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Milton repealed

No light, but rather darkness visible. When he penned this line in ''Paradise Lost,'' 17th-century poet John Milton wasn't thinking about Chicago's Wrigley Field. But it's the only major league baseball field in which darkness, not light, is visible after sunset: It alone has no light fixtures.

Next year may be different. Television networks with commercials to sell, the major leagues, and the Cubs want Milton repealed, so to speak. Under prodding by the league commissioner, the Cubs have gone to court to circumvent laws that block installation of lights. Otherwise the Cubs will have to play any postseason games at night in other parks, giving networks a larger advertising revenue since night games attract more viewers.

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Wrigley Field's neighbors and more than a few fans think Milton is right and commercialism is wrong. They're expected to try to block the Cubs in court. Daylight games are as much a part of Wrigley's charm as its ivy-covered outfield wall into which baseballs occasionally disappear during games. And they don't want the noise of night games in their residential neighborhood.

We agree. Baseball should be a good neighbor. Besides, there is more to the game than just money. Tradition has its role, and the Cubs' tradition of day-only games, formerly insisted on by longtime owner Phil Wrigley, should be adhered to.

Should they win their point, the neighbors and fans might hold a victory party, like the 19th-century Owl and Pussycat of poet Edward Lear, who

. . .dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon; And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand, They danced by the light of the moon.m

Without, one presumes, artificial light.

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