Major League Baseball's midwest opener had it all. The World Series-winning Chicago Cubs played an away game against their arch-rivals, the St. Louis Cardinals. In a game that was complete at the nine inning mark, the action -- on and off the field -- brought the hometown fans joy, the Chi-town fans disappointment, and Major League Baseball the type of beginning that makes sporting dreams.

Opening day baseball at its best

With a full house and perfect weather at the start of the game, the fans were revved up. Moments before the first pitch was tossed, the Cardinals signed Yadier Molina, the beloved superstar catcher for the home team, putting the St.

Louis fans in an even greater frenzy. Carlos Martines made his Opening Day debut and masterfully pitched for 7 1/3 innings, striking out 10 and allowing no runs. Randal Grichuk slammed a game-winning, walk-off hit off the left field wall.

Not to be outdone, Chi-towns' Javier Baez missed a potential double play shot from St. Louis' Diaz, and signaled during a lull later in the inning that a white-out effect, caused by a predominately white MLB advertisement behind home plate, created a blinding situation where Baez could not even see the ball. In the seventh inning, the Cardinals called for baseball's replay review, believing that the Cubs' Russell failed to keep his foot on the bag to complete an out.

The call stood and the game continued. For fans who look forward to home run slams, Chicago's Wilson Contreras blasted one in the 4th.

When the dust settled

Not to be outdone with all the on-field baseball excitement, the weather added to the activity with a little rain. Pre-game activities included the introduction of home town hall of fame greats Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith, Jim Edmonds, and more.

The Cardinals, as is tradition, hauled out the Budweiser Clydesdales for a trot around the stadium, and brought in the St. Louis ballplayers in new Ford trucks.

Major League Baseball opening day is more than the play during the nine innings. When all goes well as it did yesterday, the highlights come from both on and off the field.

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