Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: The Mayor is Set to Introduce Night Game Ordinance

respect wrigleyHere we go: it’s the first substantive test of the comprehensive Wrigley Field renovation proposal. The Chicago Cubs could be getting their night game increase as part of a process that begins as soon as Wednesday when Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduces an ordinance before City Council.

The Sun-Times reports that the Mayor will introduce an ordinance increasing the Cubs’ allotment of night games from 30 to 40, subject to a handful of particulars. For one thing, concerts, small non-Cubs events, and Friday 3:05pm starts will not count against the Cubs’ limit. Neither will playoff games, All-Star Games, or rescheduled games. Under this plan, the Cubs would agree to schedule only 35 games, leaving some flexibility to flip day games to night games when MLB requests it. If MLB requests that the Cubs flip more than five such games (up to 11), the proposal calls for City Council to authorize the increase without those games counting against the Cubs’ cap of 40 night games.

In other words, we’re looking at a cap of 46 night games, with flexibility for the Cubs between 35 and 46 games. Right now, my understanding is that the Cubs have a cap of 30 games, which is a functional cap of 33 games, as they are allowed flexibility up to 33. They presently schedule something like 27 night games, so the real increase here is from a range of 27 to 33, up to a range of 35 to 46. It’s significant, but not overwhelmingly so, however the neighborhood might try to spin it.

Speaking of which, the Sun-Times piece has more from a Lakeview community organization and a Southport Corridor community organization, each of which wants a far more restrictive limit. You can read the Sun-Times article for the particulars, but the gist is: they want Friday 3:05pm starts and concerts to count against a limit in the 37 to 40 range, with an absolute maximum of 40. In other words, it’s virtually no increase at all from what the Cubs currently have. Consider this: the Cubs currently could have up to 33 night games and three concerts. If they scheduled a few “day” games as Friday 3:05pm, they would be at their cap. That’s an increase in night games of zero. The neighborhood is going to have to get a little more flexible here.

The Major League average for night games is about 54 games. Night games are more valuable in concessions and attendance (as much as $1 million per game, according to various sources), and far more valuable in television contracts. Players on all other teams play a consistent night game schedule, and are not asked to reset their body clocks again and again and again throughout the season. Playing day baseball is cool, and the Cubs will still be doing that more than any other team. But it’s time to take this enormous competitive disadvantage off the board and place the Cubs on a fairer footing with respect to the rest of the league.

Hopefully the night game ordinance the Mayor introduces on Wednesday proposes to do that, and hopefully it passes without too much reduction in value to the Cubs.

Brett Taylor is the editor and lead writer at Bleacher Nation, and can also be found as Bleacher Nation on Twitter and on Facebook.

40 responses to “Obsessive Wrigley Renovation Watch: The Mayor is Set to Introduce Night Game Ordinance”

  1. Cubbie Blues

    Could some of the games be rescheduled this year to take advantage of the increase as soon as possible? Every million helps right?

  2. MichiganGoat

    This will be the first measure how just how complicated all the approvals are going to be. If this goes quickly and smoothly its a good omen for how the jumbotron and signage will play out. If this becomes a major battle then I fear the Jumbotron & signage approval will be a headache that may prevent the renovations from starting on time.

    1. Rcleven

      Don’t expect much of a battle. Chicago Dems pretty much toe the Dem line.
      They know where their bread is buttered.
      Should pass with flying colors.

      1. Spriggs

        But don’t forget — this is Cubs related! It’s like a 5 run lead in the 8th, but Camp is coming in with 2 men on and no outs. And Marmol is the only other guy left.

        1. Rcleven

          If Rahm is introducing this it more like two outs in the bottom of the ninth with a 10 run lead.
          The Citys fight has been fought. What surprises me is this isn’t the whole package. Isn’t that what Rahm asked for?

  3. MichiganGoat

    So how many day games (before 3pm) will be on the schedule next year vs. this year?

