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At long last -- after another cold winter, so many seemingly terrific moves made, and anticipation of redemption, the 2004 Cubs take the field against the Giants (ESPN, 1 pm CT -- yes, that's right, 1 pm, as they are doing an unusual noon MST start in Arizona) tomorrow.

The results of spring training games are meaningless, as they are not played or managed like regular season games. The Cubs have had some of their best regular seasons (1984 and 1989 in particular) when they had horrid springs.

But it will be nice to see the boys in pinstripes playing baseball once again. Matt Clement starts tomorrow vs. Kirk Rueter, and as you know if you've been reading here for a year, the Cubs seem to do better when I do not listen to the game on the radio, so I'll try to avoid that tomorrow.

Some thoughts I received today from reader Stuart Teadley from the UK:

I know we have the pitching lineup from heaven, that we have 1st, second and third bases well covered (no pun intended), that we pose a bigger offensive threat and a better pitching threat than last year, when we won the division...but ....I'll still be watching through the gaps in my fingers until about July - or in my case listening with my fingers half way out of my ear. I think we may regret giving up Lofton because there will be times when we struggle and when the long ball or 97mph fastball won't get us out of it - and that's when you need a hustler who gets on base when it matters.. anyway time will tell..

Indeed it will, Stuart. Let's play ball.