Opening Night didn’t go as planned for the team or for Wrigley Field. As Anthony Rizzo pointed out, it’s only one game and his comment was after Theo Epstein warned prior first pitch not to read too much into the first game of the season.
The Under Cubstruction signs that were posted throughout the old ballyard could be applied to the team on the field as well.
The left field video board was widely accepted and ended up taking the headlines, along with the restroom issues, due to the loss to the Cardinals.
Theo Epstein talked to the Tribune about the video board, “When I saw the mock-ups, I was mildly concerned, and when I saw the photos in Arizona, I was extremely concerned. Then I got here and it was perfect. It was ideal. So far, so great.”
As for the play on the field, Jon Lester had a rough night. But Joe Maddon is not worried about him. Lester’s cutter was flat and he left it up in the zone. The extra rest should help Lester get on track after missing time this spring with a tired arm. Lester said Opening Night was a cool experience, and one he will never forget. But Lester wishes he could have given the fan base reasons to cheer during the first game of the year.
While the defense also had issues and was rather sloppy, the bullpen had a good night and several of the hitters put together good at bats.
Cubs Statement on the Restrooms at Wrigley
The Cubs issued a statement on the bathroom issues on Opening Night, from Hardball Talk:
“Opening Day at Wrigley Field has always brought challenges with wait times and tonight was particularly extreme. Two bathrooms in the upper deck went down temporarily forcing fans downstairs where we already were experiencing issues with long wait times. With 35,000 fans showing up in the ballpark tonight, we were simply not prepared to handle guests during peak periods. We have high standards for service and we missed the mark tonight.”
“We want to apologize to our fans for the inconvenience tonight. Moving forward we plan to supplement the existing restrooms with additional portable units and will continue to monitor wait times.”
Cubs Roster and Other Moves
The Cubs announced its Opening Day roster just after Sunday’s deadline (2:00pm CDT).
OF Matt Szczur and INF Jonathan Herrera landed the last two spots on the roster. And Ryan Sweeney was designated for assignment.
The Cubs, as expected, placed RHP Jacob Turner, RHP Dallas Beeler, LHP Tsuyoshi Wada and OF Chris Denorfia on the 15-day DL.
According to reports prior to Opening Night, the Cubs preferred to have the extra infielder in Herrera over another outfielder and a left-handed hitter in Sweeney.
The minor league rosters have been released and the reports will be up soon. According to Chris Cotillo, the Cubs released LHP Francisley Bueno. The lefty signed a minor league contract with the Cubs in the off-season and didn’t win a job in camp.
A.J. Preller completed his off-season makeover of the San Diego Padres. Preller pulled off a blockbuster with Atlanta after the Opening Day rosters were submitted and less than two hours before the season started.
The Padres acquired RHP Craig Kimbrel and OF Melvin Upton Jr. (B.J. Upton) from the Braves for RHP Matt Wisler, OF Carlos Quentin, OF Cameron Maybin, OF Jordan Paroubeck and the No. 41 pick in June’s draft. Money was not exchanged in the deal and the Braves designated Carlos Quentin for assignment.
News, Notes and Rumors
• Jorge Soler is not locked in to the second spot of Joe Maddon’s lineup. Maddon is “intrigued by hitting him there” according to Mark Gonzales.
• Cubs said prior to Sunday’s game, a net will be raised in front of the left field video board to protect it during batting practice. Jorge Soler and Mike Olt hit the board Saturday. The net will be removed prior to first pitch.
• The Cardinals like the fact the bleachers are empty and under construction according to the Sun-Times. And view it as an advantage to playing the Cubs right now.
• From Christopher Kamka: Starlin Castro was the first shortstop to hit cleanup for the Cubs on Opening Day since Ernie Banks in 1961.
• Jon Lester was the second pitcher to bat eighth for the Cubs in the last 101 years. Jeff Samardzija hit eighth on Sept. 8, 2012.
• With Sunday’s shutout, the Cubs have been blanked in back-to-back Opening Days for the first time in team history. Marlon Byrd in 2012 was the last time a Cubs’ player had a hit with a runner in scoring position on Opening Day.
• According to Bob Nightengale, an all-new Wrigley gives an all-new feel to Opening Day.
• Billy Williams likes what he’s seen from this year’s team and reminds him of the ’84 Cubs according to the Sun-Times.
• Starlin Castro did not take any heat off himself with the poor performance in the field on Sunday night. Buster Olney tweeted the obvious following the game. As soon as Kris Bryant is called up, the conversation will shift to, when will Addison Russell make his debut? Olney guessed Russell could be up by July 1.
• According to Jesse Rogers citing Elias as the source, the Cubs became only the second team in the last 40 years to go 0-for-13 with RISP on Opening Day.
And last, but not least, Joe Maddon had his first experience with the interview room at Wrigley Field, his response, “I can get claustrophobic in here.”
This Day In Cubstory
2013 – Justin and B.J. Upton became the first brothers to hit homers in the same inning in the history of the game. Justin led off the ninth with a game-tying homer off Carlos Marmol, B.J. hit the walk-off two batters later.
2011 – Cubs placed Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells on the disabled list on the same day. With two-fifths of the rotation on the DL, the Cubs called up Casey Coleman and inserted James Russell into the starting rotation.
1993 – Jose Guzman took a perfect game into the eighth inning against the Braves. Otis Nixon singled with two outs in the ninth for Atlanta’s only hit in a 1-0 Cubs win over the Braves.
1989 – Barret Loux, born
1987 – Cubs signed free agent Dickie Noles
1983 – Thomas Diamond, born
1975 – Oakland traded a PTBNL and cash to the Cubs for Jim Todd. The A’s sent Champ Summers to the Cubs on April 29, 1975 to complete the trade.
1973 – Mike Marshall walked Rick Monday with the bases loaded in the ninth in a 3-2 Cubs win over the Expos in the opener at Wrigley Field. Tony LaRussa ran for Ron Santo and scored the winning run.
1971 – Billy Williams homered in the ninth inning for a 2-1 Cubs victory over the Cardinals. Ferguson Jenkins outpitched Bob Gibson in the opener at Wrigley Field.
1937 – Phil Regan, born
1929 – Don Elston, born
1884 – Rudy Schwenck, born