  4. Jason Powers

    I guess we can (and have been for years) shifting towards being just another MLB team.

    While the circadian rhythm excuse is a bit overplayed (because it would be logical to say quite a few MLB players thrive in day baseball – check day/night statistics), the slippery slope has arrived, and might as well push towards the logical end: being just like everyone else.

    I am not a traditionalist; but, we should acknowledge how unique Wrigley & The Cubs once were – especially, pre-1988.

    More money does not necessarily solve the Cubs problems, but it does not hurt ever. Hope the brains are working as hard on the team as they are on the revenue plan.

  5. Uncle Mike

    I’ve been to Wrigley Field twice. Once for a day game, once for a night game. The difference was tremendous. The day game was very pleasant, the people were wonderful, and I had a great time. The night game was awful, the fans drunk out of their minds, and I felt lucky to get out alive. (The fact that the opponent was the then-weak Philies in the day game and the hated Cardinals in the night game may have had something to do with it.) So I am against more night games at Wrigley, for safety’s sake.

    If you care, the Cubs won both games.

    1. Tom A.

      If you want to sit at a game that is nice and without alcohol, try a Sunday or sit in the section of the park that is alcohol-free.

      I have season tickets and find that most every game Monday through Thursday is about the same, except on Fridays and Saturdays you see more drinking and on Sundays you see less drinking.

      “Lucky to get out alive” Really ? Several people fighting or guns pulled or what ??? That statement really surprises me. I find the entire game and train experience to be very safe.

  6. Bigg J

    I am getting tired of what the neighborhood wants. If i owned a team I wouldn’t want the neigborhood tell me how to schedule games. These people knew what they were getting into when they moved in theie places.

    1. Tom A.

      At least the neighbors requests for more police coverage or parking bans, etc. makes sense. Of course the neighbors knew that the Cubs play baseball at Wrigley Field and many of the games played are night games.

      I plain and simple don’t get the bar and rooftop owners — they should be kissing up to their meal ticket (the Cubs) instead of threatening lawsuits. Why oh why oh why would the Cubs ever want to extend their current arrangements ? The only way they would extend those arrangements would be that the bar and rooftop owners pay the Cubs more money than what the team could get from using the sight lines for advertising or additional seating, etc.

      1. Scotti

        “At least the neighbors requests for more police coverage… …etc. makes sense.”

        Actually, No. The Cubs already pay the Amusement Tax and that tax was meant to cover the city’s extra expenses for the given “amusement” (i.e. security, clean up, etc.). The Cubs ALREADY have paid millions in extra policing, traffic, clean up, etc. when that should ALL be coming out of the A.T. (the highest in Chicago by a LOG shot). Local residents should be demanding that the city spend much of that A.T. money on policing, traffic, clean up, etc…. If they did you’d be able to eat off the streets in Wrigleyville.

        “…or parking bans…”

        Residents already have parking bans (and towing companies make a BUNDLE–$250 and up–off of towing any cars parked even 45 minutes after a game in a LEGAL parking garage/lot). Regardless, many residents are AGAINST the Cubs building a parking garage in the area. Hard to help those who don’t really want to be helped.

        1. Tom A.

          I meant exactly that “At least the neighbors requests for more police coverage… …etc. makes sense.”

          Now you bring up some great points as to who should really be paying for it all.

          I am certain the City of Chicago now considers that amusement tax to be like a general fund type revenue, using it for every purpose other than the original intention.

          Thanks for your helpful perspective.

  7. ncsujuri

    Put me in the camp of not thinking that more day games are or ever have been a “competitive disadvantage”. The combined affect of multiple day games not withstanding shouldn’t the pendulum swing both ways and be a disadvantage for visiting teams who aren’t used to having to get up for day games whereas the Cubs would be?

