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.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

SungWoo Lee, a devout Kansas City Royals fan who traveled to Kansas City from South Korea, attended the final game of his trip Wednesday night.

It has been a trip packed with good memories. SungWoo Lee met the Kansas City Royals players. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday night, then flashed the big W after the win that enabled the Royals to move into first place in the American League Central.

As he wandered through the stands before the last game of his trip, fans who had heard or read about him wanted their pictures taken with him.

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

In the early morning hours of Aug. 12, boaters paddled into the Missouri River from Kaw Point in Kansas City, Kan., the launch site of the MR340. The ultra-marathon race offers participants only 88 hours to finish a voyage across Missouri.

The creator and organizer of the MR340, Scott Mansker, thinks what draws people from all over the world to take part in the race is that challenge of overcoming obstacles.

The Kansas City Royals took over first place in the American League Central and lead Detroit by a half-game.

They defeated the Oakland Athletics, 3-2, Monday night for their eighth win in a row.

Before Royals closer Greg Holland nailed down the game’s final out, the final score of the Tigers game flashed on the outfield wall scoreboard: Pittsburgh 11, Detroit 6.

Then Royals centerfielder Jarrod Dyson used his lightning speed to flag down a fly ball for the final out. To mark the moment, Dyson did a backflip.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

There will be some changes in the Arrowhead Stadium parking areas Thursday night for the Kansas City Chiefs exhibition opener.

The Chiefs kick off at 7 p.m. against the Cincinnati Bengals, and fans entering the Truman Sports Complex at Gate 5 better have their parking pass ready — there will be no cash accepted at Gate 5.

Once inside the gates, fans will notice all the cars traveling in one counterclockwise direction. Chiefs president Mark Donovan said he is braced for fans who might have trouble adjusting to the changes, but asks for patience.

Daniel Juřena / Flickr--CC

High school athletes in Kansas and Missouri start outdoor workouts for fall sports in August, no matter how hot or humid it is outside. One of the main safety concerns in the heat is dehydration. 

Sometimes it’s not the weather but what the athletes drink that makes the problem worse. A can of Red Bull, Monster, 5-Hour Energy, or any other energy drink before practice can dehydrate an athlete.

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.

Before Thursday night’s 14-inning victory, 2-1, over Cleveland, the Kansas City Royals honored one of their former behind-the-scenes figures.

Al Zych, who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., was the Kansas City Athletics equipment manager from 1963 until the team departed for Oakland four years later. Zych then became the Royals equipment manager from the franchise’s first year in 1969 until 1988.

George Brett called Zych one of his best friends during his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech in 1999.

Long term commitment or not? That’s the question with a few of the biggest sports stars in Kansas City.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex reports to training camp this week without a contract beyond this season. On the other hand, Sporting Kansas City locked up their two biggest stars for the long haul.

Before Sporting Kansas City took the field in their Saturday match at Livestrong Park against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the announcement came out that Matt Besler and Graham Zusi agreed to four-year extensions with the team.

Kieth Allison / Flickr--CC

Over the past week, there was much ado about the marquis players in sports; Lebron James signed a contract with Cleveland and baseball showcased its stars in the All-Star game.

Heading into Friday night’s game at Boston, the Kansas City Royals are in transition as to who their biggest stars are. 

Just two years ago at the All-Star game in Kansas City, Billy Butler was in the midst of his most productive year with 29 homers and 107 runs driven in as the Royals designated hitter. He was the toast of the town as the Royals All-Star — this year Butler has only three homers.

In the Midwest, it’s not customary for fans and Kansas City Royals players to pull for anyone on the New York Yankees. Except for the last two years in the All-Star game.

Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is injured with sprained wrist and couldn’t play in this year’s All-Star game, but one of the reasons he still made the trip to Minneapolis, Minn., was to be part of the American League team that would bid its farewell to New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.

On the day before the All-Star break, the Kansas City Royals scored a first for this season. Until Sunday, the Royals were not able to beat the Detroit Tigers at home. They were 0-and-6 before Sunday’s 5-2 victory.

Royals designated hitter Bill knows how quick the season can turn.

“Nothing ever seems to be easy against them (the Tigers),” said Butler. “We can play as good baseball as we can. We were playing really good when we went into their place. I think that’s the way they feel right now.”

Sporting Kansas City / YouTube

 

Of the 32 national soccer teams that made it to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup this year, Germany and Argentina will face off at 2 p.m. Sunday.

KCUR has been covering soccer fans cheering on their teams since the tournament began about a month ago.  (See our recent coverage on how international communities living in Kansas City are rooting for their teams.)

