A League of Her Own

Opening Day is Finally Here!

Tickertape Parade



We'll start out today's headlines with hope and optimism. Ted Lilly pitched in a minor league game yesterday, and it's good news.

Left-hander Ted Lilly officially went on the 15-day disabled list Sunday (retroactive to March 26), but the Cubs liked the reports from Lilly's Easter morning start in Arizona.

Lilly worked 52/3 innings in a minor-league game, throwing 67 pitches. He will make a minor-league rehab start Friday for Class AAA Iowa and another start five days after that.

If all goes well, Lilly could be back in the Cubs' rotation by April 19 at New York. He's on the mend from arthroscopic surgery on his pitching shoulder.

"He felt wonderful, so he's well on his way to getting back to us," said Cubs manager Lou Piniella.


And it's rainbows and lollipops between Lou and Ozzie:

Lou Piniella said he had a nice note, written in Spanish, from White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen.

"It said, 'Good luck,' and a couple more phrases, 'sincerely, Ozzie,'" Piniella said. "And it wasn't Twitted. We wish Ozzie and the White Sox well."

The starting outfield is set, but look for Lou to give them plenty of rest to keep the geriatric starters from falling and breaking a hip.

"I'm pleased with every one of them," Piniella said of his outfielders, "and we have a chance with this group of five to have as good as outfield as there is in baseball.

On Opening Day Monday when the Cubs play the Braves, Alfonso Soriano will start in left, Marlon Byrd in center and Kosuke Fukudome in right. Nady is coming off his second Tommy John surgery and is still testing his right arm. Piniella said Sunday he wants to put Nady in left during the season.

"The throws are a little shorter and he doesn't have to throw as long from left field to third base," Piniella said. as he attempts to keep them healthy and fresh.

Even though last year's disappointment is but a distant memory, Gordo wants us to know that we should be happy we're disappointed, as it signals a sea change in the culture of the Cubs.

But even if this final year of his contract becomes the final year of his career, the seismic shift -- in advance of the event -- already might be taking hold in the culture of a team that isn't likely to be considered lovable losers again in these players' lifetimes.

''I think it is. I really do,'' Piniella said, referring to three straight winning seasons, the back-to-back playoff seasons in 2007-08 and the growing expectations that often signal bigger things. ''This organization should be in that position year in and year out.

''It doesn't happen every year, but if the culture and the intent is there every year, and the expectations, then you're doing a lot of things right.''

But, he added, ''It starts with expectations. You don't go to that level without going through the expectations.''


Finally, Darlin' Starlin Castro won't be at Iowa to start the season, after all (sorry Des Moines!).


With Darwin Barney at Iowa, the Cubs are starting top prospect Starlin Castro at Double-A Tennessee. Castro hit .429 this spring and is likely to be called up if Ryan Theriot gets injured.


"... if Ryan Theriot gets injured."  Does that sound like a vague threat?


In order to get the party started, we'll host another contest today. In the comments section, post what you think the Cubs' record will be this year and in what place they'll finish. And since it's finally appropriate, I'll now fall back on my catchphrase... Let's Go Team! Yippee!

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65 Comments

AndCounting said:

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Awesome. This is great news. Also, the Cubs will finish 89-75 in first place in the NL Central. Why the two extra games? Because the Reds and Cardinals will also finish 89-73 to end the season, and the Cubs will win two games in the three-way tiebreaker to claim the division crown.

berselius said:

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I don't think that playoff would be good for Santo's health!

Doc said:

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Honestly, I don't think the Cubs bullpen in general will be very good for Santo's health.

AndCounting said:

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Just imagining the last two weeks of games that would lead to such a scenario . . . Santo would need to keep the de-fib paddles velcroed to his chest 24/7.

PsyMar1 said:

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If we all finished 89-73, and then won two games in the 3-way tiebreaker, wouldn't that put us at 91-73?

Anyway, I already said I think the Cubs will finish first, but I'll put us down for 88 wins, 73 losses, and one not-made-up rain-out.

AndCounting said:

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A) I have a wicked migraine. B) I was told there would be no math. C) Holy crap, that was still pretty dumb of me. 91-73 it is.

kiwibob said:

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Hoorah for opening day...
Put me in the Idiot Optomist Camp and I'm tipping them to win the division with 92 wins.
That being said I have every expectation of them sucking horribly...
The fact that I can't make my mind up makes this a much nicer, more relaxing opening day than last year when much of Cubdom, myself included, seemed in the steely grip with the horrible "Is this the year?" bug.
I have every intention of enjoying it this year, if only on the basis of it can't possibly be as utterly crappy as last year.

kiwibob said:

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Make that "steely grip of"...
Slightly drunk.
Mightily excited.
Go Cubs...

JulieDiCaro said:

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Hoorah for the return of kiwibob!!!!

DavidWyatt said:

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A day when even Nationals/Pirates fan can be hopeful. It's about time, that's for sure. As far as the Cubs this year, I think we will go 88-74, and finish in first. You bet the optimism is flowing today.

JulieDiCaro said:

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For those of you who missed the chat last night, you really missed out. We cracked open the webcams, our funniest hats, and our cats.

