Epstein: 'Unreasonable' For Cubs To Play Thursday

With the weather iffy, the Cubs hope to to avoid playing in Washington.

Bernstein & McKnight Show
September 12, 2018 - 10:47 am
Nationals Park

Amber Searls/USA Today Sports

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(670 The Score) The Cubs are still waiting on word from Major League Baseball on a scheduled makeup game against the Nationals on Thursday afternoon in Washington D.C., which is part of a region currently being threatened by Hurricane Florence.

After dealing with two rainouts and multiple delays in a four-game series with the Nationals last weekend -- that amid a stretch of 30 days without a scheduled off day -- the Cubs are hoping for a reasonable contingency plan to make up Sunday's postponed game at Nationals Park. The threat of weather in Washington on Thursday is what the Cubs have outlined to MLB, in addition to the fact they have games to be played in Chicago on Wednesday night and Friday afternoon.

Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein outlined the situation with the Bernstein & McKnight Show on Wednesday morning, explaining the team's concern over adverse and potentially dangerous weather in Washington.

"We've certainly been making that argument strongly," Epstein said. "I think the counter-argument is that the storm has veered a little bit south and that D.C. may not be dramatically affected tomorrow and that more time is required to see exactly what the forecast is before we make that decision. 

"I know (MLB) would not send us into a situation with any danger or risk. And then I cannot imagine that they would send us into a situation where there's a chance of rain given what we experienced in Washington last weekend and given the situation that would create 30 straight days with a game scheduled in the middle of a pennant race, which is just about unprecedented. 

"The first step is wait and see what the decision is, and we're all counting on common sense to rule the day. If we get into that position, there will certainly be a conversation with our players to talk about what the right thing to do is. Again, Major League Baseball won't send our players to a situation that's dangerous, and we certainly wouldn't either. So absolutely there would be a conversation with our players before we determine what to do. Right now, we're in a wait-and-see mode hoping for a common sense solution."

The Cubs enter Wednesday with a two-game lead over the Brewers after their 3-0 victory on Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. They have maintained first place in the NL Central despite a difficult stretch of games only further exasperated by potentially losing their off day Thursday.

Cubs pitching coach Jim Hickey told the Mully & Haugh Show that the team is packing to be ready to arrive at Wrigley Field on Wednesday for a trip to Washington after the game. It remains to be seen when MLB will finalize its decision, though that will have to come sometime Wednesday.

Because of the circumstances with the weather and a lack of rest, the Cubs have requested for the game to be played Monday, Oct. 1, a day after the regular season comes to a close, a scenario that would allow the Cubs to receive their Thursday off day and handle the makeup game in Washington as necessary with respect to their place in the standings.

"Our position is that the game should be played the day after the season, just because of the burden of 30 consecutive days with games scheduled and the risk of flying in for a one-off with the possibility of a rain delay given what we went through," Epstein said. "But that's not the rule and that's not the way it's being enforced right now.

"We're in discussions with Major League Baseball awaiting their decision on the forecast and trying to make our case that it's unreasonable to ask this group of players to go 30 straight days with a game scheduled and possibly fly back to Washington and sit in a rain delay once again given the night game tonight and day game on Friday."