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A Summer Without Baseball? How the pandemic is impacting the West Michigan Whitecaps

Whitecaps General Manager Jim Jarecki provides update on baseball's return.
Credit: Mike Lacett
Despite fears Jarecki is confident fans will show up if the games are played and if they are legally allowed to be there.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Having been through a few economic crisis, Whitecaps general manager Jim Jarecki has reached this conclusion.

“Baseball and movie theaters will always be the two things that come back,” the 27-year leader of the organization explained.

We’re not sure about the future of movie theaters but we do know fans are clamoring for the return of sports and Jarecki is confident they’ll have something to cheer about sooner than later.

“I always keep my optimism up there,” he told 13 On Your Side earlier in the week. “I’m never going be the one that says, ‘we are not going to play,’ until they say ‘it’s not going to happen.’”

Unfortunately though this is a situation he has little control over. Minor League Baseball is waiting on Major League Baseball to give the okay. Only then will Fifth Third Ball Park open its gates.

“I’d like to see if it got started, say if it got started the second half of the season. (We’d) be able to play the schedule as it is set up,” said Jarecki.

While he’s optimistic, he’s also realistic. If baseball could return, he knows it would take about a month to get things started. That would be another month without income for both himself, the team, and all its employees.

“The biggest effect has been, (on) the seasonal workers,” Jarecki said. “Obviously this has been the part time jobs for many of the people that come out and work the ball park.”

If the season had begun as scheduled, the Caps would be about a month in. Jarecki has been thinking about that a lot recently as well as all the things he misses about going to the ball park.

“I’m missing the sounds of BP, I’m missing the music glaring in the ball park, I’m missing seeing a lot of friends through the course of the year, you realize the memories that are not being made.”

Baseball will come back but for Jarecki, it won’t be soon enough.

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