WRIGLEYVILLE — Hoping to give the Cubs a boost over the rival Milwaukee Brewers, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday the city would allow the team to move their game scheduled for the afternoon of Sept. 8 to that evening.
The Cubs will take on the Milwaukee Brewers at 7:05 p.m. Sept. 8 after what Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) "one-time exemption of the Friday night game prohibition."
"Night events have been an issue for many years for our neighbors and non-Cubs related businesses," Tunney said. "I hope a one-time exemption of the Friday night game prohibition will further ensure a playoff berth for our Cubs."
The change was made to spur the Cubs to victory as they are "locked in a race for the National League Central Division Championship, and with a trip to the postseason on the line," according to a statement from the mayor's office.
The Brewers are scheduled to have Sept. 7 off, perhaps giving them an advantage over the Cubs, who are set to play a night game in Pittsburgh. Making it back to Chicago for the originally scheduled 1:20 p.m. first pitch would have put the team in a time crunch.
"The Cubs winning ballgames is a winner for the city too," Emanuel said. "With the Cubs in the thick of the pennant race, we're going to make sure the Cubs can focus on doing what they need to do: winning ballgames and bringing another World Series back to Chicago."
Even with the change — which must be approved by the City Council Sept. 6 — the Cubs will not exceed the limit of 47 night events at Wrigley Field. That cap puts the team "at a firm disadvantage compared to other teams in Major League Baseball," Cubs spokesman Julian Green said in July, at the height of tensions between the World Series champions.
Crane Kenney, the team's president of baseball operations, thanked Emanuel for addressing what he called "a scheduling issue, which has posed a challenge for Cubs teams over the years when returning home from the road."
“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,” 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,”
The team has asked for 54 night events.
In July, the team's management asked the city to allow the team to play more night games, prompting a furious response from Emanuel, who told reporters that the team would have to "live with the consequences" of choosing to hold 10 concerts.
The team keeps all of the revenue from concerts — while proceeds from games are split with Major League Baseball.
Emanuel and the Cubs have clashed in recent months over security in and around Wrigley Field.
In June, city officials asked the Cubs to develop a plan to protect the thousands of fans drawn to Wrigley Field by the new Park at Wrigley plaza outside the storied ballpark.
The Cubs and city officials have been at odds over the plaza, which city law limits to ticket holders on game days and concerts at the ballpark. Cubs officials had hoped to "create a public park open to everyone year-round."
In response to the city's demands, the Cubs renewed their request for Addison and Clark to be closed on game days to protect fans, a move that Emanuel has resisted.
Wrigley Field's first night game was in 1988, after decades of effort from the club to lift the ban originally set in place out of respect to the neighborhood that surrounds the ballpark and to honor the tradition of day games at Wrigley. The team was first allowed to schedule 18 night games per year, a number that has increased slowly over the past three decades.
The Cubs and Wrigley Field are 95 percent owned by an entity controlled by a trust established for the benefit of the family of Joe Ricketts, owner and CEO of DNAinfo.com. Joe Ricketts has no direct involvement in the management of the iconic team.