Fans can exchange tickets only for 2004

CHICAGO -- As if it wasn't bad enough that the game was postponed, as if it was bad enough that the Cubs potentially will have to win three games in two days to keep their postseason hopes alive, a chunk of die-hard fans turned on the Cubs Friday afternoon.

Following the announcement that Friday's crucial matchup with the Pittsburgh Pirates was postponed until Saturday -- as part of a doubleheader -- fans were told that they could trade in their ticket stubs for tickets to another game.

Next year.

The decision -- as one might expect -- triggered a chorus of boos from Cub fans, who had filled Wrigley Field waiting for a two-hour rainstorm to cease. After the announcement, several fans littered the field with garbage, others ran on the field in protest and yet others stood outside of Wrigley Field screaming their displeasure.

One fan, 29-year-old Anthony Karbucz from Matteson, Ill., spent $800 on four tickets. Next season, they'll be worth some $25 a piece.

"This is a joke -- an absolute joke," Karbucz said. "I don't understand why we can't come tomorrow for the first game and then they let the other fans in for the second game. Typical Cubs. I can't believe this."

Cubs president Andy MacPhail said the team didn't have much of a choice. They already had played their allotment of 18 regular-season night games. Scheduling a day-night doubleheader would have counted as an additional night game, the permission for which would have had to come from the city.

In addition, Saturday's weather isn't supposed to be much better. The Cubs have been told there's a 40 percent chance for showers between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., meaning stretching out a day-night doubleheader would not have been ideal.

"I feel their pain. Trust me, nobody feels worse than I do," MacPhail said. "I wanted this game to be played."

On the field, manager Dusty Baker and the Cubs felt the same way. There are some benefits to Friday's game being pushed back a day -- mainly starting pitcher Mark Prior getting an added day of rest and Moises Alou getting a chance to further heal an injured hand. But all in all, the Cubs wanted to play.

"There's not much you can do -- it is what it is," Baker said. "You just have to have faith that this happened for a reason."

Closer Joe Borowski ignored suggestions that a three-game in two-day scenario puts the Cubs at a decided disadvantage with the Houston Astros, who lost on Friday to fall a half-game behind the Cubs in the NL Central race.

"Sure, you'd like to play one game at a time," he said. "But we didn't expect to be here. So we'll take this any way we can get it. We're loose and ready to play."

A heavy rain began to fall around 2 p.m. local time and didn't stop until 5:30. The game was called at 4 p.m., with intermittent showers expected through the night. "We were told there was zero chance of getting this in," MacPhail said.

The Cubs rule for rainouts is that tickets may be exchanged for another regular-season game. But with both Saturday and Sunday's games against the Pirates already sold out, there are no more tickets available in 2003. One possible resolution MacPhail said he would explore was giving rainout victims some sort of priority if tickets for a potential one-game playoff with the Houston Astros were to be played on Monday.

Yet, he knew an even better solution that would make everyone smile again.

"Get them to a World Series," he said.

Wayne Drehs is a staff writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at wayne.drehs@espn3.com.