Cubs get the rarest of ‘Friday Night Lights’ for a second-straight year
CHICAGO — For a second-straight year in the regular season, the Cubs are going under the “Friday Night Lights.”
On Wednesday night, the team announced that their game against the Reds on Friday, scheduled initially for 1:20 p.m., has been pushed back to a 7:05 p.m. evening start. The game will air on WGN-TV.
This has been done since the Cubs will have to travel back from Washington D.C. Thursday night after making up a postponed game from Sunday with the Nationals. Joe Maddon’s team will leave Chicago to play that contest once their Wednesday night game with the Brewers at Wrigley Field has concluded.
Night games on Friday nights require a special exemption from the Chicago City Council, since it’s against the original agreement for night baseball at Wrigley Field during the regular season. Last year they granted the Cubs a special exemption to the Cubs to play a Friday evening game against the Brewers on September 8th since the team was traveling back from Pittsburgh after a night game.
The move was made to aid the Cubs’ eventual successful pursuit of the National League Central division championship.
That was the first ever regular season Friday night game played at Wrigley Field, with the other three coming in the playoff, and each marking significant moments in the franchises’ history.
Mark Prior was the start of the first Friday night game at Wrigley Field on on October 3, 2003 against the Braves in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.
The pitcher went the distance in a 3-1 victory over Atlanta that gave the Cubs a 2-1 series lead, the team’s first home playoff win in 14 years. The Cubs would go onto beat the Braves in five games for their first playoff series win in 95 years before losing to the Marlins in heartbreaking fasion in the National League Championship Series.
Thirteen years and four days later, the Cubs played their next Friday night game against the Giants as they opened the NLDS on October 7, 2016.
A great pitcher’s duel ensued on a cool night at Wrigley Field between Jon Lester and Johnny Cueto before Javier Baez played the hero. The infielder smacked a ball to left through a strong wind blowing in and dropped it into the basket for a solo homer to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.
Aroldis Chapman made it hold up in the ninth as the Cubs went onto win the series against the Giants in four games.
Three weeks later, the Cubs played their first World Series game at Wrigley Field in 71 years on Friday, October 28th .
Even with the wind howling out, the pitchers dominated the evening, with the Indians scratching across a run in the seventh to grab a 1-0 lead. It was the same score in the ninth when the Cubs put runners on second and third with two outs, but Cody Allen struck out Javier Baez to give the Indians the win and a 2-1 series lead.