The Last Time... (Cubs Opening Day Edition)

 

"Why, I remember when my father and I used to wake up at 5:30 in the morning and watch the season start in Japan."

--The Onion ("On Baseball's Opening Day")

Has Opening Day lost any of its luster since Major League baseball trash-canned the quaint tradition of starting every season with a single game, played in Cincinnati, the home of the game's first professional team, where the occasion was celebrated with a parade down the city's streets? Is the day less magical now that it has unfolded in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Japan, and the weekday game in the Queen City has given way to a made-for-ESPN event played on Sunday night? Of course it has.

But the thing is, it's still a damn special day on the baseball calendar and in WAY too many of the past 99 Cubs seasons, it has been the one and only day of the season when Cub fans' optimism was in full bloom.

So in honor of a day so wonderful that even Allan Huber "Bud" Selig, Jr. can't completely desecrate it despite his very best efforts, here is a list of Cub-relevant Opening Days of the past, specifically, the last time...

...the Cubs opened the season at Wrigley Field: 2001, when they lost 5-4 to the Expos.

...the Cubs opened the season at Wrigley Field and won: 1996, when the home side beat the Padres, 5-4.

...someone other than Carlos Zambrano was the Cubs' starting pitcher on Opening Day: 2004, when Kerry Wood went five innings and earned the victory as the Cubs beat the Reds, 7-4

...the Cubs started a rookie catcher on Opening Day: 1989, when 24-year-old Joe Girardi went 2-for-3 against the Phillies.

...someone other than Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez started at the
corners of the Cub infield on Opening Day:
2003, when Hee Sop Choi and
Mark Bellhorn had the honor.

...the Cubs were shut-out on Opening Day: 1993, when the Braves' Greg Maddux and Mike Stanton whitewashed the Cubs, 1-0.

...the Cubs won by shutout on Opening Day: 1974, when Bill Bonham blanked the Phillies, 2-0.

...Ernie Banks--whose Wrigley Field statue will be unveiled Monday--appeared in the Cubs' Opening Day lineup: 1970, when Banks had one of only five Cub hits in a 2-0 loss to Philadelphia's Chris Short.

...the Milwaukee Brewers opened the season in Chicago: 1990, when they lost 2-1 to the White Sox.

...the Cubs opened the season against the Brewers: never.

...the Cubs opened the season in the month of March: 3/31/03, when they crushed the Mets, 15-2, at Shea Stadium. (The only other time the Cubs opened in March was on March 29, 2000, when they beat the Mets, 5-3, in Tokyo.)

...a Lou Piniella-led team won on Opening Day: 2004, when Piniella's Devil Rays beat the Yankees, 8-3.

...the Cubs drew fewer than 38,000 to Opening Day at Wrigley Field: 1991, when only 31,622 showed up to see the Cardinals beat the Cubs, 4-1. It was 45 degrees and cloudy that day.

Real pussies, those 1991 Cubs fans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

It felt like the Cubs hadn't opened the season at Wrigley for a while, but 7 years?!? How did that happen?

Trying to favor the warmer weather sites, I guess. The issue has always been that the warm-weather and dome teams don't want their schedules front-loaded with games, since that leads to them having fewer home dates later in the year when kids are out of school. Stil, it is hard to believe it's been that long since the Cubs opened at Wrigley.

Does anyone else find this absurd?
http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/photo;_ylt=AjGL_6TB5jc...

Maybe I'm just being callous.

"Trying to favor the warmer weather sites, I guess."

Like Shea and Cincy the last few years? Ha! I guess every team can't start in Phoenix or Miami.

BTW.. is the "Gameday Weather" going to read "North Chicago" every time the Cubs have a home game? Is there any way to make it say "Wrigleyville" or "Clark & Addison" or something more Cubs?

Don't know about that. Will check with Rob.

WGN is going to have coverage of the Ernie Banks statue ceremony before the game tomorrow. I'm setting my DVR to get that as well as the game...

I'm starting to feel a little under the weather...I might need to call in sick tomorrow...:)

I'll write an excuse note to your boss if you'll write one to mine.

good news? mid 50's game time.
the bad? 80% chance of precip. Glad I went for opening day over wsox tickets (cause you really can only go for one of those two).

http://weather.weatherbug.com/IL/Chicago-weather/l...

