It's been more than 100 years since the Chicago Cubs won the world series. Yet the team has remained one of America's most storied franchises.
If you are a Cubs fan you don't expect too much each season but you hope for the best. There is no reason, on paper anyway, that the Cubs shouldn't win their division this year. No billy goat or black cat should stand in their way. Sure, a couple early season injuries may slow their step a bit but they should prevail.
Do you believe in omens?
Yesterday was opening day for the Cubs and the Atlanta Braves. The Cubs were in their familiar travel blues and the Braves their home whites. The Atlanta stadium was packed, the largest opening crowd in memory for the Braves.
The Cubs jumped off to a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks to two home runs. But in the bottom of the opening frame Atlanta struck, make that blooped and blasted their way back. Cub ace Carlos Zambrano gave up a walk and then several bloop hits. And Atlanta's rookie young phenom Jayson Heyward cleared the bases with a blast over the center field wall. Zambrano gave up 8 runs in the first inning.
Later in the game the Cubs had a runner on first when newly acquired center fielder Marlon Byrd, who homered in his first Cub at bat, drove a line drive to center field. In a diving attempt the Braves center fielder grabbed the ball in his glove but dropped it as he hit the ground. The center fielder then quickly retrieved the ball and threw it into the infield. The Umpires ruled the error a catch and the Cubs were doubled up. Their manager Lou Piniella put up an mild arguent but the umpires stood by their mistake.
Cub relievers went on to give up 8 more runs, and a lot of walks, as the game ended in a 16-5 rout at the hands of the Braves. Oy, this will be a long season.