From the cubicle: Cubs win opener
What was worse? Living through the eighth inning of Game 6 of last year's NLCS or the interminable offseason that followed it?

If that wasn't the longest sixth months on record, I'm Hee Seop Choi.

By now everyone is tired of the talk of baseballs and bespectacled Bartmans, goats and ghosts, or that a certain pitcher for a certain Chicago team is on the cover of a national magazine that has been accused in the past of witchcraft.

Last we saw these Cubs they were standing stunned on the Wrigley Field grass as the Florida Marlins celebrated the National League pennant in front of them. They went from five outs away from their first World Series in 58 years to another next year.

No more hocus-pocus. It's time to see if the Cubs can right a wrong and erase last season's collapse or if they'll follow the lead of their recent playoff past and fade the following year.

Kerry Wood starts for the Cubs today against the Reds' Cory Lidle.

If you're stuck at work like us, hopefully this play-by-play will help you cope. And not one mention of Dave Veres and Mark Guthrie! Stay tuned for baseball. The season finally has arrived.

The weather is cold but the bunting is in full bloom at the Great American Ballpark. The teams are being introduced.

The PA announcer just said, "The historic moment is here! ... The 2004 Cincinnati Reds Opening Day lineup!" I really had my hopes up for something a little more historic than that.

No surprise here: Ken Griffey Jr. is out of the lineup.

Baseball soon...right after Nick Lachey (minus his better half) sings the anthem and Veep Dick Cheney (with his better half) throws out the first pitch. Interesting combo. Cheney throws harder than Shawn Estes.

FIRST INNING

OK, we're ready. Sorry about the little glitch with the e-mail form. My bad. It's fixed now. Mark Grudzielanek takes a ball from Lidle before bouncing out to third. It's safe to say Corey Patterson is OK. He just cranked a change-up to the right-field bleachers. He hit two on Opening Day a year ago, if memory serves. Sammy Sosa pops out to second, bringing up Moises Alou, who flies out to Adam Dunn in left.

Cubs 1, Reds 0

So much for the no-hitter. D'Angelo Jimenez, the former White Sox second baseman, leads off the inning with a bouncer up the middle that finds a hole. Barry Larkin hits one where Jimenez did, but Grudzielanek makes a nice play, steps on second and has plenty of time to double up the aged Larkin. Wood fans Sean Casey to end the inning.

SECOND INNING

Aramis Ramirez starts things with a lazy grounder to third. Derrek Lee strikes out on three straight breaking balls and Alex Gonzalez flies out to Dunn. Quick half inning. Cubs hitters didn't show much patience there.

Austin Kearns rolls one to Gonzalez, who picks up right where he left off in Game 6 by booting the easy play. After Dunn strikes out looking, Jason LaRue hits a chopper to Ramirez, who starts a nice 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

THIRD INNING