Red Wings Shareholders Look To 2016 Season
Shareholders of Rochester Community Baseball, which operates the Red Wings, met Saturday to review the 2015 season. Board Chair Gary Larder told WXXI the Wings finished with a pre-tax profit of $445,000.
"It's our objective clearly to make a profit so we can stay in business. But that's not what we're really all about. We're really all about having reasonably-priced family entertainment."
The Wings lost money in the eighth year of a contract to run the Batavia Muckdogs. That operation lost $230,000.
Larder summed up the situation, "Our pay, so to speak, is that we keep any profits, or any losses. We have regularly been losing money there."
He reminds us the payoff comes when and if the franchise is sold, which Larder says is likely for a team in a city the size of Batavia.
"When it is sold, we would share in the sale revenues and that will bring us back to recoup all of our losses."
As of now, the Wings would receive about 40% of the price if the Muckdogs are ever sold.
Shareholders also heard many of the nightly promotions and concession specials will return from last season, along with Friday and Saturday night fireworks.
General Manager Dan Mason told WXXI there will also be events to mark the team's 20th season at Frontier Field.
"Bring back either players or rekindle memories from special events that we've had over the first 19 seasons here at Frontier Field, and help people in our community just relive those great memories."
Larder remembers the first year at Frontier. “In 1997, we won the championship, so we'll certainly have that as one of the highlights and have some players back from that year."
Yes, he said championship. Larder says the team will be affiliated with the Minnesota Twins until at least 2020.
"I'd like to say that we've been winning lots of championships under the Twins. That hasn't happened, but we have seen a lot of young players develop in the Twins' system and come through Rochester, which is fun."
Also new this season, more netting to protect fans from foul balls or broken bats.
"The recommendation has been passed down that we expand the area that is being covered by screening. So, we will be cooperating with that. The exact details on exactly what we'll be doing are yet to be determined. We're working with the county on that."
The lease with Monroe County to use Frontier Field also expires at the end of this season.
More Good News
Finally, Board Chair Gary Larder told WXXI Red Wings games were an average of 19 minutes shorter in 2015.
"19 minutes is a lot of time. The league, in total, improved by 16 minutes. And we intend to be even more strict with some of these new rules in 2016. So hopefully, we'll be even a little bit faster than that."
Larder added if the team can get ahead so they don't have to bat in the bottom of the ninth the games will be even shorter.
The Wings home opener is April 9 against the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees.