WICHITA! RAYS CONNECT WITH WINGNUTS’ HOME

WICHITA! RAYS CONNECT WITH WINGNUTS' HOME

By Andrew Astleford / Fox Sports Florida

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Still, Wichita has become part of the fabric of this Rays season. The label is a nod to Kansas’ largest city, with a population of about 382,000 people. It’s known as the “Air Capital of the World” because of its background in aircraft manufacturing. Its sports ties are a mix of Royals and Kansas City Chiefs love, with college allegiances to Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State sprinkled about its Old Town district and elsewhere. Its Shockers were the first team in college basketball history to go 35-0.

Its passions vary like any metro area: Arts, culture, entertainment. But baseball is an interest that has owned a soft spot throughout Wichita’s history.

“Maybe that’s why Wichita is his call sign, his code,” said Josh Robertson, president/general manager of the Wichita Wingnuts, part of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. “He’s got a warm place in his heart for it.”

Robertson would know. He also serves as general manager of the National Baseball Congress. The NBC World Series is held each summer at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium near downtown. It has grown into one of the country’s most storied amateur tournaments since its start in 1935, when Satchel Paige’s team from Bismarck, ND, won the title. It has a proud past.

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