respect wrigleyToday, the ordinance amendment that would allow the Cubs to play additional night games is being discussed at the City Council Committee on License and Consumer Protection, in advance – presumably – of it being addressed at the full City Council meeting tomorrow. Having┬ámaneuvered┬ámy way around a variety of government web sites in my days as a lawyer (I swear they are designed to be as difficult to navigate as possible), I was able to find a copy of the actual proposed night game ordinance amendment.

There is a fair bit of interesting bits in the eight page ordinance amendment, but it’s mostly as we’ve already heard. And that’s a good thing. Although these things are written in abstruse, inaccessible language, to my eye, the details of the ordinance are largely as have been reported – there are no scary skeletons.

Let’s go ahead and review the details, though. A reminder: this is the ordinance amendment as it has been proposed by the Mayor, the Alderman, and the Cubs. It is not yet final, and is subject to tweaking before it is passed by City Council (as soon as tomorrow). For now, however, these are the details.

  • The Cubs are permitted to schedule 35 night games, and will get up to 5 games every year flipped from day games to night games where the MLB national broadcast contract calls for it (i.e., when MLB says, “hey, Cubs, we want that game to be a night game so we can broadcast it nationally”). The Cubs could get an additional 6 games flipped from day games to night games where the MLB national broadcast contract calls for it, but only if the Cubs get pre-approval from City Council first. If that’s not possible (the Council meets just once a month), then there’s a long chain of steps to get interim approval.
  • The Cubs’ night games will be scheduled between 7:05pm CT and 8pm CT.
  • A “night game” appears to be any game scheduled after 2pm CT that lasts past 8pm CT (which is why the Cubs can’t game the system and schedule a bunch of 6:45pm CT starts). If a game scheduled before 2pm CT lasts past 8pm CT (because of weather or long play), that’s ok – it doesn’t suddenly become a night game and count against the total.
  • The Cubs are permitted up to six Friday starts between 2pm CT and 4:10pm CT. This is the “3:05pm CT” starts we’ve heard a lot about. Turns out the Cubs could scheduled those games for any time in that window, but they must prefer 3:05pm.
  • The Cubs can’t schedule any games to begin after 4:10 pm CT on Fridays or Saturdays (unless MLB calls for it). Previously, the Cubs were permitted to schedule up to two night games on Saturdays.
  • The Cubs are permitted up to four concerts per year, which do not count as “night games.” The Cubs can have more than four concerts if they want, but any concert after four counts as a “night game.”
  • Every conceivable “special” game – playoffs, All-Star game, tie-breaker games, etc., is carved out, and does not count as a night game.
  • It looks like Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day are also carved out of the definition of a “night game.” It also looks like Sunday night games are carved out, though the Cubs would probably rather continue using those as day games anyway.
  • Events taking place between November 1 and March 31 at night basically don’t count as anything. Go nuts, Cubs.
  • Events expected to have less than 15,000 people in attendance (an increase from 10,000) don’t count as “night games.” This does not refer to a drop in Cubs attendance, mind you. This is talking about other sporting events that are expected to have a lower draw (Northwestern sports, soccer, etc.).
  • The ordinance is in effect for five years, and cannot be amended without consultation with the Cubs until after September 2014. Otherwise, the 46-game portion of the ordinance can be amended only in October, November or December (i.e., the City can’t cut the Cubs off in the middle of a season).
  • TWC

    Oooh! He said “abstruse”!


    • Brett

      I love the word abstruse because it is internally ironic.

      • Cubbie Blues

        Ha, I read it as obtuse the first time through. I may be more accurate.

  • Rizzo 44

    Brett is it true that in Marmol’s contract it has a clause in it that will not allow the Cubs to DFA or just out right release him?

    • TWC

      Ooh! A new conspiracy theory!

  • JoeyCollins

    If the Cubs schedule more than four concerts would that count as part of the 35 night games they can schedule, or the 5 extra nights reserved for scheduling changes. I ask because in years where we’re not any good i doubt we get many late season games switched to primetime. So instead of wasting those possible night games can the team just schedule an extra concert or two late in the summer?

    • Brett

      The concert would count against the 35 – the Cubs only get that next five “chunk” if MLB requests they flip games.

  • DarthHater

    I used google and found the ordinance document almost immediately, without having to try to navigate any city websites.

    The Cubs would be well advised to have their attorneys take a close look at the provisions in sections (I) and (J) that restrict future amendments to the ordinance. As a general rule, laws that purport to restrict the ability of future legislators to change the law are considered ineffective by the courts. The amendment provisions in (I) and (J), therefore, could be on shaky legal ground.

    However, the Cubs and the city might be able to work around this problem by entering into a contractual agreement, separate from the ordinance. For example, the city could contractually agree that, if a future city council amends the ordinance in a way inconsistent with sections (I) and (J), then the city must pay the Cubs some specified amount of damages. In essence, the city could agree to a “poison pill” that would deter future city councils from doing anything that sections (I) and (J) purport to prohibit. Unfortunately, the mayor might not have the power to enter into such a contract without specific authorizing legislation, which would further slow the approval process.

    • Brett

      Ooh, look at me, I know how to Google, laddy-daddy-dah.

    • T C

      Great info, thanks Darth

    • Voice of Reason

      Well cubs fans everywhere can all be thankful that darthhater took the time to tell the cubs owners that they would be advised to have their attorneys review such documents.

      Without darthhater the entire plan could have went right down those old urinals at Wrigley field.

      Really, who would have ever thought that the attorneys should be involved?

      • cjdubbya

        Thanks, ass.

    • Die hard

      Ouch –
      we will never get back the 2 minutes in our life it took to try to make sense out of that gibberish

  • Die hard

    Noticed that rents in Wrigleyville trending down or not keeping up compared to neighborhoods further out– wonder why?

    • DarthHater

      Unless you provide a reference to at least one source of data, I’m going to assume that this is as unfounded as virtually every other factual assertion you have ever made here.

      • Voice of Reason

        Darthhater why don’t you hurry up and give it a quick Google search about the apartment rates decreasing at Wrigley field.

        Is this something that the cubs attorneys should be looking at?

      • Die hard

        Yea suck on this– go to Zillow and you will see comparisons of Wrigleyville to all other neighborhoods –one example compare to Roscoe Village

  • aCubsFan

    The information Brett listed doesn’t seem to match up with the comments from the Cubs and what was mentioned in the Chicago Tribune on the subject. The panel of aldermen passed it today, but Tunney made some really ridiculous statement about how the Cubs should be happy with the amendment to the ordinance. The Cubs aren’t happy with the changes to the original amendment.

    • Brett

      I discussed only what is actually in the amended ordinance – today’s committee meeting likely touched on many other things, and possible changes to the amendment.

  • aCubsFan

    According to the Tribune and comments from the Cubs, the aldermen changed the terms of the amendment after what was originally agreed to and written in the amendment.

  • Cheryl

    The roof toppers may end up on the short stick on this. If the agreement was changed to a large degree Ricketts has every right to abandon ship.

    • aCubsFan

      Cheryl… The Tribune article and the Cubs comments make it sound as if the current amendment is highly more restrictive against the Cubs. For example, the city wants to be able to set the makeup date for rain outs. It also limits the Cubs to 2 Saturday night games, and states that if the Cubs schedule more than 4 non-baseball night ‘events’ these extra events will be counted against the number of night games the following season.

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