This past week I embarked on a 3,000 mile journey across the USA. It was a long, hot road, but it was certainly worth every penny we spent on McDonald’s burgers, seedy hotel rooms, and single serving pickles (which are delicious). As part of this trip, we made two impromptu stops to see America’s favorite pass-time. Making our way to PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and then to Kauffman Stadium in KC.
Fun fact: those stadiums are gorgeous.
I’ll breeze over Pittsburgh by saying only this: If you haven’t been to PNC Park, go there immediately. Sit on the upper deck on the third base line. Don’t ask questions, just go. The views will floor you.
Also: get the Perogi and Pulled Pork Sandwich.
The real fun began in Kansas City though. We had just finished a 9 hour ride from Indianapolis to KC when we sputtered into the parking lot of the hotel.
The stadiums in Kansas City are way out of downtown, so there are plenty of hotels nearby, and as an added bonus, neither of us had to drive that night (it’s Miller time!). It was hot, humid and oh so sunny, and my Northwest skin wasn’t used to taking the punishment.
I complained half-heartedly to the lady in front of me in line about how it was only 50 degrees when I left Seattle, and had never thought to bring shorts. To which she jokingly replied “you’re an idiot.”
She wasn’t wrong. It was damned hot. I think the thermometer tipped the scales at 95 degrees that day, I could feel sweat dripping out the bottom of my jeans. But it was all worth it to see my Seattle Mariners take on the KC Royals.
By some miracle, the Mariners were in KC the same day I was rolling through town, and damned if I was going to miss that. I was a Mariners fan watching my team play on the road. It smelled like good times.
At the time the Royals were just off of that impressive 10-game winning streak, and the Mariners were trying to turn their luck around after splitting a home-and-home with the Padres.
We wandered up to the box office, looking for two seats for the evening’s game. The attendee told us there were none together. Which I assumed was bullshit. As we were discussing our options, two tickets “happened” to pop up together, third base side, 15 rows back from the diamond. We took them and cursed the salesman who we thought had blatantly played us.
We were so wrong.
The Royals, according to the season ticket holder beside me, sell out only one or two games a year. But after their winning streak, Kauffman was filled to capacity for their return home. I’ve got to hand it to Royals fans, you are an impressive crowd. I can probably count on one hand the number of people who weren’t wearing blue to that game. (I was one of them in my white Ichiro jersey).
That’s something we’re missing here in Seattle. In KC you wear blue to a game, in Boston you wear red. In Seattle we wear green, or white, or blue, or a disgusting shade of yellow.
If you watched the game, you’ll know Iwakuma was on fire. You’ll know the Mariners jumped out to an early lead, and that the M’s made a miraculous comeback in the top of the ninth with a Brad Miller homer to right field.
By this point the beers were flowing freely and I was pretty excited. I was also secretly hoping to get a shout out from Sims and Blowers on the TV feed.
We were treated to a true Fernando Rodney experience when he plunked the first two batters on base, and then proceeded to close the game out.
If you’ve never seen the Mariners on the road, do it. It was the first time I’ve never cheered for the home team, and i have to say, any apprehension I had melted away after the first pitch.
All in all, it was by far the best baseball game I’ve ever been too. Made even better by the crowds at Kauffman.
You guys have a beautiful stadium, your crowds were supportive and energized, and you were welcoming of a northwest kid with a few too many beers in him. I can’t think of a better way to spend a night in KC.
Tags: Seattle Mariners