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The Magic of the Cubs Home Opener

By Jeff Wilder

What is it about the Cubs Home Opener that makes you feel like a 10 year old boy every year? I woke up Monday, turned on channel 9 (WGN), and immediately saw promos for the game, with video images of home openers past. Mitch Williams loading the bases and then striking out the side. Carl “Tuffy” Rhodes hitting 3 homers on opening day, and of course, Fukudome’s homer to tie it up in the ninth at the 2008 opener. The voiceover on the promo matched my next thoughts, which were what will this home opener bring, and what new memories will be created?

Spring Training always brings fresh optimism, but there’s nothing quite like the home opener that gets your mind racing and your adrenaline pumping for what could be. It’s a rare opportunity to approach the game as if you’re a 10 year old kid, instead of a much more weathered, 40-something cynic. Yes the Cubs went into the game at 2-4 when they really should have been 5-1. And yes, our offense hadn’t clicked yet and was already struggling, putting that much more pressure on a young, yet unproven bullpen. That said, I couldn’t help but get excited about the game, knowing that we were coming home, and the park would be a buzz with energy.

And this year in particular, there was even more to get excited about when the gates opened at Wrigley. Had you seen any pictures of the park, or heard about any of the renovations? First of all, the outside looked brilliant as usual. But now, complementing the historic marquee, were huge pictures of current Cubs stars. I haven’t been able to see them all yet, but it looks like Lee, Zambrano, Ramirez, all in action and adding just another great touch to the look of the stadium. Inside looked great too, with the field in perfect condition, and the opening day bunting adorning the lower deck walls and upper deck railings.

Maybe the best thing about Monday’s game was the convergence of appreciated renovations, the excitement of the home opener, and the freshness of new ownership. Instead of being owned by a newspaper conglomerate, headed by a man totally disinterested in baseball, the Ricketts family was actually in attendance, and even sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. I love how personable that is. I love that they plan to roam the park during games, and will hopefully remain as approachable and receptive as they’ve been so far this spring. Tom Ricketts met his wife in Wrigley’s hallowed bleachers, and he may just be “one of us”, committed to winning and bringing that ever elusive championship home.

Indeed, these are thoughts, (perhaps even fantasies) of a 10 year old boy. But on the day of the home opener, isn’t it nice to know that you can go back to that special place and time every year and let your mind wander, allowing yourself to believe even in the slightest that this may be their year. You can get swept away in all the fanfare and pomp and circumstances, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I was a 10 year old boy, Dave Kingman was hitting majestic bombs over Waveland and down Kenmore. Monday, when Jeff Baker hit one out onto Waveland, I was 10 years old again. That’s the magic of the Home Opener.

1 comment:

  1. WOW! Sounds like a Cubs Fan to me.... NICE JOB!

    ReplyDelete