Sports

KCUR 89.3 covers community-related topics about sports in the Kansas City region. Do you have a story idea? E-mail News Director Maria Carter, maria@kcur.org.

Courtesy photo / Kansas State University

Critics say the Kansas State University marching band put a Kansas Jayhawk in a compromised position during halftime of the Wildcats' season opener Saturday. (Decide for yourself here.)

The band performed a 'space'-themed show and at one point began playing music from Star Trek. One half of the band formed what looked like a Jayhawk; the other half formed what any Trekkie would recognize as the Starship Enterprise. Then, the two formations started coming towards each other, causing the uproar.

The700level.com / Flickr-CC

Fans of the NBA are mourning the death of Darryl Dawkins, the man known to many fans (and himself) as 'Chocolate Thunder.' Dawkins played 14 seasons in the NBA in the 1970s and 1980s, playing for Philadelphia, New Jersey, Utah and Detroit.

He died Thursday of an apparent heart attack in Allentown, Pennsylvania. He was 58.

ATPworldtour.com

Over the next two weeks, the best tennis players in the world will be in New York competing in the U.S. Open. The lion’s share of attention is focused on the USA’s Serena Williams as she attempts to complete the Grand Slam. She’s already armed this year with victories at Wimbledon, the French Open and the Australian Open.

But Americans will also be cheering on a rising star on the men’s side, and that Kansas high school grad has a renewed pep in his step.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

If Cincinnati baseball fans didn’t get enough of the Kansas City Royals during the All-Star game, they saw the full squad on Tuesday night.

Adding insult, the Royals have Johnny Cueto, one of the most popular Reds before he was traded to Kansas City.

Cueto faced the inevitable questions before his first game back. Here’s a sample: “How exciting is it for you to jump right into a pennant race? What’s your take on that league and pitching for the Royals? Is this emotional for you?”

The Kansas City Royals completed a homestand marked by milestones.

When the gates opened to the Royals’ first Sunday night game of the year at Kauffman Stadium this weekend, it gave the fans an opportunity to see their team pick up their 42nd victory at home this season. That’s how many home wins the Royals had in the 2014 regular season.

Newcomer Ben Zobrist, who scored the winning run in the tenth inning of the Royals’ 4-3 victory, noticed the energy.

With August at full burn, it might be hard to imagine that autumn or winter will ever come… unless you’re a diehard football fan, in which case one of the most important parts of the season—training camp—has already begun. Commentator Victor Wishna goes camping in this month’s edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Instead of jetting off to desirable, sunny destinations like Arizona or Florida before the season begins, NFL teams sneak away on decidedly less glamorous excursions—if not to obscure rural locales, as most used to, then at least to the margins of their markets.

With his performance on Monday night, it didn’t take long for Kansas City Royals fans to embrace newcomer Johnny Cueto.

According to Johnny Cueto’s translator (Royals catching coach Pedro Grifol), the feelings were mutual.

Cueto loved the reception in his first game as a Royal at Kauffman Stadium. For the first time all year, manager Ned Yost didn’t need to summon a relief pitcher.

“You know you got an ace out there,” said Yost. “That’s a big confidence boost every time Johnny steps on the mound. They know they’ve got an outstanding chance of winning that game.”

In a tragic accident that has left a Kansas community in mourning, a bat boy hit in the head by a player taking practice swings Saturday has died of his injuries. Kaiser Carlile, 9, was a well-loved part of the Liberal Bee Jays, a summer league team for college players.

Photos of Carlile show him as a freckle-faced boy: hustling around the field, sitting in the dugout and talking with the players. But during his team's National Baseball Congress World Series game Saturday in Wichita, he was hit in the head by a bat as he ran past the on-deck circle after an out.

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

The Kansas City Royals are enjoying a great baseball season this year.

Despite the last few games, the Royals still have the best record in their division, and they’re looking forward to another post-season run. Las Vegas was rating them a favorite to win the World Series — even before the team picked up pitcher Johnny Cueto and utility man Ben Zobrist

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry passed a physical on the first day of training camp in St. Joseph and that’s big news.

Eric Berry abruptly left the Chiefs in the middle of last season when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Nothing much has been said about Berry’s future since his treatments were completed in June.

But Chiefs coach Andy Reid was encouraged by Berry’s appearance when the five-year veteran reported to training camp.

David Slaughter / Flickr-CC

While the Kansas City Royals were in the midst of a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros Sunday afternoon, a major trade was announced.

The Royals acquired Johnny Cueto, one of the best pitchers on the trade market. Cueto currently plays for the Cincinnati Reds.

In exchange for Cueto, the Royals sent three minor league left-handed pitchers (Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed).

Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Kansas Citians have no shortage of players to root for in baseball’s All-Star game.

Of course, six Royals players are in Cincinnati, but other teams are sending Kansas City talent, too.

  At Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, the Kansas City Royals will field four starters and as many as seven players altogether—all-time Royals records. Sure, it’s just an exhibition, but as “A Fan’s Notes” commentator Victor Wishna sees it, there’s a lot more on display.

  

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

The Kansas City Royals learned Thursday the extent of the injury to All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon.

It’s labeled a “two-plus groin strain,” which means Alex Gordon is out for at least eight weeks.

