After playing strictly day games since their first home date in 1876, the Chicago Cubs today filed suit against the City of Chicago and Illinois Gov. Jim Thompson seeking to be allowed to play night baseball at home.
The lawsuit asks the circuit court to block enforcement of city and state laws designed to prevent night games at Wrigley Field, a cozy, ivy-lined stadium built in 1914 on the city's North Side.
The lawsuit says that on Tuesday, the office of baseball Commissioner Peter Ueberroth ordered the Cubs to install lights at the park -- the last in the major leagues without them -- or risk having home playoff games take place elsewhere. Last season, the Cubs, the NL East Division champions, would have been denied one of four home World Series dates they were entitled to had they advanced that far because the team could not play home games at night.
In a prepared statement, the commissioner's office said: "If we cannot play our normal league championship series and World Series games at night, baseball will be delinquent in its obligation to the fans across the country who are available in the greatest numbers at those times. In addition, baseball's revenue will be seriously impaired."
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the club by Lawrence Gunnels, vice president and general counsel for Tribune Co., owner of the club.
The lawsuit contends that preventing night baseball at Wrigley Field will harm the Cubs if they make the playoffs or World Series by denying them the home-field advantage.
Many of the residents near Wrigley Field have said that they are afraid night games would threaten the community's peace and safety and cause damage to property.