Cubs manager Joe Maddon said he didn’t like the 3:05 p.m. Friday game times last year, and the team’s business side listened – moving all Friday games back to 1:20 p.m. starts this season.
“Our No. 1 goal is winning games, and when Joe said in his view consistency of schedule would help us win games, it became easy,” business president Crane Kenney said of the decision, speaking with reporters after the business ops session Saturday at Cubs Convention.
Kenney said the move in recent years to the 3:05 times was the result of surveying fans’ preferences.
“It’s not easy to tell our fans we’re not giving you what you want, but what they ultimately want is winning,” he said. “It’s a tradeoff.”
Other news and notes from Saturday’s convention sessions:
–Co-owner Todd Ricketts told a story from the playoffs about his French Canadian, hockey-fan wife, who rarely gets impassioned about baseball but who made an exception after her experiences with Mets fans in New York. “I don’t know if you now this, but Mets fans are really, really obnoxious,” he said, before describing a quiet evening in his living room watching Mets pitcher Matt Harvey refuse to leave Game 5 just ahead of giving up the lead that gave the Royals the title. “I’m telling you when [Royals runner Eric] Hosmer’s left hand went across home plate, my wife jumped up and pointed at the TV and she said, `Screw you, Matt Harvey! Screw you, Mets fans!’ “ Ricketts said.
–Chairman Tom Ricketts said the club is sensitive to the sound-system problems that plagued Wrigleyville after the new video board was installed last year and continues to work to improve the volume issues. A new sound system is scheduled to be ready for 2017.
–Pitching coach Chris Bosio revealed that Trevor Cahill turned down a two-year offer of a starting job from the Pirates to stay with the Cubs’ bullpen on a one-year deal ($4.25 million).
–Ballpark operations boss Carl Rice said seats being removed and replaced during the renovation will be offered for sale first to corresponding season-ticket holders and then to the rest of the public – a five-year process.
–In the wake of Ryne Sandberg rejoining the organization, a fan asked former Sandberg teammate Davey Martinez a thinly veiled question about the long-standing rumor of a rift between the two dating to their Cub playing careers — and whether they’d buried the hatchet. “That was buried a long time ago,” the Cubs’ coach said.