CINCINNATI — Major League Baseball said the 2022 season will be shortened if owners and players cannot reach an agreement by the end of Monday.
Management had maintained Feb. 28 was the deadline for a deal that would allow the season to start as scheduled on March 31, though players have not said whether they accept that timeframe.
Despite the uncertainties, the Cincinnati Reds are continuing to prepare for the season as usual. The Reds hosted a job fair at Great American Ball Park to hire seasonal workers for the 2022 season. Sean Brown, vice president of ballpark operations, said they’re hoping to hire about 150 people.
“It’s ushers, it's ticket takers, it's security staff, guest services staff and then runners to help all on our gameday,” Brown said.
Those jobs are all directly impacted by the lockout, but a delay to the 2022 season affects people outside the ballpark as well. Hotels, bars and restaurants across the city will see changes if the Reds' season is shortened.
The impact of a delay to the Reds season stretches far beyond Great American Ball Park. It directly impacts hotels, bars and restaurants across the city.
Tony Castelli with E+O Kitchen said businesses at The Banks plan events around local sporting events.
“We have really important agreements that are set in stone with our partners that we have in the community — whether it's live shows, player meet and greets, auctions, charity events that are that are connected to these sporting events,” Castelli said.
If the season does not start on time, Castelli said they'll have to reconvene with vendors and partners to see what they'll do.
Attractions like Kings Island or the Cincinnati Zoo would also be impacted if fewer tourists travel from out of town to watch Reds games.
“All these have spillover,” said Erwin Erhardt, University of Cincinnati economics professor. “So with the Reds extracted from that mix, I think it's going to hurt these other areas of entertainment here in the Greater Cincinnati region.”
As time keeps ticking, fans and businesses are hoping for the best but fearing the worst.
“We might actually not have some of these memories if we shorten the season because, frankly, grown men can't reach an agreement to cut a couple dollars and cents off the bottom line,” Castelli said.
The Reds organization is continuing to plan for Opening Day on March 31.