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

For years, many Kansas City Royals fans have called themselves "Gordo Nation" after All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon.

Well, Gordo Nation is in mourning.

Take this tweet from Wednesday night — after the popular player left a game against the Tampa Bay Rays with a groin injury — as evidence:

Four Kansas City Royals will be American League starters at next week’s All-Star game in Cincinnati, the best in franchise history.

Salvador Perez will be the starting catcher. Alcides Escobar will make his first All-Star appearance as the starting shortstop. Lorenzo Cain, also a first-timer, will man right field while Alex Gordon will handle left in his first start.

Gordon said last year’s World Series appearance and this year’s success command attention.

Kansas City Power & Light

In Kansas City, the U.S. women’s soccer team had its most visible display of support Tuesday night during their semifinal match against Germany. The match was shown live in the outdoor courtyard area of the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City.

But before Tuesday’s match, there were already signs of strong Kansas City support. Since the women’s World Cup started, there have been ongoing discussions of an outdoor gathering in the Power & Light District — something like the many celebrations the district organized during the men's World Cup last year.

Wikimedia --CC

You might not be as aware as you were when the FIFA World Cup commenced in June last year — but we're in the midst of another World Cup: the FIFA Women's World Cup.

The U.S. women's team defeated China Friday 1-0, and they take on Germany Tuesday in Montreal.

This year's U.S. team boasts four women with Kansas City connections. All the women play for FC Kansas City, Kansas City's professional National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) team. Here is a little more about them so you can get on the bandwagon and root for our hometown women.

Wikimedia --CC

An Olathe Northwest High School graduate was a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft Thursday night. NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the Sacramento Kings selected Willie Cauley-Stein with their sixth overall pick in the draft.

Cauley-Stein grew up in Spearville, Kansas, located outside Dodge City, then transferred in high school to Olathe Northwest.

Cauley-Stein departs the University of Kentucky after three years.

Wikimedia Commons--CC

It was a milestone night for Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost after beating Milwaukee, 3-2, Thursday.

Ned Yost surpassed Whitey Herzog for most wins by a Royals manager, his 411th victory since taking over in 2010.

“It’s nice, but I don’t really look at it as an individual achievement,” Yost said. “First of all, I don’t feel like I’m in the same class as Whitey Herzog and Dick Howser. Two, this is an organizational achievement.”

The chairman of the St. Louis Cardinals expressed disbelief and embarrassment about a hacking scandal that has invited scrutiny onto the baseball club.

But while the Cardinals’ managing partner says the controversy will dent his team’s image in the short term, he doesn’t believe that the actions of “roguish” individuals would permanently scar the club.

In the latest balloting for the July 14 All-Star game in Cincinnati, the Kansas City Royals lead the voting this week at eight positions.

The trend from Royals fans indicate that online votes for their favorite players won’t let up. But Royals fans are making their presence felt in more ways than just All-Star balloting — the blue wave hit Busch Stadium in St. Louis last weekend. 

Whitney Findley, a Royals fan who lives in Lee’s Summit, saw familiar friends in no time at all across the street from the stadium.

UMKC Athletics

Courtney Frerichs finished in second place in the steeplechase at the NCAA Track and Field Championships Saturday in Eugene, Oregon.

A native of Nixa, Missouri, Frerichs capped a strong season with a personal best time of 9:331.36 at the national championship meet. Fellow Missouri-native Colleen Quigley of Florida State finished two seconds ahead to take the title. 

Kathleen Kunkler / KCUR

Joe Posnanski is a little jealous.

The longtime Kansas City Star sports writer, who currently writes for NBC Sportsworld, had lunch with some former colleagues while he was in Kansas City last week promoting his latest book.

When the conversation turned to the Royals, he expressed some frustration.

“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!

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The College World Series will be underway this weekend in Omaha. That is where Brandon Finnegan, the Kansas City Royals' top draft choice last year, started a historical run.   

 

He became the first player in baseball history to play in the College World Series and Major League Baseball’s World Series in the same year.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Courtney Frerichs can run faster than you.

Already one of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s most-decorated athletes, she’ll represent UMKC in the steeplechase on Thursday in the semifinals of the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Entering the field as one of three favorites, Frerichs hopes to become UMKC’s first-ever national champion and to bring the title back to Kansas City.

Brent Flanders / Flickr--CC

Of all Sporting Kansas City’s season ticket holders, there are eight times more Johnson County residents than Wyandotte County residents — even though Sporting Park sits in Wyandotte County's largest city, Kansas City, Kansas.

In the breakdown of Sporting KC’s season ticket holders, fans with Wyandotte County addresses account for only 4.5 percent, which ranks fourth among the counties in Kansas City’s metropolitan area.

Walter Byers, the former NCAA boss who grew up in Kansas City, died at his ranch in Kansas Tuesday. He was 93.

Byers attended Westport High School. Before he was the executive director of the NCAA, he had a brief career as a sportswriter.

When the NCAA was headquartered in Kansas City, Byers molded it into the big-time structure it is today. But when Byers retired, he turned his back on college athletics.

“When I quit after 41 years, sportwriting and the NCAA, I took it cold turkey,” said Byers in 1994. “I felt that’s the only way you get over the withdrawal pains.”

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?

Pages