Baseball returns to Jimmy John’s Field in Utica

Posted at 6:15 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 18:15:24-04

UTICA, Mich. (WXYZ) — United Shores Professional Baseball League’s soft open is tonight at 7pm. This comes as a few prospective players test positive for COVID-19.

Some business owners say the season will liven up downtown Utica.

Eric Heinrich of Muldoon’s said, “We’re getting a little bit back to normalcy.”

The ‘norm’ is baseball in the summer.

Muldoon’s is on Auburn Road in Utica down the street from Jimmy John’s Field and Eric is excited to see teams play there again. It’s good for business because it draws in a different crowd.

“A lot of families they come in. They usually get a bite to eat, maybe a beer. They will be in and out mainly right before the game. And then, after the games, we do get a lot of the crew from the stadium and a lot of the players will come down.”

The United Shore Professional Baseball League’s soft open is tonight and tomorrow. All four teams will be up to bat.

You’ll strike out if you’re trying to buy tickets because this weekend’s games are limited to full season ticket holders. Only 100 fans will be allowed in and social distancing will be a must.

Andy Appleby is the CEO of USPBL and says the next phase of reopening the state will allow more fans in.

“The next level for us would either be 500 fans or capacity of 20-25%,” he said.

Fans must wear masks when entering and exiting and walking around. There will be health screenings too. That includes the staff and players.

Five potential players tested positive for COVID-19 and were sent home to quarantine for two weeks.

The league’s opening day was scheduled for May and kept getting pushed back because of the pandemic. For businesses nearby like Muldoon’s, they are hoping the season opener is one step closer to what’s considered normal.

Erik added, “I like to see full businesses open. The whole city. A vibe. We are not there but we will get there.”

To watch the games live, go to the United Shores Professional Baseball League’s YouTube page.

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