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Bars, Other Businesses Say Lockout, Delay Of Major League Baseball Season Is Bad News For Their Bottom Line

CHICAGO (CBS) -- It's March, the month that should include baseball's Opening Day – but guess what.

This year, the first two series of the season were set to begin on March 31. But those first two series won't be happening, after MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced their cancellation following the breakdown of some acrimonious talks with the MLB players' union broke down hours before a deadline imposed by management.

The White Sox will not have their season-opening three-game home series against the Minnesota Twins, nor a three-game road series against the Kansas City Royals.

The Cubs will miss a three-game road series against the Cincinnati Reds, and will also miss what would have been their home-opening two-game series against the St. Louis Cardinals.

As CBS 2's Jermont Terry reported, the COVID-19 pandemic messed up the Majors for two straight years. Now, the league is imploding on its own.

And all the uncertainty is trickling down to those who depend on MLB fans. In Wrigleyville, bar owners were bummed to hear the first Cubs' first two series won't be played.

Now, they are watching and hoping the MLB lockout doesn't last even longer.

The Graystone Tavern is located at 3441 N. Sheffield Ave., just off the busy intersection with Clark Street and Newport Avenue and only a couple of blocks from Wrigley Field. The drinks are still flowing there, but the delayed MLB season means there will be fewer beers served up than expected.

"It's not just millionaires and billionaires being affected by this," said John Gillette of the Graystone Tavern.

Bars and restaurants in Wrigleyville depend on Cubs fans, and they especially need them after two years of COVID restrictions.

"It stinks," Gillette said. "We've been waiting two seasons with covid and lockdowns, bad play, just not having the full stands and whatnot - it really hurts us."

Yet knowing the crowds won't pack Wrigley Field as expected later this month will hurt the bottom line.

"A lot of us rely on that business to make our rent," Gillette said.

And there's no crosstown rivalry about this baseball setback. It's just as much of a problem down in White Sox territory by Guaranteed Rate Field.

"We all miss baseball," said Jennifer Yolich, a bartender at Mitchell's Tap at 3356 S. Halsted St. in Bridgeport. "Every day, I wear something White Sox when I come to work. I show pride in that."

At Mitchell's Tap in Bridgeport, bartenders tell us White Sox fans are essential to their survival.

"We all had high hopes for - the masks are eing gone. We thought this was going to bring people back into the bars," Yolich said. "Now all of a sudden, they might postpone baseball again? That's going to have an effect on us."

And while no one knows how long the delayed schedule will truly last, bars and pubs on both the North and South sides are watching the negotiations closely.

"This is going to cause hurt to a lot of people - the people that work in the stadiums, the people that work at the bars," Yolich said. "It's everyone."

This is the first MLB lockout since the 1994 baseball strike that ended up forcing the cancellation of the World Series that year.

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