The Fisher Cats’ 2020 season, along with the rest of Minor League Baseball, was canceled Tuesday.
“It’s disappointing, but we saw it coming,” said Fisher Cats president Mike Ramshaw, after Minor League Baseball announced the cancellation Tuesday.
Team owner Art Solomon said the expectation of the cancelled season didn’t make it any less disappointing.
“I’m incredibly disappointed for our fans. I’m disappointed for our sponsors. I’m disappointed because it’s our American pastime,” Solomon said Tuesday.
Fans who put down deposits on season tickets, mini-plans and group outings for this year will get their money back, plus 25%, to be used toward tickets in 2021, according to a statement from the club. Single-game tickets will be good for any home game in 2021.
Fans were disappointed on Tuesday. Cindy Lavigne and her family have been season-ticket holders since 2004, the Fisher Cats’ first season in Manchester
“Baseball isn’t happening, which really bums us out, but there’s so much about the park that we miss,” Lavigne said. “But the way the world is right now, it isn’t a good thing to have everybody all in one place.”
Lavigne said she and her family will miss the friends they see around the park — the staff, players and other fans in section 104.
“We understand this is the way it has to be,” Lavigne said. “Fingers crossed next season’s going to come, and things will be in a better situation."
Ramshaw said the Fisher Cats organization is trying to remain a vital part of the city by putting on other events.
The stadium has hosted seven high school graduations, and is gearing up for baseball camps and three nights of fireworks this weekend. Ramshaw said he wants to show movies on the Jumbotron, and hopes to open the ballpark’s restaurant, to let people in for the comfort of hot dogs and beer in a ballpark.
Solomon said he wanted to show major league games on the Jumbotron, with fans watching in the stands.
Solomon said the Fisher Cats would need permission from city and state health officials, as well as the major league teams. But he said he hoped to show a game, maybe a doubleheader, on Major League Baseball’s belated July 24 opening day.
But Solomon said all those events will not come close to making up for the money the team is losing.
“We will lose a lot of money this year,” Solomon said. How much? “There will be at least seven numbers in it.”
But Solomon said the Fisher Cats are trying to avoid layoffs, and said he did not foresee raising prices next year to make up for this year’s shortfalls.
“It’s one of the risks of any business. It’s beyond our control,” Solomon said. “Every person, every business, is adjusting the best they can.”
Solomon said he hopes the 2021 season can start next April, but said he thought it would require significant advances in the fight against COVID-19.
“Even though we play outdoors, I think for us to be able to play next year, we’re going to need, if not a vaccine, at least some therapies,” Solomon said.
“We’re grateful for the community support,” Ramshaw said. “It’s been overwhelming.”
“I think they’re making the most of this unprecedented time we’re all dealing with,” said Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. “They’re a great partner here with the city of Manchester,” she said, citing the graduations and fireworks shows at the stadium.