Kansas City Rightfully in Baseball Spotlight for All Star Week
It was July 1973 and the three-and-half year old boy made his way to his seats at the new Royals Stadium in Kansas City to see the 40th Major League Baseball All Star Game.
Taken in by the enormity of the new “modern” stadium, his thoughts must have been crowded and overwhelming. He had no idea he was seeing baseball greats like home run champion Hank Aaron, or hits record setter Pete Rose, or that he’d see the last All Star appearance by one of the games greatest – perhaps its greatest ever athlete – Willie Mays. He was just a kid wearing a souvenir batting helmet enjoy the food and sitting on his Dad’s lap. It most definitely was a great time.
Fast-forward 39 years and the All Star Game makes its way back into the Paris on the Plains – Kansas City. The 79th annual Midsummer Classic will be played tomorrow night at Kauffman Stadium (formerly Royals Stadium) home of the 1985 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. Ironically, that three-year old child from 1973 won’t be in attendance but he will be in Kansas City.
The child was your humble writer and perhaps my passion for baseball started that day as my father and mother lugged me along to witness one of the greatest events sports sees each year. Having just moved back to Kansas City less than two years ago, it’s ironic my absence from this great town lasted almost as long as it took for MLB to make its way back. Thanks to a newly renovated Kauffman Stadium, and a successful pitch by the region to the game back here, Kansas City becomes baseball relevant again for the first time really since 1985 or perhaps the heyday of Bo Jackson.
Although the game tickets just cost too much for me to take my family this year (again, event tickets are no longer affordable for most Americans), there have been so many events that our family hasn’t felt left out of the All Star activities.
Having lived most of my adult life on the “left coast,” I can tell you both costs don’t think about Kansas City too often. Outside of the Kansas Jayhawks in basketball, too often these “fly over states” don’t get a second thought from the likes of big media or even big-time professional sports. But this year, Kansas City is showing why it’s not only a great place to live and visit, but why it’s still baseball relevant.Continued on the next page