"We love baseball" Wrigley ballhawks stay on during pandemic

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Chicago Cubs fans wait for a ball outside of Wrigley Field before the Opening Day baseball game between the Chicago Cubs and the Milwaukee Brewers in Chicago, Friday, July 24, 2020, in Chicago. In a normal year, that would mean a sellout crowd at Wrigley Field and jammed bars surrounding the famed ballpark. But in a pandemic-shortened season, it figures to be a different atmosphere. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

CHICAGO – Standing on a corner on Waveland Avenue, Moe Mullins has seen them come and go.

Sosa and McGwire. The Sandberg Game. Pujols. Young and old men alike. Summers full of blue skies, and a neighborhood changed forever.

“You know, life is a big circle,” Mullins says.

Like a baseball.

While Major League Baseball is beginning this season without fans in its stadiums, the famed ballhawks of Wrigley Field remain at their post amid the coronavirus pandemic. The banter is free and easy, like a street-side barbershop full of old friends, and pretty much everyone is fair game.

It's the same as it has been for decades, only with protective masks and — when there isn't a ball soaring over the fence — appropriate social distancing.

“We're baseball sickos. I mean we all are. We love baseball,” says Ken Keefer, 62, who lives at the corner of Waveland and North Kenmore Avenue — practically in the outfield of the historic ballpark.

“People are just jonesing for something like this. I mean they're just dying for some, I don't know if normalcy is the right word, but kind of back to what it used to be.”