Happy baseball, everyone!
Not only is it the Cubs' season opener, but for the first time in Cubs history the home opener will be a night game and featured on ESPN2 as their national opening game. If that wasn't enough hoopla, we'll see the Wrigley video board in operation for the first time.
And that isn't even mentioning all the new players and new manager who, we hope, will start to turn this team back into a contender.
First, please check out Russ La Croix' excellent series preview if you haven't already -- and please note, with all Russ' other responsibilities here (and offline), he needs to hand this feature off to someone else. If you're interested in taking over OTH, email me.
One more thing I wanted to mention, and I don't usually do this. Here's what I wrote a year ago at this time.
Debbie Downer, right? Part of that said:
I can't think of a major-league Cubs baseball regular season I have gone into with less enthusiasm than this one.
Well, that turned out to be rubbish, right? Because by the end of the 2014 season, there was plenty of enthusiasm about young players finally coming out of the system, more good trades made by Theo & Co., and a team that played basically .500 ball for four months and did some very exciting things. I'm glad to have been wrong about that.
This past offseason has been perhaps the most eventful in my lifetime, and perhaps ever. Between the Wrigley construction and video board, a top-notch new manager in Joe Maddon, a big free-agent get in Jon Lester and other lesser, but no less important, acquisitions such as Dexter Fowler and Miguel Montero, this team now looks on the cusp of being very, very good.
If the Cubs don't make the playoffs this year it won't be disappointing as long as it's clear that they're headed in that direction soon, and I believe they are. You know I've been critical of Theo & Co. at times, but they have certainly hit the right notes over the last year, and the fruits of their drafts are beginning to make big-league impact.
It's been a long five years wandering around the basement of the National League Central. Time to start winning. To paraphrase that thing I wrote a year ago, it's been a long time since I've been as excited about the start of a Cubs season as I am right now.
The Cubs have appropriated this phrase for their marketing slogan this year, but I don't think they'd mind if I threw it in here, because it reflects what all of us are thinking, I suspect: "Let's Go!"
One more reminder for you about SB Nation's partnership with FanDuel. If you're interested in playing, here's the link. These will be posted around once per series this year.
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Soler RF, Rizzo 1B, Castro SS, Coghlan LF, Olt 3B, Ross C, Lester P, La Stella 2B
During spring training, Maddon hinted he might not bat Jon Lester eighth, but there it is. Lester will be looking for his first big-league hit; he's 0-for-36 lifetime.
Carpenter 3B, Heyward RF, Holliday LF, Peralta SS, Adams 1B, Molina C, Wong 2B, Jay CF, Wainwright P
Today's Starting Pitchers
Today's game is on ESPN2.
Here is the complete MLB.com Mediacenter for today.
Baseball-reference.com game preview
Please visit our SB Nation Cardinals site Viva el Birdos.
Once again for 2015, we are going to have the same game-thread routine as the last couple of years. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview -- like this one -- posting as the first link in the StoryStream™, which will then contain all the overflow threads and the recap. The recap will also be on the front page as a separate post; once I post a game recap, the stream for each game will be retitled "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
In general, game previews will post two hours before game time. Exception: for most day games after night games, that will usually be 90 minutes.
You will also be able to find the First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads in the box marked "Chicago Cubs Game Threads" at the bottom of the front page (you can also find them in this section link). They will also appear in this StoryStream™. As I've done for each regular-season game for several years now, we'll have the First Pitch thread at five minutes before game time (moved up from actual game time per your requests), then an overflow one hour, two hours and 2:45 after game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.