Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon
news

MLB News

Cubs eager to finally open Friendly Confines

Wrigley Field the last ballpark to host opener this season
MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

MILWAUKEE -- It's time for the Cubs to come home. After opening the season on the road with nine games and two postponements, the Cubs will play their first game at Wrigley Field this year on Tuesday (1:20 p.m. CT) when they face the Pirates. The Cubs are the only team in baseball to not have played a game at home this season.

"We haven't been home for a while -- Christmas was the last time we were home," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Sunday. "It's been a tough road trip because it's been long."

MILWAUKEE -- It's time for the Cubs to come home. After opening the season on the road with nine games and two postponements, the Cubs will play their first game at Wrigley Field this year on Tuesday (1:20 p.m. CT) when they face the Pirates. The Cubs are the only team in baseball to not have played a game at home this season.

"We haven't been home for a while -- Christmas was the last time we were home," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Sunday. "It's been a tough road trip because it's been long."

The Cubs were to open their home schedule on Monday, but the game had to be postponed due to snow .

Tyler Chatwood will make his second start for the Cubs on Tuesday. It will be the 21st time the Cubs and Pirates meet in the Wrigley Field opener. The last time the Cubs beat the Pirates in a home opener was April 15, 1988, with a 6-0 win.

Zobrist's wife, Julianna, will sing "God Bless America" and Wayne Messmer will sing the national anthem. Hall of Famers Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams will throw out ceremonial first pitches, and members of the Loyola Ramblers men's basketball team, which reached the NCAA Final Four, will lead the crowd in the seventh-inning stretch.

Players eager for new digs
Some of the players said they were going to peek at the changes in the Cubs' dugout at Wrigley Field on Sunday night after the bus ride home from Milwaukee. The dugouts have been moved down the line and are wider, part of the renovation work at the ballpark. Maddon was very eager to see if his corner of the remodeled dugout will be warm.

"They'll have heaters blowing for sure," Zobrist said. "We can go right down into the tunnel and heat up like we've done in the past. I'm sure it'll be fine."

And some of the Cubs liked the tiny space.

"I kind of liked the cramped dugouts -- it made it fun," Bryant said. "We were always so close to each other, ducking your heads. You really felt the history there because it's so old. The improvements are nice, I know the batting cages will be nice. There's a lot of new stuff I'm sure they can't wait to show us."

However, Bryant also used to hit his head on the top of the dugout.

"Maybe after a bad strikeout here and there -- it definitely adds to the pain," Bryant said. "I definitely got used to ducking. That was the worst when you did something bad and smacked your head. It was insult to injury there."

Bryant remembers how different Wrigley Field was in September 2014 when he was honored as the Cubs' Minor League Player of the Year.

"I remember getting my Minor League award on the field, and it was so different," Bryant said. "I sat up in the stands and watched the game. It was beautiful then, but now it's a whole 'nother stadium. The Ricketts have done an amazing job. As players, we appreciate it."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

Chicago Cubs