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Chicago Is Granting The Cubs An Extra Night Game, Just This Once

By Emma G. Gallegos in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 31, 2017 8:13PM

Kris Bryant throws a ball to fans on before the game against the Kansas City Royals. Wrigley's lights were on for a night game, a relative rarity. (Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)

Chicago loves its Cubs, but it's never really been a fan of night games. So that's why it means something special that the city has decided at the last minute that the Cubs can push their scheduled afternoon game next Friday into the evening, when the Cubs face the No. 2 team in their division: the Milwaukee Brewers.

The Cubs will be playing the Pirates at 6:05 p.m. in Pittsburgh the night prior, on September 7, while the Brewers have a day off. That means there would have been a tight turnaround for the Cubs had the teams faced off at 1:20 p.m. Manager Joe Maddon himself made the case that players would be fatigued from that kind of schedule, according to the Sun-Times.

Currently, the Cubs have a slim lead over the Brewers in their division, and the post-season is quickly approaching. So Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Alderman Tom Tunney decided that just this one time, the Cubs could play at 7:05 p.m. on a Friday night.

"Night events have been an issue for many years for our neighbors and non-Cubs related businesses," Ald. Tunney said, in a statement. "I hope a one-time exemption of the Friday night game prohibition will further ensure a playoff berth for our Cubs."

Rahm added, "With the Cubs in the thick of the pennant race, we’re going to make sure the Cubs can focus on doing what they need to do: winning ballgames and bringing another World Series back to Chicago."

The Cubs are currently limited to 47 night events each year, and the Mayor's Office still says that even with this gracious exception they are still under that number (which includes concerts).

Night events have been controversial in Wrigleyville, since forever. In 1988, Major League Baseball forced the Cubs to start playing night games. Up until then, it was the only team whose field didn't have lights for night games, and right up until the bitter end neighbors fought to keep the field dark. Here was that very special broadcast on August 8, 1988:

The game was rained out by the fourth inning, and because it didn't make it to the fifth, it didn't count. The Tribune at that time editorialized, "Someone up there seems to take day baseball seriously."

Nowadays, Tunney says that the issue are neighboring business who complain that Cubs games cut into their profits. He told the Sun-Times, "In life, we try to help each other. But, I don’t want it to be a regular occurrence because there’s a number of businesses where Friday and Saturday nights are very, very important and they’re non-Cub-related. Theater, fine-dining restaurants that don’t do well when there’s a Cub night game. And Friday and Saturday in many of our businesses are make-it-or-break-it days for their business to stay in business."