Behind The ScenesSportsCenter

SportsCenter, Spain and Cubs’ reign make for fun day at Wrigley

Jay Crawford and Sarah Spain report from Wrigley Field prior to the Chicago Cubs' home opener as defending World Series champions.
Jay Crawford and Sarah Spain report from Wrigley Field for SportsCenter prior to the Chicago Cubs’ home opener as defending World Series champions.

SportsCenter reporter and lifelong Chicago Cubs fan Sarah Spain will be part of ESPN’s coverage from Chicago throughout today leading up to the team’s home opener and World Series banner- raising also on ESPN (8 p.m. ET). She reported from the 2016 MLB Postseason and was there when the team won its first World Series in 108 years.

In addition, SC6 with Michael Smith and Jemele Hill and Baseball Tonight will be live from Chicago providing pre and post-game coverage. The banner-raising is slated to air during Baseball Tonight’s coverage, which begins at 7 p.m., before the Cubs welcome the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dan Shulman, Jessica Mendoza, Aaron Boone and Buster Olney will have the call of the exclusive, full-national telecast tonight.

Before the celebration begins and the first pitch of the 2017 season at Wrigley Field is thrown, Spain spoke with Front Row about what this day will mean for Cubs fans.

What does it mean to you to be able to watch the Cubs raise the World Series Champion flag in Chicago at the home opener?
It’s going to be a really special night — especially seeing the faces of folks who waited a lifetime to see a banner raised at Wrigley Field. I expect a lot of smiles and tears, as the raw emotion of last November hasn’t fully worn off for Cubs fans. I still get a giant grin on my face every time I think about Game 7, the ensuing celebration in Cleveland and looking out from the double-decker buses at the five million strong that came out for the parade in downtown Chicago. Every moment of this ride has more than lived up to expectations, so I’m sure Monday night will be no different.

Why is covering this home opener going to be so special to you?
I’ve had the unique honor of not only getting to be a fan, but also getting to cover my team’s journey. While there were one or two moments last season where I might’ve preferred staying in the crowd with a few celebratory beers over racing to a live postgame shot, I never forget how cool it is to be a part of the story and get to offer a genuine, authentic Chicago perspective to those watching at home.

What are your thoughts on being alongside Jay Crawford, an Indians fan, for the Cubs’ home opener?
Over the last few years, Jay and I have been partnered up on SportsCenter to welcome each baseball season, always talking about a dream scenario in which our teams would be the final two. We finally got our wish, and it could only end well for one of us. I’m sure he’ll be a good sport despite a heartbreaking finish for his Indians, mainly because he’s still riding the high of that Cavs’ win. Can’t let those Clevelanders get too greedy, now!

Mike Skarka contributed to this post.

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