End of Major League Baseball lockout means spring training will return

Baseball fans, businesses welcome return of spring training to Palm Beach County
Posted at 10:58 PM, Mar 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-11 08:19:30-05

JUPITER, Fla. — Spring training is part of the economic engine that helps pump millions of dollars into Palm Beach County.

After 99 days, the Major League Baseball Lockout has been lifted, and baseball fans like Glen Landy were sitting at the bar inside Stadium Grill in Jupiter toasting a full season that has been salvaged.

"It's exciting for me and for the fans because they love to go to the ballpark, hear the crack of the ball off the bat and smell the grass," Landy, who has been going to spring training for years, told WPTV.

Baseball is coming back, and the businesses that rely on spring training tourism are hoping the new labor deal reached Thursday can help save their bottom line.

"Game time! We've been waiting for this for a long time," Ben Abbott, the manager at Stadium Grill, said. "It's a good solid month of good business. Every single day you got people in the area, so just getting a week out of it will be huge for us."

RELATED: MLB players, owners reach deal to end lockout, salvage 162-game season

Spring training is big business in South Florida, which helps fuel Palm Beach County's economy. Stadium Grill said the games help set up the whole first quarter of the year.

"I'd say every day you're looking at at least a 50% increase in sales from what we normally do," Abbott said.

Major League Baseball owners and players met in Jupiter for nine days of negotiations that went nowhere.

After being locked out, longtime baseball beat writer and broadcaster Craig Mish wonders, will the out-of-town fans come back?

"I think it's going to be really hard to ask fans in St. Louis to all of a sudden schedule something where they essentially have to be here in a week or two," Mish said.

What's not clear is just how many spring training games will be rescheduled with less time spent in Florida.

The first spring training games could be next Thursday or Friday.

Opening Day is now set for April 7.