'I ran out of money': Farmington Frackers to cease baseball operations for 2020 season
FARMINGTON — The Farmington Frackers announced today they will cease operations for the 2020 season, with no immediate plans to continue after.
"It was really a financial deal. I ran out of money," Frackers General Manager Mike Dimond said. "It just became impossible to keep it going."
The Frackers, a collegiate summer league baseball team, reached the Stan Musial World Series in all three years of its existence from 2017 through 2019, winning the title in 2017.
Home games were played at Ricketts Park. Games were streamed live via the radio broadcast network ZiaCast, which aired on the Frackers' website.
Dimond said he never expected the Frackers would make serious money, but he clung to hope that it'd work because of the city's reputation as a baseball town.
"I think the community embraced the Frackers," Dimond said.
Dimond said expenses like travel, foster family arrangements and paying the coaching staff eventually became a factor.
"It all adds up pretty quick," Dimond said.
Dimond said he was sure that after two years, ceasing operations would be inevitable if things didn't turn around by the third year.
Dimond said the Frackers averaged just 400-500 attendees per night at Ricketts, well short of the 800-1,000 nightly range he sought.
He also said bringing in visiting teams, which he said was a cheaper method than having the Frackers play out of town, helped local hotels make some extra money, but those costs added up, too.
Dimond said the team lost money in 2017 and 2018, but broke even in 2019 thanks to advertising signs on the jumbo-tron at Ricketts. But it still wasn't enough.
Dimond said the city response to having a collegiate team was good, but it simply came down to not being able to pay the bills.
"It wasn't an easy decision to make. It's a labor of love. We love the game, we love the Frackers," Dimond said, adding that local businesses supported the team.
Farmington City Manager Rob Mayes said via text message today that he "wasn't aware of this announcement" and expressed his sympathy.
"I'm sorry to hear this news, but respect the decision making process that lead to this conclusion by the ownership of the Frackers organization," Mayes said.
Dimond looks to re-evaluate things in the spring and summer of 2020, in hopes of potentially bringing the team back for 2021.
Dimond said if the team can find investors to purchase a share of the Frackers, which is classified as a limited liability company, it'd help lower operating prices for 2021.
Dimond also said he will want to add things like live concerts at Ricketts and dormitories for visiting players and teams.
Although he's currently pessimistic about 2021 onward, Dimond's leaving the door open.
Matt Hollinshead covers sports for the Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 and on Twitter at @MattH_717.