By Bruce Levine
(CBS) — Like the last two seasons, Friday’s Cub home opener seemed much like the past.
The franchise was celebrating the 100th year of the ballpark at Clark and Addison. Technically, this is not Wrigley Field’s 100th. The Cub franchise moved in for the 1916 season. Prior to that, the Federal league Chicago team played two seasons at the new park before the Cubs moved in.
The park was not named Wrigley Field until 1926, when the Wrigley family took majority ownership of the club. As we take a short trip back in history, one common element still prevails: Zero World Championships have been run at the snakebit ballpark.
While the 38,000 fans watched a loss to Ryne Sandberg’s other team, the most exciting event for Cub fans occurred in the ninth inning. A four foot-long piece of aluminum siding fell into section 215 from just above the sky box ramp. A lot of luck was involved in no fans getting hit by the falling debris. Knowing that renovations are still light years from being completed just adds to the woes of Tom Ricketts and his family’s quest for an updated park and a winning franchise.
On the field a generous official scorer gave Stalin Castro and Junior Lake a pass on balls that should have been ruled errors. Manager Ricky Renteria did not come out of his first game with a victory — or unscathed.
In his no- move to leave in left-hand reliever Wesley Wright in the game to pitch to pinch hitter John Mayberry, the game got away. Reliever Brian Schlitter watched from the bullpen as Mayberry hit a two-run home run to ice the game. The two-out long ball came after pitching coach Chris Bosio gave Wright instructions to pitch around the right-handed hitter.
“It was clear that the message was not to give him (Mayberry) anything that he could handle ,” Renteria said. “We had another lefty that was coming up behind him. Wesley got two strikes down under the zone and the next pitch he left over the plate. He was not trying to give him anything to hit.”
Schlitter was part of a worn-out bullpen that Renteria was trying to avoid. That non-move alone did not lose the game, however. With little firepower from his hitters, Renteria, much like previous manager Dale Sveum, must gut out every move that he makes.
Three hits and none after the third inning is not the kind of effort that will win you many games.