At last check, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney had introduced an ordinance before City Council in early May, which would increase the number of allowable night games at Wrigley Field. The gist of the ordinance:
Under the ordinance, the Cubs would see an increased night game limit from 30 to 40, as well as six 3:05pm Friday starts, which could kick in as soon as later this season. The Cubs have agreed that they’ll schedule just 35 night games under this ordinance, leaving them five games’ worth of flexibility for when MLB asks them to flip day games to night games. If the Cubs are good, and MLB requests more than five games are flipped, City Council will approve those flips on an ad hoc basis (up to six additional night games, for a total of 46).
The understanding was that the ordinance would be voted on by City Council within 30 to 60 days, meaning that it would be voted on at the June or July City Council meeting. Good news from the Tribune, as it sounds like there is indeed hope that it to be voted on at the June meeting, which is next Wednesday, June 5.
Although passage of the ordinance – which is expected – would not net the Cubs any new night games this year, it could allow them to schedule some of those 3:05pm Friday starts in July and August (the Cubs still list four Friday games as “TBD” on the time). Clearly that is the Cubs’ hope, and at least one reason that they’d like to see this ordinance passed in early June, rather than early July.
The big news, though, would be the passage of the ordinance, in general. Additional night games are an important part of the Cubs’ long-term success (more revenue for those games, more revenue on the TV contract, better schedules for the players, etc.), and although no one expects the night game plan to fall through at this point … you just never know. Having it finally, actually, and formally approved will ease everyone’s mind.
It will also mark the first final approval of any aspect of the comprehensive Wrigley renovation plan, which would also be a good sign.