three-game set against the Reds at Wrigley Field from September 30-October 2, will head to Cincinnati to play them again October 3-5. The first two of those games will be at 5:40 p.m. CT, the third is currently listed as “TBD.” This has also resulted in the last home game on October 2 being switched from 2:20 to 1:20. The 2:20 start was part of MLB’s scheduling all last-day games to start within the same hour, but since that’s no longer the last game of the season, the Cubs moved it back to 1:20.
Thus the Cubs will end the 2022 season with six consecutive games (and nine of their last 29) against the Reds, who have spent the post-lockout period shipping away many of their good players. If the Cubs could somehow remain close to contention entering September, this could wind up as important.
The other two games, against the Cardinals, will be made up as part of split doubleheaders. The first will be a 12:20 p.m. CT start Saturday, June 4. The original game that day is a night game at 6:15 p.m. CT. The other will be made up as a 1:20 p.m. CT start Tuesday, August 23. The original game that day is a night game at 7:05 p.m. CT.
Here is the full revised Cubs schedule, which will remain on the front page under “Chicago Cubs schedules, broadcast info.”
One curiosity: Of the opening series “removed from the schedule,” some were four-game sets. This will result in a handful of scheduled doubleheaders, as well as games added to the Thursday after the All-Star Game. Overall, MLB says there will be 31 scheduled doubleheaders of some kind during the 2022 season.
How did they extend the season by three days and still squeeze all the postseason games in without pushing the World Series back too far? Jayson Stark of The Athletic explains:
Luckily, the tentative postseason schedule had already built in the likelihood of expanding the playoffs. So instead of starting the World Series on the traditional Tuesday, MLB had the option of starting it on a Thursday or Friday. That built in an extra two-day or three-day buffer that made this doable.
So the wild-card series will be scheduled to begin — with no travel days — on Friday, Oct. 7. And by squeezing an extra off day out of at least one of the other rounds, the World Series will still be able to begin on Friday, Oct. 28, and end on Friday, Nov. 4. An Oct. 27-Nov. 3 World Series might also be an option, but MLB is still studying whether that’s possible.
That should do it. It should be noted that the Cubs won the 2016 World Series in Cleveland in the early morning hours of November 3... on an evening that began with a game-time temperature of 69. Weather’s not as big an issue as you think — it’s much more likely that weather in northern cities will be decent in the first week of November than, say, the first week of April.
Onward. Opening Day at Wrigley April 7 against the Brewers. Play ball!