By Kaci Long
What was originally scheduled to be a homestand full of 25-cent hot dogs, two Kansas City Royals legends, an already rescheduled bobblehead giveaway and a fantastic fireworks show quickly became overshadowed by everyone’s favorite four letter word in baseball, RAIN. We had two rainouts over seven days which in turn caused us to have three doubleheaders in five days (one doubleheader had already been scheduled).
Over the week, we pulled the tarp on or off a total of 14 times and the field took nearly four inches of rain. Talk about Stirring Up the Storm!
When I strolled around the stadium the past few days, I caught some photos of our staff members and concessions. As I had previously mentioned, this homestand featured an already rescheduled Salvy Splash Bobblehead Giveaway that we were able to get in on Saturday. After the rain had passed, we set the bobbleheads up for the first fans through the gates.
Even with the weather being cold and rainy, thousands of fans were lined up early just to ensure they received a Salvy Splash bobble.
Wiener Wednesday (night) games feature 25-cent hot dogs along with Bark in the Park where dogs join their owners at Storm Chasers games. Head Chef Matt Atkinson was in the kitchen cooking burgers as he prepped for one of the picnics we had on Saturday evening. Matt is in his first year at Werner Park and has added exciting new offerings to our catering and suite menus such as chicken and waffles, along with brisket wellington. And, while Matt was in the kitchen, Concessions Manager Ryan Slane was making sure the hot dogs were up to high standards.
On Monday, we had to cut batting practice short so we could put the tarp on the field for the game that evening. I made my way to the field early enough to snap a quick picture of pitching coach, Andy Hawkins throwing to outfielder, Terrance Gore before the rain hit. As we began pulling the tarp, the players headed to the clubhouse to hang out and wait for the rain to pass.
In the clubhouse, we caught pitcher Malcom Culver grabbing a pre-game plate of food before he began the evening in the bullpen. Bubba Starling cozied up for a photo with his roommate, Cam Gallagher while they entertained themselves. Most of the players typically show up to the field around 1pm so the majority of their day is spent in the clubhouse. Some of them use the downtime to stay in touch with family or friends as Jake Junis was spotted on his phone. Storm Chasers broadcaster, Mark Nasser used the downtime as an opportunity to interview manager, Brian Poldberg for his radio show as they were all smiles.
Everyone knows that Nebraska weather is ever-changing and keeps us all on our toes. No one knows this better than our Head Groundskeeper, Noah Diercks. Noah was busy this past homestand watching the radar and making sure the field stayed in pristine shape. As anyone could guess, this can be a very stressful job. Once the call is made to put the tarp on or take it off, it takes a full staff (as you can see in the photos) to make this happen. After the tarp was off, the grounds crew’s job was not done. There were still foul lines to be chalked, the infield skin to be watered, and the batter’s boxes to be painted. As the rest of the grounds crew did that, President/GM, Martie Cordaro and Noah had to push water across the grass so it could drain.
This homestand will go down in the books as many things.
For our staff and the grounds crew it was long and tiring, but we managed through it as a team. For Cam Gallagher, it featured his first Triple-A home run, which proved to be a game-winner. Bubba Starling also stayed hot and extended his hit streak to 12 games. Terrance Gore flashed the leather by robbing a sure to be Reno home run. And even catcher Luis Villegas pitched in to aid an overwhelmed pitching staff. Thanks to all the fans that supported us! Stir Up the Storm!
We’re ready to #StirUpTheStorm on June 10 at #WeDontCoast night! The first 1500 fans will receive a Paulo “O” Orlando bobble. Want to secure your own? Keep an eye on our social channels for a chance to win a bobblehead and We Don’t Coast swag!