Extra bases

• Friday's game marked the start of a stretch of 19 in a row for the Cubs against teams that finished .500 or better last year. Thirteen of those games are against teams that reached the playoffs, beginning with the Braves.

It's going to be challenging.

"That was last year's playoff teams," Cubs pitcher Matt Garza said. "Things change."

• There were too many ballplayers on the field during the Braves' batting practice. The Cubs' relievers were doing their normal pregame routine, but they were in left field while the Braves were hitting. Atlanta general manager Frank Wren asked the players to get off the field, but they didn't.

"[Wren] came in and asked me a favor, if I could keep the guys off the field, because they were trying to do defensive work," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. "Realistically, two teams can't be on the field at the same time, but we all know that at the end of [batting practice], everybody always goes and throws and everybody's work is done by then. The [batting practice] times got all goofed up. That's part of why that happened."

The Cubs' pitchers were amused that they were being chased off.

• Hall of Famer Ernie Banks will sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch Monday at the Cubs' home opener. Another Cubs Hall of Famer, Fergie Jenkins, will sing on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, members of the 1963 Loyola men's basketball team, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary of its NCAA championship, will sing, and be followed on Thursday by Blackhawks Hall of Fame goalie Tony Esposito.

Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.