• Kurtis Tatkenhorst

June 13- Royals beat the Tigers in The first ever MLB game in Nebraska is played in 2019

2019- On this day in Sports History, the first ever Major League Baseball game was played in the state of Nebraska. There has never been a MLB game played in the state of Nebraska before this date in 2019. The game was between the Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The Royals won the game 7-3 over the Tigers. The game was a partnership between the MLB and the NCAA to kick off the NCAA College World Series. It was held two days before the College World Series began and it was at the same stadium that it is played in.

The Royals were chosen to participate in the game because of their close location to Omaha and because their AAA team plays in Omaha as the Omaha StormChasers. The Royals also had several connections to Nebraska. One of these was their star left fielder, Alex Gordon, who grew up in Nebraska and was an All-American for the Cornhuskers. He was a part of the only game that Nebraska has ever won in the College World Series when they beat Arizona State in 2005. Unfortunately, Gordon had to sit out of this game against the Tigers due to a shoulder injury.

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The first two games of the series were held in Kansas City before both teams went to Omaha to play the third game. If the game was held normally, it would have likely been a forgotten game as both the Tigers (25-41) and Royals (22-46) had some of the worst records in the MLB. Instead, the game was a sell out and had an electric atmosphere.

The Royals scored the first run of the game in a cool moment when Nicky Lopez led off the second inning with a solo home run. It was Nicky Lopez’s first home run of his Major League Career as he was just recently called up from AAA to the Royals. Lopez had a lot of fans in attendance as he played his college baseball at Creighton University, which is located in Omaha, and played their home games at TD Ameritrade Park. Lopez only hit two home runs in 519 at bats for Creighton. Yet, he got his first Major League home run at his college ballpark in the first ever game in Nebraska and in front of many of his fans.

The Royals extended their lead to 4-0 after Whit Merrifield hit a double to left field that scored two runs. In 2010, Merrifield had the game winning RBI in the 11th inning to win the College World Series for the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Royals would score three more runs to lead the Tigers 7-0 in the sixth inning. The Tigers scored one run in the 7th, 8th, and 9th inning to make the final score 7-3.

This game in Nebraska crossed the state off the list of states that has never had a MLB game. The MLB plans on crossing off another state as Iowa will host their first MLB game August, 2020. The Chicago White Sox will face the New York Yankees as they play at a small stadium constructed in a corn field next to where the movie Field of Dreams was filmed.


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Sources:

MCCHESNEY, ALEC. “'It Means a Lot to Be Back Here': Nebraska Natives Turned Royals Revel in First MLB Game in State's History.” JournalStar.com, Lincoln Journal Star, 14 June 2019

Lopresti, Mike. “MLB in Omaha Game Brings Back Fond Memories for Former College World Series Stars - and Creates New Ones.” NCAA.com, NCAA, 14 June 2019

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