PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Monday was a different type of home opener for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“We are drinking beer by this tree like we do every year for the Pirate home opener,” said Jamie Svitek.
Monday was Svitek’s 20th home opener and despite the coronavirus pandemic, she was outside PNC Park like she has been in years past.
Across Federal Street, there was another group of about 30 people set up to listen to the game from outside the stadium.
“We are ushers, hosts, event supervisors, ticket takers,” said Matt Bartman.
Since the stadium is closed to fans, Bartman and his colleagues are not needed this season, so far. But they came to show their support anyway.
“This is our family. If we can’t be here to work, we will be here to watch and listen to them,” Bartman said.
For this year’s home opener against the Milwaukee Brewers, a sea of black and gold was not seen as the streets were fairly empty.
“It’s Pittsburgh, it’s sports. I thought we’d be allowed in, but we aren’t or there would be people out here,” said Jen Dayton, who lives on the South Side.
Even the businesses along the North Shore are feeling the financial hit from a condensed baseball season.
“Since I’ve been here, the business has been really busy on opening day. Normally, we sell out or close to sell out over at the stadium. So this is not a normal home opener,” said Randy Madera, who manages The Pittsburgh Fan.
Madera said business is down close to 60 percent, but he’s hopeful not all games will look so deserted.
“I think as things start to open up more, we are going to see things trending in a more positive direction,” Madera said.