We’ve entered into an alternate dimension: The Cardinals are the home team at Wrigley Field
The St. Louis Cardinals missed so many baseball games thanks to a COVID-19 outbreak in their clubhouse that they now have to play home games away from their friendly confines of Busch Stadium. With yet another doubleheader on their slate on Monday, the Cards had a rare home-away split with the Chicago Cubs. Thankfully, no one had to make the near five-hour drive from St. Louis to Wrigleyville.
For the first time since 1898, the Cardinals were the home team for a game in Chicago. For scheduling reasons, the Cubs hit first in their own empty stadium, proving once and for all how weird baseball is in 2020.
So, why were the Cardinals the home team at Wrigley Field?
The Cardinals, like every MLB team, were supposed to get in 30 home games in the shortened 60-game regular season. Now, having missed two weeks of action limits the number of home dates available, meaning the Cards will just have to make due with a couple road contests in unfamiliar territory. In a season without fans, that shouldn’t be as tough as usual.
It’s the first time the Cubs bat first in their own ballpark since July 16, 1908 against the New York Giants. The rule that a home team must bat in the bottom of the inning wasn’t implemented until around 1950, per baseball historians. Thus, such a decision could have been determined by something as simple as a coin flip. Yes, really.
Despite playing ten less games than their competition, the Cardinals are well within striking distance in the NL Central, assuming they keep winning. Entering the night, St. Louis was just 3.5 games behind the Cubs, and can narrow that gap very quickly this week with a four-game series on the North Side of Chicago.