COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Tuesday’s Columbus Clippers home opener marks a big day for baseball as well as the businesses that surround the stadium.
People said this year feels a lot more like pre-pandemic times. For the first time since 2020, there are no mask mandates or restrictions inside Huntington Park.
Boston’s has been an Arena District staple for the last 14 years.
Owner Tim Emory said he’s been waiting for Clipper’s baseball and more normal times.
“It’s exciting, you know?” Emory said. “Just as the Crew season opener, it’s exciting to have baseball back and there’s a sense of normalcy for the first time in a couple years.”
His business, like many, has been impacted by the pandemic.
Emory said the bar’s staffing levels are back up and it feels like a new start this spring.
“The events have been great,” he said. “The events have been as strong as they were pre-pandemic. Lunches are slowly beginning to come back. We’re seeing some encouraging signs there. We’re starting to see people we haven’t seen for a couple years.”
All the major sporting arenas in Columbus are at play now — hockey, soccer, and, starting now, baseball.
“Hearing the crack of the bat really brings downtown, the Arena District, to life,” said Jesse Ghiorzi, director of marketing with the Greater Columbus Sports Commission.
Ghiorzi said 2021 had some ups and downs. His team is looking for a regular season and is gearing up for the Clippers in a special way.
“Bought 100 boxes of Cracker Jacks!, so we’ll be giving those out right next to Zoup outside of our offices tonight for anyone who wants to walk by as our way of saying, ‘Happy opening day,’” he said.
Emory said he’s looking forward to seeing fans back in the Arena District again.
“We have a lot of people that we just see during the Clippers season, so we’re anxious to see them tonight and this week, we’re looking forward to that,” he said. “It’s going to be a big week — of course, the Clippers are home all week, there’s a hockey game tomorrow night, Kid Rock in the arena Friday night and then the Crew is home Saturday, so it’s going to be a big week down here.”