Thursday, May 9, 2013

Will Wrigley Field day games be rare?

Whenever the kind of baseball fans who fantasize about games being played at Wrigley Field engage in their dreams, it is afternoon.

Wrigley, the way almost everybody envisions it
As in it’s a day game – one in which they have figured out a way to skip out of work (or school). The idea that it is 2 o’clock in the afternoon and 85 percent (according to Lee Elia) of the world is working for a living while they’re sitting in the stands watching the beginning of the third inning of a ballgame in which the Cardinals/Giants/Pirates/Reds, etc. are kicking the Cubs' behinds is kind of the whole point.

SO I FIND it kind of humorous that among the changes that the Chicago Cubs are demanding in their desires to renovate Wrigley Field to ensure that it remains a usable structure for their ballgames for the next few decades is that they want to play less day baseball.

If the Cubs get their way, just over two-thirds of the 81 home games played at Wrigley Field each year would NOT be the traditional 1:20 p.m. starting time. That's according to a deal between the ball club and Mayor Rahm Emanuel; along with Alderman Thomas Tunney, whose ward will be impacted by all the out-of-towners traipsing through Lake View after dark as a result.

It also seems that the Cubs even want city permission to be able to reschedule ballgames at the last minute from day to night – which is done usually whenever Major League Baseball decides it wants the game broadcast nationally during prime time hours.
What would Mr. Cub say w/ so much day ball?

So the very thing that the Chicago Cubs were famed for and what made them unique (day baseball) is something they’re on the verge of giving up.

ACTUALLY, I GET it. People have to work for a living. You will get bigger crowds at ballgames played in the evening hours.
And bigger crowds means more food sold at the concessions stands, along with more souvenir programs and toy bats and foam fingers and all the other sidelines that people can make money off of – rather than the actual operation of a ballclub, which usually is a money-loser that the owners can turn into a nice tax write-off.

It also could be the key to helping bolster the Cubs’ on-field accomplishments – since the playing of Major League-level baseball is a night-game event. Ballplayers work the night shift, with an occasional day game thrown into the mix.

An athlete? Or a Cub?!?
One of the reasons that the Cubs may have fallen short of winning anything in recent decades is because they are the exception. They are the team whose players work a day shift one week, then go on the night shift the following week, then return to Chicago for a day shift, then back to nights on the road.

THE WEAR AND tear, both physical and mental, that such a work-routine does to anybody will have an effect. For one who makes their level at athletic accomplishments (yes, one-time Cubs pitcher Paul Reuschel was athletic – even if he didn’t look it), it could be the reason the ball club is tired out by season’s end.

But still, there is the fact that so much of the appeal of the Cubs playing ball in their 99-year-old ballpark is that it’s supposed to be a bright, sunshiny day – with the ivy on the walls in all its green glory. The only night-related image of Wrigley Field is that gag poster from a couple of decades ago – the one with everybody in the stands wearing lamps on their batting helmets to illuminate the field!

Unless it’s early in the season and the weeds are dead and the ivy is a dull brown. That only inspires Cubby-dom to talk about wait ‘til next month, when it will be green again. Just like they talk about next year (or these days, two years from now) when the Cubs will allegedly be a competent ball club.

Scott Mutter came up with about the only Wrigley night image that doesn't seem wrong
Turning on the lights more often, along with having a more expensive stadium club and all the other amenities the Cubs want will ultimately do one thing to the team – it will erase all the excuses for the losses. We’ll just have to accept it as fact that, “Cubs stink!”


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