Werner Park field will be ready; Royals, Chasers say let’s play ball after last year’s rainout

Werner Park field will be ready; Royals, Chasers say let’s play ball after last year’s rainout
“We’re going to be ready to welcome the Royals,” said Martie Cordaro. MATT DIXON/THE WORLD-HERALD

Omaha Storm Chasers President and General Manager Martie Cordaro felt the odds were in his favor that Werner Park would be ready for Monday’s exhibition with Kansas City, even after a brutal winter.

Then Mother Nature dealt the metro area a major snowstorm, which dashed his hopes a bit.

“I was very, very, very concerned. But things have worked out,” he said. “We got some luck with the weather as it relates to temperature and rain. That wasn’t great for a lot of people in the metro. But as far as getting the facility ready, it helped us do that.

“We’re going to be ready to welcome the Royals.”

Omaha and Kansas City are set to meet at 6:05 p.m. Monday. It will be the first game between the Royals and their top minor league affiliate since 2000, when they played a 0-0 tie at Rosenblatt Stadium.

The teams were scheduled to square off last spring at Werner at the beginning of their 50th seasons. But poor weather that day made the safety of the players a concern, and the exhibition was canceled.

Kansas City General Manager Dayton Moore made a commitment that night to try it again this season.

“(I am) extremely happy, again, more so for the fans,” Cordaro said. “I think doing it again this year speaks to the true partnership that we have with the Royals. That day, last year, they immediately committed to coming back this year. It speaks volumes to the relationship we have with the Royals.”

The exhibition slated for last spring sold out in less than 24 hours. That didn’t happen this time around. But as of late last week, standing-room only tickets were all that were still available.

“Ticket sales didn’t go as quickly as when we first announced this game nearly two years ago,” Cordaro said. “It took a little while for ticket sales to start. But we sold through our fixed-seat allotment. We sold through our berm-ticket allotment. And we’re down to standing-room (only). I think it’s a good thing.”

Some player pass-list seats became available Sunday. The stands are expected to be full Monday.

Cordaro said the Omaha grounds crew did an amazing job in getting the field ready for play.

“It’s about how bad do you want something to happen,” he said. “We committed. We committed to this game. We committed to the fans and to the Royals to having a quality playing surface. We’re ready.

“We’re excited. We’re really, really excited about the game. And we’re excited to welcome the Royals here on Monday. It’s been a long winter. We want people to get out of the house and come celebrate with us for three hours or so. We’re just really excited to be able to put baseball back on the map.”

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