For Cubs fans, this is the time of year when hope springs eternal. But this year, it's more than just Cubs fans who think the North Siders are going to have a good year. The Sporting News, SI, ESPN the Magazine, Lindy's, Athlon, Beckett, and MLB.com have all picked the Cubs to win the NL Central. The Sporting News, SI, ESPN the Mag, and MLB.com have all picked the Cubs to go to the WS. Unfortunately, no one picked the Cubs to win the WS. Let's hope they're wrong at least on that one count.

And only two of nine writers in the Milwaukee Journal pick the Cubs to win the NL Central; the other seven all go with the Brewers.

Shocker.

 http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=733191

picked us to win on Sports Center this morning. If we dont I say we make Kruk have an AB aganist the Big Unit during the 7th inning srtech of a game next year for jinxing us.

I'd be more worried if they did pick us to win the WS.

ESPN picks the Braves to win the World Series. Sounds like kind of a gamble to me.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/preview08/columns/st...

Anyone check out the LA/Boston game at LA Coliseum?

201 down left field line, with 60 foot wall.

115,000 people in attendance.

Awesome.

ESPN Classic today; baseball rivalries including Cubs-Cardinals game from 1984.

Cant wait for the home opener. The wait has been too long since the last game at Wrigley Field..just looking at some of these Wrigley Field pictures from this Chicago artist gets me going for the season to start.

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  • Thanks PHIL.

    Boy, that is a nifty K:BB ratio Hudson has going at almost 4:1!

    I hope he continues improving.

    The E-Man 4 hours 33 min ago view
  • And of course the Bucs won again playing AZ (not PHIL). They dont seem to have a problem yet with the bottom feeders.

    They picked up 3 games this last week.

    I'm looking forward to them coming to the Chi.

    The E-Man 5 hours 2 min ago view
  • Don't mess with the SI jinx. Since the Javy/Cubs cover came out, he is 2-for-20 with no walks.

    billybucks 5 hours 12 min ago view
  • BRADSBEARD: If all three are assigned to Eugene, the Cubs can play Galindo, Paredes, and Paniagua at the same time by moving Paredes between SS-3B-DH, Galindo between 3B-1B-DH, and Paniagua between 1B-LF-DH. 

    The Cubs like to have their players (including their minor leaguers) learn to play more than one position even if they eventually are projected to settle at one spot, and I suspect that will be reflected at Eugene, with just about everybody who will be assigned there able to play at least two positions. 

    Arizona Phil 5 hours 33 min ago view
  • Thanks - at least the scorer was consistent

    Eric S 5 hours 46 min ago view
  • I don't think the error call was completely out of the blue but the ball took a very bad hop and would have taken a very good play to get it. Same with one of the Stella throws where I think it could have easily been ruled a hit. Neither were cut and dry calls though imo.

    johann 6 hours 15 min ago view
  • chased a high fastball...

    I think his BABIP during his run has been around .950

    Rob G. 6 hours 31 min ago view
  • Great stuff CubbyBlue!!! I think it inspired today's six spot as well.

    Eric S 6 hours 35 min ago view
  • That's all fine and good, but I think it's short-changing the Arrieta-like affect of his beard

    Eric S 6 hours 39 min ago view
  • Was the error scored on Zobrist's third ab ruled correctly? Ron was saying that it was a pretty tough chance for the fielder

    Eric S 6 hours 48 min ago view
  • Did anybody see that Zobrist strikeout?

    That was extremely disappointing.

    Old and Blue 8 hours 24 min ago view
  • Strangest win of the year, and one of the sweetest. Twice I thought it was easily in the bag, then after the first 2 hitters in the 9th I thought all was lost. Big game for Grimm, Strop & Rondon. But, man, those Cards can hit for power.

    billybucks 8 hours 59 min ago view
  • Very satisfying, gut-check win today. The beers on the trip back to Chicago are going to taste fantastic.

    Eric S 9 hours 15 min ago view
  • It's still very early but this game felt very important to me and probably knocked 2 years off my life. Seemed like every inning was big.

    johann 10 hours 2 min ago view
  • Yes then they moved him two spot then not so much, back batting 7th

    jacos 10 hours 2 min ago view
  • This is the exact game that the Cubs would have lost in years past to the Cardinals.

    The E-Man 10 hours 3 min ago view