Cubs Opening Day.
For me, Opening Day allowed me to hope the Cubs were going to be in contention.
It also meant I got to go to back to my favorite place in the world, Wrigley Field.
Lately, though, that hasn't been quite the case. Over the years, Opening Day has meant more that I would just freeze my ass off, likely getting rained on while doing so. It has also become a sort of Wrigley Field amateur drunk fest, even more so than some than the already established cliche. Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's Day, and New Year's Eve all rolled into one overcrowded area.
I can deal with all of the shoulder-to-shoulder bars and the people stumbling into the park if the Cubs at least give me the hope that I had when I was a kid.
The Opening Days that stand out for me are 1985 and 2004; seasons that were supposed to have a lot of promise. The Cubs were fresh off division titles and deep playoff appearances. These teams were primed for World Series runs, we thought.
The 1985 team, albeit a bit long in the tooth, was loaded and had a young phenom shortstop by the name of Shawon Dunston. Dunston, who would go on to spawn the sporting world's coolest sign, did not disappoint in his major-league debut. The Cubs proceeded to win big that day, and the kid electrified the crowd with his baserunning during a triple. We remember the sign now.
2004 Opening Day would again promise to mask the pain of another disappointing Cubs October. The team had a starting rotation for the ages, boosted by the return of Opening-Day starter, and Cubs prodigal son, Greg Maddux.
And then Maddux proceeded to get un ceremonially rocked during probably the coldest, windiest opening day I can remember. We left in the sixth inning, yay.
For me, and probably a lot of others, the excitement of this Opening Day is that this could be the year you at least witness some of the kids we have been promised trickling into the Friendly Confines. Players like Javy Baez.
With today being at least partially overshadowed by reports that the Cubs financial state won't allow them to speed up this rebuilding process, even more hope than usual hinges on the kids.
Hopefully today is one more Opening Day closer to the Cubs getting back to that sense of optimism and anticipation. The one we have been robbed of since 2009.
Oh look, it's raining.
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