With 35 days to Opening Day, Shawn O’Donnell’s American Grill and Irish Pub hopes to see more customers throughout the entire season. The staff said they hope fans saved their momentum from when the Mariners took a swing at the playoffs last season.
"When they’re winning, it matters. People care a lot more. You’re going to see those blue t-shirts with the trident on them everywhere in town," said Jeff Jones, a bartender at Shawn O’Donnell’s.
More blue t-shirts around T-Mobile Park mean more dollars for businesses throughout Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Last year, when the ballpark only allowed 50% capacity due to COVID-19, area stores owners said they weren’t making the kind of money they’re used to during baseball season.
"I’d say overall it was kind of a wash, not as many people coming in. But those big games, the ones that travel—Toronto, Red Socks, Yankees— some of the California teams, big series we had some good days. But overall just not the crowds we were used to," said Jones.
There is some concern heading into the season: businesses are worried about inflation, how it may affect their costs and fans’ abilities to spend time and money at the ballpark and neighborhood.
"Rent’s super high, products are super high, there’s not a lot of people that live in this neighborhood," said Vance Wilson, general manager of Burbs Burgers. "We rely a lot on tourists in the summer and mostly events at the stadium, whether it’s baseball, football, soccer, concerts."
In anticipation of this being a home run season, some places are starting to hire more staff to keep up with the potential influx of customers.
"We only have so many staff behind the bar. So, we need to hire one or two other people if that, and we’ll be ready to rock and roll," said Wilson.
Business owners said they haven’t felt much impact from the two-week delay as MLB and MLBPA reached an agreement.
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