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Chicago Cubs vs. Oakland Athletics Preview, Sunday 2/27, 2:05 CT: Play Ball!

Just for BCB, our very own flyover for the first Cubs spring training game of 2011 against the Oakland Athletics.   (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Just for BCB, our very own flyover for the first Cubs spring training game of 2011 against the Oakland Athletics. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
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Not a moment too soon, since most of us living in the Midwest have had such a horrific winter, Cubs baseball returns today. This is the first of 34 spring training games, all but two of which will be available via some form of media (broadcast radio, broadcast TV, cable TV or Internet audio). I'll post the form each day, but you can find the complete spring training broadcast schedule here.

Thanks to Mike Quade, we already have today's starting lineup:

Fukudome, rf; Castro, ss; Byrd, cf; Ramirez, 3b; Pena, 1b; Soriano, lf; Soto, c; DeWitt, 2b; Zambrano, p

I assume Carlos Zambrano will go two innings; that's pretty standard for a first spring outing. He'll be followed in the game by Matt Garza, who should also throw a pair of innings. Here's some more information on who else will be in the game after the starters exit. Carlos Marmol is also expected to pitch today; he'll likely throw the fifth inning -- managers usually do that with closers in spring training so they can face major league hitters.

Trevor Cahill starts for the A's today. Other A's pitchers who may see action are Bobby Cramer, Tyson Ross, Josh Outman, Brad Ziegler, Joey Devine and Danny Farquhar.

Weather forecast -- chilly:

Today: A 10 percent chance of showers. Mostly sunny, with a high near 52. West southwest wind between 6 and 8 mph.

Fortunately for the Cubs, the same forecast link shows it rapidly warming up into the 70s for the rest of the week in the area.

Here's all the media information you'll need for today's game. Gameday -- and based on gamedays I checked yesterday, they are doing pitch-by-pitch for spring training games this year, for the first time.

Here is the complete Mediacenter for today. You can listen to the game via WGN's feed here -- you do need a account, but it's free during spring training.

Please visit our SB Nation Athletics site Athletics Nation.

Since there is probably going to be a great deal of interest in this game, I'll have an overflow thread scheduled to post at 3:15 p.m. CST. This thread will both be the game preview and game thread; there won't be a separate "first pitch" thread, we'll start those up again for the regular season. Depending on how that goes, I may change this routine for other spring games. We'll see. As usual, the overflow thread will NOT post on the front page but will be in the "Recent Stories In Game Threads" box on the right sidebar (note, as of the time of this post, that box was not functioning. Keep watching for it, otherwise search the site for the overflow post). If you need an extra overflow thread today, post it in the FanShot section.

Cubs baseball is back!