Cubs’ New Retina-Shredding Lights Are Causing Easily Fixable Problems: It’s 2023

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The Chicago Cubs have a bit of a weird history with stadium lights, and the latest chapter in it is occurring right now.

The Cubs quite famously never played a night game at Wrigley Field until 1988. That’s a solid 74 years after they moved into the place.

For this season, the team upgraded their lighting setup, with a collection of LED lights.

If you’ve ever been driving and had a car with LED headlights come the other way toward you, you know that they will sear the inside of your eyeballs if you’re not careful.

However, if you’re trying to efficiently light a baseball field, that’s pretty great for fans, broadcasters, and players alike… except for corner outfielders trying to track flyballs.

That’s what’s happening at Wrigley Field now. Fly balls that go above the lights momentarily disappear for left and right fielders.

Cubs night game.
The Chicago Cubs didn’t play a night game at home until 1988: (JONATHAN DANIEL/ALLSPORT US)

Part of the problem is that Wrigley Field’s lights are fairly low. That means it takes considerably less oomph to get above “disappearing altitude” than at other parks. There also aren’t any lights in the outfield to provide some helpful backlighting.

Additionally, some fans have complained, that the lights are so bright, they make the stands and concourse feel much darker.

They’re trying to work this out now. According to The Chicago Sun-Times, Ian Happ was in left field after one recent game in full uniform catching flyballs that were launched skyward by a pitching machine, all in hopes of solving the problem.

The Cubs and Major League Baseball performed a light audit — something done at each park, every other year — this week, and will wait for those results before making any changes.

Stay tuned, but it’s 2023 and while Wrigley Field is an older, iconic ballpark, a major change seems to be inevitable.

Follow on Twitter: @Matt_Reigle

Written by Matt Reigle

Matt is a University of Central Florida graduate and a long-suffering Philadelphia Flyers fan living in Orlando, Florida. He can usually be heard playing guitar, shoe-horning obscure quotes from The Simpsons into conversations, or giving dissertations to captive audiences on why Iron Maiden is the greatest band of all time.

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