As every Opening Day approaches, Rochester Red Wings general manager Dan Mason has his eye on the weather, hoping for a sunny, warm day.
This year, he’s watching another forecast – hoping that the cloud of COVID-19 won’t cover the community.
“Right now, we have to prepare as if we’re playing baseball here on April 9,” Mason said a month before the season opener at Frontier Field. “That’s our mindset right now.”
As of March 9, no one in Monroe County had tested positive for novel coronavirus COVID-19. However, the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra announced March 9 that it was canceling concerts through April 15 in Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre. The move came after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a state of emergency and the University of Rochester announced plans to restrict campus events, including those at Eastman Theatre.
As of March 10, there were 142 confirmed cases in New York, according to the state Department of Health. Of those, 98 were in Westchester County. Two were in Saratoga County.
Across the country as of March 9, there were 647 reported cases and 25 deaths in 35 states and the District of Columbia according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Worldwide, the World Health Organization reported 109,577 cases and 3,809 deaths.
On March 9, the U.S. major professional sports leagues announced they were suspending locker room access for media because of the potential spread of the virus.
In Europe, some leagues have gone further. In soccer, La Liga in Spain and the Champions League announced games would be played with no fans allowed in the stadiums.
Mason said Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball were monitoring the COVID-19 situation and that the Red Wings would follow instructions from those governing bodies. All Red Wings players are under contract to the team’s parent organization, the Minnesota Twins.
Mason said few fans have asked about COVID-19’s effect on the Red Wings, and fans are buying tickets at redwingsbaseball.com. The box office is scheduled to open March 27 for in-person sales.
Mason said the team has had a handful of media inquiries. “As things change around the country and other events get postponed, I’m sure the topic will continue to be talked about.”