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Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs Raring for Historic Opening Day

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Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs Raring for Historic Opening Day

It’s a tale of two teams, but three cities. And as Charles Dickens wrote, it’s a tale of the years they intertwined from the start, one enjoying a “season (or seasons) of light,” the other dreading a “season of darkness.”

The Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs always pop up on each other’s schedules at least twice, sometimes more, every year. But rarely do they begin a regular season against each other. Same was the case when the Braves played their home games north of Chicago.

This year, though, the stars are aligned and the clubs are set to reunite again on April 5.

If history is any indication, the 2010 opener (and the events of the season) could be wrapped in irony, much like its predecessors.

Opening Day at Turner Field marks an afternoon ripe with both real significance and bizarre coincidence. And at the least, a few fun facts (okay, maybe a lot).

Two talent and tradition-rich franchises—teams that have each run the gamut from maddening stretches of mediocrity to flashes of excellence and staying power—meet again for an opening contest in Atlanta.

Possibly the next face of the franchise, 20-year-old phenom Jason Heyward will make his major league debut in right field for Atlanta.

At the end of the bullpen, Billy Wagner, who turns 39 this summer, will be Atlanta’s oldest Opening Day closer in recent memory.

The Cubs starting nine will look largely the same as last year, with the exception of center fielder Marlon Byrd (who led the American League in sacrifice flies in ‘09).

And the Cubs’ renowned fatties, pitcher Carlos Zambrano and catcher Geovany Soto, dropped a collective 60-plus pounds in the offseason. Zambrano makes a club-best sixth straight opening day start.

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