Season ticketholders disappointed as MLB negotiations cancel game, delay spring training
NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - Plenty of fans look forward to seeing the Baltimore Orioles each spring, but this year they’ll have to wait.
The first two series of Major League Baseball’s regular season have been canceled and spring training has been pushed back to no earlier than March 12 as negotiations continue to stall.
It’s a letdown for season ticket holders in Sarasota who look forward to seeing the Baltimore Orioles at Ed Smith Stadium every year.
Former Sarasota County Commissioner Joe Barbetta, a longtime baseball fan, said it’s disappointing walking by the empty stadium. By now, it should be bustling with life.
The Orioles were set to play the Yankees last week, and he was more than ready to be there.
“It hurt,” he said. “It was the Yankees. I’ve got the ticket right here in my hand. It just drives me crazy, but what are you going to do?”
Barbetta helped bring the Orioles into Sarasota 12 years ago after the Cincinnati Reds moved their spring training operation to Goodyear, Arizona.
“I think we’re up to 86 or 87 years of spring training baseball in Sarasota County other than the strike year in 1994,” Barbetta said.
Just like in 1994, fans who came ready with tickets, just like Barbetta, aren’t happy about this.
It’s not just the fans being let down. It’s also the staff at the stadium, nearby restaurants and hotels, and nonprofits that are losing out on big opportunities to get the revenue they need.
“People don’t realize it’s not just the baseball players and the season ticket holders and the regular season ticket holders,” he said. “It’s the community.”
A community watching and waiting for the league to finally bring these negotiations to an end.
When they do, you can bet that Barbaretta will be in the stands.
“I’m not going to be a happy camper,” he said with a laugh, “But I’ll probably renew my tickets.”
The Orioles put out a statement this week saying fans are not on the hook if they buy tickets for games that get canceled. If a game is called off, they can get a refund or use that as credit with the stadium.
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