CHICAGO (NewsNation) — It might be a little later than originally scheduled due to the Major League Baseball lockout, but Opening Day is here.
Excitement is building as fans prepare to pack the stands.
“It’s like Christmas Day for Cubs fans today, and what a great experience that after three years are going to have a regular opening day with no capacity or COVID restrictions,” said Julian Green, Chicago Cubs’ senior vice president of communications.
Chicago Cubs veteran Kyle Hendricks is set to deliver the first pitch of the season against Corbin Burnes and Milwaukee at Wrigley Field just past 2:20 p.m. EDT, the first of seven games still on the calendar amid rainy forecasts across the country.
Green said 35,000 Cubs tickets were sold for Thursday’s game. He said after about 12 years with the team, Opening Day never gets old.
“Like I say, I mean, come on Christmas Day is like unwrapping a present. And so you know a lot of fans are coming in today, they’re going to be seeing each other for the first time since last year, since we ended the season,” Green said.
Gerrit Cole and the Yankees had been set to start at home against the rival Boston Red Sox, but New York announced Wednesday that the game was postponed to Friday with inclement weather in the forecast all day Thursday. Same for the Minnesota Twins and their opener against visiting Seattle.
Still plenty on the docket, though.
The World Series champion Atlanta Braves plan to raise a banner before hosting Cincinnati, and they’ll do it without fan-favorite Freddie Freeman, who signed with the Dodgers last month. Los Angeles is among 16 teams that won’t open until Friday.
The Mets and Nationals are still a go in Washington — they just pushed back the scheduled start three hours to 7:05 p.m. EDT because rain is expected in the afternoon. Second-year righty Tylor Megill gets the surprise assignment for New York, with Jacob deGrom injured and fellow Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer targeting Friday off a hamstring issue.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.