We were excited to get the phone call last week. Did we want to go to the Royals game Saturday? You bet we did! Neither of us has been to a playoff game since the Royals were in their first heyday in the 1970s and 1980s, when, until 1980 and 1985, they lost to the dreaded Yankees.
So now we were going to Kauffman Stadium to see the Boys in Blue win. I just knew they would win!
In preparation, I bought Royals hoodies for Max and me. I scoured the weather reports to make sure we would be able to actually wear them; after all, the temperatures had been in the 70s. Saturday’s forecast was for the high to be in the 60s, so the hoodies were going to work. I wanted to be very comfortable as I watched the game, being able to jump up and down and holler without breaking a sweat when the Royals scored and eventually won.
And win they did. We had the best time, eating the traditional brat with kraut and mustard, drinking an $11 beer, and wearing our new royal blue sweatshirts. We sat in the upper deck, having a bird’s eye view of the field, and we sat amidst a group of people that included six or seven Toronto fans. They taunted us, singing, “Jose, Jose, Jose,” when Jose Bautista came up to bat, but when the Royals went ahead for good, the Canadians, like Elvis, left the building.
I got to jump up and down all I wanted, never breaking a sweat, because Saturday was pretty chilly. I had some hand warmers Max and I bought several years ago; they had lost some of their potency, but neither of us was uncomfortable, nor were my hands cold, even when the sun sank too low to help us out.
But, of course, nothing is perfect. A couple of things happened that made me shake my head, even amidst my jubilation. First, when one buys tickets to the game these days, one can buy traditional tickets, or one can buy tickets through email that are actually just paper. That was the kind of ticket we had. Our friend had the tickets folded up in his jeans’ back pocket; however, when he attempted to show them to the gate attendant, they weren’t there.
He went back to the car, and he had a pained expression on his face when he returned. “Someone stole them,” he said. “Or else they fell out of my pocket.” We went to the service desk and told our story. The attendant canceled the numbers on the other tickets and gave us a new set. We were fine. Except when we got to our seats, two of them were occupied.
The perpetrators were a couple of prepubescent “tweens.” Everything eventually worked out when they just disappeared, but I wondered how those kids got into the stadium by themselves. Did their parents bring them and turn them loose? What kind of parents would drop off their kids among 40,000 of their “closest friends” in a huge stadium? I would love to give those parents a piece of my mind.
Something else happened toward the end of the game, just as the humiliated Toronto fans were leaving their seats. A few people behind us began shouting, “USA, USA,” apparently trying to get under the Canadians’ skin. I don’t think, however, the shouters understood the irony of what they were yelling. Yes, our team is from Kansas City, which is, yes, in the USA, but most of the Royals who were on the field at the time hail from Central or South America!
I’m as patriotic as the next guy, and I love to hear the national anthem played when our kids win gold medals at the Olympics. But this was not an international competition. It’s Major League Baseball, and it’s about the Royals vs. the Bluejays. Let’s keep the chanting at “Here we go Royals, here we go!”
Regardless of those little hiccups, we had a fabulous time, and unlike the good old days, our Boys in Blue won. It was a great day.
Deborah Mitchell is a a local attorney and a Municipal Court Judge.