Cubs celebrate Wrigley Field's first night game

August 8, 2008 3:55:05 PM PDT
Twenty years ago today the Cubs played their first game under the lights at Wrigley Field. Some members of the organization want the city to allow more night games at the Friendly Confines each season. But not everyone is happy with that idea.It was like the dawn of a new age 20 years ago when the Cubs turned on the lights at Wrigley Field's first night game. Many who opposed the lights found it fitting that the game was rained out.

Even though neighborhood resident Charlotte Neufeld's group Citizens United for Baseball and Sunshine lost its battle, she believes they won a number of victories for the neighborhood just by fighting.

"People got together and people decided to stay in this neighborhood," said Neufeld, "and we were able to choose it, because the ordinance was constitutional. Neighborhood protections, they were recognized nationally."

The Cubs are not celebrating the 20-year anniversary formally, but it coincides with their most recent overture to the city to let them play weekend night games.

"I think we all need those night games for more business to try and keep people longer. They play their night games on Mondays and Tuesdays, and the game ends at 10 at night and everybody goes home," said Joe Spagnoli, Yak-zies owner.

Cubs legend Ernie Banks threw out the first pitch at the first night game, and he believes that night games are good for the team and fans, although he has good memories of playing day baseball at Wrigley.

"The team needs an opportunity to get more rest, so we need a few more night games," said Banks.

Just the idea of weekend night games has Neufeld talking about resurrecting her neighborhood opposition group.

"Reneging on an agreement that was made--and the silliest of reasons, that the ball players are tired. Well, for that money, let them get tired," said Neufeld.


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