OMAHA, Neb — Brian Poldberg is a baseball lifer.
“This is where I’m the most comfortable,” Poldberg said. “I’ve spent most of my life at a baseball field.”
He has turned a game loved by many into a 40-year professional career.
The Carter Lake native was a regular at the ballfield as a kid, and that continued throughout high school and college as well.
He played in summer leagues while in college, and that’s where he realized there was a future in baseball.
“Playing with all of these guys from the big schools I go, ‘you know what, I think I’m good enough to give it a try,’ and went to a tryout camp with the Yankees and signed in 1980.”
Brian was a catcher. After getting total reconstruction surgery on his knee because of a collision at home plate, he was released by the Yankees Organization.
However, the Kansas City Royals organization was all over him. They signed him to a contract in 1983.
He played for the AAA Omaha Royals for three seasons before his body had run out of steam. He married his wife Lori in 1986 and got out of the game of baseball.
He couldn’t stay away long though.
“I sat out that summer and realized how much I missed it and got back in contact with the Royals,” Poldberg said.
The Royals hired him as a minor league coach, and he’s spent his summers with the Royal family ever since.
“We used to have organizational meetings and I used to be one of the youngest guys,” Poldberg said, “The last time we had one I was like, ‘woah I’ve been here awhile,’ because now I’m one of the oldest guys.”
Brian has coached or managed at every minor league level and had stints as a bullpen coach, first base coach, and third base coach at the Major League Baseball level in Kansas City.
“They were really four memorable years,” Poldberg said. “Just being in the big leagues and going to all the big league stadiums, you just soaked it all up.”
When he returned to Omaha to manage the Storm Chasers in 2014, he was able to go home to his own house in Carter Lake and be around family more. An accommodation that most players and coaches don’t get to experience.
“The first year back, my youngest son was a senior in high school, and we played a lot of day games, so I was able to get to see him play more than the older two,” Poldberg said. “You know, to go home and sleep in your own bed instead of running to another hotel or apartment.”
As a minor league manager, he has compiled a total of 1,356 wins, winning titles as a manager at both the AA and AAA levels and played a major role in the development of the players that helped the Royals win the 2015 World Series.
“His impact really goes beyond the guys that have gone on to have all-star or potentially hall of fame careers; it’s really all the other players that have gone on to coach little league teams, have gone on to play professionally in other places, and coaches in professional baseball,” Omaha Storm Chasers President Martie Cordaro said. “That’s one thing he’s really taught me is that everyone has something different to bring to the game, and I think that’s the Kansas City Royals’ way.”
“To be able to watch these guys grow from when I had them and to be able to watch them on tv now – I see really big things for Kansas City in the next few years,” Poldberg said.
For the first time in four decades of spending summers at the diamond, this year was his final season.
“I haven’t had a summer with my family without baseball. My sons are 29, 26, and 23 and we’ve never had a summer just to do what we want to do so I’m really looking forward to next year,” Poldberg said.
The fun-loving manager says it won’t be the game of baseball he misses most but all of the people he would interact with throughout the organization.
“Just the people that I have been able to come in contact with over this 40-year period is phenomenal,” Poldberg said. “They’re relationships that will never go away.”
One of his favorites was when 2021 MLB breakout player, and Creighton alum, Nicky Lopez got the call in 2019. Lopez hit .300 this season with the Royals, the fifth best batting average in the AL@Royals @OMAStormChasers @CU_Baseball @_robanderson pic.twitter.com/P2N3vhbZa6— Zach Williamson (@ZWilliamsonTV3) October 5, 2021