Joe Maddon took off his now-iconic black-framed glasses, looked at them to make sure they weren't rose-colored and flashed a smile to the standing-room-only media crowd on hand in the newly-refurbished press room.
The manager had just been boasting about his team for 15 straight minutes, talking up every aspect of the organization — from baserunning to the state-of-the-art clubhouse — before a reporter asked him if there was anything that wasn't rosy with this club right now (besides the obvious Kyle Schwarber injury).
Of course Maddon had an amusing response, but hours later, his team almost made the reporter look clairvoyant, needing a late comeback to beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-3 in front of 40,882 fans in the Wrigley Field opener.
On a night when both Maddon and Theo Epstein talked up the depth and quality of the lineup, the Cubs didn't pick up their first hit until two outs in the seventh inning when David Ross stroked a two-strike pitch into left-center.
Three batters later — after two walks and a pair of pitching changes — a fan set off fireworks on Addison St. beyond the center-field scoreboard, prompting free-agent prize Jason Heyward to ignite some offensive firepower of his own with a two-out, two-run single.
"I did see some fireworks when I was on third base," Ross said. "Me and [Cubs third base coach Gary Jones] were trying to figure out what the heck was going on out there."
Addison Russell gave the Cubs the lead for good with a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth on the first pitch he saw from Reds reliever Jumbo Diaz.
"We had good at-bats the whole game," Maddon said. "I'll give their pitcher a lot of credit - he had an outstanding game. We hit some balls well. Our geometry was bad; early on in the game, itwas at everybody."
For the second straight year, Jon Lester got the ball in the first home game of the season and left with the Cubs losing.
Lester pitched well enough to earn the minimum qualifications for a quality start (six innings, three earned runs), striking out five while allowing five hits and a walk on 102 pitches. He surrendered a two-strike homer to light-hitting Billy Hamilton in the third inning and a two-out RBI single to Reds pitcher Brandon Finnegan.
"I think I was just a little over-amped in the first, overthrowing a little bit," Lester said. "The ball flattened out on me. Settled in a little bit. I felt like I made a good pitch to Billy Hamilton there and he hit it out. It is what it is.
"It was a little bit of a grind. Didn't have a lot to go off of. A lot of 1-0 counts, which is just never good. These guys are swinging the bats really well right now. When you're constantly behind, it just makes you work even harder.
"The biggest thing is I kept us in close enough to come back and win. That was huge."
The Cubs tallied just three hits on the evening, but found a way to grind out the victory to improve to 6-1 on the season.