CLEARWATER, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – “I’ve been a server here at Lenny’s for almost 22 years. I started here many moons ago when baseball was not here,” said Loraine Bronson, a waitress at Lenny’s Restaurant in Clearwater. When it comes to baseball, she’s seen it all. “With the Phillies stadium a block away, it’s been wonderful for us. When they moved the stadium here, a block north of us, it just grew and grew and grew and grew. Hotels became busier and busier with fans.”

She’s even grown close to some of the players who frequent the restaurant after playing at Baycare Ballpark

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“I’ve waited on several players. I’ve watched some of the minor-leaguers start in the minor leagues and make it to the big leagues, which, they’re sort of like my children,” she said. “They come in here as I tell their parents when I meet them, I’m their Florida mom, their baseball mom and they have their real mom, so. They come to me, I see them at games.”

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But she’s never seen anything quite like what’s happening now. After Major League Baseball and it’s Players Association were unable to strike an agreement to end the current lockout, the league cancelled the first week of the 2022 regular season.

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“A lot of them are angry. A lot of them are very, very angry. They want to get out of the cold, they want to come to the warm, they want to enjoy all of this and it’s not happening this year. And it’s unfortunate that we have to deal with it,” she says the MLB worker stoppage is having a direct impact on Clearwater’s fan stoppage. “It does put a bad taste in your mouth for a lot of people because it’s frustrating. This is what you want to raise your children to know. But we can’t control that, so if you love baseball, just like any sport, hopefully they stay with it.”