Brian Poldberg will be managing a little closer to home in 2014.
The 56-year-old Omaha native who resides in nearby Carter Lake, Iowa was named the new manager of the Omaha Storm Chasers on Friday. Poldberg, who is now the former Double-A NW Arkansas Naturals manager, is the only skipper the Naturals have ever known (the team relocated from Wichita in 2008). He's managed the team all six seasons it has been in existence, compiling a 424-412 record - the highlight coming in 2010 when the Naturals won the Texas League championship.
That 2010 roster included Johnny Giavotella, Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Manny Pina, Chris Dwyer, Louis Coleman, Aaron Crow, Danny Duffy and Everett Teaford - all of whom have gone on to play with Kansas City. It also included Paulo Orlando, Anthony Seratelli and John Lamb - all of whom played for Omaha in 2013. In fact, Poldberg managed 29 of the 53 players who appeared during the Storm Chasers 2013 season (including the playoffs) and 20 of the 43 players who suited up for the Royals in 2013
Poldberg seems to be a perfect fit for the Storm Chasers.
He's been in the organization for the better part of 30 years, as a player (he played for the Omaha Royals from 1983-85), a minor league hitting coach, a minor league catching instructor and a minor league manager (Appleton, Baseball City, Memphis, Eugene, Springfield, Lansing, Wilmington and NW Arkansas), in addition to serving as a coach at the big league level for Kansas City.
Poldberg takes over in Omaha for former manager Mike Jirchele, who was recently promoted to the big league club as a coach. Omaha has won three successive Pacific Coast League American Conference championships and two PCL championships in the last three seasons.
“If you were going to replace a manager like Jirsch, we could not have hoped for anyone better than Brian Poldberg," said Martie Cordaro, president and general manager of the Storm Chasers. "He is one of the few members of the Kansas City organization with strong ties to the Omaha area, and we are thrilled he will lead his hometown team. He not only has experience managing a majority of the players who made up our 2013 roster, but he also brings with him the knowledge from his time on the Royals major league staff. This is the start of an exciting new chapter.”
By the way, I'm terrible at making accurate predictions, but proving the old adage that even a broken clock is right twice a day, Poldberg is one of the two potential candidates for the job that I mentioned in the Kansas City Baseball Vault podcast earlier this week.