NEW YORK - "This bar has essentially been a home for me since I moved to New York," says faithful Yankee Tavern Patron, Jesse Scroggins.
Established in 1927, the Yankee Tavern is currently undergoing renovations in preparation for the start of the 2022 season -- which remains up in the air after MLB and the Players Association failed to reach a new deal after countless hours of negotiation. That's when MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the first two series of the season are officially canceled as the two sides remain unable to agree on finances — including minimum player salary, the luxury tax threshold and the bonus pool.
"Very difficult," says Amanda Bastone, the General Manager of the historic Yankee Tavern. "Very, very difficult for businesses in this area that rely on the revenue from Yankees fans and from the games."
Amanda, who is also the daughter of Joe Bastone, says their small business was crushed by the pandemic, which resulted in a shortened 60-game season in 2020 with no fans in the stands.
"It really started picking up in September 2021 — around at the time — it started getting busier and feeling like you know all the Yankee games prior to the pandemic," says Bastone. "And then the season ended because we didn’t make the playoffs — so it’s kind of like, 'ok well next season you know will be better -- it’ll be more normal' and now we have the MLB Lockout -- so it’s blow after blow after blow."
Governor Kathy Hochul expressed how important baseball is to New York’s economy.
"Major league baseball and its related economic impacts are critical to the state of New York and to our pandemic recovery," Hochul said. "New York is not only home to the league, but also to thousands of New Yorkers, including many in the Bronx and Queens, whose livelihoods depend on games happening at our stadiums as scheduled."
"How many people's lives are affected now because of specifically the MLB Lockout?" wonders Scroggins. "People are wondering when you’re gonna be able to get back to work."
On Friday the MLBPA announced the players will launch a $1 million dollar fund for stadium workers impacted by the lockout.