CHICAGO -- On Friday, the Cardinals will play their home opener and celebrate the 2011 World Series championship. And the Cubs can only watch.
"You give anybody respect for winning the World Series," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said Thursday, on the eve of the three-game series against their division rivals. "There's got to be one team every year that wins it and gets the rings and raises the banner. You give everybody the respect they deserve.
"They're the best in the world right now, they're the best team in baseball. They're the world champions. You're going to be out there, you're going to have to watch [the ceremony] but, hey, you want other people watching you do it someday, too. It's a fun day, no question about it. I've been able to do it twice [2004 Red Sox, 1998 Yankees] and it's very, very fun."
St. Louis is currently leading the National League Central, and leads the Majors with a dozen home runs so far.
"They have  home runs through seven games," Sveum said. "You hit  home runs, you're going to win some ballgames. ... It'll be a tough lineup to get through without giving up many runs."