The Chicago Cubs are pencilled in to host the St Louis Cardinals in the only MLB game scheduled for the Thursday following the 2018 All-Star break, and they are not happy about it.
Per the collective bargaining agreement, a single prime time game, called the "spotlight game", will be held on the Thursday coming out of the break starting next season, replacing the Sunday night game that preceded the break this year.
A team can appear in only one of these games over the term of the labour deal, which expires after the 2021 season, so the Cubs and Cardinals will not have to worry about it after next season.
Still, the reigning champions at Wrigley Field are irked about getting a shorter mid-season breather.
"I think it's brutal," Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said, per the Chicago Tribune. "I think it's awful. Look at this year. We needed that [four-day] break."
Cubs manager Joe Maddon added: "I don't think it's a good idea. I'll say that."
While the schedule has not been finalised, according to the version that has been circulating, the Cubs will finish the first half of the season in San Diego.
And with the All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. and the Thursday game against the Cardinals, that is a lot of travel for some of the players on the team.
Popularity has its consequences, second baseman Ben Zobrist realised.
"We don't want to miss that day [off]," Zobrist said. "We don't want to have to play that day when no one else is playing. ... [But] If you're on one of those teams that has to play that game, it's probably because you're on a good team or a team that everyone likes to watch. It's one of those things you have to accept."