Saturday, July 23, 2016

A triumphant return

Last night, I went to a Royals game at Kauffman Stadium for the first time in years. The last time I attended, in 2012 or so, the Royals were still a struggling small ballclub, so many losing seasons in their rearview and not much hope in the future. I now tend to think of those days as Pre-playoff days, and Royals fans that attended the games were either diehard fans like myself, or they received free tickets to go to the game courtesy of the company they worked for. There was so much apathy at The K that you could serve an apathy sandwich to every starving person in the world and still have leftovers. Some people talk about how the Royals are 9-0 or 14-1 when they attend games in person. In those pre-playoff days, I probably had a career record of like 46-373 at The K BUT IT WASN'T MY FAULT THE TEAM JUST STUNK.

However, the game last night represented the best experience I have had at a Royals' game, and I wanted to share some thoughts about why it was so great:

First, I received 4 free tickets that I won participating in the Royals Rewards program. Free stuff is always good. If you haven't signed up for the program, do so ASAP (sign up for the Chiefs rewards program too!).

Second, I got to watch Danny Duffy, the Royals only good starting pitcher this season, live in person. He did not disappoint. Duffman saved us:
Third, the seats were great - located in the lower bowl level near the left field foul pole. I got to watch Alex Gordon up close. Not much happened in left field but I'm not complaining.

Fourth, the Royals were playing the first place Rangers and facing Yu Darvish, their ace starting pitcher. What a great match up to see in person.

Fifth, I got to go with my best friend, which meant the beers were flowing and the good times were aplenty. I even finished off my first ever Royals Helmet nachos, which if you ever read my blog posts here, you know that helmet nachos are one of my favorite things in the world. Here's the picture proof of what I can do if you put a helmet full of nachos in front of me, especially nachos with BBQ and cole slaw:
Sixth, when I was babbling on about OPS and save situations and whether Moose would have trouble earning his job back from Cheslor next season, people around me chimed in and seemed to actually understand baseball terms. In the Pre-playoff days, I don't think I could name a single person who knew what OPS was and it was so amazing to finally have fans that cared about the team. I had literally never experienced that before. Kansas City is the greatest city in the world.

Seventh, the game was a classic 2014-15 Royals game: low-scoring, timely-hitting, and the bullpen shut the door. Haven't had many of those games in 2016, so it was a welcome sight. In particular, Luke Hochevar put out one of Duffy's fires, then Wader sent the Rangers the check for a much needed victory.

Eighth, the tickets I won came with passes to get on the field and watch the post-game fireworks. Yes, you heard that right: I SAT ON THE FIELD AT THE K TO WATCH THE FIREWORKS AND IT WAS THE GREATEST MOMENT OF MY LIFE (besides my wedding and the birth of my daughter and when the Royals won the World Series but I need to exaggerate here to make a point). There were several others who also sat on the field, and we were ushered into the outfield near the edge of Alcides Escobars' range at shortstop (the dude has a cannon for an arm). We got to take as many pics as we wanted (my phone died but I still got a few), and then I laid on the grass and watched the fireworks with my wife (I even stole some grass for a memory - sorry George Toma!). Kauffman Stadium was even more beautiful from the field and there is not a single stadium in the world that can equal its beauty and I am so jealous of the players who get to step on that field every season. I have previously been on the field only one other time and last night put that time to shame.

All in all, it was a perfect night, and I didn't even mention that before the game: I received a job offer for what is very close to my dream job, had my first Z-man from Joe's KC, got to hang out with one of my best friends who lives in Denver and I rarely see, and my wife and I successfully had our first night out without our daughter. I also got a pic with the World Series trophy. Gotta get that from the wife and post it ASAP! Here's hoping for more days like yesterday!

Lets Go Royals!