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Opening Day: Snow, stars, fans and a virus postponement

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Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved

A family poses for a photo outside of Wrigley Field on the opening day baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, Thursday, April 1, 2021, in Chicago. From New York to Seattle and everywhere in between, it is a much different opening day in 2021. Fans are back at the ballpark after they were shut out during the regular season last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Shafkat Anowar)

Miguel Cabrera took a trot, eventually, in the snow at Comerica Park. Mookie Betts started the champion Los Angeles Dodgers with a hit at Coors Field. And the Bleacher Creatures did their thing at Yankee Stadium.

All-Stars on the diamond for opening day, fans in the socially distanced stands eager to cheer them.

“Just having those smells hit you, walking in and having that experience back, it’s invigorating,” Tonia Smith of Sussex, Wisconsin, said Thursday before Milwaukee hosted Minnesota.

Along with the hits, runs and errors, there was a stark reminder of what baseball went through last year.

The New York Mets’ game in Washington — a prime pitching matchup between Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer —was postponed because of a COVID-19 outbreak. Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo later said three players had tested positive for the virus and a fourth was considered a “likely positive.”

“It’s one of those things that brings it to light that we’re not through it yet,” Atlanta manager Brian Snitker said. “We’re still fighting this. We have to tend to business and not let up. It’s just a reminder that this thing is still out there and real.”

Major League Baseball had 45 games postponed because of the coronavirus last season during the shortened, 60-game schedule, when fans weren’t allowed. No games were lost in spring training this year, but that streak didn’t last long.

At Fenway Park, the opener between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore was called because rain was in the forecast. They’ll start up Friday instead.