“It’s an unbelievable feeling to take the field again, especially [at] Loggers stadium,” said Jared Freilich, a Loggers pitcher.
After months without baseball, the La Crosse Loggers will officially start its season on July 1 with some changes in place, including a smaller league.
“The league opted to form these pods based on teams that can play and right now we’re in a pod that features six different teams mostly operating out of Wisconsin with a team in Rockford, Illinois,” explained Ben Kapanke, the Loggers general manager.
New policies are also being implemented to keep staff, players, and fans safe.
“We can seat about 3,000 people here in the facility, so we’re going to try and maintain that 50 percent capacity to allow people to really social distance on their own,” Kapanke said.
Additionally, everyone entering the stadium will have to pass a temperature check.
Those above 100.4 degrees will not be admitted, but can receive a refund or ticket exchange for a different home game.
The team expects the players to make responsible choices as well.
“It’s absolutely something we take seriously because we know the severity of the situation. We’re blessed and lucky enough to be playing and we don’t want that to all of a sudden come to an end because we were not taking precautions,” Freilich said.
Any player that tests positive will be required to quarantine for 14 days.
Players say this season with the Loggers is that much more important and special after their spring collegiate seasons were cut short.
“Not having baseball it was kind of torture just sitting around, working out by yourself not being able to be surrounded by a team atmosphere,” Freilich said.
While La Crosse is experiencing a surge in cases, the Loggers say only staff interacting with fans will be required to wear a face covering.
“From a fan standpoint, we didn’t want to be in a position to tell people and require them to wear masks,” Kapanke said. “We feel like they’re coming here on their own free will and they kind of know some inherited risks of coming to the facility, wherever they go there is inherited risk, so we didn’t want to. We are encouraging them to wear masks.”
The Loggers are excited to provide a sense of normalcy during these uncertain times, starting with the home opener July 3.