Players take the field as baseball returns to SWFL

Reporter: Zach Oliveri, Gail Levy Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:


The 99-day lockout has ended, and Major League Baseball players are making their way to Southwest Florida right now. And, of course, fans are excited that baseball is back. They were able to watch Minor League Baseball players practice today.

Even people stopped by the box office to purchase tickets the old-fashioned way. And most are snapping up tickets online. The Minnesota Twins and the Boston Red Sox will now only play nine home games due to this truncated spring training.

After 99 days of uncertainty, then lockout is over, and baseball is back! The news brought smiles to the faces of players and fans alike.

Neil Pierce is from Minnesota. “So relieved because I thought am I going to come down here spend two months and I’m not going to see a major leaguer play a baseball game?” said Pierce.

Pierce has made Hammond Stadium a second home because baseball is his life. And that 99-day lockout threatened his quality of life.

“This is like heaven being down here, you know, in the warmth and palm trees and baseball games going on. Couldn’t ask for much more,” Pierce said.

No big-leaguers tool the field on Friday. The Twins and Red Sox prospects have a day or two in the spotlight before Major League workouts begin. Grapefruit League games are set for next Friday.

Fans are already purchasing their tickets. Phillip Ezzi is a Twins fan who travels back and forth. “I bounce back between here and the Twins. If there’s a baseball game, I’m there,” Ezzi said.

Jeff Bouchard has his tickets already in hand. He’s excited for a chance to see his Red Sox closer to home after living in Port St. Lucie. “I like having them from 10 minutes from my house instead of two and half hours from my house,” said Bouchard.

“We got tickets to watch them play in the monster at the end of the month, so that’ll be a cool experience for us,” Bouchard said.

This spring training season will see the return of full ballparks – no masks required.


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