OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — With minor league baseball on hold during the coronavirus pandemic, the Omaha Storm Chasers are hosting small groups at Werner Park to play on the field.
Called “Field of Dreams," the team lets families and groups of under ten people rent out the ball field for an hour at the price of $100 an hour.
“I am just so excited for the kids,” said John O’Neill, an assistant coach with Papillion Storm Chasers 13U Black, who rented the field for an hour on June 4. “This is an opportunity that is very seldom. For them to have this opportunity brings me so full of joy and I really hope they enjoy the day.”
The “Field of Dreams” is the latest initiative the Storm Chasers have done. The organization has also hosted fireworks shows in the parking lot, sold ballpark food for Takeout Tuesday's and on Father’s Day is doing a Ballpark Brunch on the field.
“If you’re a Royals fan then you’re playing on the field where the World Champions played. You’re playing on the field that the Storm Chasers of recent and future Kansas City Royals have been playing on so I think that would be quite special,” said Storm Chasers President Martie Cordaro.
The athletes, many of whom were in middle school, enjoyed the experience.
“In reality when you see them hit a home run it doesn’t look that impressive but when you get on the field it is impressive,” said Jack O’Neill, an eighth grader on the Papillion Storm Chasers 13U Black. “The grass, the dirt plays perfect and the dirt and the pitcher’s mound is perfect.”
The players and coaches said the facility was the nicest they’ve ever played on.
“This field is better than most golf courses I’ve played on and just walking on it makes me jealous that these kids are getting this opportunity and I hope they appreciate it and enjoy it going forward,” O’Neill said.
For the most part the athletes have been inside since the pandemic started more than two months ago. They said they’re happy to be back outside playing the game they love with their friends.
“It’s great to be back out here hanging out with them,” O’Neill said.
“It’s wonderful, I’ve been waiting for it to start all year,” said Brady Palmer, an eighth grader on the team.
O’Neill added playing on the field gives the players a return to normalcy.
“Any normalcy we can introduce in their lives, the baseball season, that’s normalcy. This is the first step in putting the world back together correctly for them and hopefully this is part of them assimilating back in to the world as we recover from the bad that has been happening over the recent months.”
While the “Field of Dreams” events are done for now, the Storm Chasers plan to bring them back later this summer.