Thursday, August 21, 2014
Baseball in Kansas City
I checked another Major League Baseball park off my bucket list last week.
Good friend Don Brooks and I had looked around at the possibilities for several weeks.
Our decision came down to his time schedule and mine. Plus, we included my son Andy, who just happened to get a week-long break before returning to Hattiesburg for fall classes at the University of Southern Mississippi.
We looked at Cincinnati, Detroit and Cleveland but too many miles in too many days – at least for this summer.
Kansas City was our choice, and it turned out to be a great one.
The Royals were hosting the Oakland Athletics Wednesday night, Aug. 13, and Thursday afternoon, Aug. 14.
We left early Wednesday, with an approximately nine-hour drive to Kansas City. The worst part, as typical, was getting through Memphis, but the ride was nice and easy through Jonesboro, Ark., and Springfield, Mo., and so on.
Kauffman Stadium, home of the Royals, is directly beside the interstate and our hotel was on the opposite side, within walking distance.
An early highlight, once at the stadium, was the statue of perhaps the most famous Royal, George Brett. I have fond memories, as a child, of watching him play. He was one of the all-time greats.
Brett was also one of several honored in the museum at the ball park.
Our seats Wednesday night, on a beautiful evening for baseball, were down the left field line. We thought we’d be in position for a foul ball or two, but we weren’t so lucky.
In a friendly contest, we divided up starting players (from both teams) among the three of us. If your player was the first to hit a home run, you were the winner.
Thanks to former Atlanta Brave Omar Infante, who plays second base for Kansas City, I claimed some free food from the concession stand, courtesy of Don and Andy. He hit a two-run homer.
The Royals won 3-0 with Jason Vargas throwing a complete game three-hitter.
The next day, with sunshine and temperatures in the 80s, our seats were three rows from the field, near the Royals’ dugout.
It was the most exciting of the two games. The Royals used a five-run seventh inning to rally and down Oakland 7-3.
Jarrod Dyson, a Mississippi native, drove in the tying run in the seventh, while Nori Aoaki and Billy Butler each drove in two runs.
The victory was the Royals’ 18th in 22 games.
We definitely picked the right time to go to Kansas City. The atmosphere, to say the least, was exciting.
We left Thursday afternoon en route home, spending the night in Springfield. I searched the Internet via my iPad for a restaurant, wanting a locally-owned one and not a chain.
I picked Jimm’s Steakhouse & Pub, and afterwards, we all agreed it was a great choice. We all had steak – my first in several years after undergoing a medical procedure a few weeks ago to clear up a swallowing problem. From the food to the service, it was a wonderful experience.
The visit to Kansas City made seven MLB parks for yours truly – the others being Atlanta, St. Louis, Chicago, Milwaukee, Colorado (Denver) and Texas (Arlington).
On the route home, we were already talking about possibilities for next summer.
For this lifelong lover of baseball, there’s no better vacation.
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