Royals to play game against Tigers in Omaha next summer ahead of College World Series

Whit Merrifield #15 of the Kansas City Royals hits a game winning two-run double against the Toronto Blue Jays in the ninth inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 23, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Royals won 5-4. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)

OMAHA, Neb. — The Royals and the Tigers are headed to Omaha next summer!

Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced Thursday the Detroit Tigers will play a regular-season game against the Kansas City Royals at TD Ameritrade Park on June 13, 2019 — two days before the start of the College World Series.

Manfred said at a news conference Thursday that Major League Baseball wants to strengthen its relationship with the NCAA in general, and college baseball specifically, and also bring the game to new markets.

“The College World Series in and of itself is a great event with a great tradition,” Manfred said. “We hope by playing here we bring even more attention to this game and help strengthen our relationship with the NCAA and college baseball as a whole.”

Manfred said there is no commitment to play a regular-season game in Omaha beyond next year but the possibility exists.

Omaha has hosted the College World Series since 1950.

Hall of Fame pitcher Bob Gibson is from Omaha and Royals greats such as George Brett, David Cone and Frank White played Triple-A ball in Omaha, which has been home to Kansas City’s top farm club since 1969. Royals left-fielder Alex Gordon grew up 50 miles from Omaha, in Lincoln, and played on Nebraska’s 2005 CWS team.

“We’re at a point in time in the history of baseball where we all understand the importance of being united and doing everything we can to grow the game,” Moore said, “so it’s a special honor for the Royals to be able to take part in this historic game.”