    As a Navy helicopter pilot I know a thing or two about circadian rhythms and how they affect sleep patterns etc. Largest areas of noted difference center around sunset/sunrise neither of which should be affected by playing day games, unless you are assuming players are getting up prior to sunrise for a 1:20 CST start time, which I would think wouldn’t be the norm.

    1. Scotti

      Day games during the summer are hotter and take a greater toll on the body (especially at Wrigley where the days can be very humid since it is right up next to the lake). If you play 20, 30, 40 extra day games than Team X plays then your body–especially that of a finely tuned athlete–is going to receive more wear and tear over time.

  8. d biddle

    I think the government should get out of the Cubs business. The Cubs should be able to play baseball as long as the games are over when the other businesses must be closed; like the local bars. The Cubs have been playing baseball at Wrigley field longer than the residents have lived in the neighborhood. I wonder how many other major league teams have restrictions on the number of night games they can play. I feel it is time to move the Cubs to an area with less restrictions. How about moving north of Chicago to Wisconsin?

  9. Die hard

    Will be surprised if not tabled for further review so all payoffs can be made… There hasn’t been enough time to do it Chicago style like the hot dog spreading all the mustard all over that dog—

  10. Vin23

    Friday 3:05 games are great for fans. Anyone reading this from other major cities must think Chicago is completely dysfunctional. Oh wait, it is.

    1. Bric

      Totally agree about the 3:05 question. 2 Reasons: 1: I’m tired of all the complaining by the players and the fans about all the day games, and 2: It’s good business sense.

      1: All the players and fans bitch inordinately about all the day games- Newsflash: it’s just as hot for the opposing teams. If you’re gonna use your park to your advantage then do it. Schedule more Friday 3:05 starts in the early and late season. Take advantage of your own elements instead of using them as an excuse. I know many players complain about the shadows and such, but at least you have a game plan to level the field that other visiting managers aren’t planning for and will just have to deal with.

      2: If Ricketts were to demand this he would also drive ticket sales. These tickets would appeal to the younger audience early (April and May) and business workers late (August and September). Have you seen the empty stands the last week or so? The only fans that are going to put up with that weather in April and May are the kids. And the only fans that are going to do the same in September are the business people. So market to them.

      1. Drew7

        “Newsflash: it’s just as hot for opposing teams…”

        You’re seriously gonna act like *that* is the reason players are telling the media (while answering a question – not “bitching”) that all the day games put them at a disadvantage?

        You’ve been around here for a long time, so I’m sure you’re aware of the numerous posts Brett has written (and provided links to) on this subject. If not, you can find them…

        Here:
        http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/03/27/another-cubs-player-says-fewer-day-games-would-be-better-and-other-bullets/
        And here:

        http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-03/sports/ct-spt-0304-cubs-chicago–20120304_1_cubs-convention-soriano-and-derrek-lee-manager-dale-sveum
        And here:

        http://www.bleachernation.com/2012/03/05/taking-on-the-day-game-issue-party-less/

        And here:
        http://www.bleachernation.com/2013/02/16/positional-players-report-and-other-bullets/

        If you don’t buy it, that’s fine, but acting like the only issue is that these players are pussies is ridiculous.

  11. 5412

    Hi,

    The mayor came out in support of the Cubs plan. The neighbors are acting like it is still negotiable. At best they might gat a bone like a game or so, but anything beyond that would be a surprise.

    Regards,
    5412

    1. Cubbie Blues

      Thank you for the update. Nothing too surprising though.

  12. Die hard

    The Cubs can get everything they want and more like 81 night games with agreeing to one condition– no more alcohol sales at games– then the games will be attended by people who want to watch baseball or have a full family experience and raise the next generation of fans in a more wholesome baseball atmosphere

    1. MichiganGoat

      I’m all for Family Friendly Sections but lets not go all die hardian and rename the team the Chicago Puritans.

    2. DocPeterWimsey

      Geez, what kind of family experience is it if dad doesn’t get drunk and start picking fights?

