John and I have been to many Opening Day games together, and this year will be no different. Admittedly, it gets a little harder every year (especially on days like today, where they very easily could have had the game on a holiday buy instead chose to get an off day after the strenuous opener - in the words of Dale Sveum - "It's not a tiring game because we do stand around most of the time."), but there is something special about the Opener and about making a point to be there.
Opening Day is the equivalent of prom night. You have spent the past several months in anticipation and wonder as to all the possibilities. It will either be incredible, disappointing, or the most dreadful of combinations - disappointing AND embarrassing. If it ends up being the latter, you have a lot of work to do, because everyone will know.
For whatever reason, I'm more up on this year's team then I have for the past 3 seasons. Maybe its that they are preaching effort and base running and defense - fundamentals that have been lost on the past couple of teams. Sveum seems to have earned the respect of everyone from the rookies to the veterans to management.
Last year's team - which many will consider to be the worst of the past 5ish seasons - finished with 91 losses. That's 20 games under .500. Certainly 71 wins in the 90s would have been considered a success, but that mentality has left the fans since 2003. It's interesting to note that Marmol had 10 blown saves last year. That is 10 games in which we had the lead in the 9th and were in a position to win. Say Marmol becomes Filthy Marmol again. Reverse those blown saves, and we are at .500. We certainly are no worse offensively than last year, and I would venture to say we have a better starting rotation.
So there Cubs fans - we at WAIW have seen through the clouds and found the sun. It's prom night - let's get people talking.