By Tim Baffoe–
(CBS) Milwaukee is a great city. From my college days of visiting friends who attended Marquette to my far more mature mid-30s, I’ve never had a bad time there. It’s also the vehicle of one of cinematic comedy’s best absurd cameo scenes.
I went to a Cubs-Brewers game earlier this season. I had one of the best burgers of my life at Oscar’s beforehand with a free shuttle to Miller Park. I then drank, like, 10 beers while sitting around a bunch of Cubs fans, Javier Baez fired a grenade launcher off the plexiglass above me in left field, I saw a woman in Brewers gear threaten to fight a bunch of Brewers frat bros near me and I then pointed out to one of those frat bros who was screaming “Everything from Chicago sucks!” after the final out of the Brewers’ victory that he was wearing a Chance the Rapper hat. It was a wonderful time.
Now if only the Brewers as a team would take on less of a persona than their most famous fan, Kato Kaelin.
Cubs-Brewers has long had the makings of a serious rivalry. Pat Hughes has long mentioned on the radio calls that ever since Milwaukee joined the National League, matchups between these teams have resulted in a lot of crazy games regardless of either team’s record. And now that the Brewers are seeing the fruits of their rebuild, they and the Cubs figure to be battling it out for tops in the NL Central for the next few years at least.
It has never been Cubs-Cardinals, though. There’s serious history with the Redbirds and genuine loathing on both sides for one another. The relationship with the Brewers has mostly been one of amicable neighbors passive-aggressively upping the ante on each’s landscaping every year.
Until this season, that is. The Cubs are super extra big time now that they have a World Series title bulging through their pinstriped pants and have made it clear that the Brewers are a cute little brother that must cede couch and remote privileges whenever the former wants to watch TV. And the Brewers are again angry about this.
We previously went over how the Brewers taking issue with the Cubs postponing a game at Wrigley Field in May while no rain came has tarnished all the plaudits the Cubs have received forever. Now, the Cubs have again sat on Milwaukee’s head and farted on it.
On Thursday, it was announced that the game next Friday, Sept. 8 has been changed from a 1:20 p.m. start to a 7:05 p.m. first pitch. That will be the first ever regular-season at Wrigley Field played on a Friday night. The Cubs will be returning from a night game in Pittsburgh that Thursday, and baseball being baseball, that game against the Pirates will probably go 14 innings.
The Brewers, meanwhile, are having their curds twisted by this egregious manipulation. They have that Thursday off and an 11:35 a.m. game the Wednesday before that, so the originally scheduled afternoon start in no way cramped their travel schedule and in fact gave them a rest advantage. But it’s the principle of the gosh darn thing.
But it’s not a competitive advantage so much as a lack of a disadvantage for the Cubs. Because playing the Pirates is a division game and, therefore, considered “close enough” geographically, the original scheduling assumes a less-than-arduous trip back home to Chicago for a daytime turnaround. As we know in the post-beer garden era of baseball at Wrigley, the Cubs hate day games that aren’t at the end of a series, particularly on Fridays. The city suits don’t feel the team’s pain and haven’t allowed Friday night games before. There are a finite number of night games granted by the city to the Cubs, and the team asked for a special exemption just this one little time.
“We thank Mayor (Rahm) Emanuel for his receptiveness to address this scheduling issue, which has posed a challenge for Cubs teams over the years when returning home from the road,” Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said. “We are glad to have been able to work together to address this issue and help our team and organization as we compete to play October baseball.”
This is irrelevant to the Brewers, who are angry that the Cubs won’t be as bleary-eyed for that Friday game. To that, I say they can go kick rocks and get over themselves with time for three haircuts between their games.
Cubs brass would be stupid to willfully allow players in a playoff march to have a September game seriously compromised. So the Cubs pulled appropriate strings.
Being angry about that rather than shrugging and being honest with yourself that you would make the same move if in a similar position is pretty silly. Particularly when you play a game in which if you’re not bending every possible rule in your favor, you ain’t trying.
But if that’s the chip the Brewers need on their collective shoulder going forward, fine, whatever. Be the angry little sibling. Your head still smells like farts.
Tim Baffoe is a columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow Tim on Twitter @TimBaffoe. The views expressed on this page are those of the author, not CBS Local Chicago or our affiliated television and radio stations.