BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Thursday would have been an unofficial holiday here in Baltimore, Opening Day, and the start of the O’s 2020 season.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards sits empty on March 26, 2020, the original date for the start of the season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many major professional sporting events have been postponed. Credit: Paul Gesser, WJZ

But gates at Camden Yards are locked, concessions are closed and Orioles fans are left with the prospect of no baseball indefinitely amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“It just doesn’t feel the same,” Marc Hagerthey, an O’s fan, said.

“It’s an odd feeling,” Tom Leonard, of Pickle’s Pub, said.

The national pastime, for now, gives way to the National Guard.

“There’s a couple of people over there at Pickle’s sitting outside, but I’m not going to be one of them,” Hagerthey said.

There’s a rhythm to the seasons as Opening Day usually marks the transition to spring.

“I think everybody is just anxious for a sense of normalcy,” Hagerthey said. “For a lot of sports fans, it’s how you pass the seasons.”

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“We’re kind of waiting along with everyone else, but we’re planning for a multiple of possibilities,” Greg Bader, of the Orioles, said.

Orioles employees are at work from home, but there’s still some work inside Camden Yards.

“It is Opening Day, so we’re doing opening day from home,” Bader said.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards sits empty on March 26, 2020, the original date for the start of the season. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many major professional sporting events have been postponed. Credit: Paul Gesser, WJZ

Businesses are shuttered alongside Camden Yards, too.

“I mean, it is the day for us, so obviously today, crowd’s not what it usually is, but that’s good. Means everyone’s keeping their social distancing,” Leonard said.

The 186-day drought drags on longer when the words “play ball” are finally uttered.

“I’ll cry and I’ll get butterflies,” Leonard said. That’ll be nice.”

The Orioles are trying to get creative with how they push out content. The team is streaming Game Two of the 2014 American League Division Series.

For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler

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