“After one member of our front office exhibited symptoms consistent with COVID-19 last week, we immediately sent everyone home, closed the office, arranged for testing for every staff member and performed a comprehensive COVID-19 cleaning of our entire office in less than 48 hours,” RoughRiders President and General Manager Andy Milovich said in the release. “Unfortunately, the tests revealed a number of positives. The fact we had multiple positive test results despite the social distancing and other safety measures we had implemented to protect our staff is a testament to how easily this virus can spread.”
The Frisco franchise was granted a temporary expansion team in the Texas Collegiate League last month and started its season June 30 with a three-game series in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The team’s 30-game schedule was to include 15 home games at Dr Pepper Ballpark played throughout July and into the first weekend of August.
The new release states the RoughRiders are in active discussions with the TCL about the remainder of the season.
“While the ballpark itself is safe and sanitary, especially after the extensive COVID-19 cleaning we performed, we cannot in good conscience open the ballpark to the public at this time given all relevant circumstances, including the positive tests among our own staff, rising infection rates in North Texas and Gov. [Greg] Abbott’s most recent recommendation regarding outdoor gatherings,” Milovich said. “We had dearly looked forward to welcoming our fans back to the ballpark this holiday weekend, and it certainly would have been a welcome financial boost as well, but the health, safety and welfare of our staff, fans, players, guests and the community at large must take precedence. To play these games among fans this weekend in Frisco would have been the wrong decision and wrong message at this time.”
When the expansion team was announced last month, Milovich said state guidelines would cap attendance at 50% capacity with social distancing measures in place. For Dr Pepper Ballpark, that translates to maximum crowds of 4,000-4,500 fans, he said.
“We certainly feel a responsibility to our friends and colleagues in the League and do not want our actions to create a burden for them or their communities,” Milovich said. “We also have tremendous empathy for our players, who just want to play and have already lost so many opportunities to do so this year. We are confident our discussions with the League will produce a thoughtful plan going forward that will not jeopardize the League, its members or our players.”
The new release said the organization will contact fans who purchased tickets for the July 7-9 TCL games with information on refunds and other options.
It was also announced June 30 that the RoughRiders’ regular Minor League Baseball season has been canceled this year. Major League Baseball said it would not provide affiliated Minor League teams with players for the season.
The Frisco franchise reported 455,765 fans at home games last year and finished first in attendance among all 30 Double-A teams in Minor League Baseball for the 15th year in a row.