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Thursday, October 21, 2021

It’s time for the city of Chicago to repeal the Wrigley Field night game ordinance

The Los Angeles Times reported essentially the same thing:

But the vote left irate residents of the Wrigleyville area surrounding the ballpark crying “foul.” They say night games will rob residents of scarce on-street parking spaces and turn the peaceful, tree-lined neighborhood into a summertime haven for drunks staggering out of the ballpark and nearby bars.

“Lights will mean total chaos,” moaned Dennis Kowal, who has lived less than a block from the park for 43 years. “We wouldn’t have no rest, no peace.”

Reality: None of that has happened. Zone permit parking for residents has alleviated parking issues and in fact, the Cubs allow residents to park in one of their lots on non-game days. There hasn’t been vandalism; in fact, the neighborhood around the ballpark is probably safer now than it’s ever been. The Cubs help with security and cleanup after both day games and night games. Under both Tribune Co. ownership and that of the Ricketts family, the team has generally been a good neighbor.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 11:49 AM | 33 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cubs, wrigley field

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Howie Menckel Posted: October 21, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6048087)
the lead from the link:

"Night baseball has been played at Wrigley Field since 1988, 34 seasons’ worth. That means you’d have to be at least in your early 40s to have any clear memory of Wrigley without lights."

My first weekend pilgrimage to Wrigley was in 1986 - no lights.

have made about a dozen such weekend trips since then over the years, but have never attended a night game at Wrigley and never will. still, time marches on, and all that, I suppose.

P.S. I knew a photographer who sent to Chicago to shoot pics for the first night game - 8/8/88.

he told me that after the rainout, a few locals said they hoped every night game would be rained out until the Cubs finally got the message.

:)
   2. BDC Posted: October 21, 2021 at 01:40 PM (#6048098)
For one more winter, anyway, Wrigley is the current ballpark where I've seen the most games, and most of those before the lights, starting with my first ballgame ever in 1965.

Though I have been back and seen night games there. It doesn't seem much different from any other place to see a night game. I might feel different if I lived in the neighborhood, of course – Wrigley must have the most residential setting for any big-league baseball stadium. (Fenway is close, I guess, but Fenway is hemmed in by the Turnpike and the Fens gardens and a lot of Sox-related businesses, while Wrigley is right there in the street grid like any other building.)

I guess the key takeaway from the quote that Howie pulled is that you'd have to be a bit older than your early 40s to have bought or rented near Wrigley before 8/8/88. Maybe there is a generation of bereft native Chicagoans who assumed they would inherit quiet retirement homes near Cubs Park and are still bitter that their peace has been spoiled, but they must be thinning out by now.

The memory of that rainout (my father was there, I was watching from a bar in Dallas) does lead me to wonder if they shouldn't put a roof on the place (and air-condition it!). That might cut down on the noise.
   3. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 21, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6048102)
turn the peaceful, tree-lined neighborhood into a summertime haven for drunks staggering out of the ballpark and nearby bars.
This…certainly does happen. But it’s not unique to night games.
   4. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 21, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6048111)
The memory of that rainout (my father was there, I was watching from a bar in Dallas) does lead me to wonder if they shouldn't put a roof on the place (and air-condition it!). That might cut down on the noise.
That would probably be OK. As I understand it, the only thing Cubs fans are adamant about preserving are the trough urinals, because tradition.
   5. Howie Menckel Posted: October 21, 2021 at 02:18 PM (#6048113)
fake news in Post 4 - that's not Wrigley.

will say that my pals and I were awestruck the first time we saw the actual Wrigley troughs, however.
given the sheer volume of beer consumed by the crowd, it did seem kind of practical.
   6. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 02:23 PM (#6048116)
will say that my pals and I were awestruck the first time we saw the actual Wrigley troughs, however.
given the sheer volume of beer consumed by the crowd, it did seem kind of practical.


