Royals, NW Arkansas to play exhibition game

The Herald Staff
The Ottawa Herald

The Kansas City Royals will play an exhibition game with Northwest Arkansas Naturals before the 2021 season.

The game is scheduled for March 29 at Arvest Ballpark in Springdale, Ark.

“We have taken a lot of pride over the years to forge exceptionally strong relationships with our minor league affiliates and we’re excited to announce that we will bring a Major League exhibition game to Springdale,” Royals vice president/assistant general manager for player personnel J.J. Picollo said. “After the historically challenging year that 2020 brought us, especially on the minor league side, our visit to Northwest Arkansas will hopefully help in reinvigorating our fan base in the region and get baseball off on the right foot for 2021.”

This game will mark the first time the Royals have played at Arvest Ballpark, and the first time playing a contest against their Double-A affiliate since 2008, when the Naturals were founded.

"We are thrilled to announce that we will be hosting the Kansas City Royals at Arvest Ballpark in 2021," Naturals vice president and general manager Justin Cole said. "The Royals have been tremendous partners over the years and we could not be more excited to welcome the Royals franchise to Springdale next year."

The Naturals have been an affiliate of the Royals since relocating to Northwest Arkansas from Wichita in 2008. Prior to their relocation, the Wichita Wranglers served as the Royals’ Double-A affiliate from 1995-2007. During their partnership with Kansas City, Northwest Arkansas has reached the playoffs seven times in 12 seasons, including winning the Texas League Championship in 2010.

The clubs announced a two-year extension in January 2020, an agreement that will keep the Naturals serving as the Double-A affiliate of the Royals through the 2022 season. The Naturals have played at Arvest Ballpark since it opened April 10, 2008.