(CBS) Two days after Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney criticized the city for not allowing the franchise to host more night games at Wrigley Field, Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired back Wednesday.
On Monday, Kenney expressed frustration over the Cubs only being allowed to have up to 43 home night games, which is 11 fewer than what he said is the league average of 54. In perhaps his most headline-grabbing comment, Kenney said the Cubs have to “not only beat everyone in our division, we also have to beat the city that we play in to try and win games.”
That didn’t sit well with Emanuel, whose message to the Cubs was that they made their own bed and now have to lie in it. Emanuel believes Kenney was twisting the narrative, pointing out that the Cubs are hosting nine concerts at Wrigley Field this summer. Every concert night the Cubs host past four cuts into the night games they can host. Add a fifth — or sixth or seventh or so on — concert, and you must sacrifice a night game each time.
By Emanuel’s count, the Cubs are hosting 46 events at night at Wrigley Field this season, which he added is “really close” to the franchise’s request of 54.
“They chose to use those evening opportunities for concerts,” Emanuel said, according to the Sun-Times.
“They could have used it for night games. But then, they would have to share it with Major League Baseball. The concerts they keep all for themselves like they do the beer on the plaza.
“They made those choices. Now, they want to change the consequences of the choices they made.”
Kenney openly acknowledged in an interview on 670 The Score on Monday that the Cubs choose to host so many concerts because they don’t have to share any portion of the revenue with other MLB teams.
“I got myself into trouble more than 10 years ago when I said that Elton John was going to help us win baseball games,” Kenney said. “But the truth is, all these revenues go back to the baseball operation. These are really important dollars to us because we don’t share them with the league. As a large-market club, every dollar that we make today, I’m going to 40 percent back to the Marlins and Rays and Royals. A concert, we get to keep all of it. That’s a really nice dollar to make for our baseball operations function.”
Kenney also emphasized the limitations on night games/events at Wrigley Field should be lifted.
“The real answer is at some point we’d love to not be handicapped, as no other team in baseball is by the number of night games you play,” Kenney said. “You know, we just keep working on it.”
The number of night games isn’t the only issue the Cubs and city have clashed on recently. They’re long had an ongoing debate about security and potential street closures around the storied ballpark as well.