Community celebrates home debut for Wichita Wind Surge
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – Update Tuesday Night, May 11, 2021: Despite a failure in a 3-2 decision, Tuesday night’s home opener was an overall success for the Wichita Wind Surge, celebrating their chance to finally take the field in its new baseball stadium, Riverfront Stadium. A crowd of around 7,900 turned out on a cold evening that looked more like March than May.
Overall, Wind Surge remains strong at 5-2 and has plenty of opportunities to avenge the opening loss at home. After winning five of six games at Springfield to start the 2021 season on Tuesday night, a six-game streak was launched against the Amarillo Sod Poodles. The teams are set to play the next four nights, and the series finale concludes on Sunday afternoon, May 16.
The Wind Surge plays almost every day until September 19. You can see the full squad schedule and see match recaps on the website.
Minor League Baseball is back in Wichita. Tonight (Tuesday May 11), the wichita wind wave make their home debut at the new downtown Riverfront Stadium. It is an opening that has been preparing for more than a year, which was derailed last year by the pandemic.
There are three entrances where people will line up and go through security before they can enter the new stadium. Stadium staff encourage fans to use the Sycamore Street entrance and McLean entrance (next to the ticket office). You can find information and parking and transportation options for the game on Wichita City website. There is free parking across the river, but it’s paid parking for everything around the stadium.
There are over 9,000 parking spaces near the stadium and a shuttle will operate. It is a divine idea to plan ahead. There are plenty of free parking spots east of the Arkansas River, and most spots near the stadium west of the river are $ 5 for parking.
At the stadium, the grass is mowed, the lights are on, the seats are clear and the bars are stocked as staff work on final preparations before the crowds arrive at Riverfront Stadium. Fifteen full-time and around 400 part-time employees will work across the stadium this week.
Looking at the forecast ahead of Tuesday night’s home opener, Storm Team 12 said that while it looks more like March, the clouds are expected to break. There is no serious threat of rain spoiling Wind Surge’s debut at Riverfront Stadium.
Wind Surge chief executive Jared Forma took care of last-minute details on Monday to make sure everyone is ready to serve Tuesday’s baseball fan crowd.
“This is where I take the most pride and joy when they all enjoy the fruits of their labor,” Forma said. “It starts (Tuesday) evening. We’re starting to see smiles on the faces of, hopefully, 9,000 people (Tuesday) night. This is what makes us the happiest. “
Staff learned of the stadium’s smooth opening last month when the Wichita State baseball team entered the field. For the Shockers’ game at Riverfront Stadium against Houston, approximately 7,500 supporters were in attendance.
“The first game with WSU, we had a great time,” said bar manager Lori Schmitt. “And we really showed Wichita, all the fans that showed up had a great time. We all had a great time. “
With a transparent bag policy and a stadium-wide cashless payment system, there is another reminder for fans, a mask policy in place to protect against COVID-19.
“Small price to pay for asking everyone to wear a mask to allow us to open up with as many fans as possible,” Forma said. “We are one of the few stadiums to accommodate probably 8,000 spectators, or 80 to 90% outside the gates.”
With the clear bag policy, there are exceptions for diaper bags, medical bags or small bags.
“We’re going to double the number of lines to get to the gate,” Forma said. “There will be express lanes that we didn’t have (during the Wichita State April 10 game at Riverfront Stadium), so if you don’t have a bag to check, you’re pretty much able to hover over it. security.”
With the cashless policy, the stadium only accepts debit cards, credit cards and gift cards. The stadium has the option for fans to exchange cash for a prepaid debit card at a kiosk in the gift shop.
Regarding guarantees against COVID-19, Forma said he does not expect Major League Baseball to impose some sort of vaccination passport requirement for its Minor League teams. The mask requirement extends throughout the league.
Ahead of opening day, the Wind Surge paid tribute to the late owner Lou Schwechheimer, create patches the team will wear on opening night and unveiling a portrait in his honor. On Tuesday, the team also tweeted an audio clip of Lou talking about the “beauty of opening day” in a photo of Riverfront Stadium.
Schwechheimer died last July of complications from COVID-19. Due to the pandemic, he was unable to see his team take the pitch in Wichita, but he is credited with making that move possible and creating excitement for the first MLB affiliated club in Wichita for over a decade. Also on Monday, representatives of Wind Surge and Emprise Bank gathered for the unveiling of a portrait of Schweccheimer.
“We’ll definitely take a few minutes tonight to pay homage to Lou,” Forma said Tuesday afternoon. “We know he’s here with us every minute, and as Lou would like, it’s all about fun and fun tonight and that’s what we’re really going to be focusing on.
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