PHOENIX — Major League Baseball fans will have to wait until at least March 5 to watch spring training games this year. And this time around, COVID-19 isn’t to blame for the delays and disappointment.
The MLB postponed spring training games as the league and players still haven’t been able to come to a collective bargaining agreement.
While the delay has kept players from the field, the postponement also affects the local economy. Surrounding restaurants in the Valley counting on the boost in customers and cash are feeling the sting of this limbo.
"I'm still praying and wishful they'll begin again because with small businesses, this really impacts our bottom line," Malika Murphy said. She's the owner of Sue's Soul Food Heaven down the street from American Family Fields of Phoenix.
Murphy said her restaurant just opened last year a month before spring training in 2021. She wasn't expecting the influx of customers because of the pandemic, even with something as big as the Cactus League. But she was pleasantly surprised.
"I wasn't expecting it at all especially because we just opened through COVID times and I was thinking, you know, we’re just going to be slow and it just started flooding with customers and I was like woah!"
She made sure she was prepared this time around, and even ordered a little extra food.
"This year I was like I’m going to be smart, we’re going to make sure we’re able to accommodate then when I heard it was put to a halt I was like 'oh man' but I’m still praying."
She said even with the limbo and lack of spring training rush, the extra food ordered won't go to waste.
"The reason it won’t go to waste is because we also started accepting EBT program here, so we accept for the homeless, elderly, and veterans a hot meal program here in Arizona so that can offset everything just a little bit," Murphy explained.
12 News on YouTube
Catch up on the latest news and stories on the 12 News YouTube channel. Subscribe today.