SCOTTSDALE, Arizona -- As you know, this is the Cubs' first-ever Opening Day against an American League team.
But it is not the first time they have opened at night on the West Coast.
On April 12, 1960, the Cubs opened the season against the Dodgers in an evening contest at the Los Angeles Coliseum. And if you were around that day, you know that you had to stay up even later for the WGN radio broadcast (no road TV games in those days) -- the game began at 10 p.m. CT. That was generally true of most night games in that era; most of them started at 8 p.m. local time, and that schedule lasted for many clubs well into the 1970s.
The Cubs lost the game 3-2 in 11 innings on a walkoff homer. Don Zimmer, future Cubs manager, homered for the Cubs. The game ran 3:17, so it ended after 1 a.m. Chicago time. (Thanks to Ed Hartig for the info on this one.)
The Cubs have opened the season on the West Coast a couple of other times, in San Francisco, both day games. There was a 9-1 loss to the Giants April 12, 1966, the first game of Leo Durocher's managing tenure, and a 5-3 win April 3, 1984. That season turned out pretty well, at least until October. The 1984 game was the last time the Cubs opened the season in California.
We have higher hopes for 2016. We made it through another winter. Baseball's back! Everyone ready?
Here are today's particulars.
Fowler CF, Heyward RF, Zobrist 2B, Rizzo 1B, Bryant 3B, Schwarber LF, Soler DH, Montero C, Russell SS
And here, in visual form:
Escobar 3B, Nava LF, Trout CF, Pujols DH, Calhoun RF, Cron 1B, Simmons SS, Perez C, Giavotella 2B
Jake Arrieta hopes to continue the awesomeness that was his 2015 season. He faced the Angels three times while a member of the Orioles, with poor results. The last time was almost four years ago and the only players who appeared in that game who are still on the Angels are Mike Trout and Albert Pujols. The Angels player who's faced him most is Yunel Escobar (7-for-19). Probably none of that means much, since this is a far different Jake.
Garrett Richards made two relief appearances against the Cubs in 2013, the last time these teams faced each other. Here's one of the boxscores, for amusement value. The only two Cubs who have more than a couple of at-bats against him are Dexter Fowler (3-for-6) and Ben Zobrist (6-for-11, a home run). Those Zobrist numbers are interesting, though a small sample size.
Today's game is on ABC7 Chicago. I don't yet have OTA coverage info for the blackout markets; hopefully soon. It's also available nationally on ESPN2.
Please visit our SB Nation Angels site Halos Heaven. If you do go there to interact with Angels fans, please be respectful, abide by their individual site rules and serve as a good representation of Cub fans in general and BCB in particular.
The 2016 Game Thread procedure will be the same as the one used at the end of 2015. Here's how it works.
You'll find the game preview posted separately on the front page, two hours before game time (90 minutes for some early day games following night games).
At the same time, a StoryStream™ containing the preview will also post on the front page. The First Pitch Thread and all the overflow threads will be published in that stream, as well as the recap. The recap will also live on the front page as a separate post, and at the time I write the recap I will rename the stream "Cubs vs. (Team) (Day of Week) Game Threads" so you can go back and find every thread related to that particular game.
You will also be able to find the preview, First Pitch Thread, all the overflow threads and recap 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 the game's StoryStream™ as noted above.
The First Pitch thread will post at five minutes before game time, then an overflow thread at one hour, two hours and 2:45 after the scheduled game time.
Discuss amongst yourselves.