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Professional

MLB: Change of venue needed for Cubs-Nationals

The Cubs can’t complain or cry about the decision to postpone Sunday’s game in Washington because of the nonstop rain.

And they won’t complain or cry about losing their off day and having to fly back to Washington Thursday to play a late afternoon makeup game.

But they should complain and cry about MLB’s decision to play the game in Washington with a potential Category 4 or 5 hurricane bearing down on the mid-Atlantic states.

Hurricane Florence is expected to hit land south of Washington, but playing dodgeball with a hurricane is the best-case scenario. The Cubs would have to get in town, get the game in and leave before the heavy rain and winds hit the area. The worst-case scenario is they would spend even more time waiting out a rain delay, compounding the half-day rain delays from Friday through Sunday, and have the whole trip go for naught.

Switching it to a day game in Chicago, or even in Milwaukee if the Nationals are worried about giving the Cubs home-field advantage, makes much more sense. It’s not unprecedented, and it’s obviously doable.

Last year MLB switched a mid-September Marlins-Brewers series from Miami to Milwaukee because of Hurricane Irma, and an Astros-Rangers series to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., due to Hurricane Harvey.

In 2004 they moved a Marlins home game against the Cubs to Wrigley Field due to Hurricane Frances, and a pair of home games against the Expos to U.S. Cellular Field due to Hurricane Ivan. The Cubs and Astros relocated from Minute Maid Park to Miller Park in 2008 due to Hurricane Ike, playing a game that resulted in Carlos Zambrano tossing a no-hitter. The teams played another game on Monday and simply cancelled the third game, leaving both with 161 games that season.

Of course, it would be much easier for MLB to simply schedule the Cubs-Nationals game for the day after the end of the regular season and then cancel it if it has no implications in the National League playoff race or for best record, but that would be too easy.

The Nationals are in Philadelphia on Wednesday, where rain is expected most of the week. They’d have to fly to Chicago (or Milwaukee or wherever) for a makeup game Thursday, then fly south to Atlanta to start a weekend series against the Braves. The Cubs are home all week, so obviously they’d be set if they played at home or in a nearby venue.

Maybe the Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks would complain and cry, but so be it.

If MLB doesn’t come up with a better solution than playing on Thursday in Washington, maybe the Cubs should just forfeit the game to make a point.

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