The Cubs and Brewers may be in the middle of one of the most pointless, boring, and ridiculous feuds in baseball right now. Actually, it might soon take its place as one of the most pointless “feuds” in baseball history, the way things are going.
With teams fighting for playoff position heading into September and focused on every possible advantage to exploit right now, tensions are definitely higher. But that doesn’t excuse the absolutely absurd squabbling happening between these two teams.
It all started way back in May, when a game between the two teams at Wrigley Field was called off due to weather before game time. The issue, from the Brewers’ perspective, was that there was no confirmed proof that weather was going to be an issue for the game.
At the time, Milwaukee GM David Stearns was highly skeptical of the Cubs’ weather forecasts, saying,
“Clearly, the Cubs were looking at a weather forecast that made them think it was going to rain. Our weather forecast did not indicate that. I think there were five or seven other forecasts that also did not indicate that. Ultimately, it’s the Cubs’ call.
We were a little surprised the game was called as early as it was. I’m sure they had their reasons to do it. Obviously, it didn’t rain. So, from our standpoint, we would have preferred to play yesterday. I talked with some guys with the Cubs. They knew how we felt. That's one of the earliest games I've ever been involved with that was called. That surprised me a little bit."
In one quote, you have Stearns casting doubt on the Cubs’ ability to look at a weather report, throwing shade at their reasoning, and letting the press know that the Brewers let the Cubs know how annoyed they were about this postponement.
Great statement by Stearns, it accomplished what the Brewers wanted at the time and it was pointed enough that things should have just been dropped from there.
Unfortunately, that rescheduled game ended up taking away a day of rest for the Brewers before the All-Star Game, a decision that further pissed off Milwaukee .
Now, the two teams are set to play another series starting Sept. 8. Originally the opening game was meant to be played as an afternoon game with a 1:20 CT start but the Cubs decided that wasn’t ideal since they were traveling back to Chicago from Pittsburgh the night before.
The Cubs asked the city whether they could add another night game to their schedule this year (which is a whole other pointless fight happening in the Cubs’ orbit) and were granted it, after which the team moved the game to a night game.
It will be the first Friday night game ever played at Wrigley Field because of the city’s ban on Friday night games, which would be a cool fact if it didn’t mean the bad blood between these teams has also flared up again. Now, the Brewers are accusing the Cubs of moving the game to increase their competitive advantage in the matchup.
Milwaukee is claiming that the Cubs shouldn’t get the extra time to rest, which is a strange bone to pick considering the Brewers have Thursday off completely so they already have way more rest than Chicago would even with the change.
Based on reports, it also seems that the Cubs were always planning on requesting this schedule change with the league and the city but they had to make sure ESPN wasn’t planning on featuring them on Sunday Night Baseball before wasting their night game allotment that the city tallies.
Which means that the Cubs hoping for a competitive advantage to help them in the standings isn’t even a completely realistic accusation since they couldn’t have known for sure whether such an advantage was even necessary in May or June, when they allegedly wanted to originally request the switch.
Furthermore, the league has to approve all time change requests even when a home team is trying to shift things, so if there were any merit with the Brewers’ complaints the Commissioner’s Office and its many departments would probably have spoken up.
The Cubs have a 3.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central right now, so no one is disputing Milwaukee’s claims that this game matters. But a concern that shifting a game from day to night, with a week’s notice and the away team already having a day off prior, just doesn’t hold water.
It’s not a getaway day for the Brewers either, as they will be in Chicago all weekend for the series. While waiting to reschedule things until a week in advance might qualify as an annoyance, it’s not like the Cubs tried to move a night game earlier in the day to mess up an opponent’s travel plans. So this requiring an all out behind-the-scenes-feud is a stretch.
Reports say the Brewers “vigorously objected” to the game time being changed. Nothing here requires vigorous objection. Save that energy for the actual game.
Fans from both sides are making their cases online, with some on the Milwaukee side absolutely certain the Cubs are doing this on purpose.
But even if they are, rescheduling a game to slightly later in the day isn’t a conspiracy theory to waste this much time on. Based on how both sides are reportedly acting behind the scenes, there isn’t even a good team to root for in this situation.
The only good result would be if the game got rained out and all of the current infighting were for nothing. Although, if that happens, we run the risk of one side accusing the other of manipulating the weather and then we’re back where we started.