Baseball fans’ tastes for Worcester Red Sox games are as different as day and night when it comes to tee times

WORCESTER — Here’s a classic sports question: What was the digital date for the first night game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field?

Do not cheat. Put down your phone. Don’t ask Siri or Google. Give it a minute before continuing to read. . .

Ready?

Answer: 08/08/88.

Worcester's Jeter Downs celebrates after landing a dive in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader.

However, the game between the Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies was called off due to rain late in the fourth inning, so it was not an official game. The following night, the Cubs defeated the New York Mets, 6-4, in what is considered the first official game.

It’s an interesting piece of baseball history, especially since the Cubs were the last major league team to play all day. MLB’s first night game was in 1935 in Cincinnati.

Night games under the lights are part of the whole baseball experience. Seeing a baseball stadium lit up at night is as exciting as fireworks from afar. It doesn’t matter whether you’re driving the Mass Pike near Fenway Park or speeding down Rt. 290 past Polar Park, it can be an exciting visual thrill.

Worcester's Ryan Fitzgerald avoids Buffalo's first baseman pick LJ Talley.

Think of the final scene in “Field of Dreams” with a line of cars heading to Ray Kinsella’s farm to watch a baseball game under the lights. The movie character listened to the voices, built a baseball stadium in a cornfield, and the fans left.

Playing times vary in the real world of baseball. On Wednesday, the WooSox held a rare midday game in April at Polar Park. Like all professional teams, the WooSox have different playing times on their schedule for the 2022 season, including start times of 12:15 p.m., 1:05 p.m., 3:05 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 6:45 p.m.

Worcester's Jeter Downs hits a home run in Game 1 of Wednesday's doubleheader against Buffalo at Polar Park.

In the team’s inaugural season in 2021, 6:35 p.m. was the normal start time for night games. It was changed to 6:45 a.m. this season because the team realized fans were arriving closer to 7 p.m.

When the WooSox travel to Toledo next week, all six games will be played at different times, including 11:05 a.m., 12:05 p.m., 2:05 p.m., 5:05 p.m., 6:35 p.m. and 7:05 p.m.

Worcester's Jeter Downs takes a dive in the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader.

So what’s the best time of day to play baseball?

Obviously, fans have different tastes when it comes to playing time, depending on several factors. For Red Sox chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom, who was in attendance for Wednesday’s doubleheader at Polar Park, it’s simple.

“My response was different before I had young kids,” Bloom said with a smile. “I now prefer early evening starts, both so they can watch a bit, and I hang around a bit less the next morning when they wake me up.”

The baseball executive also understands that most of the game’s dramatic and heroic moments happen on the big stage.

“If you’re my age, or maybe a bit older, you associate most of the biggest games with night games,” Bloom said. “The greatest moments are usually under the lights.”

Hudson's Linda Horton and Dave Sheehan grab a refreshment while attending Wednesday's WooSox opener at Polar Park.

It was an impressive crowd for a cold noon game in late April at Polar Park. Dave Sheehan and Linda Horton, both of Hudson, are neighbors and share subscriptions.

“We’re having a great time,” Horton said, sipping his half-yarder of beer. “I prefer a day game, because I don’t like driving in the dark.”

Sheehan, a lifelong baseball fan, is a purist.

“For me, it’s evening, under the lights, summer night, having a beer and coming to Polar Park on a Friday night with fireworks. It’s awesome,” Sheehan said. gave up my share of Fenway subscriptions after 15 years to come here, because I wanted the new experience, which is an authentic feeling here, rather than too commercial. It’s a real authentic quality here.

Sheehan’s right, it’s always better with a beer.

Contact Joe McDonald at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JoeyMacHockey.

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