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Omaha Storm Chasers’ season canceled

Published: Jul. 1, 2020 at 9:00 PM CDT
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PAPILLION, Neb. (WOWT) - Major League Baseball has canceled all minor league play this summer.

The announcement was not unexpected. In an interview with the president of the Omaha Storm Chasers, he said the lost season will cost them money and jobs.

Eating popcorn in the stands and playing in the outfield. The crack of the bat and the cheers that follow.

It’s all part of the ballpark experience. But not this year.

“To actually hear it, and feel it, and to message it. And to have the fans feel what we’ve been feeling, it’s quite challenging,” said Martie Cordaro, team president.

He said he’s known for a while that the possibility of not having a Chasers season was very real.

Instead of watching the team run the bases, Cordaro is running the numbers. He said the lost season is a major financial hit for his organization.

“Any business that shuts down basically August of 2019 and opens April of 2021 -- I don’t know how many businesses can go 20 months without opening the doors,” he said.

Cordaro said the Storm Chasers will bounce back thanks to support from the team’s owner and the community. But it won’t be quick.

“This isn’t just wake up and get through 2021 and get back to normal. It’s a two to four-year process to getting back to what we feel is the right spot for us financially,” he said.

Several hundred employees are also feeling the pinch.

Without a Storm Chasers season, concession stand workers, vendors, first-aid and security personnel, have very little work.

Several full-time employees were furloughed earlier in the year.

“Right now our job is to make sure we’re stable coming out of this so we’re going to slowly staff back up once we have a 2021 schedule,” Cordaro said.

So what does 2021 look like for the Omaha Storm Chasers?

Cordaro said without knowing how the coronavirus will affect life and baseball, it’s hard to plan and budget for the future.

So he’s urging people to support the team by buying Storm Chasers merchandise and attending other events at Werner Park.

Some of those events include the annual independence fireworks spectacular on Friday.

And next week, the Storm Chasers will show a documentary about the team, called “50 Summers”.

Copyright 2020 WOWT. All rights reserved.

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