World Series Games 4 and 5 Should Be Day Games
While baseball had its first ever night game on May 24, 1935, there would not be a night game played at Wrigley Field until August 8, 1988. Until this day, the Cubs still play a majority of their home games at night. Day games have been as much a part of Wrigley Field and the Chicago Cubs as the ivy that adorns the brick outfield wall, the center field bleachers, the rooftop seats, Harry Caray and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” or Ernie Banks saying, “Lets play two!”
These day games are part of the romanticism that is the Chicago Cubs. It is part of the romanticism that has swept up much of the country looking on to see if the Cubs can win their first World Series since 1908. If we are all tuning in to watch the Cubs win the World Series, shouldn’t we be watching games at Wrigley Field the way they were intended to be seen?
Note, this isn’t the typical plea for earlier start times because East Coast fans don’t like having to stay up past midnight for long postseason games. It also isn’t a plea for earlier start times to permit younger fans to actually watch the game. While both of these instances would be beneficial to those groups, they also ignore the reality of the modern world. Ultimately, ratings and revenues are what drives start times for baseball games. Still, as we saw with Game 2 of the World Series, a start time could be moved up if it is deemed to be in everyone’s best interest.
The argument for it being in everyone’s best interest is it is quite possible playing World Series day games at Wrigley Field could actually draw in more viewers. Fans may very well be more interested in seeing day games at a park that day games were meant to be played. It would also be interesting to see if baseball can continue to get higher ratings than the NFL. But therein lies the problem.
Fox has football contracts with both the NCAA and the NFL. On the NCAA front, Fox would rather air the Big 12 games during the day and play the World Series game at night. Obviously, Fox is going to show its 1:00 and 4:00 NFL games on Sunday while hoping the World Series can outdraw NBC’s Sunday Night Game. Overall, it is better for Fox to have football on during the day and the World Series on during the night. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it still remains a missed opportunity for Major League Baseball.
It is a shame because day games are supposed to be played at Wrigley, and as it turns out the Cubs make the World Series seemingly once a century. This year would’ve been a great time for an exception to 8:00 start times for World Series games; at least for the two weekend games. Unfortunately, we aren’t going to get it, and for that, the baseball fans are worse off.