The Chicago Cubs will play any postseason games at Busch Stadium in St. Louis rather than at Wrigley Field, their home park that has no lights, the National League announced today.
"I've said for four years it's going to happen. I recognize the lead time to get lights is up," said Dallas Green, the Cubs' president and general manager.
Green said it would take "a small miracle" to get lights installed at Wrigley in time for 1986's playoffs.
In a news release, the league office said the proposal for the Cubs to move postseason games was adopted unanimously May 13 by NL clubs.
Baseball is under a current television contract that requires night telecasts during postseason play. City and state laws prohibit night baseball at Wrigley Field, the only major league ballpark without lights.
"There would have to be plans made, that's why they took the action now," Green said.
NL President Chub Feeney called it "an unfortunate situation, but given the lack of lights at Wrigley Field the best alternative is to have the Cubs play in the nearest NL Eastern Division city." St. Louis is about 300 miles from Chicago.
Green told the Chicago Tribune that the NL "would not allow" the Cubs to play their games in Comiskey Park (home of the Chicago White Sox) or any American League stadium.
The Cubs recently entered into an agreement in principle with the Civic Center Corporation in St. Louis, the owner of Busch Stadium, for use of the facility if the Cubs win their division.
"It was not our decision," Green said. "We've worked very hard to make people understand and it hasn't worked out yet."
"The Cubs had requested Civic Center Corp. to make Busch Stadium available, and we were pleased to oblige, subject only to the Cubs obtaining the approval of the football Cardinals, which has been received. No rescheduling of football games would be required," Mark Sauer, president of Civic Center Corp., said today.
Feeney also expressed hope that the continuing effort by the Cubs to install lights at Wrigley Field would be successful, thus avoiding the need for such action in the future.
When Green was asked if there was any chance of getting lights installed in time for this year's playoffs, he said, "Not now. The deadline was May 1. I don't think it can be done."
The Cubs are currently fifth in the NL East with a 14-20 record.
In 1984, when the Cubs won the NL East title, the major leagues agreed to switch the order of the World Series games so that the team could play the third, fourth and fifth games at home on the weekend, instead of the night games. But the Cubs lost to the San Diego Padres in the NL playoffs.