Opening Night is upon on us. After an extended winter and a compelling offseason everything in the MLB starts new tonight.
It begins with one of the most historic rivalries in all of baseball. The Cardinals and Cubs rivalry doesn’t get the headlines of the Red Sox and the Yankees. The Cardinals, one of the more storied franchises in all of baseball, have won 19 National League pennants, making appearances in the last four League Championship Series. The Birds have also won 11 World Series titles, second only to the Yankees and the most in the National League.
The Cubs, the Lovable Losers of Chicago, have had a long drought since their last World Series title. The Cubs last won the title in 1908 and have not been to the Series since 1945. Yet, the team always has stellar attendance and every year there is renewed spirit.
For all 30 teams in the MLB tonight they all have a chance. Tonight they all believe they can win the World Series. The Cardinals have been close to the World Series in 2012, 2013 and 2014, but it has eluded them and their players want it. The Cubs haven’t been to the playoffs since 2008, but after an intense offseason and a loaded farm system, the Cubs believe.
With this new Cubs pride, the Cards-Cubs rivalry is heating up yet again. But, let’s not forget the deep history.
The Sandberg Game on June 23, 1984 that had Ryan Sandberg, at the time a meager offensive player, hit home runs off of Bruce Sutter in the 9th and the 10th innings to tie the game. The Cubs would eventually win in the 11th.
The McGwire/Sosa Home Run Chase that led to a baseball revival. Mark McGwire was the first to break the record, hitting his 62nd home run against Steve Trachsel, Cubs pitcher. Who could forget Sammy Sosa coming to congratulate Big Mac on his home run? McGwire would finish with 70 home runs, Sosa with 66.
Lou Brock made his debut with the Cubs. The Cubs management lost patience with the speedy Brock and would trade him to the Cardinals. At the time, many thought the trade was a heist for the Cubs, but the Cardinals moved him to leftfield and he became one of the best players of all time.
Each club has had some wonderful personalities as announcers. Harry Caray began with the St. Louis Cardinals organization, calling games for KMOX before taking over for WGN and staying with the Cubs until his death in 1998. The Cardinals having Jack Buck, calling the play-by-play and his notable call “That’s a winner!”
There are many more moments to share between the Cardinals-Cubs rivalry. Though the success in recent years has been enjoyed by the Cardinals and Cubs fans have had little to celebrate. The reemergence of the Cubs is good for baseball and great for the rivalry.
This isn’t the Cubs year. Not yet. But, I’m hoping for a dynamic rivalry in the Midwest. I want to see the Cardinals and the Cubs finish first and second in the division, battling for the Central title. I want to the see the two teams face off the playoffs and give us performances like the Yankees and the Red Sox did over a decade ago.
Tonight, it starts new.
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