OGDEN — As sports leagues negotiate when and how to return to game action following months of shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball, in particular, is embroiled in a salary spat with its players.
After players agreed to take a prorated salary based on how many games are played, MLB and team owners are pressing players to take larger cuts and the 2020 season is up in the air.
That battle holds up Minor League Baseball as well, meaning the Ogden Raptors’ scheduled season opener this Friday against the Rocky Mountain Vibes will not be played and, with each passing day, chances of a 2020 Pioneer League season decline as the calendar advances deeper into the summer.
But the Raptors are hosting what they call “Opening Night 2.0,” according to a video the team posted to Facebook on Monday, which means opening the gates of Lindquist Field for fans to enjoy a summer night at the ballpark anyway.
From 6-8:30 p.m. Friday, fans can enter Lindquist Field for free, and bring gloves and balls to play a game of catch with a loved one on the field.
“It’s a shame we won’t have a professional baseball game to play and we still don’t know the status of the season,” team president Dave Baggott told the Standard-Examiner. “We might as well commemorate opening day anyway. If for no other reason, it will be a beautiful night out.”
Concession grills will be in operation so fans can buy food, beer and soda will be available, and music will play over the sound system for fans to take in the evening scenery.
In the video, Baggott asks people to stay home who are sick or have been around someone who is sick. He says that “all current social distancing guidelines will be in effect.” Areas of the field will be marked for a numbered set of people to play catch, and there will be “plenty of seats” for people to distance while they sit and eat, or while they wait to wait to take the field.
If enough people show up, Baggott said the team will stagger entry into the ballpark.
“If you don’t have someone to come with, just come. I’ll play catch with you,” he said.
Those with questions about the event can call the team at 801-393-2450.