JulieDiCaro said:

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That photo looks smashing with the Opening Day bunting. Love it.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Cubs win 84 games and it's enough for the WC.

Teebob2000 said:

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Water closet? You mean they end up in the toilet?

JulieDiCaro said:

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For those who weren't around this weekned, LOHO got some major love from CN honcho Jimmy Greenfield on ChicagoNow Radio (hosted by Alex Quigley!) on Saturday. Listen right after the first commercial break (just after the convos about knitting and astrology blogs--a little more than 1/3 of the way in):

http://www.wgnradio.com/shows/chicagonow/wgnam-chicagonow-jimmy4310,0,1240929.mp3file

flyball said:

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is Alex hosting alternate Saturdays now?

Little Bear said:

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Lets go team!

Little Bear said:

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The Cubs will go 87-75, finishing second, but still making the wild card

plamorte said:

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i can only comment here, tried doing 5on5 and it wont work. boo, but that wont bring me down because CUBS baseball is here!!

JulieDiCaro said:

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send me your 5s and I'll pass them along.

plamorte said:

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coolio, emailed ya

JulieDiCaro said:

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sent. :)

Ed Nickow said:

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Cubs win eight-five
First in Central Division
If it all goes right

Fewer injuries
Plus some luck in the bullpen
And it could happen

Ed Nickow said:

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On Opening Day
I think baseball broke Twitter
Can't log in at all

Doc said:

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Yeah...twitter appears dead. Hopefully it will resurrect on the third day.

Cubs Psychologist said:

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In the words of my mother, "If the good lord's willin and the creek don't rise...Cubs take the division." Go Cubs.

Doc said:

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Moving Castro to AA Tennessee is a really smart move. That's a better pitcher's league anyway. He'll develop more.

Doc said:

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Are we losing yet?

Teebob2000 said:

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STOP!! C'mon, positive vibes here, folks!!

Big Z strikes out Heyward 3 times. Book it.

Doc said:

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oops...sorry...I'll wait until 3pm until I give up all hope.

Ed Nickow said:

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Pacific time, right?

Doc said:

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Only if you wait to read my disappointment for 2 hours.

LostinFla said:

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Perhaps if the Braves are playing Craig "Ironhead" Heyward in RF... I'd pay to see that.

gravedigger said:

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And another season of misery begins. Where's the bottle.

Teebob2000 said:

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Erm... OK, that's a start, maybe a little sunnier though...

Dmband said:

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Ahh opening day.

Its a scientific fact. Its the greatest day of the year.

Ed Nickow said:

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Just check the standings
The Cubs atop the Central
Yes, it's a great day!

ataccini said:

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93-69. #unwarrantedoptimism #OpeningDayisfordreamers

gravedigger said:

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This team is going 72-90. Write. It. Down.

plamorte said:

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Reds designated 2B Aaron Miles for assignment! BEST OPENING DAY EVER

AndCounting said:

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Somewhere Jim Hendry's raising an eyebrow of interest.

Dmband said:

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Pessimism springs eternal.

Sadly, GD I think you are close. Here's to hoping you're wrong.

gravedigger said:

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agree

MillsChC said:

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I'm wearing my Fontenot shirt to the game today... I'm convinced it will be good luck. If it turns out that it's not, then... my bad.

flyball said:

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ahhh, I love the ability to be optimistic for at least a few hours, not that the Cubs will win the World Series or anything, but rather that there is baseball

Go Cubs!

Doc said:

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Five songs on my iPod...

Go Cubs Go-Steve Goodman
Go Cubs Go-Steve Goodman
Go Cubs Go-Steve Goodman
Go Cubs Go-Steve Goodman
Go Cubs Go-Steve Goodman

nothing else is allowed to be played today.

LostinFla said:

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If you're playing Steve Goodman, Lincoln Park Pirates is always acceptable...

Eric From The Dugs said:

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Ah.

I initially read Lilly pitched 52 and 1/3 innings, throwing 67 pitches.

Which I'm not saying is something Lilly is incapable of.

MillsChC said:

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Heh... Ozzie just said on MLB Network that the reason he joined Twitter was to show his kids just how famous he was.

JulieDiCaro said:

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there will be no discussion of things on mlbn until i also get it.

Shanny said:

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i have dish... why on earth don't they do mlb network? it's common sense to provide everything possible!

JulieDiCaro said:

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You guys have about 2 more our of whining until it's time to man up and drink the blue kool aid.

Get it out of your systems now.

flyball said:

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I heard the kool aid tastes like cra-raspberry this year

gravedigger said:

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then someone get the stoli

gravedigger said:

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fuck that, you know me.

Dmband said:

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I think someone roofied my blue kool-aid.

gravedigger said:

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Well done.

JulieDiCaro said:

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Ha---Mets fans booed the training staff during introductions today. LOL

Doc said:

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That's classic New York. I hate their teams, but I get a lot of entertainment out of their fans.

Doc said:

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So the Reds DFA'd Aaron Miles today.

and they are now favored to win the division.

gravedigger said:

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I never believed in addition by subtraction until Aaron Miles.

Dmband said:

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I never believed in euthinasia until Aaron Miles.


Too much?

Im kidding guys...jeez.

gravedigger said:

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So, who is going to volunteer to injure Theriot?

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