SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Minor league baseball is canceled this year to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, which is expected to impact local businesses.
The vice president of the Springfield Cardinals Dan Reiter says when the team is in town, it impacts the downtown businesses in Springfield positively.
“We’ve heard for years, when our team’s in town, a lot of businesses have a nice boost,” said Reiter. “And that’s something that they’re not going to be able to experience this year.”
Businesses say they are already feeling a decrease in business activity due to no baseball.
“A lot of fans come here, they come to eat and drink here, then they head on over to the Cardinals, watch the game, and then they come back,” said Tina McElroy, general manager at Ebbet’s Field Bar and Grill.
Reiter says the loss of baseball in Springfield is also going to impact the fans.
“I was shocked,” said Van Oswald, a Springfield Cardinals fan. “Now that MLB is starting to play, I feel like maybe the minor leaguers may also get a little chance to play, but it just takes a little summer tradition out of Springfield.”
“We’ve seen a lot of fans wanting baseball to come back,” said McElroy. “They’re really missing it.”
Businesses say they will be waiting for the fans to come back when baseball comes back.
“It’ll be some impact,” said Matt Netzer, owner of DUGOUT Bar & Grill & Sports & Music. “We’ll just have to wait until next year.”
Reiter says he hopes that having the taxi squad will be able to help the businesses a little bit, but with the MLB protocol, he doesn’t expect the season to be what it would be with a regular minor league season.