The Case For An Annual Major League Baseball Game In Nebraska

The Case For An Annual Major League Baseball Game In Nebraska


A couple of months ago Omaha hosted its first ever Major League Baseball game. The game pitted the Detroit Tigers against the Kansas City Royals and Nebraska's own Alex Gordon. The game attracted a sellout crowd of 25,454 to TD Ameritrade Park, even though Gordon was sidelined due to injury. And given this strong showing, as well as the MLB's growing tendency to hold showcase games (after all, the Yankees and Red Sox played an abbreviated series in London this summer), it seems fair to ask: Is there a case for Nebraska to host an annual MLB game?

Based on the Royals-Tigers game alone, the answer is a resounding yes. Naturally the sellout crowd was impressive - per ESPN, 12 MLB teams currently average fewer than 25,454 fans per game. And the fact that this was accomplished with two teams at the bottom of the standings - the Royals having had a 21-46 record, and the Tigers 25-39 - made it even more noteworthy. Indeed, the current projections in the MLB have both teams well out of the playoff picture, and facing virtually impossible odds to climb back into it. In other words, this wasn't exactly the Yankees (who are favored by some betting firms to win the World Series) and Red Sox (a potential playoff team) in London. And yet, again, TD Ameritrade Park was packed to capacity - likely speaking more to the surrounding area's interest in professional baseball than the quality or meaning of the matchup.

That said, Nebraskans' love of the Royals also clearly had something to do with the event's success. According to an interesting, in-depth look at MLB fandom on a geographical basis, the Royals are (bizarrely) second only to the Atlanta Braves when it comes to having out-of-state fans. Despite playing in Missouri, it's clear that the Royals have substantial fan bases in Kansas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and, yes, Nebraska. This would seem to prove two things relevant to the question of putting an annual showcase in the Cornhusker State: first, that baseball is popular even in states without their own teams, and second that Nebraska, specifically, loves its baseball (and particularly the Royals).

That the MLB could hold a game or two in Nebraska every year really doesn't seem in doubt. It might be a minor logistical hassle, but it's perfectly doable and canna clearly be successful. The next question would be whether or not the game would have to feature the Royals every year to match the sellout potential established this summer. Our take is that it certainly couldn't hurt for the Royals to be involved, at least more often than not - but Nebraska has baseball roots well beyond MLB fandom as well. Keep in mind, for instance, that this state is the home of the College World Series, which makes baseball a fairly big deal years in and year out, regardless of which schools are involved.

Royals GM Dayton Moore, in fact, has made note of the baseball culture in Nebraska beyond his own team's showcase. "Omaha is an unbelievable baseball town', Moore was quoted as saying in a story that ran this summer. “Baseball has been celebrated there for many years. Not only is it home for the College World Series, but during that period of time, they have three to four weeks of youth league tournaments and games. It's really a magical baseball place, and you have kids of all ages, they play baseball during the day and go to the College World Series at night." The same article went on to argue Omaha is the “capital of the non-big-league-baseball universe,” a testament to baseball’s deep roots in the state.

Really, when you read and look back on all of this at once, it starts to seem odd that Nebraska doesn't have its own MLB team already. In lieu of expansion though (which is very unlikely anytime in the near future), an annual showcase or two would seem like a terrific idea. 

Related Articles

  • Boris Johnson wins battle to become Tory leader and PM

    Boris Johnson wins battle to become Tory leader and PM

    Johnson has pledged to bring Britain out of the European Union (EU) by October 31, with or without a deal. That, in turn, means that an autumn general election is increasingly likely.
    Kim Jong Un seen beside apparent submarine in state media photographs

    Kim Jong Un seen beside apparent submarine in state media photographs

    One expert said the new submarine was potentially a successor to the Sinpo-C class submarine, first spotted in 2016. Analysts said the apparent size of the new submarine indicated that it was created to eventually carry missiles.
    Chandrayaan-2 in orbit, now focus on Sept 7 moon landing

    Chandrayaan-2 in orbit, now focus on Sept 7 moon landing

    The successful landing of Chandrayaan-2 on the moon in a few weeks from now will make India the fourth country to do so, he said. On Monday, Modi tweeted an image of himself following the Chandrayaan-2 event on a television screen and applauding the liftoff.
  • 'He's tough' Trump congratulates Boris Johnson on British PM win

    'He's tough' Trump congratulates Boris Johnson on British PM win

    The European Council president has welcomed Mr Johnson with a thinly-veiled criticism of his ability to retain details. The heavy responsibilities are outweighed by the huge potential to serve your country, but you achieve nothing alone.
    Lost French submarine found more than 50 years later

    Lost French submarine found more than 50 years later

    The French Navy doesn't know what caused the sub to sink in 1968, but officials hope its discovery will lead to an answer. La Minerve , which sank in January 1968 during a naval exercise was discovered off the port of Toulon, southern France .
    China strongly opposes U.S.  sanctions on Chinese firm over Iran oil

    China strongly opposes U.S. sanctions on Chinese firm over Iran oil

    But Washington's move is another shot across the bow that reflects the seriousness of the Trump administration's stance on Iran. It's worth noting that Hunt said the plan would complement US operations in the area, but would be separate from them.
  • Taylor Swift Releases New Song 'The Archer'

    Taylor Swift Releases New Song 'The Archer'

    Prior to her reveal on Tuesday, it was announced that Swift earned 10 nominations for this year's 2019 MTV Video Music Awards! You can stream The Archer below while Lover is available to pre-save and pre-order now and will be released on August 23rd.
    Vikings CB Holton Hill suspended for an additional 4 games

    Vikings CB Holton Hill suspended for an additional 4 games

    In the Big 12, Hill made five interceptions between his freshman and junior seasons with Texas including 122 total tackles. Minnesota Vikings corner Holton Hill was suspended for four games due to violating the NFL's policy regarding PEDs.
    Seven Tories expected to quit if Johnson is named PM

    Seven Tories expected to quit if Johnson is named PM

    Johnson has previously said that if the United Kingdom prepares correctly, a no-deal Brexit will be "vanishingly inexpensive". Johnson has pledged to negotiate a new Brexit divorce deal with the European Union to secure before October 31.
  • Georgia woman drops, fatally hurts baby during fight

    Georgia woman drops, fatally hurts baby during fight

    Shocking CCTV video shows the moment Harrison dropped the tot after trying to retaliate after another woman swung a bag at her. Harrison was handed her baby following the fight, but waited until the following day to take him to hospital.
    Pacquiao beats Thurman on split decision

    Pacquiao beats Thurman on split decision

    Based on CPPO's monitoring in different police stations in North Cotabato, no crime has ever been committed on July 21. It was a great night of boxing. "So really, I feel that he's back top of his game again".
    Hong Kong clashes involving protesters, police and masked men turn violent

    Hong Kong clashes involving protesters, police and masked men turn violent

    On Sunday, police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse activists after thousands had ringed Beijing's Liaison Office. Hong Kong entrepreneur Jimmy Lai warns the controversial extradition bill would be detrimental to the region's western values.