Victor Wishna

Victor Wishna is a contributing author and commentator for Up to Date.

“Take the crown”…“Win the cup”…“Raise the trophy.” Sometimes the sports fan’s ultimate dream—a championship—does come true. But old trophies can lose their shine, and even the thrill of victory has a statute of limitations, as Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes.”

By now you’ve probably heard: The Chiefs won the Super Bowl!

Fantasy sports used to be the province of stat geeks, the kind who made a hobby of analyzing every last box score. But today, it’s a mega-industry unto itself that’s only gaining momentum, from the stadium to the statehouse. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in  “A Fan’s Notes.”

We sports fans love sports because they are at once games of skill and games of chance. Lacing a line drive past a diving third-basemen—that’s skill. But then, the wind pushes it just foul. Such are the chances.

But what if, you know, you’re just pretending?

  

  The last time the Oakland A’s came to town, the result was one of the wildest come-from-behind victories in Kansas City sports history. Tonight’s rematch at the K marks an historic comeback of another sort, at least for one longtime fan favorite. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes.”

In the history of Kauffman Stadium, only a handful of men have stepped up to the plate more often than William Raymond Butler, Jr. His 2,422 appearances include seven home openers, one All-Star debut, and, of course, the bottom-of-the-ninth in Game Seven of the World Series. Tonight, he’ll be there again for the first time since. And, for the first time ever, this home plate won’t be home.

The Royals have started this year with the same intensity that electrified the city in October. It’s as if they don’t realize the season ever ended. Which makes it even harder to believe that Billy Butler, the man known as “Country Breakfast,” is now an Oakland Athletic. It’ll be tough to see him in that green-and-gold, only in part because no one looks good in those colors. The A’s will come in here looking to avenge their Wild-Card humiliation. But for Butler and fans, the sure-to-be-bittersweet reunion calls for a warmer brand of payback.

Frankfort Convention Center / Flickr-CC

If you find yourself stuck in downtown traffic this weekend, then you’ll know that college basketball has once again taken over our town. In this March edition of 'A Fan’s Notes,' commentator Victor Wishna gets to the heart of the madness, with a look at the one tournament that started it all.

Missouri Mavericks

 No one would ever call Kansas City a hockey town. Oh, there’s plenty of ice, look around, but hardly any of it is indoors. Let’s just say this isn’t the best place for aspiring Zamboni drivers.

The only NHL franchise in our history, your Kansas City Scouts, lasted all of two losing seasons in the 1970s. A series of minor-league teams followed, culminating in the present-day, double-A Missouri Mavericks, who arrived at the Independence Events Center in 2009, and now may have that which eluded hockey teams here for decades: a future.

frankieleon / Flickr-CC

  Football is a game of inches—and, apparently, pounds-per-square-inch. By now, you’d have to be living way off the gridiron to not know about “Deflategate”—or “Ballghazi,” depending on the major media outlet covering the story, which is all of them.

A Fan's Notes: Are We Not Entertained?

Dec 11, 2014
Greg Echlin

The late, great George Carlin had a classic bit on the differences between baseball and football. One’s a game, he explained. The other is, well, more like war. After all, baseball is played in a park, football on a gridiron. The aim is to blitz and sack the opponent, to break through the line with traps, bombs, even a shotgun. The object in baseball? To go home, and be safe.

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Royals at the end.

The score stood three to two, with only one chance to extend
This magnificent, magical season. And from where we sat,
With Bumgarner in, hope was dim as K.C. came to bat.

Hosmer: down. Butler: out. Is this how we’d end the story?
Would the heroes of ’85 not pass on their glory?
Gordo stepped to the batter’s box, locked in, and snapped his gum,
And thousands—make that millions—pondered just how far we’d come.

twitter.com/royals

The greatest week in Kansas City sports history played out on a grand stage. Seventeen million viewers saw the underdog Chiefs snuff out the New England Patriots’ dynasty on Monday Night Football, while Arrowhead’s fans reclaimed its Guinness-Book record for world’s loudest stadium.

Of course, that was a mere preamble to Tuesday, when the Kansas City Royals let loose one of the most exhilarating playoff games of all time, the kind of reality TV that even non-sports fans couldn’t resist.   

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Labor Day, envisioned as a national tribute to America’s workers, has really come to mean one thing: “Get back to work. Summer’s over.” There’s a parade, a picnic, a telethon, and then the focus turns to fall. Swimming pools close. Any schools that didn’t start class weeks ago are finally in session. And, of course, no more wearing white.

Rybass / Wikimedia Commons

Last week in a coffee shop, I saw two young men, each with single name emblazoned on his chest. The first one read, “Jesus.” The other? “LeBron.” Because, hey—every savior deserves his own T-shirt.

The biggest sports news of the summer is the second coming of NBA superstar LeBron James—specifically from the Miami Heat back to the Cleveland Cavaliers and his native northeast Ohio. The national media has been giddy over his maturity and grace in trading the Sun Belt for the Rust Belt and a mere $42 million over the next two years.

A Fan's Notes: The World Cup Comes Home

Jun 18, 2014
FIFA

Before Monday night’s match between the U.S. and Ghana, I’d always found the World Cup just a little bit irritating. Especially when I was young, before I became the cultured citizen of the world that I am today, I didn’t see what was in it for me, an American, from the middle of America.

blogscanada.ca

It’s happened again: the dominant sports story has nothing to do with sports. Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling—sorry, this is the last time I hope to mention his name—remains in the headlines for bigoted comments that were caught on tape, twice—the first time secretly; the second, on CNN.
For citizens of conscience, this is an easy case: as the NBA presses forward to banish Sterling from the league, some may debate the penalty, but not the transgression.

