On September 7, the first-place Chicago Cubs will play a night game in Pittsburgh – their fourth against the Pirates that week – before heading back to Chicago to take on the second-place Brewers at Wrigley Field.
Of course, as we know, the Cubs don’t play night games on Friday at Wrigley Field during the regular season (due to a long-standing city ordinance), so that one was scheduled for 1:20 CT, per City requirements.
But given that the first game against the Brewers will not only be the Cubs’ 18th tilt in a row, but also an early day game following a night game on the road, the Cubs petitioned the city to push the game back to 7:05 CT – a single exemption – and, what do you know, for the first time in regular season history, the City allowed it.
Apparently that made many people very mad.
According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Brewers “vigorously objected” to the time change, primarily because they believed it was made solely for competitive reasons. Indeed, the Brewers, who are off the night before the game in question, believe the Cubs should have to adhere to the schedule as it was written. Fortunately, Major League Baseball didn’t agree, as their objection was promptly nixed.
While we don’t have to guess why the Brewers were upset that Major League Baseball and the City of Chicago are allowing the game-time change, we can discuss whether it’s fair or not, at least, in our opinion.
And from where I’m standing, I can certainly understand why the Brewers consider this change to be purely motivated by competitive reasons. I mean, we already know that the Cubs do not like to play day games after night games – and that goes double when there’s travel involved. No team wants to do that.
And I’ll point out that this isn’t even the first time the Brewers have accused the Cubs of playing competitive games with the schedule this season. But it’s not like this move hurts the Brewers in any direct way, right? From what I can tell, it’s simply alleviating asymmetric pain – caused by a city ordinance, not the league – on the Cubs.
And, I should note, this isn’t even the whole story. If you recall back to the CBA negotiations over the winter, you might remember that reducing day games after traveling from night games was specifically discussed as a player priority. With that in mind, it’s not difficult to see why the league jumped at the Cubs’ request once the City agreed to permit it.
So, in the end, the Cubs and Brewers will kick off their critical late-season series at 7:05 next Friday night, the first regular season Friday night game at Wrigley Field ever, and that’s that.