Like many Kansas City Royals fans throughout the state and the United States, there is nothing Dr. Kevin Lawson would rather do than relax in his recliner surrounded by friends watching the 2015 World Series Royal Championship Parade as it makes its way through downtown Kansas City today.
Lawson will be able to do just that but in a most unique fashion — he will be sitting on the grounds of the Liberty Memorial in his beloved La-Z-Boy recliner with his best friend at his side, surrounded by an estimated 300,000 Royals faithful.
“For the past three seasons, Joe (Biddle) and I have been bringing our recliners and 60-inch TV and tailgating at all the Royals home playoff games,” Lawson said. “We go to all the home Chiefs games as well but these past two seasons following the Royals have been something really special.”
When the Royals clinched the World Series Title Sunday night, Lawson and his friends were at the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City watching the game.
“I guess all of this started for me in 1969 when the Royals started the organization in Kansas City,” Lawson said. “My father and grandfather were avid fans and I don’t think my grandfather ever got over when Chuck Finley took the Athletics out of KC to California.
“Growing up, we would go to a few games every year,” Lawson added.
In 1983, Lawson bought his own season tickets to the Royals, opting for one of the mini season ticket packages the organization offers.
“I’ve been with them through it all,” Lawson said. “I almost gave them up in 2005 when we lost 106 games.
“I thought then we were going the wrong way but I didn’t want to give them up,” he added.
Lawson and Biddle met during the 1985 World Series in Kansas City.
“We’ve been friends since then,” Lawson said. “I first met him at Game 6 of the series against the Cardinals, and our friendship has just grown over the years.
“At the time, Joe was working at Kauffman and he actually had to work Game 7 that year,” Lawson added. “But since then we have gone to some incredible athletic events.”
Some of those events include three World Series, World Cup Qualifying matches, all Kansas City Chiefs home games and several other NFL contests. Lawson also attends the NASCAR Championship Chase for the Cup Series.
“I think if I was there in New York (Sunday) night, watching the Royals take the series may have been the highlight of my sporting career,” Lawson said. “It was still incredible to watch it where I did though.
“I think right now the 1996 Atlanta Olympics are probably the highlight of what I have seen in person,” Lawson added. “I was able to attend most of the track and field events and everything about it was memorable.”
Many people ask Lawson how he and his friends have been able to attend such events.
“When you realize that we divided the costs on all of this it really isn’t that bad,” Lawson said. “I’m also really fortunate that I know some professional athletes who have been able to get some tickets for us at different times.”
Lawson is the microbiology instructor at State Fair Community College and he said his teaching career has made attending many of the events far easier than if he had a nine-to-five job.
“This year the Royals made it tough by playing Tuesday and Wednesday in the first two games of the series,” Lawson said. “Especially when they were going into extra innings like they did in Game 1.
“I officiate a lot of football and basketball games at the Division III level in college and my work schedule allows me to do that too,” he added.
The tailgating takes far less time than one may imagine.
“We always go and set up early; usually we’re the first ones in the gate,” Lawson said. “It only takes us about 45 minutes to an hour to get set up.
“At a lot of the NASCAR events, we just put the recliners on top of my RV and we watch from there,” he said. “We always do the full menu of food at the events; Tuesday it was chicken and wings with the salads and trimmings and Wednesday we barbecued ribs for everyone.”
Neither Lawson’s girlfriend, nor Biddle’s wife attend many of the events with the two men, preferring to stay at home.
The cooking and housekeeping chores at the tailgates are left to the two men.
“We put down a carpet and have our recliners there,” Lawson said. “We have a portable sink and really everything else we need to enjoy the games and make our guests comfortable as well.
“Last year we contacted a furniture store in San Francisco to see if they would let us tailgate out there in some recliners; they politely declined saying they didn’t have enough notice.”
The same thing happened this year when Lawson contacted an outlet in New York with the same request. Again, he was given the same answer because of the short notice.
Notice is one thing the duo is gaining from news outlets.
“It’s been crazy,” Lawson said. “But last year I think 40 different papers and media outlets covered our story.
“This year the number has been down slightly but we were in the background shots of a piece Good Morning America did which was cool,” he added.
Lawson and Biddle don’t do it for the notoriety or fame though.
“We keep going because we really have a great time doing this,” Lawson said. “And for the love of the game.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484