We'll never know exactly why the Cubs went 108 years between World Series championships.

But Joe Maddon has a theory, even if he was half (or mostly?) joking.

The Cubs play a ton of day games at Wrigley Field — almost half (38, or 47 percent) of their 81 home games begin in the afternoon.

Many — including Kerry Wood — have come out and said the overabundance of day games at Wrigley Field has contributed to the Cubs' lack of championships over the last century-plus.

While Maddon has never actually used afternoon start times as an excuse, he punctuated his 15-minute pregame media session Friday by joking it has not been a wise endeavor. He also brushed off the notion that the Cubs' opponents are at any sort of disadvantage by coming into Chicago and playing more day games than normal.

"They're only here for a couple days," Maddon said. "They get through it and they move back to a normal schedule. I think 107 years indicates that it wasn't such a good idea."

It wasn't exactly a mic drop, but Maddon laughed and walked out of the room, figuring nothing else needed to be added.

The typical schedule around Major League Baseball is night games during weekdays, except for "getaway day" when teams have to travel to get to the next city on the schedule. Many teams even play evening games on Saturdays, but every team plays a day game on Sunday except for the one national TV contest on ESPN.

 

The Cubs play day games nearly every Friday and Saturday. Add in those "getaway days," Sundays and holidays plus the two Crosstown games — the Cubs don't like the rowdy potential of Cubs-Sox games being played at night in Wrigleyville — and it makes sense how the Cubs can have almost half their games at the Friendly Confines completed before the sun goes down.

The Cubs also have the city working against them as the Wrigleyville neighborhood only allows so many night games, though the organization is hoping to increase that number from 43 to 54, which would represent the league average for night games.

"We just play too many day games during the week," Maddon said. "We just do. I'm just being honest. Guys need their rest. When you're constantly going night-day or day-day-day and it's hot during the summertime, it matters."

Maddon is all about rest for his players, as evidenced by how cautious he's been of them during his time here in Chicago. He routinely is monitoring players' off-days and workloads and as a result, the Cubs have seen strong results in August and September (and in the postseason) over the last few seasons.

The big-league season is a grind of 162 games in 183 days. Throw in seven weeks of spring training and then nearly five weeks in the postseason last year for the Cubs and the game takes a serious toll on its players.

Even if he can't get more night games right now, Maddon has made it a point to try to get consistent start times for his team since arriving in Chicago in 2015 and this weekend against the Nationals features three straight 1:20 p.m. start times.

But two weekends ago, the Cubs had three separate start times for three games against the St. Louis Cardinals due to national TV broadcasts.

"It'd be wonderful if we could get to a more conventional method regarding number of night games vs. day games," Maddon said. "If not, then we'll just have to deal with it. We did OK last year. Moving forward, when you're able to just come to the ballpark a little bit later, get your proper rest and then just be a human being. Get your laundry done, go shopping, get your hair cut. All those things. Seriously.

"There's just no time, so you have to take advantage on the road when you actually have more night games and you're able to sleep and catch up on your rest and you come back home knowing it's gonna be more hectic. 

"Listen, it's no big secret and I'd be disingenuous if I told you something differently. I'm not blaming anybody; this is not pointing fingers. It's not saying we're not winning because of that. I just think it's a better method. It permits your players more consistent rest at home.

"For me, I'd love to just see day games on Saturdays and Sundays only. I don't mind the getaway weekday game as being a day game and I don't mind the holidays, but I think this constantly having to get up and rush to the ballpark and not having a normal method during the course of the day because then you go on the road and it's entirely differente."