The suspense is over and the stage has been set for historic Wrigley Field to move into the modern era.
On Aug. 8 - like it or not - artificial lights will be switched on at the friendly confines for a game between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies.The Cubs made the long awaited announcement Monday and ended speculation as to when the first night game would be played at the corner of Clark and Addison on the city's North Side. Despite opposition a sellout is expected.
"We have reached the point in the lights construction where we can end the suspense," said Don Grenesko, Cubs' vice president for business operations. "We view this as an opportunity for more fans to experience Cubs baseball and a positive step to ensure that our club remains competitive in major league baseball."
As has been the case throughout the long battle over whether or not to install lights at the National League's oldest park and fourth oldest in the majors - behind Comiskey Park on the city's South Side, Fenway Park in Boston and Tiger Stadium in Detroit - the reaction was mixed.
"The park is pretty. I'm looking forward to seeing it under lights," said self-proclaimed bleacher bum Victor Escobedo, 34, who has been attending games at Wrigley for 20 years.
"I've been waiting for this all my life," said another Cub diehard, Marty Mengarelli, 23, of Chicago.
Cub fan and neighborhood resident Dave Gusey, 29, voiced his opposition, saying "they're wrecking a tradition here." He added, however, "I'll go to the games. It's a big part of history."
Wrigley Field, which was built in 1914, was the only major league baseball park without lights until Feb. 25, when the City Council approved the Cubs' plan to hold night games. The Cubs immediately began work to install lights, and the work should be completed by the week of July 18.
There will be six other night games in 1988. And, according to an agreement reached with the City of Chicago, the Cubs can hold 18 night games in 1989.