I think all stadiums of a certain age originally had them. I remember trough urinals at the Yale Bowl.
   7. Karl from NY Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:29 PM (#6048136)
Penn State's football stadium still has trough urinals, as I saw this month. I wouldn't be surprised if quite a few college stadiums still do; they're older and much more utilitarian than mallpark.
   8. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:35 PM (#6048140)
I am juuuuuuust old enough to remember Wrigley without lights -- I was eight when they went up -- and, all other things being equal, I liked it that way because it meant there was usually a ballgame on in the daytime when I was home from school for the summer.
   9. McCoy Posted: October 21, 2021 at 03:47 PM (#6048149)
Hated games when I was a kid. Got in the way of the Transformers and GI Joe.
   10. The Yankee Clapper Posted: October 21, 2021 at 04:12 PM (#6048156)
fake news in Post 4 - that's not Wrigley
Tell it to Google & YouTube.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: October 21, 2021 at 05:31 PM (#6048173)
It's great to know the Cubs have been good neighbors ... but how much of that was out of the goodness of the corporation's heart and how much of that was a response to the pressure put on them by the neighborhood groups. If memory serves (probably covered in the article), the Cubs have gotten permission for increased night games a couple of times and obviously it was to their benefit to be good neighbors. If given permission to have as many night games as they want, the incentive to be good neighbors will be reduced ... of course if they give up hope of getting more, the incentive will be reduced.

In 2019, if I counted right, Wrigley hosted 32 night games. Four of those weekend night games for the networks. They hosted 14 weekend series ... so that's 38 weekend day games. As near as I can tell, with one possible exception, every mid-week day game was a special day (opening day, Labor Day) or a getaway day. The key difference to other teams is no Friday night games. Attendance at Friday day games looks no different than attendance at Sat-Sun day games.

In short, it's a nothing burger from either side. Pretty much the only day dates they could replace are Fri-Sat night games and there's no evidence Fri-Sat day games hurt attendance. On the other hand, there seems no evidence Wrigley night games are any worse for the neighborhood than day games.

I've never been to a Wrigley night game but Wrigley in the daytime is pretty glorious. Plus, if its a weekday, the added emotional benefit of not being at work/school. If fans didn't turn out for Fri afternoon games, I could see the point ... but they do. Would you rather have a cookout during the day or at night?
   12. McCoy Posted: October 21, 2021 at 05:56 PM (#6048181)
I would imagine the Cubs would want more night games so they can get more TV money.
   13. John Northey Posted: October 21, 2021 at 06:38 PM (#6048189)
I remember as a teen being home sick and watching Expos vs Cubs in the afternoon on TV. Lots of fun. I get why the team would want the rules removed, but I think the city need to keep the reigns on tight here. The team is a good neighbor because they HAVE to be, not because they want to be. Corporations exist for money and nothing else.
   14. McCoy Posted: October 21, 2021 at 06:43 PM (#6048191)
And the Cubs don't even have to be a neighbor.

Plenty of teams are good neighbors without needing a law limiting games.
   15. toratoratora Posted: October 21, 2021 at 06:46 PM (#6048193)
I think all stadiums of a certain age originally had them.


The O's old home Memorial Stadium had them
   16. The Duke Posted: October 21, 2021 at 06:57 PM (#6048196)
I worked in the banking biz in Chicago and I had tons of banks calling on me. So I had a standing agreement with them that if they didn’t have any client events for their tickets that they would call and leave tickets at the window for games with a late start. I got to go to 10-15 games a year with great seats and nobody at the bank attending and making it a business afternoon. Sometimes I would take a friend but mostly it was me. It was glorious.

These were the days when the Cubs hadn’t yet put seats in the walking areas between sections so you could walk from foul pole to pole inside the ballpark and take in the game from any empty seat. It was awesome.

I was a Cards fan but I mostly skipped cardinal games because they were packed and just went to games where it was 10-15K in attendance.

I remember laughing about Lee Elias rant because in many ways it was true.
   17. The Honorable Ardo Posted: October 21, 2021 at 07:03 PM (#6048197)
Tiger Stadium had troughs, nothing new there.

Wrigley feels a lot different at night. It gets COLD. The warm breeze blowing out gives way to a chilly breeze blowing in off the lake. It plays as a pitchers' park after sunset.

I've enjoyed many games there, both day and night, but I advise wearing multiple layers to most night games; you'll invariably run across shivering fans in T-shirts and shorts.
   18. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: October 21, 2021 at 07:29 PM (#6048203)
Of course, the Ricketts are also pursuing the alternative strategy of simply buying the entire neighborhood.
   19. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 09:22 AM (#6048283)
It's great to know the Cubs have been good neighbors ... but how much of that was out of the goodness of the corporation's heart and how much of that was a response to the pressure put on them by the neighborhood groups.


