Fans return to Downtown Phoenix for Diamondbacks home opener

Baseball is back at Chase Field, as the Arizona Diamondbacks play their home opener on April 9 at the Downtown Phoenix stadium.

The home opener marks the first time in more than a year that fans were able to attend games. Fan attendance of games came to an abrupt end in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Up 20,000 fans will be allowed to cheer on the Diamondbacks at Chase Field. The return of fans is bringing renewed hope for struggling businesses in the Downtown Phoenix area.

"We got a heartbeat again," said Eric Stoltz, who owns Willie's Taco Joint. "It's been a struggle. Now seeing people just walking the streets again, it’s been great."

Stoltz shut the doors to Willie's Taco Joint in June 2020, and was forced to find alternative ways to do business. "We were open just for catering and for taco cart," said Stoltz.

Since Phoenix Suns fans returned to Downtown Phoenix in recent weeks, Stoltz has opened back up.  Now that the Dbacks season has begun, business is getting closer to normal.

"People can go out, it’s nice. The people that want to go out and spend money, they’re going to the events, so it’s been really good," said Stoltz.

"With these guys coming back, even though it’s only about 50% capacity, just having people come by, stopping in, having lunch getting drinks before the game, it means we made it. We’re excited," said Jason Bell, co-owner of Crown Public House.

As for fans, some travelled from as far away as Texas to Phoenix.

"For the most part, I'm ready to get out there and start screaming like a madman for the Diamondbacks to win games," said Tracy Byas.

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