Friday was supposed to be the Rocky Mountain Vibes’ home opener.
Instead of hosting the Ogden Raptors on Friday, UCHealth Park will host Sand Creek High School’s seniors and their families in a socially distanced graduation ceremony. “Pomp and Circumstance” instead of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” isn’t what anyone expected.
But the Vibes are rolling with it.
“Obviously it would be much more preferential if we had some baseball going on but that’s not the case right now so we’re just adjusting and doing what we can,” general manager Chris Phillips said.
The questions regarding when and whether baseball will return to the Springs have slowed for Phillips. Each passing day makes it more unlikely.
After months of failed negotiations, Major League Baseball league implemented a 60-game season that will run through Sept. 27. That didn’t provide instant clarity for anyone, however, including minor league teams.
“All of minor league baseball has been just put on the backburner as they’ve been trying to figure out their larger issues,” Phillips said.
“It’s almost July 4. The reality of getting a minor league season in this year is very, very slim.”
Phillips called it disheartening but putting live events on hold is “the smart, safe thing to do.”
He’s been part of a “handful of conversations” with the Colorado Rockies, who reached out to gauge interest in the venue being used for the team’s taxi squad — players signed by a team but not part of the main roster. In this potential scenario, Phillips said, there’s only a certain number of players allowed at the team’s home facility and the taxi squad would be within 150 miles. There’s still information to come.
The Vibes could benefit from the rental revenue, but fans would not be allowed. So either way, UCHealth Park likely won’t be hosting games for spectators.
“Right now, we’ve kind of focused for the 2020 season transitioning from Vibes baseball to Vibes entertainment,” Phillips said. “That’s where we’re at right now, and we’ll obviously be focused on baseball for 2021.”
The team’s drive-in movie nights were met with intense demand. Phillips said they hope to host more and are eyeing opportunities to host a concert in the fall.
The organization would like to shift toward “more of a normal ballpark experience” down the road, with blankets and camping chairs instead of cars rolling in and out. A July 3 double feature and fireworks show will draw on those familiar summer nights.
The Sandlot and Independence Day will lead up to a fireworks show as part of the “Triple Play Holiday.” The ticket total dictated by Colorado’s outdoor venue numbers at the time is nearly gone, but the Vibes organization is working closely with the health department and hopes to release more before the event.
None of this is what anyone envisioned, but the Vibes staff is used to identifying current trends and coming up with “fun, wacky, zany promotions” to get fans into the stands.
“It’s not totally outside the box of our normal day-to-day world,” Phillips said. “It’s just doing it right now, unfortunately, without baseball.”