There's a well-known lawsuit from the 60s in which minority shareholders tried to force Wrigley to put up lights on the grounds that he wasn't acting in the best interests of the business. Wrigley won pretty much by citing his desire to be a good neighbor. There were lights at Comiskey and every other ballpark in the country, including a lot of in-town ballparks. The White Sox were actually out-drawing the Cubs at the time, which was one of the factors cited by the minority shareholders, so in the short run they had something of a point.

Anyway, all of this is to say that this pretty much was out of the goodness of Wrigley's heart. The business of America is business, as they say, and I can't imagine neighborhood associations would ever be able to force rich people not to make more money if they felt like it.
   20. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 22, 2021 at 09:35 AM (#6048285)
White Sox vs. the Cubs in the 1960s:

1960: Sox 27 games better
1961: Sox 23 games better
1962: Sox 26 games better
1963: Sox 12 games better
1964: Sox 22 games better
1965: Sox 23 games better
1966: Sox 24 games better
1967: Sox 2 games better
1968: Cubs 17 games better
1969: Cubs 24 games better

The Cubs also surpassed the Sox in attendance in 1968.
   21. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: October 22, 2021 at 10:18 AM (#6048287)
From 1951 through 1967, the White Sox outdrew the Cubs in every year but one: 1958. And there were years where they outdrew the Cubs by half a million or more. 1951 was Minnie Minoso's rookie year, and it was the year that the White Sox suddenly (very suddenly) went from perennial also-rans to a solid winning team that was usually just behind the Yankees and the Indians. In 1967 the Cubs surged from last place to being a late season contender, and in 1968 the White Sox collapsed.
   22. Lassus Posted: October 22, 2021 at 10:40 AM (#6048295)
I think all stadiums of a certain age originally had them.

Definitely Shea. I thought Yankee Stadium II did as well.
   23. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6048298)
Kauffman Stadium definitely had them until they renovated the stadium in 2010.
   24. Howie Menckel Posted: October 22, 2021 at 11:17 AM (#6048300)
at Shea, the sinks served as makeshift troughs - and no I am not making that up.

necessity really IS the mother of invention !
   25. BDC Posted: October 22, 2021 at 11:22 AM (#6048301)
Yankee Stadium II did as well

Maybe in the bleachers, but not in the rest of the Stadium? I could be fabulating. What we need is an Internet Urinal Database.
   26. Walt Davis Posted: October 22, 2021 at 05:43 PM (#6048366)
I can't imagine neighborhood associations would ever be able to force rich people not to make more money if they felt like it.

No but neighborhood associations put pressure on politicians. Neighborhood associations protest outside of venues. Neighborhood associations are sometimes able to pose a reputational risk for corporations. The corporations sometimes decide that the political heat, the PR annoyance, etc. are not worth the trouble and engage in low-cost, often superficial "neighborly" activities to calm things down. NIMBY does often work.

Evidence? The existing limit on the number of night games the Cubs are allowed to play.
   27. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: October 22, 2021 at 06:01 PM (#6048370)
I think there's a pretty solid profit-first argument for that today: the Cubs sell out every game because they represent old-timey baseball to the entire country. I also think neighborhood groups didn't really start accruing power until the freeway revolts of the 70s, which was after Wrigley v Shlensky.
   28. McCoy Posted: October 22, 2021 at 06:16 PM (#6048375)
I don't know if it is once a decade or twice or so but the Cubs usually go to the city and ask for more night games. There's a negotiation and they end up getting more night games.
   29. oscar madisox Posted: October 23, 2021 at 10:56 AM (#6048531)
at Shea, the sinks served as makeshift troughs - and no I am not making that up.


They used more than the sinks. The first time I took my son to Shea (he was about 4) we were walking around the upper deck. He looked at me and asked if all baseball stadiums smelled like peepee.
   30. Adam Starblind Posted: October 23, 2021 at 11:32 AM (#6048534)
Does Fenway still have them?
   31. asinwreck Posted: October 23, 2021 at 11:47 AM (#6048537)
The Comiskey troughs felt like running the gauntlet to 8-year-old me, especially in the late innings.
   32. Nasty Nate Posted: October 23, 2021 at 02:41 PM (#6048556)
Does Fenway still have them?
No. I think they were taken out late 90's or early 00's.
   33. Adam Starblind Posted: October 23, 2021 at 03:11 PM (#6048561)
No. I think they were taken out late 90's or early 00's.


That makes sense. I'm stuck in the mid-to-late 90s.

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