CHICAGO — It is 105 years and counting since the Chicago Cubs last won the World Series, and few expect the drought to end this season.
At least their longtime home appears headed for a major upgrade: The team and the city appear to be close to announcing a long-awaited $500 million renovation project for Wrigley Field.
"I think it's going in the right direction," Cubs chairman Tom Ricketts said Monday before the first game of the season at the 99-year-old neighborhood ballpark. "I think we've worked through a lot of issues over the weekend. I'll just leave it at that."
The Cubs have desperately wanted to update Wrigley for a while, saying it spends as much as $15 million a year just to keep up with the repairs. Wrigley is the second oldest in the major leagues behind only Boston's Fenway Park.
CARDINALS HONOR STAN THE MAN: Opening day, always a festive occasion in St. Louis, is a little melancholy this time around. There was no Stan Musial for the first time in many years.
The Cardinals' opener Monday against Cincinnati was the first game at Busch Stadium since Musial died in January at age 92 after years of declining health.
Pregame ceremonies were mostly a tribute to The Man. Musial's four children unveiled a marker on the left-field wall honoring their father — his No. 6 inside a red circle with his signature across it. Fans stood, many with hats over their hearts, during a video tribute.
Even the national anthem paid homage to Musial's passion, since it was performed by harmonica players with the Gateway Harmonica Club, of which Musial was an honorary member.
Activities also included a parade of Hall of Famers in red Mustangs and wearing red blazers — Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Bruce Sutter and Whitey Herzog. Ceremonial first pitches were thrown by two members of the 2006 championship team, Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds.
Musial spent his entire 22-year career with the Cardinals, his 3,630 hits split evenly with 1,815 at home at 1,815 on the road. He won seven NL batting championships, three MVP awards and played on three World Series winners.