Inside a frigid Opening Day
Ah, Opening Day. No matter if it’s played on March 31 (like last year) or a full two weeks later, on April 13, that first game always seems to bring out the worst in Chicago weather.
But an impressive turnout of Cubs fans endured temperatures in the 40s and the constant misty rain, all after a one-hour, 12-minute rain delay. And they were treated to a great home opener:
? The crowd gave a standing ovation to National Guard Specialist Eunice Hernandez, an honored guest of the Cubs’ community affairs department. Hernandez, 22, became nationally known when, during the Commander-in-Chief Inaugural Ball, she answered President Barack Obama’s question of “White Sox or Cubs?” with “Cubs.” Hernandez was visiting the ballpark during her couple weeks in between tours of duty in Afghanistan.
? The Captain Morgan Club was at capacity the couple times I walked by in the late innings. And the crowd inside was as much a part of the Wrigley experience as any, joining “Sut” for “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”
? Ted Lilly took a no-hitter into the seventh inning despite the wet mist that wreaked havoc on pitchers’ command. He said after the game that he wasn’t thinking about maintaining the no-hitter but rather that the conditions forced him to focus only on making quality pitches. Lou Piniella raved about Lilly’s performance under tough conditions.
“It was a cold, raw day, and Lilly really mastered the weather,” Piniella said. “He threw strikes, changed speeds, got his curveball over … really an outstanding pitching performance.”
? General manager Jim Hendry was his typical, enthusiastic self after the game. Aside from a brief stop in the office last Friday morning before heading to Milwaukee, Jim hasn’t been in Wrigley Field for over two months. Glad we got this first one today.
— Sean Ahmed