Toledo prepares for Mud Hens Opening Day - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Toledo prepares for Mud Hens Opening Day

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The sidewalks are quiet now, but thousands of people will fill them Friday. The sidewalks are quiet now, but thousands of people will fill them Friday.
Everyone is finalizing their last-minute touches for Opening Day. Everyone is finalizing their last-minute touches for Opening Day.
Bars and restaurants may be empty now, but it gives staff a chance to prepare for the crowd. Bars and restaurants may be empty now, but it gives staff a chance to prepare for the crowd.
Rain or shine, surrounding businesses are ready to serve fans. Rain or shine, surrounding businesses are ready to serve fans.
TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -

The sidewalks are quiet now, but thousands of people will fill them Friday: Mud Hens fans by day and Walleye fans by night. The city has been preparing for the home opener and is finalizing its last-minute touches.

Toledo police say they're prepared to make sure everyone has a good time. Police officers will be patrolling on foot and by car, joined by the bike patrol.

With so many headed to catch a game, traffic and parking could be an issue. Police will be directing traffic and keeping an eye out for thieves looking to break in to parked cars.

"We're having extra officers come in and we'll have officers on bikes down there, so we wanna make sure - if the weather cooperates - there could be 20-30,000 people downtown. We want to make sure everybody has a nice, safe and enjoyable baseball game and hockey game," said Deputy Chief George Kral.

If you don't want to battle the traffic, Muddy Shuttles will make their annual run of the season. TARTA buses will pick up from nine different locations in northwest Ohio an hour before the game and will leave the stadium 20 minutes after the game ends. The best part: It's just $1 to ride.


Click here for more information on the Muddy Shuttle.


Just like police, businesses surrounding Fifth Third Field are planning ahead for Friday's festivities, preparing for a record crowd downtown.

It could be hard to find a spot at a restaurant's table Friday, but as much as we love Opening Day, so do these businesses; they even call it their Christmas.

"We've been looking forward to the start all year. Winter's finally breaking on us now and we do expect great crowds out tomorrow. Toledo loves the Mud Hens, so we're excited to have everybody downtown," said Aaron Polet with PizzaPapalis.

It's a much different scene now with an empty bar and dining room. On the other hand, it's giving downtown businesses a chance to prepare.

"All the servers, bartenders, all the workers, they know that this is a special day. It doesn't happen every day of the year. So they're ready to take on the crowds and make a little extra money. And everybody has fun doing it, too," said Polet.

Ye Olde Cock N' Bull sits directly across from the stadium's entrance. Last year, they were packed through the game because of bad weather.

Rain or shine, they are ready to serve fans.

"We're expecting to be hit with large crowds. We're ready though. We're fully staffed. We're gonna have a beer cart and drink specials," said Kelly Mettler with Ye Olde Cock N' Bull.

Friday is set to be epic for these businesses. With the Mud Hen's Opening Day starting at 4, and the Walleye taking the ice at 7, downtown Toledo will be the place to be.

Before you head to the park, consider downloading a new app called Inside the Park. It's run by Minor League Baseball and gives you all sorts of links at your fingertips, such as a stadium map, game schedule and upcoming promotions.

Stay with Toledo News Now for more coverage on Opening Day.

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