ARLINGTON, Texas — A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
The Cubs may not actually be traveling a thousand miles by foot, but the old Chinese proverb still applies — the only way the Cubs could go out and walk the walk on Opening Day was by picking up a decisive win over the rebuilding Rangers.
That's exactly what they did after all spring — and winter — of talking the talk.
Nobody should overreact to one game and declare the Cubs "fixed" or state with any sort of definitive proof that all the offseason changes to add more urgency and edge have taken ahold.
But all the Cubs could do was win the day at hand — get out to a 1-0 start and look good doing so in a 12-4 victory.
As Theo Epstein met with the media before the game, he spoke glowingly of the Cubs players and how they've stepped up to respond to the challenge for more urgency all spring following last fall's disappointment.
"Instead of hearing about the marathon of the season — which it is — we're hearing a lot about showing up every single day, about October begins in March," Epstein said. "That's really something that's coming out in our player group and I think it's the best possible way to react to a disappointing end to last year's season. I'm proud of them, but now that the season's starting, we have to prove it.
"Talk is talk. Them showing up everyday with a strong desire to win and assert ourselves on the field, take the game to our opponents, we'll all know it when we see it. I feel good about this group and their attitude."
Manager Joe Maddon lauded his players for their offensive approach, believing they carried over the same quality at-bats they were having from spring training to the regular season.
"That was a pretty nice performance," Maddon said. "I thought we played well. We played with a lot of energy, man. A lot of energy. And it was really fun to watch."
Again, it's just one game and it's very easy to get up and play with energy on Opening Day.
But after Elvis Andrus deposited Jon Lester's pitch into the Cubs bullpen in right-center in the bottom of the third inning, the Cubs responded with 12 unanswered runs.
They lulled the Rangers to sleep with a bunch of groundballs up the middle and patience (drawing 8 walks), but also asserted their authority over the Texas pitchers with a multi-homer game from Javy Baez as well as a 426-foot opposite-field dinger off the bat of the now-healthy Kris Bryant.
Every Cubs starter scored a run, including rookie Mark Zagunis making his first Opening Day roster. Baez, David Bote and Ben Zobrist all scored twice. It was the first time the Cubs had scored at least 12 runs in the season opener since 2006.
So this offense that "broke" down the stretch last season is all fixed, right?
"Yep,that's all we needed," Bryant joked, before turning serious. "I think offensively that was better than any game we had last year, so that's a good start. Hopefully we can continue with it. Great game to be a part of. Not stressful at all — just going out there, scoring a lot of runs."
The Andrus homer was the only blemish on Lester's line as he recorded a quality start en route to picking up his first win of the season.
"Every year you have an opportunity to win, you want to take full advantage of it," Epstein said. "We have a special group of players, this is a special era of Cubs baseball and each year we want to make sure we leave nothing undone in our pursuit to make the most of it and win.
"This group has won and I believe they'll continue to win, but we want no regrets, we want to put our best foot forward and that's how we should all approach our jobs and that's what this group is all about. It doesn't mean we're not gonna have adversity along the way.
"I believe that this group has responded the right way to the adversity we faced at the end of last season."Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Cubs easily on your device.