Opening day at Wrigley Field merges the Chicago Cubs’ past with the future – The Denver Post

Every opening day brings a reminder of something from the past, and the past is prologue as far as the Chicago Cubs are concerned.

The yin and yang of Cubs baseball was on display again Thursday in the season opener at Wrigley Field, where the Cubs beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-0 in the opener of the pitch-clock era. .

Game-winning pitcher Marcus Stroman made history in the third inning with MLB’s first timer violation, new shortstop Dansby Swanson finished with three hits and drove in the first inning of the season and the The Cubs played stellar defense on a cold, sunny afternoon.

It was their 8,368th game at Wrigley since April 20, 1916, when the Cubs moved into the ballpark at Clark and Addison streets, on an afternoon the Chicago Tribune called “another historic day in the league.” ‘baseball history’.

Wrigley has changed a lot since that 7-6, 11 innings win over the Cincinnati Reds. Even the old center field scoreboard didn’t exist back then. But Cubs fans have remained pretty much the same. A packed house of around 20,000 hung around until the end of that inaugural match 107 years ago, even though it lasted over 18 hours.

“Some might have wanted to leave after the seventh inning was played,” the Tribune reported. “But the joy and excitement of the last four laps made them forget about home, dinner and dignity.”

Some things never change.

Most of the 36,054 people in attendance on Thursday stayed for the end of the opening game, which lasted 2 hours and 21 minutes. They sang this Steve Goodman song before they left and were back in time for dinner.

The new pitch clock rules, former Cubs president Theo Epstein, helped the MLB institute get more fans to watch all nine innings again.

“Unless it’s a bad game somehow, I think we’re pretty lucky that way,” current president Jed Hoyer said of Cubs fans. “Around the league you can see that more and more. I thought it was great all spring. Theo called me after a game and said ‘1:57, oh my God.’ He was so excited.

Eric Karros once said that “every player should be a Cub for a year,” and Hoyer, with his roster revamped over the past two seasons, seems destined to make that a reality. The Cubs have added several players this offseason, and only Ian Happ, Patrick Wisdom and Nico Hoerner were survivors of last year’s opening day lineup.

Prior to the game, Hoyer inadvertently conjured up memories of the late Ron Santo when he leaned forward from his seat in the dugout to prevent his perfectly styled hair from being burned by a heat lamp on the ceiling.

Twenty years ago, during the 2003 home opener against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, Santo stood in the radio booth for the national anthem and had his hairpiece burned by a ceiling heater. Cubs broadcaster Pat Hughes and producer Matt Boltz taped a photo of Santo to the radiator to mark the occasion, and the faded photo was still there for the stadium’s bitter end in 2007. Santo’s standing invitation to press on the button to implode Shea Stadium, however, had been rejected.

Hughes threw the ceremonial first pitch Thursday and has been busy writing his speech for this summer’s special day in Cooperstown, NY, where he will receive the Ford Frick Award for Excellence in Broadcasting. The Cubs also paid tribute on video set to heroes of the team’s past who died since last season, including Bruce Sutter and Joe Pepitone.

Former Sun-Times baseball writer Joe Goddard and WXRT-FM personality Lin Brehmer were also honored. You don’t have to be a ballplayer to call Wrigley Field home.

Hoerner, who agreed to a three-year, $35 million extension on Wednesday, helped Stroman out of a third-inning jam by starting a late-inning double play with the bases loaded and finished 1 for 4.

Hoerner understands what Cubs history is all about, having spent a minute or two under former manager Joe Maddon at the end of 2019. Hoerner revealed he pays tribute to former Cub Anthony Rizzo, whom he inherited after Rizzo was traded to the New York Yankees. in the 2021 liquidation.

“I have a pair of his little batting gloves with his dachshunds on them,” Hoerner said. “Just a little reminder of what was before. Stuff like that matters and it changes fast. It’s not something to forget.

Hoerner said “one of the most satisfying things” he could do would be to go from a rebuild to a championship with the same team, just like Rizzo did.

“Seeing Rizz at the end and knowing that he had gone through the whole story was as inspiring as it gets, honestly,” he said.

You seek inspiration wherever you can find it, and this Cubs team will be looking to replicate the magic that Rizzo & Co created a long few years ago, when it looked like the race would last well into the 2020s.

It didn’t turn out that way, but if they can pull it off now, fans might just forget about home, dinner, and dignity again.

History has a way of repeating itself at the corner of Clark and Addison.


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