The Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers will play a regular season game in Omaha in 2019, according to the Associated Press. The game will kick off the College World Series, which is held in Omaha every year. MLB will hold a press conference to discuss the event tomorrow.
It is unclear yet if MLB will tie-in the draft to this event. There had been talk of moving the MLB draft to Omaha during the College World Series so that college players participating in post-season play could be present. This year there were complaints that several top players like Auburn’s Casey Mize and Florida’s Brady Singer could not attend the draft, and were actually playing baseball at the time they were drafted, causing them to find out they were selected from fans in the stands. According to Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper, MLB had been trying to move the draft to Omaha, but had been met with resistance by the NCAA in the past, a stance that has softened this year.
One thing to note in the MLB drafting during the NCAA regionals debate. MLB wanted to bring the draft to Omaha several years ago and work with the NCAA on timing of the draft. The NCAA said no.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 5, 2018
ABCA head Craig Kelitz says MLB draft and NCAA working together on draft date going forward. Says MLB and commissioner Rob Manfred have been receptive to working with college baseball— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) June 15, 2018
The game would presumably be played at TD Ameritrade Park, home of the College World Series, and not Werner Park, home of the Omaha Storm Chasers. It is not yet known which team would be forfeiting a home game to play in Omaha, although it seems likely it would be the Royals. The Royals are also scheduled to play an exhibition game against the Storm Chasers in March, after this year’s exhibition was cancelled due to rain.
It is true that the MLB draft will never become the spectacle that the NFL and NBA drafts have become, but baseball can certainly generate more excitement than the fake baseball field studio with a few high school players and Harold Reynolds that the draft show currently has. Working with the NCAA to coordinate the College World Series with the draft in a big celebration of baseball will be good not only for Major League Baseball, but it will create more excitement for NCAA baseball as well. How many Royals fans have become invested in Florida Gators games this week because of Brady Singer and Jackson Kowar?
So kudos to MLB and the NCAA for getting together and making this happen. And congrats to the great fans in Omaha, who get a baseball extravaganza. The Royals may not be the most exciting team in baseball right now, but this is a special treat that can give us some fun in a long rebuilding process.