Lots of news last night from the Omaha Storm Chasers (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) at the 5th Fest event: a PDC extension with the Kansas City Royals, new uniforms reflecting that relationship, and a rebranding of the team’s charitable organization.
First: the team’s relationship with the Royals was extended by two more seasons, through 2018. Not a surprise: the Storm Chasers/Royals marriage is the longest in Triple-A, dating back to the inception of both teams in 1969. Only two MiLB affiliations have run longer: Lakeland/Detroit and Reading/Phillies.
“We are proud to announce the continuation of this affiliation between the Storm Chasers and Royals,” said Storm Chasers President and General Manager Martie Cordaro. “We have enjoyed the longest and one of the strongest relationships in all of Triple-A Baseball. We look forward to growing our relationship with the Royals even more in the upcoming seasons.”
“We are extremely excited about our extension with Omaha,” said Royals Vice President and Assistant General Manager of Player Personnel J.J. Picollo. “The Storm Chasers are a first class operation and we are proud of our longstanding relationship. We are looking forward to building upon this tradition for many years to come. We would like to thank Gary Green, his partners and Martie Cordaro for their commitment to the Kansas City Royals and feel fortunate to be part of their family.”
Dating back to 1969, the Omaha franchise has posted a 3365-3297 record, adding 16 Division titles, seven League Championships, as well as three Triple-A Championships, including Back-To-Back Triple-A Championships during the 2013 and 2014 campaigns. In addition, the Storm Chasers have accumulated winning records in five of the last six seasons dating back to 2011.
The Storm Chasers also unveiled new uniforms for 2016 and beyond, including several incorporating the powder blue styling of Kansas City Royals color scheme.
The Storm Chasers will don an Alternate Powder Blue jersey with matching cap and an Alternate Black and Powder Blue Jersey with a matching cap at select home games this season. The traditional White Storm Chasers uniform will return, while away from Werner Park the team will wear a new road grey jersey and Batting Practice uniforms have also been updated to include the “Vortex” logo.
“In light of the Royals’ World Series Championship, there is no better time to further connect our two franchises, part of which is shown with these new jerseys,” Cordaro said. “From adding blue to our road jersey and with an all-new alternate powder blue jersey, we are now aligned with the color-scheme of our parent club’s primary three jerseys.”
The alternate powder blue jersey pays homage to the Storm Chasers’ parent club Kansas City Royals’ jerseys that became synonymous with the organization’s rise in the 1980s, with “Storm Chasers” emblazoned across the front. A powder blue hat with the “Interlocking SC” logo will also be incorporated.
Omaha’s new road jerseys mirror that of the Royals’ style, with the front featuring Royal Blue piping down the middle, in addition to numbers under the word “Omaha.” The alternate black top features a large powder blue “O-Bolt” logo on the front, with lightning surrounding the logo and powder blue numbers on the back. A powder blue cap with the black “O-Bolt” logo and black lid is also paired with the top.
Finally — but certainly not least — the Chasers announced re-branding of their 501(c)3 organization to Chasers Charities, an update to the organization’s community relations efforts whose mission is to support the community through charitable contributions that benefit sports and recreational activities with a focus on youth.
Included in Chasers Charities is the “Chasin’ Dreams Grant Program,” which will allow Chasers Charities to help small non-profit organizations that operate youth baseball and/or softball programs that are making major renovations. Eligible applicants can visit chaserscharities.org to apply for a grant of up to $5,000.00. The Jackie Robinson Athletic Scholarship program will continue under the Chasers Charities banner.
The Storm Chasers organization this past season set an all-time record in charitable giving for the third consecutive year, donating a total of $686,137 to local charities in 2015. That total represents a $127,404 increase to the previous record set in 2014, a margin of 18.6 percent. Nine of the 25 programs also saw in increase in fundraising totals, which also included four new initiatives.
The organization also provided 73 nonprofit organizations a platform at Werner Park throughout the 2015 campaign as its Community Organization of the Night. In total, $16,025 dollars were raised during three Game Worn Jersey Auctions, while the “McDonalds and Huber Chevrolet Hurl the Pearl” promotion brought in $17,021 dollars for the Ronald McDonald House. “Hy-Vee Canned Food Sunday” also delivered a value of $29,790 dollars for the Heartland Hope Mission.
The Storm Chasers were also very visible throughout the Omaha Metro community this past season, with players and mascots combining to make 353 appearances, while the organization’s front office donated 707 hours throughout the year.