Yesterday, the night game ordinance amendment that would allow the Chicago Cubs to schedule more night games at Wrigley Field as part of the renovation funding plan was approved by City Council’s License Committee. The ordinance amendment, for which you can see the nitty gritty details here, will now move before City Council, and could be voted on as soon as today’s meeting (which is happening right now).
Well, mostly. But there have now been some changes to the ordinance with which the Cubs don’t agree, and that they don’t believe were part of the original framework agreed to by the Cubs, the Mayor, and Alderman Tom Tunney.
According to Crain’s Danny Ecker, who attended the License Committee meeting yesterday, the Cubs have an issue with three changes:
1. The latest version limits the Cubs to two night games per year on Fridays or Saturdays, but the Cubs would only be having Friday or Saturday night games when MLB asks them to flip day games to night games pursuant to the national TV agreement. So, if MLB asked the Cubs to flip a third Friday or Saturday game, the Cubs would be put in the position of having to defy MLB or violate the city ordinance. That doesn’t seem very fair, and the Cubs would like to see that remedied before the ordinance amendment is finalized.
2. The City has the right to veto the Cubs’ chosen dates for rescheduled games (i.e., rainouts). On that one, I can understand why the City would want that power, but it’s fairly impractical given the nature of MLB scheduling. With travel issues and the infrequency of common off-dates, the Cubs/MLB are pretty limited in days they can use for makeups. If the City vetoes a couple of them … then what?
3. Non-baseball events in excess of four count as “night games.” Although the specific issue here is a touch unclear, as it’s been known from day one that the Cubs were going to get an increase in concerts from three to four, I suspect the problem is football games. If the Cubs wanted to have a fall night football game at Wrigley Field, after already having four concerts during the summer, that football game would count against the night game limit for the next season. There may be a piece of this that I don’t yet fully understand, but it seems like having to stick to four concerts and then day football games in the fall isn’t so unfair to the Cubs.
Ecker’s piece also includes a number of quotes and reactions from yesterday’s meeting.
City Council meets today at 10 am, and the night game ordinance could be discussed and voted upon, even if the Cubs aren’t yet thrilled with the contours.