DETROIT (WXYZ) — As negotiations between Major League Baseball players and owners continue, business owners in Detroit are paying close attention.
2022 was set to be the first full season with full capacity at Comerica Park in two years, but the looming lockout threatens that from happening.
As of now, just the first two series of the 2022 MLB season have been canceled. Luckily for the Detroit Tigers, they were set to be away those series. However if negotiations continue to stall, there’s a possibility that Opening Day at Comerica Park could be postponed as well.
Opening Day in 2021 welcomed only about 8,000 fans to Comerica Park due to COVID-19 restrictions. The ballpark might be even emptier on Opening Day 2022.
"It would hurt because I've got some tickets,” Tigers fan Harvey Reese said.
Tigers fans have been anticipating this day for a long time, given the young talent on the team and the holiday atmosphere it brings to downtown.
“Opening Day is the biggest day of the year,” Brass Rail Pizza Bar manager Kevin Weather said.
Brass Rail is located just down the road from the ballpark. Like all bars and restaurants, they’ve been hit hard by the pandemic and this year, they’ve been planning a massive block party for Opening Day.
“We have tickets being sold, we need this to happen," Weather said of their event. "They just need to figure it out because ultimately, the fans lose.”
Downtown businesses have been following the negotiations closely, knowing that summer business relies heavily on game day crowds.
"Detroit is still going strong," Weather said. "There’s lots of events with Fillmore, FOX and Little Caesars Arena, but the Tigers are still one of the backbones for how busy Detroit is.”
As the owners and players continue their debate, there’s no arguing that fans in Detroit are ready for baseball season to start as they continue to brace for a potentially long wait.
"Yeah it would hurt because I love baseball,” Reese said. “Baseball is America's sport."
"It's a bad time to negotiate," fan Brandon Boothe said. "Let's just play ball.”