ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) —Red Wings general manager Dan Mason said the most games the team has lost to postponements during his lengthy tenure was 10 back in 1992.
This year, the Wings will lose all of them.
“Never in our wildest nightmares would we envision losing 70 games. I’ve never been virus’ed out until this year,” Mason said.
The news long expected became official Tuesday: Minor League Baseball is canceled for the 2020 season.
This will be the first year with no baseball in Rochester since 1898.
“I can’t say it’s any less depressing. It’s still a real sad day,” Mason said. “I think the reality of it is just setting in a little bit more today. We all sorta had an inkling it was coming, but it’s still a tough day. A real tough day.”
Mason also lamented the quality baseball weather in Rochester the last few weeks. He said the Wings had one of the best schedules in a long time for when they were hosting games this year and estimates Frontier Field would have hosted about 30,000 people the two weekends in June when Rochester was playing at home.
“This has been one of the most beautiful summers we’ve had,” said team president Naomi Silver. “Frankly, I wish it were raining every day because it’s just heartbreaking to see that beautiful day go by without another game. It’s been tough.”
Both Red Wing execs understand the health issues that are erasing Rochester baseball this season. Silver said the focus right now will be on 2021.
“It is unfortunate that at a time when baseball could have been a real source of healing, we have been unable to provide it for our community,” Silver said. “Red Wings baseball will persevere and we look forward to next year when we can welcome our friends back to the ballpark.”
Minor league sports is not a lucrative business, so losing an entire season could have catastrophic consequences. Rochester is likely one of the healthier organizations.
Red Wings team employees will soon experience furloughs, but no full timers will be losing their job or health care. Seasonal gameday employees will not be paid.
“Other than those few that are owned by the major league affiliate, we all have to deal with this,” Silver said. “Fortunately, we are a successful enough team to endure this season off. I wouldn’t want to have to do it again. So, I’m wearing my mask when I need to.”
The team has been in a waiting mode since mid-March when all sports were stopped. At least the waiting part is over.
“Thanks to all our fans, corporate partners, and employees for their patience and support over the last three and a half months,” Mason said. “We know everyone is really missing baseball and spending time with friends and family at Frontier Field, but we will continue to host smaller events, with the hope of expanding those when we are allowed. While there’s nothing like a Wings game, we will continue to do all we can to keep the community engaged. and we are counting down the days till next April when we can welcome our entire community back for Opening Day.”
Almost all tickets purchased for the 2020 season can be exchanged for tickets in 2021 starting in March when the ticket office will re-open. The Wings released a detailed list of answers to all the various questions about purchased 2020 tickets.
While there is no baseball this year in the Flower City, the Rochester Red Wings have been getting creative with how the public can enjoy Frontier Field, including the Dinner on the Diamond series which lets guest reserve tables to eat at the ballpark.
Mason said the drive-in movie idea will continue at least the next three weekends. They are also considering a broadcast of major league games at Frontier Field once that season resumes.
Silver said they are constantly on the phone with city and county authorities to check on all the ideas can be safely allowed at the ballpark.
There just won’t be any baseball.
Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.