Archive for Tuesday, July 28, 2015

New enthusiasm for Royals baseball impressive

July 28, 2015

What a difference a winning baseball team with extremely popular players makes. I couldn’t help but marvel at the enthusiasm and energy while attending a Kansas City Royals game last week. The crowd was fired up from the opening pitch to the very end. It was a very unique and enjoyable experience.

I hadn’t been able to get to a game until last week, and I was amazed at the change. Normally in the past, a Wednesday night game would be attended by a laid-back crowd of maybe 18,000 to 20,000. Now almost every game is sold out, and there are 38,500 shades of blue-clad fans on hand, loudly cheering every play. Certainly winning has changed everything and made the games more exciting.

I go back to the very beginning as a Royals’ fan. I attended their second-ever game, a win over the Minnesota Twins. I have been a fan through the good, the bad and the ugly years. It is no wonder the Royals’ fans are riding a season-long high after the many losing years that we have struggled through. In fact, I think there is more enthusiasm and support for the Royals now than there was in the World Championship year of 1985.

I had the pleasure of attending all four home games in 1985, and watching that final game win was certainly one of the highlights of my sports fan career. Yet, this season I see the same enthusiasm for every game. I really believe this is a year to remember, because the games are thrilling and I enjoy their “never say die” attitude. Quite simply they are a fun team to watch.

One of the best additions for me is the fact that all of the games are on television, and I think that has increased the fan base. Certainly that’s true with us. I know the Royals telecasts were important to me when I was in the hospital. They gave me something to look forward to everyday. And Jean has become an ardent fan. I think the last team she followed were our daughters’ softball squads. Now, we plan our evenings around the ball game.

Let me hasten to say that I was surprised at how heavy the traffic was arriving at the stadium. It reminded me of the old days going to the Chiefs’ games. Actually the heavy traffic was due to several factors. Those going the game add to the normally heavy rush hour traffic. In addition, there is considerable road work in progress now. Parking is $12, which is unbelievably a bargain when it comes to professional sports. Due to increased attendance, traffic in the parking lot is tough, too, however I’ll be the first to say that it is worth it.

Kauffman Stadium remains an outstanding facility, and I’m glad that the modifications were very positive. I have been to a couple of new baseball facilities, and they are built at a higher angle and the seats are smaller. Fortunately the Royals maintained comfortable seating.

The concourses are wide and there is virtually anything you would want to eat. The Royals were able to turn a 1972 facility into a modern, up-to-date, 21st century stadium. One of the highlights is the light show, which keeps the crowd fired up.

I am also really overjoyed to see the national exposure the Royals are receiving and the region-wide support. Usually by Aug. 1, fans were ready for the Chiefs’ football season. Now, everywhere you go the main topic is the Royals and blue is the color of the day. Fans are hoping for another blue October with just one addition: a victory in the final game of the World Series.


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