On August 5th 2011 I made my first ever visit to Werner Park in Omaha to take in a Storm Chasers game. For those of you who don’t know, the Storm Chasers are the AAA affiliate of the Royals.
The stadium itself is very easy to find. In fact, I didn’t even have to look at a map. Okay, okay, so in my eight years of driving a truck for a living I got to know the Omaha area very well. In fact, the stadium is just up the road from a JC Penney’s store I delivered to on a regular basis.
After seeing a sign for free parking I headed that way thinking we may have to do some walking to get to the park. Not the case at all. I guess since this parking lot was gravel and not paved they didn’t feel the need to charge anything. A short walk around the back of the stadium and we found our way to the ticket window.
Here is some advice for those of you wanting to visit the park on a weekend. Get tickets in advance! Upon our arrival to the box office we noticed a sign that said only grass berm seats were left! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all. It’s great to know the team draws well on the weekends. Just keep that in mind if you plan on visiting.
The stadium itself reminded me of Arvest ballpark down in Northwest Arkansas, home of the Royals AA team. A small intimate setting, with really no bad seat in the house. Regardless of where you sit you are going to be close to the action. Wide concourses with plenty of eating options. Heck, they even have La Mesa Mexican food at the place! Small flat screen TV’s are located around the concourse so you can keep an eye on the action while waiting to order some food or drink.
We arrived early enough to take a walk around the entire stadium. As with many minor league parks there are plenty of activities for the kids. Out past center field they even had a basketball goal to shoot some hoop. However, baseball fans will really like the location of the bullpens. Both team’s pens are located out past center field and you can walk right up to the Storm Chasers pen. Only a chain link fence keeps you from being in the pen itself. This makes for a great up close experience to see some future big league pitchers warm up. On this night it was Mike Montgomery, one of our big time prospects. Since it was a great spot for photos I took a few. Here’s one!
The Storm Chasers would end up loosing the game to Sacramento (Oakland’s AAA team) Even so, the team is still in first place even though three of their best hitters have now been called up to the big leagues, Mouse, Hosmer, and as of August 4th Gio. See my last blog about calling up the kid!
After the game we visited the gift shop where I was hoping to add to my collection of baseballs from all the different major and minor league parks I’ve visited. Oddly enough, they didn’t sell baseballs that said Werner Park. They had plenty of balls with the Storm Chasers logo, but I only collect ones that state the name of the park. Still a neat little shop with everything you would expect.
The only thing that bugged me the entire night was seeing the numerous people wearing Yankees crap!!! I realize when you grow up and live in Nebraska you don’t have your own big league team to root for so you just pick a popular one. I see it every year when the Yankees and Red Sox visit the K. Just look around the parking lot and half the vehicles with Nebraska plates have NY or Boston stickers, license plate frames etc. on them.
Hopefully someday our neighbors to the north will have reason to root for KC. Seeing the direction the team is going I think that could be possible in the next year or two. After all, things are looking up, down on the farm.
Here are two more pictures of my visit to Werner Park.