They may not be off to the best start in the world, but the Chicago Cubs will surely be greeted with a full house and screaming fans Monday when they play their first home game of the 2010 season.
Those paying top dollar to see the Cubs play the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field Monday will also see what could be Lou Piniella's last home opener as the Cubs manager. NBC Chicago reports that Piniella's contract expires after the season, but "there is a chance he could re-up and that decision will rest with him and general manager Jim Hendry."
"We've been on the road for a week here or so, a long spring training. It will be nice getting back to Chicago and our home ballpark," Piniella told NBC.
Aside from the fans, the team will see some improvements around the ballpark as well.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that Wrigley Field's weight room and clubhouse kitchen have been upgraded, along with a "new players' lounge," and improvements to restrooms and seating areas.
The Cubs also have a new team nutritionist, who already has banned soda and other junk food from the clubhouse, and a team psychiatrist. The Sun-Times reports:
So what competitive edge might the Cubs expect from all the amenities and specialty personnel?
"[The ballpark upgrades] make it a much more pleasant experience for our fans [and players], but you win on the field,'' said manager Lou Piniella, who hasn't seen much of that in six road games so far.
"The dietician doesn't get any base hits,'' he said. "The psychiatrist - I haven't seen him hit a two-run homer yet. But he can help. ...
"You've got to play on the field. All those other things might prepare you a little better to play on the field. But, still, when the umpire says play ball, you've still got to play.''
Monday's game starts at 1:20 p.m. Click here to download the Cubs 2010 schedule.
Check out some new additions to Wrigley Field here: