Chicago Cubs lose to Nationals on Opening Day 2012 at Wrigley

April 5, 2012 6:57:14 PM PDT
Baseball is back in Chicago as the Cubs started the 2012 season Thursday afternoon with a 2-1 loss in their home opener against the Nationals.

After Stephen Strasburg dominated for seven innings, Ian Desmond singled in the go-ahead run in the ninth Thursday to give the Washington Nationals a season-opening win over the Chicago Cubs.

Strasburg, starting his first opener, allowed one run and five hits, struck out five and walked one. He reached 98 mph when he struck out Starlin Castro in the sixth. Tyler Clippard (1-0) worked a scoreless eighth to win in relief, and Brad Lidge got the save.

Ryan Dempster, also making his first opening start, struck out 10 in 7 2-3 innings for the Cubs as they played their first game since Theo Epstein was hired away from Boston.

The fans lined up early to get in the gates, which opened about two hours before the game. David Richardson came from Elgin Thursday morning for his 35th consecutive home opener.

"I didn't become a Cub fan, I was born a Cub fan. You don't just become a Cub fan. I bleed Cubbie blue," he said.

There were a lot of new things to see at Wrigley Field. The right field bleachers got a huge makeover, now known as the Budweiser Patio. The Cubs say the goal is to give fans a rooftop experience inside the ballpark. You'll also see a giant LED screen and a new suite for groups of 14 people along the first-base side, not to mention new players, a new manager and a new front office.

"I think with the new coach, I think that will be a big plus for Chicago. Maybe he can motivate the players, get 'em to work, get 'em to do their jobs," said Dave Lukes, Cubs fan.

As the Cubs continue talks with the city to partly use taxpayer dollars to help fund future renovations, Cubs owner Tom Ricketts said no concrete plans have been made.

"One of the things that has been part of the conversation is just the dollars that are already being paid by the team just staying in the park at least some of them, so anyway that's part of it, but like I said, we're just in discussions right now," said Ricketts.

"I think it will be slow, but I think, like, within three years we'll be there," said Julie Richardson, Cubs fan.

Actor Bill Murray, a Chicago native and a lifelong Cubs fan, threw out the first pitch.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.