From Royals to Monarchs: Kansas City and Baseball Majestry

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Last season I visited Kauffman in Kansas City while at a “real life” work event. During that trip, there were a number of issues I ran into with fans and the park itself. I also revisited the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum for the third or fourth time.

 

Kauffman and the Royal (Pain) Fans 2015 to Now

20160617_191523 - CopyIn 2015, Royals fans were horribly rude to me. Arrogant, in fact. I assumed this arrogance was due to the team doing so well. But that doesn’t excuse rudeness.

I sat in the right field seats near the foul pole. The section numbering can be a bit confusing, and I ended up in the wrong seats. The last time that happened to me, the people were very nice, and laughed saying it wasn’t any big deal.

But last season in KC I was literally told I was an idiot as they pointed out my seat—which wasn’t as good as the “View from the Seats” feature led me to believe.

I had enjoyed the Royals HoF museum that season, but that’s about all I enjoyed.

This season, being back in the city again for work, I went to another game. I figured I owed the stadium another look.

This time, I enjoyed it again, getting to see the World Series trophy. The museum was crowded and very warm, but the air of excitement and awe was nice to feel.

At the June 2016 game I bought my Royals tickets and sat in the middle decks. I was under an overhang and in the middle of a row. And I had a great view of the diamond. And the horrible extended netting obstruction.

20160617_191659 - CopyMajor League Baseball and MiLB have asserted fans will get used to the netting and its rigging. This isn’t an accurate 20160617_205130 - Copyassumption. Regrettably, the rigging was a major annoyance, especially when birds kept alighting on the wires therefore creating a temporary obstruction. I lost the ball twice because of a bird perched on the rigging. I also had to adjust my position to see around the vertical outer edge of the netting.

At least two other fans up there complained about the annoyance of the netting rigging too. It wasn’t just me, someone who’s been very vocal about how unnecessary the extra netting is.

To say the least, when I heard the Royals fans complaining about the rigging interfering with their view, it served as confirmation of my argument that the extended netting is more of a nuisance than anything. Given the netting failings this season at Fenway and Tropicana, it should be evident, but nothing is being reconsidered.

20160617_190952 - CopyThe fans were especially nice to me up there. I was the only Tigers fan as far as I could tell. And unlike the previous year, the fans were nothing by nice, striking up conversation with me about the atrocious Tigers bullpen and how the AL Central has (had) a three-way battle for first place and…a variety of baseball related topics (Verlander’s on-again-off-again pitching was one such 20160617_210655 - Copytopic). I would say the heat last year contributed to the rudeness issues, but this year was just as hot, so I’m sticking with my original assessment.

This year, to put it briefly, was enjoyable. When fans are civil to one another and there’s only some light ribbing, not disrespect, it makes for a fun and entertaining time for all. That’s what happened this year.

It was at this game that I also sent a Foul Ballz “National Foul Ball Week” shirt up to the Tigers broadcast booth for Mario Impemba. As of this post, I’ve heard nothing from him.

I purchased a parking ticket through the Royals’ website. There’s no need to do this. It’s more of a convenience than anything. There’s no special parking; it’s all first-come-gets-closest-spots.

As you mosey through the parking lot, take in the tailgaters. It’s an interesting aspect of the Kansas City Royals baseball experience. One I’ve so far found to be unique to the Royals, perhaps because they share a giant parking system outside the park with the Chiefs right next door. Other parks don’t have centralized parking like this; fans often have to park in various lots scattered about; this makes it less conducive to tailgating.
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The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum

20160613_182022I also went to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This was at least the third trip, perhaps fourth.

I can’t emphasize how incredible this place is. Bob Kendrick, President of the museum, was gracious enough to give about 50+ teachers an afterhours private tour of the museum.20160613_182326

Listening to Bob tell the stories and history of the Leagues is something I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience. His passion and knowledge of the Leagues is infectious, especially when he talks about hsi good friend Buck O’Neil.

I’ve learned more about these Leagues, about how they played the first night game, invented stealing, fully integrated themselves with women, and every ethnic background that wanted to play. These leagues were the epitome of how the United States SHOULD have been and SHOULD be.

And Bob brings the stories to life. It’s impossible to describe how it does it. You simply must hear him, and feel his passion. It is contagious.

My only complaint is he wouldn’t let me have one or both of the baseball cards he has of Tigers players. I would have settled for Ozzie Virgil or Larry Doby. I’m not picky. (LOL!) But Bob simply laughed. Oh well. (Read as tongue-in-cheek and not as a serious statement.)

20160613_181639In all, the visits to the NLBM and Kauffman were wonderful. I wish our group would be returning the KC next season, but we are moving to Tampa instead. Assuming I get invited back again, I will get to see a game at Tropicana, but what other baseball-related fun they have there is yet to be determined.

I would visit both Kauffman and the NLBM again and again. But if you only have time for one thing as you pass through Kansas City, please make your stop the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. 20160613_193424And if you happen to see Bob, tell him Ed from FoulBallz says “Hi” and that I sent you. It is a place every baseball fan should visit. It should be a requirement to visit in order to call yourself a baseball fan.20160613_193433

 

A Good Trip

I’m a sometimes harsh and outspoken critic. I know this about myself. But I always give a place a second chance. I’m glad I gave Kauffman and Royals fans a second chance. They certainly redeemed themselves.

If you do have the chance to get to Kansas City for a few days, check out Gates’ BBQ that’s down the road from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on your way to a game at Kauffman. Doing all three will ensure you’ve hit the highlights of the city.

I’ll miss the city. But Tampa has two baseball museums of interest, so I won’t have any baseball history withdrawals.



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