While, technically, opening day of the 2017 MLB Baseball Season is tomorrow, the first game of the season will be tonight. The World Champions Chicago Cubs will visit the St. Louis Cardinals' beautiful Busch Stadium for the start of the 2017 season. Bitter rivals, the two Midwestern teams always put on a good show. St. Louis always kicks off their season in grand style, with the arrival into the stadium of the team of Clydesdale horses, pulling the Anheuser Busch Beer Wagon, as the organ plays "Here Comes the King."
The strong team as the season begins include last year's World Series contenders, Champions Chicago Cubs and Cleveland Indians, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Boston Red Sox. Pre season greats often do not persevere through the season, the usually competitive St Louis Cardinals missed the play-offs last year, and their line up seems a bit disheveled for such a well-run franchise. But bounce-back years for starters Michael Wacha and Adam Wainwright, and a Cy Young-worthy effort by new star Carlos Martinez will have them back in the NL post-season. So, as the season starts tonight with a renewed Cardinals-Cubs rivalry, we can all look forward to the surprises of the boys of Summer...
Cycling heats up today with the 2017 Tour of Flanders, one-day cycling classic, the 101st edition of the race. The Tour of Flanders is the second monument race of the 2017 cycling season and the high point of Flemish Cycling Week. Antwerp, in far northern Belgium, will stage the start of the event for the first time, after 19 starts in Bruges. The stage winds south to finish at Oudenaarde. Notable climbs include the Muur van Geraardsbergen. Eighteen categorized climbs are programmed, of which 12 are cobbled. In addition to the climbs, five sectors of flat cobbled roads are included. This year 25 teams take part in the race, 18 UCI World Teams who were both invited and obliged, and seven wildcard entries. Today's total peloton consists of 200 riders. Over the next few weeks, the great one day classics of April will take place, including Paris-Roubaix.
In Australia, Aussie Rules Football: The Western Bulldogs beat the Sydney Swans by 23 points in the rematch of the 2016 Grand Final to start the weekend. The Swans got the jump on the Bulldogs, leading by 23 points at the 18-minute mark of the first term, but the defending Champions showed their mettle by rebounding and eventually getting on top in a brilliant win. Sydney is now 0-2 after two rounds, while the Bulldogs are 2-0. Today's action pits the Geelong Cats against North Melbourne, Melbourne against Carlton, and Port Adelaide against Fremantle.
The ICC Intercontinental Cup is a cricket tournament organized by the International Cricket Council, so that Associate Members of the ICC might have a chance to play First Class Cricket matches against teams of similar skill in a competitive environment. The Cup serves as a part of a cricket development program. The winners of each cup are able to play test matches against the lowest of the highest level until the next ICC Cup competition. Today's competition features the United Arab Emirates playing Papau New Guinea at Abu Dhabi. In other international action today, Pakistan continues their tour of the West Indies with their 4th Twenty20I at Port of Spain.
Since Association Football fans think that soccer is the ONLY game, and beautiful, we could not end this update without a bit of soccer news. As an update from yesterday's notice, Bastian Schweinsteiger scored in his Major League Soccer debut for the Chicago Fire, as the burners and the Montreal Impact traded late goals in a 2-2 draw on Saturday. Less than two weeks after leaving Manchester United and moving to Chicago, Schweinsteiger played all 90 minutes and scored the opening goal with a header following a corner kick in the 17th minute.
In Greek Super League action today, 5 contests will take place, Panionios vs. Atromitos, Kerkyra vs. Iraklis, Panetolikos vs. Asteras Tripoli, PAOK Salonika vs. Larissa FC, and AEK Athens vs. Panathinaikos. In this last contest, in their last five meetings, Athens has won twice, Panathinaikos once, and they have drawn twice.