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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  • damn...totally missed that ruben quevedo died on june 7th. he was only 37...heart attack.

    he threw some really horrible games for the cubs in 2000 and followed it up by doing the same for 3 season for the brewers.

    crunch 2 min 30 sec ago view
  • Holy Kris Bryant what?!

    Ryno 3 min 55 sec ago view
  • Hitting 3 HR, 2 doubles in a game. Never been done in mlb history per Len/Bob.

    Cubster 15 min 43 sec ago view
  • walks? this is baseball, not a nature hike. he needs to get his head in the game.

    in my opinion, he would have been better off hitting 2 homers rather than walking twice. /moneyballs

    crunch 18 min 47 sec ago view
  • Rizzo: 2-3, homer, double, 2 walks - meh

    Eric S 21 min 27 sec ago view
  • in other news, the site seems to be eating about 50% of my comments...which is probably a good thing in hindsight.

    Rob G. 23 min 9 sec ago view
  • The Tucker Barnhart reactions after each Kris Bryant HR are kind of priceless.

    Rob G. 26 min 38 sec ago view
  • ...but, he's also good at home runs, too.

    also, rizzo.

    crunch 30 min 39 sec ago view
  • technically a wp...that said, a good catcher can turn a good amount of wp into blocked balls that don't show up on the stats.

    schwarber, for instance, was really bad at stopping wild pitches because of how stiff he was behind the plate.

    crunch 31 min 46 sec ago view
  • Was that a wp or pb really? Unbelievable turn-around with this club. 8 runs will not be enough to win this game.

    The E-Man 35 min 20 sec ago view
  • The Rich Harden Experience 2.0

    Rob G. 48 min 49 sec ago view
  • 35sb, 2cs...3pb...playing in his 36th start (39th total)...

    miggy is not having a good time behind the plate this season.

    crunch 1 hour 3 min ago view
  • He hasn't been able to consistently throw his off speed for strikes since the beginning of the season and batters are starting to wait him out. He said this week on the radio that he hasn't had a feel for the off speed stuff all season but he was the same way last season and was better the second part so...hopefully? I'm a bit worried.

    Also I seem to be a bad jinx lately where when I start watching the Cubs start losing and once I stop watching they score runs. So I am sorry everyone.

    johann 1 hour 7 min ago view
  • fair point.

    Rob G. 1 hour 9 min ago view
  • Yes

    johann 1 hour 12 min ago view
  • bryant is good at doubles.

    crunch 1 hour 17 min ago view