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Oh, Happy Day! Spring Training Games Begin: Cubs vs. Athletics Preview, Thursday 3/4, 2:05 CT

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It's been a long, cold, snowy winter in the Midwest (I feel particularly bad for Cubs fans in Iowa, who got slammed much worse than we did in Chicago). The snow hasn't all melted, but today, we get Cubs baseball!

HOORAY!

Since all of you seemed to get so excited about following non-Cubs games the last couple of days, I'll make sure you have enough space to discuss this one. This thread will serve as a couple hours worth of pre-game warmup. Then, a "first pitch" thread, similar to what you found here last year, will post at 2 pm CST, and I'll have an overflow post an hour and 15 minutes after that, I figure all the pent-up baseball talk will probably fill all of that. If you need more, someone post them as FanShots.

Just FYI, if you are new to this, the first pitch thread will post on the front page. Overflows will NOT post there, but you can find them in the "Recent Stories In Game Threads" box on the right sidebar, easy to link/jump to.

Speaking of jumps, some game info after the jump.

The fancier pitcher boxes, stats, etc. that usually appear here will return when the regular season does. Until then, just some information.

The Cubs will start with Randy Wells today; he'll probably go two innings. Here's an article from today's Sun-Times showing that Wells has the right approach and attitude toward his second major league season.

Also scheduled to appear on the mound for the Cubs today are Sean Marshall, J.R. Mathes, Mike Parisi and Esmailin Caridad.

The A's will counter with Trevor Cahill. According to this link on the A's website, some of the following will also pitch: Clayton Mortensen, Jerry Blevins, Justin Souza, Fernando Hernandez, John Meloan, Brad Kilby, Lenny DiNardo and Cedrick Bowers. (Blevins, of course, is a former Cubs farmhand who went to Oakland in the Jason Kendall deal.) Also, according to this blog post on the Oakland A's website (their equivalent to Carrie Muskat's blogs at cubs.com), ex-Cub Jake Fox will bat cleanup today for them and play third base.

One more link today worth checking out: Bruce Miles has a nice article today about three Cubs prospects with baseball-playing fathers: Jim Adduci, James Russell and Casey Coleman.

The game will be on radio stations for both teams: KTRB in Oakland and WGN in Chicago. If you have XM, it's on XM 186. Here's the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.

You won't find MLB Gameday links on the MLB.com scoreboard because Gameday is unofficial during spring training -- practice for them, too, I suppose. However, I will post the unofficial Gameday links here each day.

MLB.com Gameday

Cubs baseball is back! Go Cubs!

Discuss amongst yourselves.