For the first time since 2019, when the Chicago Cubs take the field on Opening Day, there will be no capacity restrictions in place.
Of course, two years ago, there were no fans allowed in the ballpark for the duration of the 60-game season – and Opening Day didn’t take place until late summer. Last year, there were strict mask policies and just over 10,000 in paid attendance as the Cubs lost to the Pirates at Wrigley Field.
So with a full 162-game slate on the docket and fans back in the seats for all of them (although you can wonder just how well the Cubs will draw this year based on early ticket sales), let’s take a look at 3 storylines we’ll be keeping an eye on as Chicago kicks off the 2022 campaign.
3 Cubs Opening Day storylines to watch: #3 – Seiya Suzuki makes his debut
The team’s biggest position player signing of the offseason, Seiya Suzuki, will make his big league and Wrigley Field debut on Thursday – likely starting in right field as the Cubs welcome in the reigning NL Central champion Brewers for a weekend series.
Suzuki got off to a slow start in Cactus League action, but belted his second home run of the spring on Saturday. An early front-runner for NL Rookie of the Year honors, the Japanese import will have to acclimate to big league pitching, something that’s far from an easy task.
Still, he’s expected to be a major piece of the puzzle for the team, not just in 2022 – but for years to come. Without the star power fans have grown accustomed to on the roster this year, it’ll be all eyes on Suzuki – especially if and when the team trades Willson Contreras this summer.