After more than a year of uncertainty and an empty ballpark, fans of the Frisco RoughRiders finally have baseball back.
The minor league baseball team based in Frisco hit the field for their season opener Tuesday. It’s their first time playing as a team since September 2019.
Last year's season was cancelled because of the pandemic leaving players and most employees with jobs.
Victor Rojas is the team's new president and general manager.
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“When I joined the ball club in January, I was the ninth individual back in the office. We had brought back a couple individual that had been furloughed from a sales perspective, there was nine of us, now there are 29 of us,” Rojas said.
Fans coming back will see changes, the first before they walk through the gates.
The stadium's name since 2003, Dr. Pepper Ballpark, is now Riders Field.
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The lazy river in right field isn't named since its sponsor dropped out.
Rojas says the bulk of business traditionally comes from group ticket sales.
“You've got a lot of corporations that are not yet comfortable whether from a corporation or liability standpoint,” Rojas said.
For now, they'll rely on season and single game ticket sales.
Fans must still mask up and in the first three games, social distancing wasn’t a problem.
“For us, it’s just really welcoming everybody back at their own pace,” Rojas said.
With 120 games on the schedule – 60 home and 60 away -- the minor league season is shorter this year by 20 games.
The season runs through the beginning of September.