CHICAGO – It wasn’t a shock to people anymore, since the idea of holding a home opener on this date wasn’t possible since mid-March.
That’s when Major League Baseball officially delayed their season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the CDC recommendations for no gatherings over 50 till mid-May means no baseball in April.
Still, it was a little weird to see Wrigley Field around 1 PM on Monday afternoon.
Like most of Wrigleyville itself, the ballpark area was completely empty about the time the team was scheduled to start the home part of their schedule against the Pirates. It was part of a six-game homestand against Pittsburgh and the Arizona Diamondbacks that followed the Cubs’ opening series in Milwaukee.
Those are naturally all off at the moment, as the MLB pauses during the pandemic, with no solid start date for even a modified spring training. It’s the second time in the modern era that the Cubs have had a home opener postponed.
In 1995, a player’s strike that stretched into spring training from the year before pushed back the start of the season till late April. It wasn’t until the 28th of the month that the Cubs finally opened the home schedule with a 4-3 win over the Expos.
Five years earlier in 1990, the Cubs had their home opener pushed back a week due to an MLB lockout that started in February and lingered into spring training. After their first scheduled “Opening Night” at Wrigley Field was rained out on April 9th of that year, the Cubs finally started the season the next day with a win over the Phillies.
The Cubs had a few tributes to what would have been Opening Day on Twitter, including this one of their scoreboard message to fans.
“Hey Chicago, what do you say? Let’s stay safe at home today.”
Indeed that’s the case, as Opening Day will have to wait for another afternoon or evening.