Even if they could not provide fans with minor league baseball, the affiliates of the KC Royals found ways to engage with their communities.
The KC Royals were able to host games this year even though it meant no fans. The same option was not available to any minor league teams due to the COVID-19 pandemic as lower-level ball was canceled for the year. The owners of those teams still had bills to pay and work to do to keep as many people employed as possible and found other ways to do it.
Omaha Storm Chasers
Nebraska did not lockdown as strictly as other states, giving the Storm Chasers an opportunity to still bring people to Werner Park. They did so in a variety of ways including hosting church services, firework shows and graduation ceremonies.
Some unique ideas included dates during the summer when fans could pre-order their favorite ballpark food and pick it up from food trucks, plus still get their hands on Storm Chaser merchandise. Great memories were made by allowing little league teams to rent the field and enjoy surroundings they may have otherwise never been able to.
There were also baseball games played by the Nebraska Prospects and all-star clashes between some of the best players from Nebraska and Iowa. Legion Baseball was also on tap as the prep teams from Papillion High School and Papillion South High School squared off.
Not forgetting its role as a community ambassador, Omaha donated money to youth programs, held a contest to donate college savings plans for middle school students and hosted charity garage sales.
Check out all the different ways the Storm Chasers contributed to their community.
Northwest Arkansas Naturals
For everyone who has played catch with a parent, sibling, child, or other special relative/mentor/friend, how great would it be to do that in a professional ballpark? Arvest Ballpark allowed that opportunity multiple times during the year. There were also dates fans could take batting practice on the field.
The Naturals partnered with several charities and the local Salvation Army to provide over 800 boxes of food back in July. Another community event saw the team promote donating blood in return for dugout premium seats to a future Northwest Arkansas game.
The team also rewarded the fans and community with the announcement that it will host Kansas City in an exhibition game next spring.
Despite the cancellation of minor league ball, the state of Kentucky still managed to have professionals put on a competitive series, appropriately named the Battle of the Bourbon Trail. The cities of Lexington and Florence both fielded two teams who played several games against each other from August to mid-September.
Many former big league players were on the rosters of the teams including Brandon Phillips, Ben Revere, and Jordan Pacheco. In a summer without baseball for the affiliate Legends, this was a nice way to still draw people to the ballpark.
The Legends took time out during the break from baseball to support great causes like National Nurses Week and raising awareness for missing children in the area.
As you can see, even with no baseball games to host, the affiliates of the KC Royals worked to stay busy and be a champion in their community. If you live in or near a town with a minor league team, look for ways you can still support them so they can continue to do good work.