Growing up outside KC, you have two choices, either you play football, or you play baseball. There was no third option until soccer became relevant with the rise of Sporting.
During the Mid 2000’s football was king. The chiefs were doing great things for the town. The Royals? Not so much. During the early and mid 2000’s, the Royals had more 100 lose seasons than any team in baseball.
The attendance the team the team, were not that great at Kauffman for many years, but that didn’t stop my love for my Boys in Blue.
Growing up we didn’t have a lot. My mother was a teller at a bank, and my father was a warehouse working, struggling to make end meets. Chiefs tickets were expensive and hard to come by, so we had to settle for the Royals.
Tickets were usually right around $10, we would tailgate in the parking lot of the Truman Sports Complex, cook our burgers and hotdogs, then make our way to the gates.
The games were usually a blow out, but as a young kid, what did I care? I got to go watch the team I love, play the sport I love with the people I love. And sometimes if I was lucky, I would get a foul ball or get in early and go watch them take BP and take a home run ball with me like it was the greatest thing in the world.
My greatest memories of the Royals were the years I was a junior or senior in high school. If the royals were playing in a noon game at home, me and friends would cut class and go watch them, Just to give us something to do when we got home.
And when the games stars were in town, you could bet that we were there in our Royals gear, except my best friend Garrett who would wear wear Angels or Nationals gear when we would go see Mike Trout or Bryce Harper.
Kauffman is filled with some of my favorite memories in life. Its the place where I saw my first walk-off home run. It’s where I spent my 21st with my father, and countless other amounts of memories with my family and friends.
That’s what makes baseball so amazing. It’s 162 games, 81 games in your home stadium. 81 chances to watch your team play. My parents would save for weeks and months to take me and my sister the watch the Royals, of the local independent team, the T-Bones.
Baseball is this nations oldest past-time, and it has a way of keeping its fans intrigued. Its the gamesmanship, the chess match that is played between 9 players. Baseball is an experience. Going to those few games as a child was the greatest thing. Singing along to “Take me out the Ballgame”. Dancing, waving my arms trying to get a few seconds, of what I thought was fame, on the Jumbo-tron. Doing the wave. That is what made those games so great. Letting go of your cares, and the worries of the outside world and enjoying the game.
Baseball is, and always has been, a game for the middle the class heroes in america. When your playing as a little kid, and you get a hit or make a big catch, and you hear those parents cheering and clapping and yelling, you feel on top of the mountain.
Going outside with my friends we played a little bit of football in the backyard, but we mostly played wiffleball. That was our life. Baseball was all we really needed. anytime we got bored in the summer, we would sit down and watch whatever mid-game or afternoon games was t.v or watch the recap of all the games from the day and fall asleep to it. That was our summers, and our lives for those summer months throughout my teen and pre-teen years.
Baseball has a way of infecting people and getting into their blood. Sitting in those seats at the stadium, I felt like I was a part of the game, part of the experience. Even though we didn’t have a lot of money, my parents were still able to let me and my sister experience the games. They let me fall in love with the sport. Although i wasn’t blessed with the god given athletic ability of some of my other friends, i still loved the game. I gave me and millions of other young men and women like me, hope for something greater. Hope that we could leave everything behind us. This game is far more to the middle of america than just a game. Its a release from the mundane and harsh reality of what lies past those stadium gates.