Opening Day is almost upon us. As my son would say, “In two more sleeps, Daddy” Usually, we take the day off work, fire up the barbecue, throw something succulent on the grill and open all the windows. Yup, Opening Day is the unofficial start to spring.
This year, it falls on Easter Sunday so it’s going to be extra special. Family and friends will gather around for ham and potatoes and other untraditional ballpark eats. I’m only disappointed because I was looking forward to savouring nachos and cheese and something drenched with a lot of barbecue sauce.
So now that Spring Training is winding down with the Cubs set to take on the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight, what did you think of the new look Cubs? Do you think the predictions will come true or are they over hyped?
Then there’s the predicament of the Kris Bryant situation. Yeah, it’s not the ideal situation that he won’t be there Opening Day but he’ll get there soon. I think fans will get over it. Besides, it shows the amount of depth the club has if they kept him down.
“I don’t want to say I’m mad or anything,” Bryant said Thursday of his reaction to the news. “I’m extremely disappointed. I wanted to go out there and my performance mattered, and to me, it felt like it didn’t matter as much as I thought it would. I went out there and played as hard as I can and did everything I could. I’m just disappointed.”
Jon Lester was brought in to lead the Cubs to a place they haven’t been in a very long time. I’ve liked what I’ve seen this spring with him and he’s a very grounded pitcher. He comes in, does his job with no questions asked.
“At the field, he’s business,” Cubs pitcher Jason Hammel said of Lester. “When he’s not working, it’s pretty much all about fun. Obviously, you aren’t in the dugout with us, but during games, he’s hilarious. He’s watching the game, but he knows how to keep it light. He’s been around long enough to know you have to have some kind of quirkiness to get through the season. You get a bunch of different characters on a team.”
I believe this year will have a completely different vibe than the others. Of course, Wrigley Field has undergone some changes along with the team, but for once since 2008, the team are competitors. They’re not rebuilding, they’re building on the future.
Did everyone get their fantasy teams picked and ready for the season? I picked up Kyle Hendricks, Anthony Rizzo, Miguel Montero, Arismendy Alcantara and Neil Ramirez. I know, I know that’s way too many Cubs players, but I’m predicting a Wild Card entry and perhaps, cross your fingers, an extended playoff run.
Cliches of “every team is in first place” will surely be written throughout the nation but there’s something more magical about Opening Day.
It transcends the game. It goes beyond baseball contracts, television deals and sports agents. Opening Day is about togetherness, unity and the spirit of fairness.
For the players, it could be their first Opening Day. All the years of practice and hard work for this moment to stare into an afternoon sunshine knowing that this is their moment. The Coach is putting them in. This is the one day of the year that even if the team loses, they’re winners.
For parents it’s an opportunity to take pride watching their sons thinking back to those T Ball days and Little Leagues. On Opening Day, their children are grown up and instead of tote bag giveaways and promotions, maybe teams should give out tissues.
Opening Day is about believing