KCUR-FM

The year got off to a promising start for the Royals and their fans. In January, the teen pop singer known as Lorde won Grammy Awards for Best Performance and Song of the Year for her hit “Royals,” which she claims was inspired by a picture of George Brett that she saw in an old copy of National Geographic. When she performed in Kansas City a few weeks ago, the Royals presented her with an autographed Brett jersey. Lorde, born 11 years after the team’s last playoff appearance, called it “one of the coolest things” she owns—and she owns two Grammies.

Sébastien Barré / Flickr-CC

We are on the verge of what every sports fan dreads worse than the agony of defeat: the occasional lull. The Winter Olympics, timed so perfectly to counter the post-Super Bowl hangover, are winding down, while March Madness and Royals Opening Day remain just out of reach.

Fortunately, I’ve found an antidote, not to mention the perfect answer to two weeks of ice dancing: The bulls are coming to town!

Of all sporting events, perhaps none is more tangled up in dreams of glory and miracles and fellowship than the Olympic Games. For two weeks, the peoples of the planet come together in celebration of the Olympic spirit and all is well with the world!

Yeah, right.

The Olympics are a human endeavor. All those idealistic “principles” in the Olympic Charter—social responsibility, mutual understanding, universal respect—are written down because they’re so often forgotten. Just search “Olympic Scandals and Controversies” on Wikipedia; you’ll find nearly a hundred offenses.

Saturday is the beginning of college football’s bowl season. Yep, season. Where there used to be just a handful of games—with names like Rose and Orange, Sugar and Cotton, mostly huddled on or around New Year’s Day—there are now 35, spread out over weeks. If ESPN’s ads are to be believed, it’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Nate Bolt / CC

We’ve heard the statistics: Over the next two days, some 44 million of us will pack ourselves into trains, planes, and automobiles for Thanksgiving—and perhaps a few more for Hanukkah. Nearly all of us will be headed home. Why? Because even in this age when “contact” is for lists, “touch” is for screens, and “FaceTime” is an app, it’s being at home, together with family, that still brings out the best, or at least, the most emotional, in all of us. Home is where the heart is.

Sports fans know the importance of home, too.

Flickr

On Sunday, the still-undefeated Kansas City Chiefs will take the field to face their mortal enemy: the Oakland Raiders. In this month’s “A Fan’s Notes,” commentator Victor Wishna tells us why it feels so good... to be a Raider-Hater. 

Wikipedia Commons

This week the 2013 Little League World Series has bought teams from across the world to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The championship game will be played on Sunday.

In this month’s “A Fan’s Notes”, commentator Victor Wishna tells us what Major League players could learn from their Little League compadres.

Major League Soccer

Barely a year after baseball's best swooped through town, another All-Star Game will kick off Wednesday night at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The fanfare may be more subdued, but as Victor Wishna cautions in this month's edition of A Fan's Notes, don't believe the lack of hype: soccer--especially soccer in Kansas City--is major league.

John Sleezer / The Kansas City Star

You think the road is long and difficult for the Kansas City Royals? Imagine how hard it must be for Royals fans.

Commentator Victor Wishna shares his thoughts on the roller-coaster team in this month's "A Fan's Notes."

__________________

The legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell was not the first or the last to say that, “Baseball is a lot like life…full of ups and downs.”

Well, if Royals baseball is like life, then life has been hard.

Next week, while the NBA and NHL playoffs drag on, ESPN will turn its attention to the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Many will again wonder, "What's a kid's classroom activity doing on the quintessential sports network?" Commentator Victor Wishna has an answer, in this latest edition of "A Fan's Notes."

In the acoustic landscape of organized competition, there are those iconic sounds that separate the hope of victory from ultimate defeat: The buzzer. The horn. The final whistle. But none may be more chilling and spirit-draining than this one: Ding!

Peter Farlow

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The road to answers on why someone would bomb the Boston Marathon, the nation’s oldest annual one, remains long, and difficult.

In this edition of "A Fan's Notes," commentator Victor Wishna looks for inspiration in the marathon itself.

 

For the 29th time, the annual NCAA Division I Basketball Championship -- that is, "the tournament" -- has arrived in Kansas City. With thousands upon thousands of fans expected, the March Madness is spilling out of the Sprint Center and clogging the downtown streets. Commentator Victor Wishna tries to make sense of the maddening crowd in this month's edition of A Fan's Notes.

Last week, the International Olympic Committee announced it will be taking wrestling to the mat--the 2016 Games will be the last for the ancient sport. But with March Madness approaching and spring training already underway, why should the casual fan care? Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month's edition of  A Fan's Notes.

For every Arrowhead Stadium, there are a handful more named for banks, cell-phone companies, or airlines. In big-time sports, corporate naming-rights deals aren't just a trend, they are the rule - with millions of dollars at stake. 

But what's in a name? Sometimes more than was bargained for. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in A Fan's Notes

As the year comes to close, A Fan’s Notes commentator Victor Wishna looks back on “the year that was” in the world of Kansas City sports… with a glimmer of hope at what could be.

At least one local college football team is on the brink of a perfect season. But as Victor Wishna explains in this month's edition of "A Fan's Notes," that storybook ending is in jeopardy, thanks to a cover.

Jeffrey Beall

When the bad news is about the fans instead of the game, you know things just aren’t right.

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