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Fans are heading to the stadiums now that the baseball lockout is over

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Fans line up outside Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers to purchase tickets for Twins MLB spring training games, Monday March 14, 2022

Fans are streaming back to baseball stadiums across Florida now that the MLB owner-imposed lockout is over and players are back at spring training camp. At Hammond Stadium in Fort Myers, spring home for the Minnesota Twins, Dawn Reichel of Hugo, Minnesota says she and her husband decided to fly south despite that fact games won’t resume until after they head back north.

“We came down here during spring training to go to some games but it didn’t work out, so at least we got to come and see a couple of the players today,” said Reichel.

The faces of those players are changing rapidly as teams make trades and sign new players—something they were prohibited from doing during the ninety-nine day lockout. Caleb Fuller of Eagan, Minnesota says he’s scratching his head trying to figure out what the Twins are up to after trading former American League MVP and three-time all-star Josh Donaldson to the Yankees. Fuller is hopeful the deal leads to a key free-agent signing.

“Trevor Story probably, really good shortstop," said Fuller. "If not him, Carlos Correa. I think Story’s more likely than anybody. I think there’s a decent chance that happens.”

Fuller and his family will also miss official spring games since MLB’s shortened exhibition season doesn’t begin until later this week. This is the third straight year the Grapefruit League has been truncated after COVID canceled half the season two years ago, and fans were kept out of stadiums last season due to health concerns. An economic impact study commissioned by Lee County in 2018 found MLB games here typically bring in nearly $70 million annually, with $57 million spent outside of stadiums.