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Baseball Fri Apr 01 2011

Opening Day: Stage is Set for Cubs & Sox

alexei ramirez carlos pena.PNG

Alexei Ramirez (left) and Carlos Pena / Tribune photos: Phil Velasquez

Thumbnail image for cubs.gifPirates at Cubs, 1:20 p.m. (WGN)

Opening Day. Two of the most beautiful words in the English language to a baseball fan. For Cubs fans it's the beginning of a new season. Hope springs eternal. I consider Opening Day at Wrigley to be a religious holiday. Which is exactly what I told my employer when I requested the day off. Today is the reason I put up with the cold and snow during the winter.

The optimism couldn't be any higher than it is today. Everything is wiped clean from last year and everyone is starting out in first. We can dream of the World Series and the party that will surely follow. On Opening Day all things are possible, even if my team hasn't won a championship in over 100 years. Cubs fans can dream and dream we shall because next year is here.

-- Brian Livingston

Thumbnail image for white sox.gifWhite Sox at Indians, 2:05 p.m. (CSN)

It's spring in Cleveland, but it doesn't quite feel like it. While U.S. Cellular Field is ready to go, Progressive Field groundskeepers have spent the past 24 hours clearing 3-4 inches of snow.

Could this be the baseball gods' way of frowning on the Indians' winter Snow Days events? Something tells me that The Sodfather wouldn't give over his verdant domain to ice skating and snow tubing.

So, technically it's spring, but when the White Sox are making snow angels and having snowball fights on the field the afternoon before Opening Day, it feels a bit surreal. So much so that even Ozzie chimed in on the subject, in his usual inimitable way. Who knows, maybe this is just the sort of thing the White Sox need to get over their traditional slow April starts.

So let it snow. Paulie, A.J., Ozzie and the White Sox are ready and so are their fans. Let's face it, there's a lot to be excited about today as Mark Buehrle makes his ninth consecutive Opening Day start; the incredible Omar Vizquel begins his 22nd season; and Adam Dunn makes his official Sox debut. Who says they aren't a cold weather team?

-- Jenny Zelle

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