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CHICAGO (WLS) — The Cubs open their season Thursday at Wrigley Field.

Cubs fans haven’t seen their favorite team take the field at Wrigley since the last week of September in 2021.

And, although the club is not expected to be playoff contenders, there will still be a lot of excitement on the North Side.

The Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers, with the first pitch set for 1:20 p.m. — weather permitting.

Taking the mound for the Cubs is Kyle Hendricks.

Just a few years ago, he was the youngest pitcher on the Cubs staff, but now the longest-tenured Cub is making his third consecutive Opening Day start.

Known for his command on the mound, the Cubs will need a good year from the man they call “The Professor” if the North Siders hope to contend with the reigning National League Central champion Milwaukee Brewers.

RELATED: Opening Day 2022: Lucky Chicago Cubs fan to get shot at winning $1M

Cubs Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Colin Faulkner joined ABC7 Chicago Thursday to talk about the first full Opening Day in years, due to the COVID pandemic.

Tickets are still available for Thursday’s game, Faulkner said. Promotional items, theme nights and special ticket offers are also returning this season.

The Cubs are also using the hashtag #ItsDifferentHere, as they welcome lots of new players with open arms, Faulkner said.

Only bags smaller than 16 x 16 x 8 inches in size are permitted this season, and exceptions will be made for medical bags and diaper bags that accompany guests with young children.Backpacks are prohibited.

Menus have expanded at Wrigley Field to include these new dishes:

– The Twisted Tater: crispy spiral potato skewer served with dill pickle dip
– Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich: breaded chicken breast dipped in Nashville hot sauce topped with coleslaw and bread and butter pickles, served on a toasted brioche bun
– Smoked Brisket Sandwich: slow-smoked Lillie’s Q beef brisket dipped into a zesty barbecue au jus and topped with giardiniera, served on a hoagie roll
– Maxwell Street Style Pork Chop Sandwich: seasoned pork cutlet, caramelized onions and mustard on a toasted bun

Local favorites such as Vienna Beef, Hot Doug’s, Home Run Inn Pizza, Garrett Popcorn Shops, Lillie’s Q and newly added Intelligentsia coffee will bring fans local flavors they know and love.

RELATED: Chicago Cubs, White Sox fans get ready for opening day

All food and beverage orders can be placed through the MLB Ballpark app or a scanned QR code located throughout the ballpark and are cashless, Cubs Senior Vice President of Communications Julian Green said.

WATCH: New food options coming to Wrigley Field this season

A special Cubs Charities 50/50 Raffle will support Ukrainian relief efforts Thursday, Cubs Charities Executive Director Alicia Gonzalez said.

WATCH: Chicago Cubs raffle to benefit Ukraine

Half of the net proceeds from the Opening Day raffle will be donated to the International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), which works to support the millions of Ukrainians in need and other Chicago-based nonprofit organizations working directly with Ukrainian refugees in the Chicagoland area.

Fans across Illinois can purchase tickets for the Cubs Charities 50/50 Raffle online starting at 11 a.m. until the end of that day’s game or through a Raffle Ambassador at Wrigley Field when gates open until the bottom of the eighth inning.

For all Cubs home games this season outside of the special Opening Day raffle, the winning ticket will receive half of the net proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket sales and the other half will benefit Cubs Charities and its mission to mobilize the power ofsport to champion youth, families and communities. Cubs Charities also will be hosting its first guaranteed jackpot Saturday. For more information on the Cubs Charities 50/50 Raffle, visit www.cubs.com/raffle.

The Cubs’ opening homestand will include a four-game series against the Brewers.

Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Source: ABC7

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