The Chicago Cubs have finally come home.
Welcomed by 40,000 strong who had to wait a day because snow pushed back the game by day, the Cubs had the last homestead start in Major League Baseball, having opened on the road in Miami 12 days earlier. They face a daunting task going against the first-place Pittsburgh Pirates, which has started the season posting just two losses.
Nothing, including cold temps and a light breeze, beats the excitement of Opening Day at Wrigley. As one friend of The Q noted, “Opening Day ain’t for the weak.” Julianna Zobrist, wife of Cubs’ Ben Zobrist, kicked off the opening ceremonies with beautiful rendition of “God Bless America,” before the Cubs own Wayne Messmer, bedecked in a Loyola-Chicago scarf, led the stadium in the National Anthem as only he can. To add to the that excitement, the Cubs welcomed Sr. Jean Dolores Schmidt, chaplain of the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers, and members of the NCAA finals team. After a brief press gaggle on the field with skipper Joe Maddon, Sr. Jean was brought to the mound (well, just shy of the mound) to chuck a ceremonial first pitch over the plate. She joined Billy Williams, Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg, all of whom threw out a ceremonial pitch as well.
The game didn’t go quite as planned with Tyler Chatwood giving up five runs on nine hits in five innings before coming out of the game in the 6th inning. While the Cubs struggled to get runners into scoring position, their offense showed some life with Javy Baez‘s two home runs, Kyle Schwarber‘s RBI-single in the first and Jason Heyward‘s two-run single in the eighth.
The Cubs ultimately fell to Pittsburgh 8-5. Pittsburgh remains in first place with 8-2 in the first ten games of the year. The Cubs are in the middle of the pack, with an even 5-5 record. But there’s still plenty of baseball left to play. And the only thing that matters is that baseball is back on the North Side once again.