Wednesday, August 24, 2011

SoSG Road Trip: Kansas City (Part 4: Baking in the KC Sun)

So on to the game itself. Our party of three had incredible seats, bought off of stubhub without a problem. The only challenge was getting past the KC fans in the concourse:

I thought there was an age limit on crocs. Apparently not.

And our seats were right at the edge of the protective screen behind home plate, and even closer than the Royals' dugout (which is on the first-base side):

Up for the national anthem (even those of you on the left behind the protective screen).

Nice detail on the seats at the aisles.

Look at the size of that monstrous scoreboard!

And props to the Kansas City Royals' video squad for bringing their lineup to fathead stickers, and then back to life:

One of the absolute highlights of this trip was meeting the fine fans of the Kansas City Royals at Kaufmann Stadium, and the family of three sitting next to us exemplified this. Totally friendly and welcoming, they were happy to chat with us and tell us what it's like to follow the Royals, a perpetually rebuilding team. Within minutes, they had introduced us to their son, who is a Royals fan by proximity, a Cardinals fan by heart (through his mom), and a new Red Sox fan having visited Fenway Park a month earlier (hence the jersey). This eight-year-old spent most of the game switching jerseys based on how he was feeling, sometimes supporting the Royals and sometimes the jerseys. Plus, he got there early and had some sweet signatures on his hat and ball to show for it (we didn't have the heart to tell him not to sign balls with a Sharpie, however--Roberto Baly of VSIMH would be going nuts at this point).

The autograph loot!

This family also hung out well after the game and surprised us once more at the end...but we'll get to that in part 5. Seriously, however, with the seats located that close, in the hot sun and humidity of a day game, it was those conversations which literally kept me going some innings, saving me from succumbing to heatstroke. When a slight breeze would drop the temperature into the mid-80s, we both would cheer its presence. When the stifling heat would rear its ugly head again, we would take turns signalling for the beer man (that's right, beer served AT THE SEATS, what a wonderful concept!).

And they laughed when I heard the beer man say "last call!" in the sixth inning, only to see me jump up out of my seat like my ass was on fire (the prior night's ribs intake notwithstanding)--only to be informed by the beer vendor that it was his last call, but I could still get beer until the end of the seventh inning back up on the concourse. Whew! Two more beers polished off before the REAL last call!

(It was also hilarious to hear the people in front of us talking about us, as they had overheard our conversations during the game. One man said to his friend, "The men behind us are from LA and they blog for the Dodgers." I didn't feel the need to correct them, that they should be saying "about" rather than "for"; hey, we'll take the (anonymous) notoriety, I suppose.)

Again, as I've said multiple times on this blog, throughout all my years in attending baseball games, I have always loved how welcoming baseball fans are in each and every stadium. And Kaufmann Stadium, the 25th current stadium to which I've been, was no exception. Baseball fans rock.

And no, Joe Posnanski, I did not hang out at the game with Bill James.

More sights:

Look at how crystal-clear that scoreboard is. Wow.

Jackie Robinson's retired number on the left, three Royals' retired numbers on the right (George Brett / 5; Dick Howser / 10: Frank White / 20).

I suppose this arms-crossed thing is not just germane to the Dodgers' DiamondVision displays. Why do all these baseball players look so pissed off? Can't any of them smile a bit?

Free hot dogs, compliments of the KCrew (which would have complemented my beers well, had I caught one).

Air guitar interludes!

People who wait at the concourse for an at bat to finish, rather than interrupt seated fans' views. Wow.

And guess what: Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium are NOT the only stadiums in MLB to play "God Bless America" in the seventh inning stretch. Imagine my surprise to catch this tune at Kaufmann Stadium, too! Here's some of the song:

Soon after GBA finished, it's on to the more traditional seventh-inning stretch number, "Take Me Out To The Ballgame":

But wait, there's more. Back in the sixth inning, there was this little ditty as the Royals' version of the Dodgers' "Don't Stop Believing": Garth Brooks' "Friends In Low Places":

I don't think FILP would go over too well at Chavez Ravine. (But that doesn't mean we can't stop Don't Stop Believing, either.)

At this stage, the Red Sox had taken control of the game (which was close at the start), and would eventually roll to a 6-1 victory despite the Royals mounting a bit of a rally in the seventh, before the game got out of hand. It was unfortunate to see the crowd--which was about 2/3 Royals fans and 1/3 Red Sox fans, sadly--have the wind taken out of it as the Red Sox started to pull away. In fact, it kind of felt like Dodger Stadium this year: lots of fans from the visiting team getting unjustly rewarded, and the sinking feeling that the visiting teams' first strike was not going to be met with a challenge from the home team good guys. There was an air of inevitability to the loss that has felt too commonplace this year for a tried and true Dodger fan like myself. Perhaps there is camaraderie in misery, even across teams.

But we couldn't spend time shedding tears, as it was time for the three of us to leave our seats and head out to run an errand...literally. But first, one more trip to the team store:

Why the long face, SoSG AC? Is it because the Royals have co-opted Smonk as one of their own?!?!

Proportions run big in the midwest. This shirt is sized Adult-Small. Yikes.

Okay, one more post to come from KC: the Fun Run, which was a wonderful capper to a great visit to Kaufmann Stadium. Some pictures to whet your appetite.

Here it comes!

Get psyched, runners!

Earlier: Part 1, Getting to Kaufmann Stadium; Part 2, The Fountains; Part 3, Fun Stuff And The Royals Hall Of Fame


Kyle Baker said...

You had me at "Beer at your seats".

Fred's Brim said...

Loving the KC reports, Saxy. I spent a few years in the KC area in the 90s and that, combined with the Royals' colors, made the "Ralls" my favorite AL team

And there is definitely an age limit on Crocs unless you are a portly chef.
This is similar to Homer's rules on wearing Hawaiian shirts

Steve Sax said...

@Dusty: the beer was full price ($8 for a 12-oz plastic bottle of Bud Light), but still. AT YOUR SEATS!!!