What’s the forecast for the Cubs home opener -- and how has Chicago weather affected debuts at Wrigley Field since 1989?

Brian Cassella/Chicago Tribune/TNS

The threat of rain didn’t deter about 40,000 fans or the Chicago Cubs’ bats during the home opener Monday at Wrigley Field. The Cubs shut out the Colorado Rockies 5-0.

Conditions have varied widely during previous season openers at the ballpark. Here’s a look back at the warmest, coldest and even snowiest home openers for the Cubs.

Cubs fans rejoice at home opener: ‘High holy day in baseball’s cathedral’

What’s normal for April 1 in Chicago?

The normal high temperature is 53 degrees with a low of 35, according to the National Weather Service. Usually a trace of rain is observed too.

So does cold weather matter for a Cubs home opener?

Spoiler: It probably makes a bigger difference for fans. Although snow did cause the team’s home opener to be postponed a day in 2003 and 2018.

Since 1989 — when box scores for Major League Baseball games began to include weather conditions at the ballpark at the time of the first pitch — the Cubs have a 17-19 record in their home openers.

In 2021, the Cubs home opener tied for the team’s third-coldest since 1989.

The temperature at first pitch — 1:21 p.m. — during the Cubs home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates on April 1, 2021, was announced as 36 degrees with 7 mph winds from the north. The Cubs lost to the Pirates, 5-3.

That ties April 13, 2009, for the third-coldest game-time temperature recorded at the Friendly Confines since 1989. The Cubs won that game against the Colorado Rockies 4-0.

Photos: Chicago Cubs fans celebrate with 5-0 victory at Wrigley Field home opener

The extremes

Interestingly, the warmest and coldest home openers for the Cubs happened on the same day — April 8 — but 22 years apart.

COLDEST: 29 degrees (April 8, 1997)

The paid attendance was listed at 35,393, but the next day’s Tribune reported the crowd was “considerably less” than that due to the below-freezing temperature and the Cubs performance — the team dropped its seventh straight game, a 5-3 decision to the Florida Marlins.

“The Cubs put the show on for the home folks Tuesday, and it was a rerun. They blew it again …” columnist Jerome Holtzman wrote in the next day’s Tribune.

The Tribune reported one vendor outside Wrigley Field was trying to unload tickets to the first home game of the season — an hour before first pitch. “Who needs Cub tickets? Less than face value!”

Cubs fan Brian Bonic admitted he showed up “a little underdressed” for the game: “He was wearing only two pairs of thermal underwear, two turtleneck sweaters and a Green Bay Packers sweatshirt to battle the gusting 31 m.p.h. winds, a 29-degree game time temperature and 1-degree windchill factor,” the Tribune reported.

Cubs players must have been underdressed for the weather too. Holtzman wrote the team had little, if any, aggressive plays during the game.

“If you don’t play well against a good team, they’re going to beat you,” Cubs manager Jim Riggleman admitted.

Taking the brunt of the cold was Cubs center fielder Brian McRae, who said his hands were so numb that he struggled to hold the bat: “This weather isn’t conducive to a lot of hits.”

One fan claimed he would show up to the Friendly Confines for the Cubs home opener no matter the weather.

“We’re not here because they’re (0-7). It’s Wrigley Field. The Cubs. Opening Day. It’s part of the American tradition. We would be here if it was snowing,” Dan O’Toole said.

Another fan — a season ticket holder — didn’t care about the tradition. He just wanted to stay warm. That’s why he and his friends left their seats along the first-base line after the first inning and went to the Cubby Bear bar across the street. After all, he estimated, he had another 80 home games to attend that season.

“It’s absolutely too cold to sit there and watch baseball. I had the wind blowing right in my face, and we were in the shade. You can’t have a good time when you’re frozen,” Ron Rous said.

WARMEST: 65 degrees (April 8, 2019)

After a 2-7 start — their worst since 1997 — this was the win the Cubs needed. And it was dominant. It was a shutout. It was the largest shutout victory in a home opener in franchise history. It was also the first time since at least 1908 that four pitchers threw at least two scoreless innings in a nine-inning game.

The win arrived on a “picture-perfect afternoon” at Wrigley Field, according to Tribune columnist Paul Sullivan, before 40,692 fans.

“Everything went right for the Cubs, from the weather to the offensive explosion to the bullpen combining for seven shutout innings after (Jon) Lester injured himself scoring during the six-run second,” Sullivan wrote.

The hamstring injury would sideline Lester for 21/2 weeks, but not even Cubs manager Joe Maddon was concerned about it after the game.

“Jonny is a great athlete. He got hurt. It happens,” he said.

The thing about Chicago weather, though, it changes quickly. Javier Báez — who got a hit on a bounced pitch — didn’t like the unsettled forecast for the team’s next home game.

“I just saw the weather for Wednesday, and it’s not going to be like this,” he said.

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