CHICAGO — Mayor Harold Washington said Friday he would introduce an ordinance allowing the Chicago Cubs to play 18 home games at night in Wrigley Field, the only major league ballpark currently without lights.
The proposal, which will be introduced in a City Council meeting next week, calls for 18 of the National League team's games to be played at night, beginning no later than 7:05 p.m., and seven to begin at 3:05 p.m., down from 29 scheduled at that time.
"In other words, from the standpoint of Wrigley Field neighbors, there will be an improvement, a downscaling of the late-afternoon activities," the mayor said in a statement.
During the 1987 season, 29 of the team's 82 regular-season home games were scheduled to begin at 3:05 p.m., with the rest starting at 1:30 p.m.
Under the new ordinance, there would be no Friday night games and no more than two Saturday night games scheduled each season. Beer sales would be forbidden after the seventh inning or 9:20 p.m., whichever comes first, Washington said.
The mayor also said the city will provide an additional 10 to 12 police officers to monitor the area for two hours after the conclusion of each night game.
Don Grenesko, Cub executive vice president, said it would take four to six months to conduct an engineering study and install lights in the park. But he said he was confident the lights could be in place by opening day in 1988.
Wrigley Field is in a heavily populated residential neighborhood on the city's North Side, where some residents have resisted efforts by the team to install lights.
A city ordinance--as well as a state law until recently--now forbids night baseball at the park.
The Cubs, under financial pressure to hold games at night, when television advertising revenues are higher, have threatened to move to a suburban location if the lights cannot be installed.