Daywatch: Baseball is back, Chicago fans

Happy opening day, Chicago.

Optimism abounds on opening day, even in a city with only two World Series titles over the last 106 years.

Coming off a 101-loss season, the Chicago White Sox are looking for improvement. The first opportunity is today with their home opener against the Detroit Tigers, scheduled to start at 3:10 p.m.

Garrett Crochet will become just the 9th pitcher in the last 110 years to make his 1st career start on opening day and the White Sox will carry nine relievers on their opening-day roster.

The Chicago Cubs start the season on the road against the Texas Rangers, scheduled for a 6:35 p.m. first pitch.

The Cubs put the finishing touches on their opening-day roster this week as they closed out camp with Luke Little and right-hander José Cuas securing the final spots in the bullpen while infielders Nick Madrigal and Miles Mastrobuoni fill the remaining bench openings.

In the months leading to today, Cubs President Jed Hoyer and White Sox general manager Chris Getz both made difficult managerial decisions. These decisions will be scrutinized all season, writes Paul Sullivan adding that you can expect an interesting season on both sides of town, albeit for very different reasons.

Play ball! ⚾️

And here are the top stories you need to know to start your day.

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4 killed, 5 injured in Rockford mass stabbing, suspect in custody

Of the five people wounded, one was listed in critical condition while the others were stable, Rockford police Chief Carla Redd told reporters Wednesday. At least one of the victims’ injuries was neither stabbing nor gunshot-related, she said. Authorities had not determined a motive.

Those killed include a 15-year-old girl, a 63-year-old woman and two men, ages 22 and 49, police said in a news release late Wednesday evening. Their identities weren’t immediately released.

Chicago Water Taxi to return to daily service for the first time since pandemic

Beginning Saturday, the taxi service will once again run every day of the week for the first time since 2019. The boats will, for now, make only three stops, focusing on major commuter train stations, Streeterville and Chinatown, with no scheduled service to stops that existed before the pandemic at Chicago Avenue and Goose Island, taxi executive Andrew Sargis said.

Setting prairies ablaze in springtime is key to restoring damaged ecosystems, conservationists say

As spring gets underway, conservationists are purposely setting Illinois tallgrass prairies on fire to protect native species and revitalize one of the most endangered ecosystems in the world.

Prairies don’t immediately come to mind when people think about threatened landscapes, and public attention is often focused on rainforests. But there are far fewer prairies.

Shedd names newest otter pup Seldovia in nod to his origins

Almost four months after a rescued northern sea otter pup arrived at the Shedd Aquarium from Alaska, his ties to home remain strong. He has been named Seldovia for the remote town where he was found in late October.

Aldermen call for Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez to resign committee chair over appearance with charred US flag

Nearly a dozen members of Chicago’s City Council Wednesday demanded Mayor Brandon Johnson call for removing ally Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez as head of the council’s Housing Committee as punishment for the alderman speaking in front of a charred American flag at a pro-Palestinian rally outside City Hall this past Friday.

Pat Quinn revisits nearly 25-year-old defeat in proposing a voter referendum for Bears or White Sox stadiums

Former Gov. Pat Quinn revisited a quarter-century old defeat yesterday, filing legislation with the Chicago city clerk’s office that, if passed, would ask city voters in November whether the city should “provide any taxpayer subsidies” to the Chicago Bears or Chicago White Sox to build a new stadium or real estate development.

Caitlin Clark and Iowa draw nearly 5 million viewers for second-round NCAA Tournament win

It didn’t take long for Caitlin Clark and the Iowa Hawkeyes to break their viewing record in the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The Hawkeyes’ 64-54 victory over West Virginia in Monday night’s second-round game averaged 4.90 million viewers on ESPN, according to Nielsen, making it the most-viewed women’s tournament game ever — excluding Final Four contests and title games.

The viewership surpassed the 3.23 million who watched Iowa’s first-round win over Holy Cross on Saturday on ABC.

‘Shirley’ review: Now on Netflix, the story of the first Black congresswoman on the ’72 campaign trail

Two hours: Is it enough for even a part of any person’s real life, dramatized?

The biopic form practically demands failure, or at least a series of narrative compromises made under pressure from so many factions: the real-life subject, or keepers of the now-deceased subject’s estate, nervous about an unsympathetic truth or two; the streamer or studio backing the project; and the filmmakers themselves, trying to do right by the person featured in the title, while finding a shape — and the ideal performer — to make the thing work.

“Shirley,” now streaming on Netflix, constitutes the latest frustrating, two-hour example of all that pressure, writes Tribune critic Michael Phillips.

‘STEVE! (martin)’ review: A documentary that is more than celebrity image management

The barrage of celebrity documentaries that have arrived in the wake of (and seemingly inspired by the success of) 2020’s “The Last Dance” tend to be exercises in image management. Unlike the dishier genre of celebrity memoir, these are scrapbooks for the screen. “STEVE! (martin) a documentary in 2 pieces” on Apple TV+ avoids some of those pitfalls better than most, writes Tribune critic Nina Metz.