CHICAGO - In a baseball-crazed city like Chicago, where Opening Day is almost a religious holiday, news that Opening Day had been canceled hit hard on both sides of town.
"Well this sucks," said Cubs fan Nick Wilko, who was standing outside Wrigley Field. "This really sucks. I live right over here so I was going to go to a few games."
On Tuesday, the players’ union rejected what the MLB called "their final offer." So the league commissioner announced Opening Day would be canceled.
A rite of spring has gone wrong in Wrigleyville, even as grounds crews prepare for an Opening Day that’s now a question mark.
At Sluggers bar, just down the street from the ballpark, fans watching the announcement were frustrated.
"Well we wanted to look forward to something in a month," said one woman at the bar. "We were waiting. That’s pretty bad news."
"Disappointing for sure," added her friend. "Thought for sure they’d be able to reach some type of agreement. I don’t know what we’re gonna do with our spring."
It’s also a blow to all the businesses that depend on ballpark traffic.
Brian Garner took down the COVID-19 mask mandate sign from Swift & Sons Tavern across the street from Wrigley, and was looking forward to a big Opening Day.
"We need to hire more servers, more bussers, more bartenders, hosts," Garner said. "We’re kind of like in a holding pattern right now."
It’s the same story on the South Side, where the White Sox were set to open the gates in just 30 days.
At Grandstand Sports, just west of Guaranteed Rate Field, they’re sitting on thousands of dollars of brand-new inventory with no Opening Day in sight.
"Oh my God, a huge bind," said owner Stephanie Ganal. "I mean anyone in this industry can tell you, we’ve already been through enough the last couple years, let alone now having this to go through"
The question is will fans continue to love baseball even if baseball doesn’t always love them?
"It’s kind of sad. As a nation we long for this. This is our escape," said one fan.
Another fan said baseball weather in April stinks anyway, but he’d rather have cold baseball, than no baseball at all.