OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It’s been over 600 days since baseball has been played at Werner Park but that’s about to change.
The Omaha Storm Chasers will have their season opener on Tuesday after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID pandemic.
Although there are some restrictions, the Storm Chasers are ready to take the field and be a place where the community can make memories once again.
"That’s what we do. We’re in the memory-making business. We’re in the community relations business and we’ve been unable to do that since September of 2019 and it’s time to get rolling again. There’s nothing like opening day in baseball and we’re excited to have opening day," said Martie Cordaro, President of the Omaha Storm Chasers.
While they’re ready to play, the extra time off proved to have its difficulties for the players in the form of conditioning.
"Their bodies weren’t ready to get full speed again so it’s taken some time. I think because of the lack of playing last year there were more injuries during spring training," said Storm Chasers manager Brian Poldberg.
Fans may not be able to see some of the players they were looking forward to, as two of the Storm Chasers were called up to the Kansas City Royals even before the Triple-A season began.
"Poldberg continues those conversations with the Royals. We’re primarily off the field managing, but it is a little disappointing to not see the Royals' top players here. That happened last year [when] we missed Brady Singer. There are others we could potentially miss but at the end of the day, we’re a step along the way for them to reach their goals and their dreams which is to get to the major leagues," Cordaro said. "Seventy-five plus percent of Royals minor league players that played for the Storm Chasers have gone on to play for the major leagues. That’s a huge number that’s larger than any sport at any level in the state. If you want to see future major league players at any sport, it’s at Werner Park. This is where it happens so we’re really eager to get started as well."
The organization is hoping the missed season has made fans even more excited for a return to normalcy with live baseball. Cordaro said baseball fans are committed but he's hoping fans will come to more games than they did during the 2019 season as the organization tries to recover from the pandemic.
"We have forecast that it’s going to take 'x' number of years to come back but the critical thing is that we need fans to come back. We need fans to come to the games. If you came to one game in 2019 come to two in 2021. If you came to five come to six or seven. "We need everyone to come to one more game in 2021 and we’ll be just fine," Cordaro said.
To buy tickets to any of the Omaha Strom Chasers games for the 2021 season visit www.milb.com/omaha/tickets
Due to COVID, there will be some changes, which include:
Ticketing: Our tickets are now digital! You can access and manage your tickets through your Account Manager by clicking here. Please try to access your tickets before arriving at Werner Park and arrive early!
- Program: Our program is digital for the 2021 season! There will be QR codes around the ballpark for you to scan to access the program.
- Updated Bag Policy: Werner Park now has a clear bag policy. Make sure you review the rules before you come out to the ballpark!
- Cashless: Werner Park is completely cashless. Only credit and debit cards are accepted. Cash can be redeemed for a gift card at the Advance Ticket Window.
- Masks: Fans ages two years and older must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth at all times on ballpark property other than when actively eating or drinking at their ticketed seats. This mandate will apply to all seating locations. Fans should also wear masks while in the parking lot and while in line at the Ticket Office and gates.
- Reminders: There IS re-entry for Storm Chasers games but you must have your ticket scanned upon exit | There is no smoking inside Werner Park | Please do not congregate on the Atlas MedStaff Bridge as autographs are prohibited in 2021 due to MLB mandated COVID-19 regulations.
- Stadium capacity will be limited at least for the first few home series.
- Expect social distancing to be enforced.