Restaurants near Nationals Park welcoming customers during MLB's fanless return

America’s pastime appears to be on the way back to the nation’s capital. But with Major League Baseball’s announcement that games will resume in mostly empty stadiums, it leaves restaurants that typically rely on business from fans in uncharted territory.

“We’re excited just to have the Nats playing again,” said Fritz Brogan, who owns Mission Navy Yard, just outside of Nationals Park in Southeast D.C. He said he’s still optimistic about the upcoming season and hopes that even if fans can’t go to games, they’ll still want to watch nearby.

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“When the Nationals were playing away last year, people would still come in to watch the game here, a lot of energy in Navy Yard even for away games,” Brogan explained. “Obviously we want to have more fans, but it’s a step in the right direction.”

It’s a similar story at nearby All-Purpose Pizzeria, where Sam Nellis said they plan to run Nationals specials all season long.

“Even though fans can’t go into the stadium,” Nellis told FOX 5. “They can certainly come down and feel the energy around the stadium.”

The statue of Hall of Fame pitcher Walter Johnson is shown outside Nationals Park, home to the World Series Champion Washington Nationals. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

That’s along the lines of what the Capitol Riverfront Business Improvement District had to say too, with a spokesperson saying in part, “we look forward to further partnering with neighborhood restaurants and bars to encourage baseball fans from across the DMV to watch the games closer to the action, among the 60+ neighborhood restaurants surrounding Nationals Park.”

At least one mega-fan said he still thinks a lot of fans will come out, and Bradley Saunders would know – he’s a Nationals usher who just picked-up his World Series ring Wednesday night.

“I want to celebrate our first world series,” Saunders said, ring in hand. “I’m so proud of them, you just don’t know.”