Hurricane Ike could alter Cubs' schedule

Hurricane Ike could alter schedule

ST. LOUIS -- The Cubs and Major League Baseball are monitoring Hurricane Ike, which may force the Houston Astros to change the starting times for their weekend series at Minute Maid Park.

The Astros issued a statement on Wednesday, saying there was a possibility the two teams would play at 1:05 p.m. CT on Friday instead of 7:05 p.m. CT at Minute Maid Park. Nothing was said about games scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Pam Gardner, Astros president of business operations, said the change would be made "relative to how the storm is progressing toward the Houston area."

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Wednesday he has been in contact with Katy Feeney, MLB's senior vice president of scheduling and club relations, regarding their options.

"They're going to monitor the situation overnight and let us know [Thursday] if there will be a time change," Hendry said.

That means the Cubs will be watching The Weather Channel closely the next 24 hours.

"I don't want to go," Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot said Wednesday. "To me, I understand why the Astros want to play those games there. They're right there in the Wild Card and playing well. That storm is going to turn, and if it does turn, and they evacuate the city, then what are you going to do? Now we're stuck.

"You hop on a bus and go where -- go with everybody else?" Theriot said. "Take a bus from Houston to Chicago? [Hurricanes] are so hard to predict. The last one was supposed to go west, and it ends up turning and crushing Baton Rouge.

"Once it makes landfall, it could go one way or the other," he said. "I know they have a dome and the rain doesn't affect you, but if you have no power and no cabs to get anything to eat and you're stuck, that's no fun for anybody."

Theriot would know. He's from Louisiana and has lived through several hurricanes.

"Storms are so unpredictable, and you can't tell where they're going to go," he said. "I would hate to get stuck."

The two teams could find a neutral site, or shift the series to Chicago.

"They should probably want to go to Chicago, because they beat us up there last time," Theriot said of the Astros' recent sweep Sept. 12-14 at Wrigley Field.

Micah Hoffpauir lives about 2 1/2 hours northeast of Houston and had his baseball schedule tweaked in 2005 because of Hurricane Katrina.

"I think they'll take their time and make the best decision," Hoffpauir said.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.