With a rapid change in tone from a Wrigleyville community leader, it has become even safer to assume that the Chicago Cubs will get the night game portion of the renovation framework, as agreed to by the Cubs, the Mayor, and Alderman Tunney, and introduced before City Council last week.
Lakeview Citizens Council President Will DeMille told Crain’s reporter Danny Ecker that he feels like the increase to 35 scheduled night games, with flexibility to increase that to 46 when MLB requests it, and the addition of six 3:05pm starts on Fridays, is an inevitability at this point.
“While people may not like the number of night games and concerts that are proposed in the ordinance, I think some folks are becoming resigned to the fact that it’s part of the framework,” DeMille told Ecker, adding that he gets the sense that the 3:05pm Friday starts are cemented in as part of the framework. “We may have to make lemonade out of a lemon on this one.”
DeMille told Ecker that his group will have to instead focus on other issues, including security and parking.
All in all, it’s a good sign, if you had any lingering concerns that the night game piece of the framework would not clear the necessary procedural hurdles. If DeMille, who had been a very vocal opponent of these changes, has resigned himself to the fact that it’s going to happen … well, it’s going to happen.
The increase in night games, and the later Friday starts, should increase Cubs revenues by way of ticket sales, concessions, and the anticipated TV deal, and should help, slightly, with the Cubs’ players body clock issues. Irrespective of the renovation, to which the nights games are admittedly only loosely tied, the increase in night games is a very good thing for the Cubs.
The night game ordinance is expected to be voted on at the June or July City Council meeting.