MILWAUKEE - Major League Baseball and the players' union reached an agreement Thursday, March 10 to end baseball's second-longest lockout.
With the season set to start on April 7 – a one-week delay – there is still a lot of work ahead, including putting together a full 162-game schedule.
"Let’s get the players traveling, get them into camp and let’s get going," said Rick Schlesinger, Milwaukee Brewers president of business operations.
Training camps open Friday, with mandatory reporting Sunday and exhibition games set to start later next week. The Brewers' first game be in Chicago against the Cubs on April 7, with the home opener scheduled for April 14 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
"Our goal is to get 162 games played in what is going to be a delayed start to the season. So, every day is precious," Schlesinger said. "I think everybody understands. We got to this point, let's bring it over the finish line officially, formally, and let's get the players traveling. Let's get them into camp and let's get going."
FOX6 News asked Schlesinger if there is a concern about losing fans as a result of the lockout.
"Test of time," he said. "We have tested the patience of our fans. We have some fans that absolutely are passionate and upset. My job, and I think we’ll be successful, is win those back."
"It’s been a very, very stressful, frustrating journey," Schlesinger said. "The fact is we have something to celebrate."
"I’m glad, because it boosts the economy and helps people be excited for the state of Wisconsin," fan Michael Bautch, a 20-game ticket package holder, said. "It keeps us excited."
There were signs of doubt, though Philadelphia Phillies fan Kyle Franco is an optimist.
"There will always be baseball in America. It’s too big to fail," Franco said.
A number of people who spoke with FOX6 Thursday night did not care about the game, speaking to a larger issue baseball has faced over a number of years of waning popularity.
Others were uninterested – viewing owners and players as quibbling over millions of dollars when the regular baseball fan – or football fan, with recent Aaron Rodgers news – is working hard and getting paid for less.
Schlesinger noted the deal was extremely important because, at the heart of it, it's about jobs.
"It weighed on me – and I know it weighed on everyone in our offices here – especially after what we've gone through the past few years," said Schlesinger. "The thought of missing games and people missing paychecks.
"The people that sell the beer here. The people that work the parking lots. The people that provide security – both here and in Phoenix. For them to have the uncertainty about whether they're going to make money or get paid. That's a burden."
With the lockout over, ball clubs can resume free agent signings as well.