Thursday, September 7, 2017

Does it boost City Hall's ego too much to order about the Chicago Cubs?

Reading the reports Wednesday about how the Chicago City Council spent significant amounts of time throughout the day debating the merits of the Chicago Cubs’ scheduling practices really makes me wonder why our aldermen feel like they have nothing better to do with their time.

Do the people of this downtown building gain too much ...
Seriously, you’d think that council members would be too busy to spend the amount of time they did contemplating exactly when the Cubs should play their ballgame Friday against the Milwaukee Brewers.

BUT THAT WAS the situation on Wednesday, when the council’s license committee discussed the issue, in advance of the full council taking up the issue for a final vote later in the day.

But then again, I’m sure there are some aldermen who get an emotional kick out of being able to dictate scheduling policy to the Cubs – whereas if any other alderman tried to do such a thing with their local ballclub (or even if the Chicago aldermen tried to tell the White Sox what to do), the response would be the ball club telling the politicos up what orifice they could shove their concerns.

At stake is the Cubs/Brewers weekend series that is scheduled to begin with a 1:20 p.m. ballgame on Friday. But the Cubs, seeing they’re in a pennant race with particular interest in fans in attending this particular ballgame, want it rescheduled as a night game.

As in starting time 7:05 p.m. People work for the day, and there probably could be an even bigger crowd for a Friday night game.
.... pleasure by telling these people what they can do?

THE PROBLEM IS that city ordinances that were crafted back when the Cubs gave up their “day game only” tradition at home back in the 1980s strictly limit how many night games can be played at Wrigley Field.

Not only that, the restrictions were put together to make the concept of Friday night and Saturday night ballgames at Clark and Addison streets a non-starter. Alderman Tom Tunney told the Chicago Tribune that the restriction is about giving non-Cub-related business in the Lake View neighborhood (all the bars) a chance to operate on weekend evenings without having to compete with the Cubbie fan crowds that otherwise take over the area 81 game days per year.
Some still seem to think Wrigley Field is lacking in light towers
Now I can appreciate how the Lake View residents living near the century-old ballpark can feel like the Cubs crowds are an annoyance that must have restrictions placed on them to prevent them from becoming the reason the neighborhood gets flushed down the societal toilet.

But I also get that if these people enjoy it as a perk that they live in close proximity to a stadium used by a major league ball club, they also have to accept some inconvenience.

THE REALITY IS that sporting events are scheduled mostly during the evening hours because that is when most people are capable of devoting time to actually attend them.

I don’t doubt other teams are wondering why city officials have any say in when a ballgame is scheduled, or whether it is played in sunshine or by moonlight.

This is one of those occasions when our aldermen get to order around Major League Baseball – as opposed to the times when baseball gets to push around the local government officials in the form of figuring out how to pay for building and maintaining the stadia that are used by these ball clubs.

Of course, the alternative for the Cubs to avoid such political nuisance would be to find a new site to build the stadium with full amenities that they could use to max out the revenues they take in from their fan base.

ALTHOUGH I’M SURE even the Cubs realize that a significant part of their popularity is tied to playing their ballgames in the one-time home of the Federal League’s Chicago Whales and even the excess of day ballgames they play.

They’re baseball’s aberration, caused mostly by our aldermen acting in ways I’m sure they’ll claim are meant to benefit their constituents but also have the heavy hand of feeding their own political egos.
This Hall of Famer will be highlight for some

So the Wrigley Field faithful will turn out Friday night for their game against the Brewers, who still have their own chances to overcome the Cubs in the division title standings and could also gain a Wild Card slot into the National League playoffs.

Or, other baseball fans in the city may choose to see the last place-in-their-division Chicago White Sox take on the even-worse-in-their-division San Francisco Giants in a weekend series at Guaranteed Rate Field. For them, the Tim Raines bobblehead figurine being given away Saturday night may be the ultimate attraction.


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