By CHUCKIE MAGGIO
Rochester Red Wings General Manager Dan Mason wishes he had more concrete answers about when baseball will return to Frontier Field.
Mason said on News 10 NBC’s “Coronavirus: Your Good Questions” segment Monday evening that the Red Wings have not heard any updates about their season, adding that Major League Baseball will likely turn its attention to the minor leagues after finalizing its plan for a 2020 season.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo remarked during his Monday press conference that he’s asked major sports league teams to start preparing to reopen or start their seasons without fans, adding that the state is a “ready, willing and able partner.” Cuomo acknowledged that the decisions will rely on whether franchises are able to make money without fans.
Those financial considerations will make a minor league baseball season, conducted without multi-million dollar television rights deals, particularly challenging to execute.
“(Major League Baseball is) in a little different situation than us in the minor leagues where they can still make some revenue because of the TV rights, the radio rights and the internet rights they have,” Mason commented. “We don’t really have any of those rights revenues at the minor league level, so it would be a lot tougher for us to open and play games without fans.”
“It would be very difficult, I’ll just leave it at that,” Mason responded when asked if operating a minor league club is feasible without ticket and concession sales. “Again, I think it’s going to be incumbent upon Major League Baseball will be the ones to decide if they’re going to send their players to the minor leagues and play games or if they’re gonna bypass the season this year. And we just don’t know yet.
“We’re still hopeful and optimistic that there’ll be a season at some point, but at this point we just don’t know.”
For now, the Red Wings are providing fans with a small piece of the game experience with a limited concessions menu for curbside pickup on Thursday and Friday evenings. Fans can order until noon on Thursday and receive their orders in the Frontier Field VIP lot, where a team employee will deliver their order.
Mason hopes the program can help fans stay connected to the team.
“We’re Rochester’s largest restaurant and people love to eat here,” Mason said. “They love the food; that’s one of the big parts of the entertainment experience here at Frontier Field. So we wanted to give fans an opportunity to still bring a little of the ballpark home, since they can’t come here.”