Kauffman Stadium

This promises to be a short entry, as I remember very little about our visit to see the Royals play. I moved to Montana in 1981, and after Trevor was born in 1985, we pretty much criss-crossed the country every summer for the next 20 years, going east to visit my parents in Boston and southwest to visit Terry’s parents first in LA, and then in Reno (I think the latter was chosen after their retirement because it was as far north as they were willing to go, and they thought that being in a town with poker would attract their son-in-law. In this they were not mistaken). The kids were incredibly good long-distance travelers. I don’t recall a single “How many more miles” query. If only they had been as good at sitting for the duration of a ball game, about which we will have more to say later.

Most of our cross-country road trips did not take us as far south as Kansas City, but we spent the 1991-92 school year visiting at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and that trip to and from Montana would have brought us through that area. I recall that on leaving Tennessee, I wanted to go through Arkansas, which was then the last of the 48 continental states that I had not visited, so we took a slightly more western route than the crow would have flown, and cut through the Ozarks. We would have emerged in southern Missouri, heading northwest, so that was probably the path that led us through Kansas City. If I were a betting man, I would wager that we saw a game around August of 1992.

That might also explain the lack of crowds, another memory of the visit, for the Royals had some success before that time, and some after, but the early 90s were not a good time for this team. I remember a lot of spaciousness and informality. We stopped there during the day, and we were able to drive right up to the park and check it out. It makes me wonder how we determined to go to a game, for in those pre-internet days, it wasn’t all that easy to get information about who was playing when. It might have been a pretty spontaneous decision.

I remember we had a couple of kids with us (if I am right about the date, probably three) and I distinctly remember measuring one of them to see if she could get in for free. It was probably Grace, who would have been just turning five at that time. My recollection is that we had to pay for her, but Faith, who would have been two and a half, probably passed. I also remember the cool waterfall in the middle of the outfield.

The mention of kids and the shortness of this post leads me to think this might be the time to rant about the cross I have to bear. We have the three kids mentioned variously in this post and not one of them has the slightest interest in baseball. Not the slightest. In fact, not one has the slightest interest in any sport. To complete the picture of rebellion, not one has the slightest interest in poker. Nevertheless, they are great kids.

It was always a struggle to take them with us to a ball game, however, as it is pretty hard to sit there for three hours when you are totally bored. I will probably rant elsewhere about the constant entertainment that most parks think they have to provide for the fans, but sometimes it does provide interest for the kids. I can remember taking them to see a game in Seattle, and the only time they came to life was between innings when the mascot came out to perform. Imagine putting up with watching a game in order to enjoy the time between innings!

Speaking of mascots, Monte, the mascot of the Montana Grizzlies, is a very cool mascot. His official site isn’t very interesting, but search “monte grizzlies” at Google Images. I understand that one of the guys who performed him, and helped bring him to national fame, is now performing as Benny the Bull of the Chicago Bulls. Nevertheless, I think that baseball mascots are kind of stupid, and I was disappointed when the Red Sox decided they had to have one. But if they contribute nothing to my appreciation of the game, at least they do no harm, so I can’t complain too much. Terry, feel free to consume your beverages out of the Slider cup you brought home from Cleveland without any comment from me.

With that rant completed, we bid farewell to Kansas City.