Here's the latest about the Omaha Storm Chasers.
Team president and general manager, Martie Cordaro, got into the Jackie Robinson Day spirit by sporting a 42 jersey. Incidentally, if you look closely, you'll see an autograph on the jersey. He believes it was signed by Omaha relief pitcher Buddy Baumann last season.
Speaking of Baumann, he and fellow relief pitcher Spencer Patton, jumped at the chance to meet the namesake of the Bob Gibson Heritage Project banquet a couple of weeks ago. They posed for pictures with him afterward (Patton left, Baumann right). Forgive the blurry photo. Nobody ever accused me of being a photographer.
Cordaro, who is a big Star Wars fan - so much so that the last time I was in his office he had a Yoda statue - reveled in Star Wars weekend at Werner Park last week. Fans were offered two dollars off ticket prices if they dressed in Star Wars gear.
The Storm Chasers hosted Husker Night at the ballpark recently. Former Nebraska quarterback Jerry Tagge (1968-'71) threw out one of the ceremonial first pitches. His catcher was 1972 Heisman Trophy winner, Johnny "The Jet" Rodgers. Rather than going into a windup, Tagge feigned going under center and took a short drop back on the mound before tossing his pitch. Here's the video I shot.
Cody Clark, who played catcher for the Storm Chasers from 2008-'12, is now the bullpen catcher for the Kansas City Royals. The former Storm Chaser saw his dream realized last season when he got the call to the big leagues with the Houston Astros where he caught 16 games.
Aaron Brooks, who has been up and down with Kansas City twice already this season, lockered next to Greg Holland and Tim Collins his first time around (and maybe the second) in the big leagues, which he found to be educational. But even at the Triple-A level, he is still learning. He says Triple-A hitters are better about taking pitches they know they can't hit, which forces pitchers to be more consistent and to work on keeping hitters off balance more often. Brooks knows something about hitting - he set the home run record at his high school in California, and he says he misses hitting so much that he'll hit ground balls to infielders before games once in a while.
Collins was in Omaha recently on a MLB rehab assignment (elbow strain). The last time he pitched for Omaha, they were the Royals and they played in Rosenblatt Stadium. Here's a bit of trivia for you - Collins threw the final pitch at Rosenblatt and he says it's a special memory.
KMTV in Omaha recently did an interesting feature about Omaha first baseman, Matt Fields, that includes his decision to walk away from the game and then to come back. Here's the video.
Former Kansas City manager, John Wathan, was at Werner Park recently. He is currently the special assistant to player development, which is a change. Before that, he was the special assistant to scouting and player development, prompting him to jokingly say, "They might have fired me again and didn't tell me," about the fact that he's no longer involved in scouting. He was a guest on the pre-game show recently with radio play-by-play announcer Mark Nasser.