Tuesday, April 5, 2011

2011 Night Games

The following is a list by rank of the number of scheduled night home games for each team during this 2011 season.

1. Florida Marlins – 66
2. Arizona Diamonbacks – 65
3. Baltimore Orioles – 64
4. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim – 62
5. Texas Rangers – 61
6. Kansas City Royals – 60
T-7. Atlanta Braves – 59
T-7. Houston Astros – 59
T-7. Los Angeles Dodgers – 59
10. Philadelphia Phillies – 58
11. Pittsburgh Pirates – 57
T-12. San Diego Padres – 55
T-12. Cleveland Indians – 55
T-12. Chicago White Sox – 55
T-12. Boston Red Sox – 55
16. Milwaukee Brewers – 54
T-17. Tampa Bay Rays – 53
T-17. Seattle Mariners – 53
T-19. St. Louis Cardinals – 52
T-19. Colorado Rockies – 52
T-19. Cincinnati Reds – 52
22. New York Mets – 51
23. Washington Nationals – 50
T-24. San Francisco Giants – 49
T-24. Toronto Blue Jays – 49
T-26. New York Yankees – 48
T-26. Minnesota Twins – 48
28. Detroit Tigers – 47
29. Oakland Athletics – 44
30. Chicago Cubs – 28

Yes sir, there are our beloved Cubbies sitting in dead last, far behind the rest of the league.  The Cubs actually have one night game more than last year (progress?) in addition to hosting their first weekend night game in history.  Thanks to neighborhood organizations, the Cubs haven’t been allowed to host weekend night games before, or have many during the week either.  But hopefully the Ricketts will make night games happen.

Meanwhile, the rest of the teams have night games around two thirds of the time.  The Florida Marlins top the list at 66 night games, leaving only 14 day games and one game to be determined.  The only Marlins day games are on Sundays, which is when all teams play in the afternoon except for the one featured on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball.  Other teams, like the Cubs, have afternoon games on the last day of a midweek series, also known as the ‘getaway day’.  Having a day game on a getaway day allows the teams to travel to their next destinations during the day instead of late at night.  In the summer, there are many more afternoon games as franchises capitalize on sunny weather and the young’uns off from school.

Day games have a special place in baseball lore and American tradition, but night games are the way to go.  You have to remember why these games are even held in the first place.  Money.  And these days, the money is under the lights and not the sun.  Night games get better TV ratings, especially during the week, and better attendance most of the time.  Day games get great attendance – on Saturday or Sunday.  Besides that, it’s tough to fill a park when everyone’s either at work or school. 

The Cubs were baseball’s worst home team in 2010.  While they were decent on the road, the team finished at 35-46 at Wrigley Field.  They were the only team to finish with less than 40 home wins.  Could this have had something to do with the lack of night games?  Scott Rolen pointed out that the players’ pregame routines have to be shortened and less extensive every time there’s a day game.  Rolen thought the Cubs’ struggles at home were partially because of the number of night games, and he just might be right.

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