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Sports

Baseball Nears Return As Wind Surge Announces 2021 Schedule

riverfront_stadium_wichita.jpg
Stephan Bisaha
/
KMUW/File photo
The Wichita Wind Surge is scheduled to play its first game in Riverfront Stadium on May 11.

The Wichita Wind Surge baseball team will play its first game in Riverfront Stadium on May 11.

The team will open the 2021 season on the road May 4 in Springfield, Missouri, before returning to Wichita.

Jared Forma, senior vice president and general manager of the Wind Surge, said he is thrilled to play baseball after last season was canceled by the pandemic.

“This is a tremendous day,” Forma said. “We are beyond excited.

“It’s hard to even try and contain it because it’s the first time in many, many months we’ve been able to put out a really positive, upbeat story.”

Affiliated minor league baseball will be played in Wichita for the first time since 2007. The independent Wichita Wingnuts, with no major-league affiliation, played from 2008 until 2018.

The Wind Surge will play 120 games this season, down from a normal Double-A season of 140. The seasons for minor league teams were shortened because of the pandemic.

All teams in the league will play six-game series against the same opponent, with Monday as a league-wide off day. Wichita will play 12 home games a month through September.

The schedule was built by Major League Baseball in order to reduce travel for teams because of the pandemic. Wichita will travel to Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma and Missouri.

The team was originally the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins. It relocated to Wichita from New Orleans following the 2019 season.

Wichita built a new multi-million dollar stadium along the river for the new team. It sat unused last summer after the season was canceled.

A reduction in the number of minor league teams from 160 to 120 allowed major-league franchises the opportunity to reduce their geographic footprint. The Wind Surge is now the Double-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins.

Fans will be allowed to attend games in a limited capacity. Forma is optimistic that the number will grow as the season continues.

“My expectation for the season is that the city of Wichita … has a ton of fun in their new ballpark,” Forma said. “We’re just here to help show them the way on how to have fun and put on a great product for them.”

The full schedule can be viewed here.

Michael Perreault is an intern in the KMUW News Lab. He is a senior in Wichita State University's Elliott School of Communication.