Mateo and I were back at Kauffman for the second and final game of our trip. While the two of us got to Kauffman for batting practice, Garrett decided he would join us at game time.
Coming into the day Kansas City and Detroit were tied for the division lead. Cleveland, winning six of the last seven, was just 3.5 games back. With just under a month left in baseball, the American League Central Division race was tightening up. That was reason enough to move this Sunday afternoon game to Sunday Night for ESPN’s broadcast of Sunday Night Baseball.
The Royals were still on the field when we entered the stadium, but they had a pretty quiet batting practice and there wasn’t much excitement.
With Vargas, Guthrie and Davis (all very fan friendly players) snagging balls in left field I was hopeful to get on the board early but the players were seemingly as quiet as their bats were in batting practice.
It wasn’t long before the Royals visited the clubhouse and the Indians took over on the field:
Although there was a different team on the field, batting practice still remained quiet. I quickly noticed that although the gates had just opened, there were already crowds of people pouring into the stadium. Soon there were so many people who the outfield was almost unnavigable. This made it much more difficult to get a baseball.
By no means did it ruin the game, but it was still frustrating that this was the third game in a row at which I was shutout. Towards the end of batting practice I made my way over to the Indians dugout where I got Zack Walter’s autograph on a baseball that I had brought with me. Here he is signing it for me:
Instead of finding a seat when the game started, Mateo and I found our way here:
Since Kauffman Stadium has mini golf, pitching and batting cages, and a few other activities beyond the outfield walls, we decided we would try something new. That meant us playing mini golf in a professional baseball stadium. I was able to snag this picture while Mateo was in deep concentration as he was about to tee off on the first hole:
If he ever gets bored of ballhawking in the future he could always pick up mini golf. After spending some time at the speed pitch and in the batting cages, we did tune into the game.
The Royals scored a run in the first inning, but the Indians tied it up in the third. The Indians went on to take a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning when Mike Aviles hit a sac fly to center field. Entering the 9th inning the Royals were still down 2-1, but Alex Gordon tied the game when he homered to right center field. His 462 foot shot was the longest of his career, the longest home run by a Royals hitter in 2014 and the 2nd longest by a Royal’s player since ESPN began tracking homers in 2006. Because the Royals couldn’t make the extra push for a walk off victory, the Indians and Royals entered into extra innings for the second night in a row.
Rain interrupted the game in the 10th inning and forced both teams off the field. Most fans left, but Garret, Mateo and I endured the rain delay. We were ready to stake it out through the bad weather, even if that meant waiting for a few hours for the game to resume. Unfortunately this was shown on the big screen after a lengthy delay:
The Royals lost the game 22 days later and 790 miles away from Kauffman Stadium. I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas (City) anymore. Did anyone catch that reference?
If you’d like to see how the game finished in Cleveland, I suggest watching this recap of the game:
It was great to see a few games at Kauffman Stadium. It’s just too bad we didn’t get to see the Royals win. The trip went very well – The driving was good, the games were fun, and the weather was arguably fair. On behalf of Mateo and myself, a huge thank you goes out to Garrett for letting us stay with him on Saturday and Sunday night. You made this trip very enjoyable!
I had been hoping to go back to Kauffman Stadium ever since I had visited it with my dad in September of 2012. It didn’t work to visit during 2013, but everything fell into place when Mateo Fischer and I make a somewhat spontaneous trip. Here’s the route that we took:
We left my house in the morning, drove for nearly six hours, and arrived around four o’clock in the afternoon. It had been a chilly morning in Minnesota, but the 86 degree sunny weather in Kansas City was just about perfect. Before we went to far we each got a picture with the stadium in the background. Arrowhead can be seen on the left, while Kauffman is on the right.
Some day I’d like to make the trip to KC to see a football and baseball game in the same day. Maybe a Royals Monday Matinee and then a Monday night Chiefs game? Or possibly attend a Sunday afternoon Chiefs game and Sunday night baseball on ESPN? Whatever the combo is, I’d like to do it sometime.
Once we got our tickets from the box office we found a spot in this surprisingly long line:
I knew it would be busier than normal because it was Saturday, but I didn’t expect this many Royals fans to attend a game. A lot of Royals fans are fair-weather fans – meaning they only go to games when the Royals are doing well. Otherwise they don’t stick around. Royals fans have traditionally not been the most loyal fans. I’m not being biased, that’s actually what a Royals fan told me! To be fair, the Royals were giving away a mascot bobble head. What was really surprising, however, was the length of the line BEHIND us:
Any who, the Royals were still on the field when we got inside the Stadium:
If you look at the flags in center field you can see the wind was strongly blowing into the park. There weren’t many home run balls, so I went for toss ups. I didn’t get any balls while the Royals were on the field, but I was more hopeful when the Indians took the field:
I’ll save you from the very low level of suspense – I got shut out. Almost all the toss ups were going to little kids. That was alright though, because I expected that to would happen. While we were planning this trip Mateo and I could figured out that we could only visit Kauffman Stadium if the games were on Saturday and Sunday. We knew ahead of time that these games would be bad for ballhawking because weekend games are filled with children. Today’s game had a bobblehead giveaway, and Sunday’s game was featured on ESPN’s Sunday night baseball broadcast. We knew these games wouldn’t be good for ballhawking, but we still wanted to visit the stadium.
The sun began to set behind home plate shortly after the game began the sun. The whole place seemed to be glowing:
Trevor Bauer got the start for the Indians, and James Shields for KC. They both pitched well, but neither of them got the win. The game wasn’t terribly exciting, but the Indians and Royals both put up a good fight.
Ironically, even though I was ecstatic to be at Kauffman, in the 3rd inning I remember thinking that all I wanted to do was lie down and go to sleep. After a full day of driving and then running around the ballpark, I was completely exhausted.
Later in the game we met up with our friend Garrett Meyer. In July Garrett had come up to Minnesota for the All Star Game. Don’t remember? Here’s a picture, and here’s another. Garrett was more than generous to let Mateo and I stay with him for the two nights we were in town.
The Indians scored the first run of the game in the fourth inning when Jason Kipnis scored off of Yan Gomes RBI double to left field. It wasn’t until the eighth inning when the Royals finally tied the game, 1-1. Any guesses to what happened next? The game went into extra innings. If you know me at all, I love extra inning baseball! I just wish it would’ve been any other day but today. Oh, how I was beyond tired out.
The game had been pretty boring up to this point, but things got interesting in extra innings! Here, see for yourself:
When the game ended I made sure to get a few pictures of the fountains before leaving. I like this one a lot:
I especially like this view:
As we were leaving the ballpark we decided to stop at IHOP on the way back to Garrett’s house. Here they are talking it over:
Since Garrett drove to the game we decided we would just meet him there. The funny thing is that Mateo and I got lost on the way and we ended up at the wrong IHOP. It took an extra 20 minutes to get to the right one, but we made it there sometime after one. Overall, it was a great day in Kansas City!