Detroit Tigers Return, But Fan-Free MLB Games Offer No Relief for the Motor City

Date: 2020-07-24 18:15:02


Baseball is back.

Major League teams are playing an abbreviated 60-game schedule due to the coronavirus outbreak.

But no fans are in attendance at games.

An arrangement that is not welcome news for area restaurants/bars already struggling through the pandemic.

Brass Rail Pizza Bar are close enough to hear the roar of the crowd at Comerica Park, that is when fans are allowed in.

That makes it a convenient spot for people to get a slice and a sip before and after the Tigers, Lions, Red Wings and Pistons play.

They’re already putting in place social distancing guidelines here.

Mohamed Elmardi who runs the Pizza Bar says they won’t be easy to enforce.

“So, it’s going to be a challenge it’s going to be a challenge you’re just going to have to maintain the situation, make it social distancing, like be a police officer, you know when they’re here,” says Elmardi.

Places like this can’t afford to stay closed, they need baseball and the fans to survive.

“It’s huge. From the Lions, Tigers, hockey and the Pistons, all. That’s something huge for us if it’s not going on, our business is down,” says Elmardi.

“The real fans will still want to come out and be around other fans and not just watch the games at home. So, we’re really hoping that that will help draw up some extra traffic,” said Kenny Valentino, assistant general manager at Delmar Detroit, a rooftop bar and restaurant a short walk away from the stadiums.

The stakes are high for the businesses located in the city’s sports district.

“There’s absolutely going to be businesses that you’re not going to see – some legacy businesses, too, I’m sure – that are not going to be here,” said Adrian Tonon, who serves as the 24-Hour Economy Ambassador for Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Detroit Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire is aiming for optimism.

“Somehow or another, hopefully, baseball at least puts a smile on their face while we’re playing here and maybe, hopefully, sometime during this summer they’ll start opening up where our fans can get back in and some of the businesses are able to open up and, hopefully that’s what baseball is going to bring,” he says.

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