      Seriously, this “alcohol = anti-family” nonsense is just dumb…..

      1. MichiganGoat

        It’s the puritan fear that any sip will result in a Dionysian orgy. I’m a responsible adult that can go to a game with my kids, enjoy a beer, and not lose my mind.

        1. DocPeterWimsey

          Actually, we should not vilify the Puritans so: the belief that they didn’t drink comes from Nathaniel Hawthorne rather than history! Indeed, the Mayflower set down where it did because the ship was running short of key “victuals”: especially ale!

          After all, Sam Adams was a Congregationalist, and they evolved from the Puritans. Of course, we now call the Congregationalists “Unitarians” and they are about as un-puritanical as any Christians might be…..

          1. MichiganGoat

            True it’s just easier to use the word Purtain to describe the the Pentecostal belief that alcohol is bad. They always ignore the fact that fermentation is the only way humans survived for so long.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              I prefer calling it “pentecostal”: besides, that sounds vaguely Satanic, which surely prohibitionism must be!

              *hums Stairway to Heaven backwards…..*

          2. Bric

            Actually Doc, the Puritans weren’t on the Mayflower. The Mayflower “pilgrims” actually referred to themselves as Separatists. Led by William Brewster and eventually taken over by William Bradford, they believed the Church of England was corrupt at it’s root and chose to “separate” from it. The puritans on the other hand believed the church was basically sound and only needed “purifying”. In any case you’re right though they drank primarily beer and wine but not for it’s intoxicating effects. Because microbes in drinking water weren’t yet discovered the only way of drinking without getting diariah and dehydration was by drinking treated spirits. Just sayin,.

            1. DocPeterWimsey

              heh, well, *they* thought that they were Puritans, and they called themselves such. Cromwell’s lot were a bunch of posers! However, you are quite correct that “puritan” is (and was) used for a variety of different sects that agreed that purifying Christianity from the taint of Rome was necessary. After all, Henry’s Reformation was hardly any Reformation at all. However, the different groups differed on exactly *what* needed to be purified and what was “true” Christianity. Devils, details, etc.

              It is somewhat ironic that this ultimately led to Unitarianism: in an effort to purge Roman taints, some of them wound up going entirely to the recorded words of Jesus of Nazareth. What you get is a religion that looks like it was formed by a liberal intellectual Jew or something: and that means BOOZE AT THE BALLGAME!!!!! :-)

    3. TWC

      Hey, Carrie Nation, your single-minded no-more-beer-sales cries is getting old. And dumb. Enough already.

    4. Cubbie Blues

      If a family experience equals no beer, how else is family supposed to get along.

  13. cubfanincardinalland

    What are they going to do with the situation with the birds on these 3:05 games? Yesterday after 4:00, it was a big distraction to the game. Maybe they can build a bird land in right field stocked with fresh salmon, and corral them in there every afternoon. I am sure the neighborhood will bitch about it though.

    1. Cubbie Blues

      It dies down when the beaches get busy. The ring billed gulls tend to stay over there rather than get the scraps at the field.

  14. Die hard

    I would be willing to compromise on a one beer limit if beer had to be bought from concessions under the stands not vendors in the stands and before 5th inning over … Anything to temper the rowdiness and worse happening at games such as throwing beer on people and attacking people both of which happened to me

    1. RoscoeVillageFan

      Luckily you don’t have to compromise on anything because you’re not in charge. thank god. I would say that the next step is no beer sales in the seats but given how small wrigley is, I think it would make concession lines impossibly long. If you get beer thrown on you on get “attacked”, grab security. Don’t restrict the rest of us from enjoying beer at the game. Only wish I could get a goose island honkers in that place

      1. Die hard

        Wanna drink? Go to a bar– first round on me as I am there more often than not — but attending baseball games and drinking beer don’t mix well except for the ones drinking who after 2nd beer do things they wouldn’t dare do in a bar if they didn’t want face kicked in

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