First later Friday game does well at gate

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Cubs have already seen dividends from the city approving more night games at Wrigley Field.

As part of negotiations this summer for the renovation of Wrigley Field, the city approved more night games starting next season and the right to move six Friday start times this season to 3:05 p.m., the first being the opener of the Pirates series. That came right in the middle of the long July 4th weekend.

Whether it was the holiday or the late start time, or a mixture of both, the Cubs had walk-up sales of "around 3,900" tickets for that game, according to Cubs spokesman Julian Green.

That's significant, considering a good walk-up crowd this season is between 1,500 and 2,000, according to Green, and tickets were priced at the second-highest tier for the game.

That walk-up crowd boosted the total to 38,615 fans for their 6-2 loss to Pittsburgh. That's well above their average, which was 32,636 going into Sunday's game. Considering the Cubs are drawing nearly 5,000 fewer fans per game than they were averaging at this point last year, all latecomers are welcome.