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Official Review by James Hilchen, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
Werner Park opened in 2011 and is the home of the Omaha Storm Chasers, AAA affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. Werner Park hosts numerous non-baseball events, but was clearly built with baseball as a priority as opposed to some cookie-cutter venues that happen to also host a sport.
The park is located in Papillion, which lies southwest of downtown Omaha. Werner Park became home to the Storm Chasers after they moved from the out-dated and far too large, Rosenblatt Stadium. Rosenblatt held 23,000, with its big draw being the College World Series. The College World Series has since moved to TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha. Rosenblatt is now simply a whiffle ball field with a few original seats and the original sign, all sitting in the parking lot of the Omaha zoo.
Werner Park cost $36 million to build and the result is an absolute win for baseball fans. In a nod to the quality of the facility, Werner Park will play host to the 2015 Triple-A All-Star game.
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Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
There are plenty of choices for everyone. Omaha Steak burgers are always a popular choice. The Hot Dog Nation concession stand behind home plate offers plenty of different varieties of hot dogs from your basic dog, to the Chicago dog, to the tofu dog. La Mesa is located down the right field line and the nacho supreme with chicken is absolutely fabulous. Expect to pay $4-$7 for the majority of main food choices with your typical snack-type items going for less.
Pepsi products are available up to and including the Storm Chasers collector's cup.
Drink options are plentiful. There is a full bar under the scoreboard where you can shoot some pool while watching the game. Budweiser options are readily available along with craft beers around the park.
Stadium seating runs down both sides of the field. Seats are comfortable and all have cup holders. The outfield has a grass berm that runs from foul pole to foul pole. The berm is a popular lower-cost choice for families who are going to spend a lot of time at the numerous entertainment options Werner Park provides for children.
Beyond the left field corner is the Family Fun Zone. Younger children have the option of climbing in jungle-gym type equipment along with a carousel and other fun options. Beyond the center field wall is the Borsheims Diamond. Here, you can play whiffle ball on a mini field with game day staff running the games. There is also a small basketball court next to the whiffle ball field should you have the urge to shoot some hoops during the ballgame.
The large video/scoreboard sits beyond left center field. Below the scoreboard is the Budweiser Downdraught Bar. The bar is outdoors but covered. It is fully stocked and there is also a mini-pool table.
Bullpens for both teams sit behind the batters eye in center field. The bullpens are a nice touch and allow for fans to stroll out and watch the pitchers warm up.
The layout of Werner Park allows fans to walk around the entire field. With so much to see, fans would be cheating themselves without taking at least one walk around the park.
Werner Park is located in Papillion, a suburb on the southwest side of Omaha. Although there are plans in place for an expansion of currently non-existent business in the area, right now nothing exists except for a few residential areas around the park. Once you get back to I-80 there is a smattering of chain restaurants. The best bet is heading back into Omaha where there are litanies of great food and drink choices.
Fans in Omaha are a good bunch. Werner Park offers plenty of distractions to the game but the majority of the fans are into the game and are generally knowledgeable. It is easily noticeable that there are far fewer people playing with cell phones and generally not paying attention that is so evident elsewhere. A particularly spirited group of fans are located behind home plate and add to the fun atmosphere of the game.
The park is located a couple miles off I-80 and is easily accessible. Once inside, the concourses are extremely wide and there are plenty of clean restrooms for the size of the crowds. Multiple entrances and exits exist which help alleviate some of the long lines that can occur during well attended games.
Werner Park offers a good deal. Fans have the choice of parking in different lots ranging from $5 close to the entrance down to free lots further away with a $3 lot in the middle. Tickets range from $17 for club seats down to $7 for berm seating in the outfield. Recommended seats are the box seats ($10) in section 109-111, giving you a great view of the field and the scoreboard in left center field. Food prices are in line with other triple-A minor league parks. Werner Park is a great venue and well worth what you will pay to attend the game.
One extra point for the foresight to help fans with the hot, sticky summers the area is famous for by placing a mister down the right field line. Just push the button and welcome relief will be coming your way.
There is a nice tribute to Omaha-native and Hall-of-Famer, Bob Gibson. His statue greets you as you enter the park through the main entrance.
There is a live pre game show every game. Behind third base in the concourse, an interview is conducted with a player or coach from one of the teams.
When an Omaha player homers or the team records a win, flames shoot out of two pipes placed in center field, akin to fireworks at some other parks. It's a nice touch and adds to the experience.
Final point for the balance the Storm Chasers have found between entertainment and baseball. There are a lot of extras for kids to do but the availability of those activities don't hinder the baseball experience at all.
Werner Park is an excellent venue to watch a game and the staff has hit on the right formula to produce a fabulous game day experience for fans of all ages. Werner Park is definitely worth a visit.
Member Review by CigarBoy
Werner Park is one of the most unique baseball ballparks in the country. It looks nothing like a traditional minor league ballpark. When fans walk in they immediately see the field. It is open with much of it in direct sunlight and the Storm Chasers have taken the "family experience" to a new level with tons of activities and games for all fans.
Werner Park was designed to be a ballpark, not a stadium. It does not have any upper deck general seating. It is more of a "pit-design," where the fans enter the ballpark and the seats are all in-the-ground below the concourse.
It really does not look like a typical ballpark where fans walk up to a big structure, with seating sections stacked up above the field. It looks like a series of buildings over-looking a baseball field and it was a really neat concept for a baseball ballpark.
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