(CBS) Cubs manager Joe Maddon on Friday again expressed his desire for the franchise to hold more night games at Wrigley Field instead of day games so as to create more of a routine for his players and give them a chance to have more rest.
Maddon’s lobbying came amid a stretch in which the Cubs have four straight 1:20 p.m. starts scheduled at Wrigley Field.
“Friday day games, we just play way too many day games during the week,” Maddon said Friday ahead of a 1:20 p.m. start against the Nationals at Wrigley Field. “We just do. I’m just being honest. Guys need their rest. I mean, when you’re constantly going night-day or day-day-day and it’s hot during the summer time, it matters. It definitely matters. So it’d be wonderful if we could get to a more conventional method regarding the number of night games versus day games. If not, then we’ll just have to deal with it. We did OK last year. But moving forward, when you’re able to, again, just come to the ballpark a little bit later, just get your proper rest and then just be a human being — get your laundry done, go shopping, get a haircut, all those things. Seriously, there’s just no time. You have to take advantage of the road, where you actually play more night games and you’re able to sleep and catch up on your rest and you come back home knowing it’s going to be more hectic.”
Maddon’s preference would be for day games to only be held on Saturdays, Sundays, holidays and on getaway days during the week. As it is, the Cubs almost always open home weekend series with Friday afternoon games.
Part of the reason the Cubs don’t play as many home games as other teams across MLB is because city ordinance prevents it and has for years as Wrigley Field resides in a neighborhood setting. The MLB average for night home games is 54, Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney recently said. The Cubs can have up to 43 — 35 regularly scheduled and then eight floating contests for national television broadcasts — but they sometimes don’t even reach that number, instead choosing to replace a night game with a concert, from which they don’t have to share revenues.
Kenney recently criticized the city for not allowing the Cubs to host more night games. Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired back, saying the Cusb “want to change the consequences of the choices they made.”
“It’s no big secret, and I’d be disingenuous if I told you something differently,” Maddon said. “And I’m not blaming anybody. This is not pointing fingers. It’s not saying we’re not winning because of that. I just think it’s a better method to permit your players more consistent rest at home.
“This constantly having to get up and rush to the ballpark and not having a normal method during the course of the day, it does matter, because then you go on the road and it’s entirely different.”