Monday, April 12, 2010

Opening day review

Ok, I'm home...the blog is fixed (that's what I get for posting from my!)...and it really was a nice day.

Now, normally I don't like taking pictures, but I thought I'd snap a few today just for the hell of it, and I'll share a few with you. 

First off, let me just say that Wrigley Field definitely looks nicer this year.  The scoreboard probably has never looked better.
And it looked as if they fixed up the front of it a bit too...I won't really know until I sit in the bleachers so I can get better look.

(much more after the jump)

Some, but not all, of the concrete panels have been removed. Honestly, I didn't think it was much of an improvement on either the outside or the inside.

In the concourse, they have cleaned things up a bit.  It was very noticeable where they expanded the restroom facilities...they took out entire ramps to make room for them and replaced those ramps with stairs (which take up much less space).

A couple of the ramps going up to the upper deck appear to have been replaced with new concrete. 

From the exterior, the PNC Club really doesn't stand out.  I doubt I'll ever get to go into the club...but the Tribune had some nice pictures of it yesterday.
Some subtle new advertising...Scotts and Citi
Outside the ballpark, you couldn't take two steps with out someone trying to hand you a pamphlet on protesting the Cubs trying to put up the Toyota sign in left field.  As you can see in this picture, that Toyota ad isn't up yet.
Nothing out of the ordinary before the game.

The game itself?  Ok...the recap:

Dempster was quite wild and inefficient.  In fact, he probably put in the second worst starting pitching performance of the year for the Cubs.  I know Zambrano has problems in big games, but Dempster seems to have just as many problems. (remember game 1 of the 2008 NLDS?)

Brewers pitcher Doug Davis may be one of the slowest workers I've ever seen...if he doesn't take more time between pitches than Steve Trachsel did, he's damn close.  And then it didn't help that Davis's pitches take a  couple minutes a piece to actually reach home plate. The first 5 innings of this game took forever.

Speaking of Davis, he usually handles the Cubs quite well...but today, the offense really was sparked by a couple of guys who have just joined the Cubs this season...and they pounded Davis.  Those players?  Marlon Byrd (who has a section in the bleachers now called the Byrd's Nest) and Xavier Nady.  And Jeff Baker smacked a ball that might not have landed yet.

I'll tell you one thing, home runs will not be a problem for this team this season.  Having people on base when they are hit, well, that's something else...but it wasn't a problem today.  Ramirez also hit a bomb today. 

The 5 runs the Cubs scored in the 3rd inning were the most they have scored in any inning so far this year.

Nine runs total...nice!

Dempster did struggle and gave up 5 runs.  When he was taken out in the seventh, there was a collective grown in the crowd...but Russell came in and got out of the 7th (but allowed that 5th run to score, which was charged to Dempster.)  Spellcheck came in and lowered his ERA by about 70 runs.

Carlos Marmol pitched the ninth, walked the first batter, but finished things off quickly ending the game with a double play on a line drive in the infield by Jim Edmonds with Alcides Escobar getting picked off of second on the play.

And everyone sang...
And the W flag flew...
Cubs win 9-5.  And I got a bite to eat and went home.

The other highlight of the day was the Ricketts family singing take me out to the ballgame...

Some final observations today as I finally got to see this team play...

Say what you want about Marlon Byrd's range in center field...he has great instincts out there and it's been a long time since I have seen a player get as good of a jump on fly balls in center as he does.  It was very impressive to watch.  And about Byrd...the fans in the bleachers already love him.

Derrek Lee left the game in the 4th inning.  I'm not sure why...but it did give me an opportunity to see Colvin play (until Fukudome came in for him late). 

The onfield introductions before the game were interesting.  Jim Edmonds got a very good ovation from the crowd.  Largest applause came for Ryan Theriot and Derrek Lee.  Soriano was booed the loudest, followed closely by Jeff Samardzija.  Unfortunately, Esmailin Caridad was booed loudly too...and this was just wrong.  I was a bit pissed off at the booing of Caridad.  He blew one game in his young career...he doesn't deserve to be booed.  Come on, Cubs fans!  Geez.

But overall, it was a blast today.  Beer prices did NOT go up, and the Cubs won.  For my first opening day in 15 years, it was well worth the wait.