Local businesses excited to cash in on Red Sox-Yankees Wild Card game

BOSTON — Darren Kaplan has been a hot dog vendor outside Fenway Park for more than 30 years. But Kaplan didn’t sell anything in 2020.

“I didn’t even have job here,” Kaplan said.

After a pandemic-shortened 2020 season with no fans, Tuesday’s Wild Card game against the visiting New York Yankees is like a ray of light for bars, restaurants and vendors that spent the last 19 months navigating capacity limits and other COVID-19 restrictions.

“Whether it’s the Super Bowl, World Series or Stanley Cup, one more game means more money, more atmosphere, more people and a better overall feeling,” Kaplan said.

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No one would call it a playoff drought, but the Red Sox haven’t made the postseason since the World Series-winning 2018 season. A high tide raises all ships, and Red Sox Official Team Store manager Scott Sakled said when the Red Sox are doing well, people get excited and spend money.

“Hopefully they can pull this one off and they can [advance to the ALDS] because that means a couple more games. It’s money on the table for everyone. It just brings a lot of people to the city and a lot of people are in good moods and they spend,” Sakled said.

Yankees fans are notorious travelers and Sakled said a few New Yorkers visited his shop Monday afternoon. When a visiting fanbase comes to Boston, that means a lot of out-of-state money is being spent in local hotels, restaurants and shops.

“Bottom line is great atmosphere, you’re rooting for the Sox, and Sox-Yankees, everybody is here! It’s going to be incredible,” Kaplan said.