CHICAGO — It’s going to be a little chilly and a bit cloudy, but everyone around the “Friendly Confines” will be having a “sunny” disposition on Thursday.
That’s because a new Cubs baseball season will be getting underway at Wrigley Field as the club faces the Brewers for their first of 81 home games and 162 overall contests for the 2023 season.
With a mix of new free agents and a number of returners last year, the club is hoping to take another step closer to the playoffs after being outside looking in the last two seasons.
Here are some things to know as the Cubs get ready to open the 2023 home schedule on Thursday.
The Cubs are playing in their 148th National League season with an 80-65-2 record overall on Opening Day and a 30-25-2 record in their home opener. In those games played at Wrigley Field, the club is 24-24-1.
Game time for the opener against the Brewers is set for 1:20 p.m. central time with gates at the ballpark opening to fans 90 minutes before the first pitch. The first 10,000 fans at the ballpark will get an Opening Day pin.
John Vincent will sing the national anthem while Officer Kenyatta Gaines of the Chicago Police Honor Guard will perform “God Bless America.” The U.S. Air Force 28th Bomb Wing from Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota will conduct the pregame flyover.
Cubs radio play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes, who is the recipient of the 2023 Ford C. Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame, will throw out the first pitch and conduct the seventh-inning stretch.
Deja Vu from 2022 – In opponent and weather
For the second-straight season, the Cubs will open up their season at home against Milwaukee, having done so also in 2022.
It’s actually the third time in the last four years that the teams are meeting at Wrigley Field to start the season. In 2020, when no fans were allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cubs and Brewers opened the shortened 60-game season in July in Chicago.
It’s the fourth-straight year the Cubs have opened their season at home, facing the Pirates for their season opener in the 2021 season. They lost to Pittsburgh that day but beat Milwaukee in 2020 and 2022.
The weather will also be a bit similar to 2022 with mostly cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s. Last year, the temperature at first pitch was 44 degrees.
Are there tickets still available?
The game is not a sellout as of Wednesday afternoon with tickets available on the Cubs’ website along with other ticket exchange companies.
On StubHub, the lowest price for one ticket to Opening Day on Thursday is $45 with SeatGeek at $47 while Vivid Seats has it at $48 as of Wednesday afternoon.
Last season, 35,112 fans showed up at Wrigley Field to watch the Cubs beat the Brewers in the opener 5-4.
Who will take the mound for the Cubs?
The Cubs will send Marcus Stroman to the mound for the opener against the Brewers as he does so for the first time with the team.
Kyle Hendricks had started the previous three opening days for the Cubs but he remains out as he continues to rehab a shoulder injury.
This will be the third Opening Day start of Stroman’s career, doing so with the Blue Jays in 2016 & 2019. He will be entering his second season with the Cubs.