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The soccer craze in the Kansas City area wasn’t just captured in the Power & Light District watch parties for the World Cup games.

It’s evident on full-size soccer fields on both sides of the state line. But the metropolitan area's newest soccer passion may be churning up on mini-courts in Kansas City, Kan.

Frank Morris / KCUR

At least 13,000 fans chanting “I believe that we will win!” jammed the central common area of the Power & Light District in downtown Kansas City, Mo., to cheer on the U.S. men's soccer team Tuesday in their World Cup match against Belgium.

Many were literally waving the American flag. Even more were wearing it.

Miguel Torres, in a red-white-and-blue top hat, beads and body paint, came out to support the country as much as the team.

When the U.S. plays Belgium in the knockout round of the World Cup soccer tournament Tuesday, three female Kansas City soccer players plan to watch the match together.

They’ll be paying extra attention to Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler. The three women have a connection with the Overland Park, Kan., native that stretches back a few years.

Most of the attention on soccer lately has focused on the action in Brazil, but the day before the U.S. match against Portugal, Jen Buczkowski took care of her own business on the soccer field.

Local American Indians On The Chiefs' Name

Jun 30, 2014
Flickr, .sanden.

The U.S. Patent Office revoked the Washington Redskins’ trademark, which has some Kansas City sports fans concerned about the fate of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Last year the National Congress of American Indians released a report that included the Chiefs in a list of sports teams they said profited from harmful stereotypes.

Richard Lanoue, President of the Indian Council of Many Nations which is based in Kansas City, doesn’t see it that way. Lanoue says the term “redskins” is racially disparaging but "chief" is different.

For the first time since 1988, a member of the Kansas Jayhawks basketball team was the overall No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. 

The Cleveland Cavaliers selected Andrew Wiggins Thursday night with that top pick.  Teammate Joel Embiid went third overall to the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Though some feel Wiggins disappeared in KU’s last game of the season against Stanford in the NCAA tournament, he was clearly visible when NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced him as the top pick.

Jonnybsay / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month the University of Kansas athletics department announced that Section U, a 120-seat area of Allen Fieldhouse previously reserved for students, would be reallocated to donor seating. The decision was a direct response to an attempt by the Student Senate to cut the mandatory athletics fee charged to all KU students.

On Thursday's, Up to Date, we talk with student reporter Ben Carroll for a look at the timeline of events leading up to the decision and how it's being perceived by Jayhawk fans.

Nearly two years after Major League Baseball All-Star activities took place in Kansas City, the impact of the event has had a residual effect.

In 2012, the only thing on the mind of the fans was the distance of the homers for the Homerun Derby at Kauffman Stadium. But after a portion of the money from that day’s All-Star activities was devoted to the construction of baseball fields for people with disabilities, families of the kids with disabilities feel that the community has hit a homerun.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with Sporting KC player, Chance Myers, for insight on team USA's strategy to move on to the next round and one step closer to the championship.

Courtesy Bella Napoli.

  Italy didn’t even end up in the top four spots in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. For a nation that’s obsessed with soccer, that was basically an utter failure.

This time around, the Azzurri, as the Italian team is known by its fans, started the World Cup with a strong victory over England. 

Last Saturday evening, about two dozen mostly blue-clad fans of Italy’s men’s soccer team crowded into Brookside restaurant Bella Napoli to chow on pizzas, tapas and other authentic Italian food from the menu while watching their team defeat England 2-1.

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.

Copa2014.gov.br / Wikimedia Commons

  The U.S. soccer team no longer carries the specter of a prospective defeat against Ghana--so where does that leave them?

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk with players from Sporting KC and FC Kansas City to get some analysis of the American team's strategies and chances as they move through the World Cup line-up.

Guests:

  • Chance Myers, Sporting KC player
  • Frances Silva, FC Kansas City player
Valerie / Flickr--CC

After stagnating for a month in the American League Central standings, the Royals have taken off in the last two weeks. But when the last homestand concluded with two of the Royals’ most traditional draws, their attendance didn’t take off as they hoped.

New York Yankee fan Mo Moffitt, recently moved to Shawnee, Kan., from The Bronx, found a way to attend a Yankees game in Kansas City.

“If you’re a diehard to your team, you’ll show up,” said Moffitt a Royals home game.

But plenty of diehard fans during the most recent homestand did not.

Sporting KC / YouTube

Even if you missed the game Monday night, you probably know by now that the U.S. men's soccer team defeated Ghana in their opener at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The win was sweet revenge after losing to Ghana in the last two World Cups.

Winning always sounds good, but it sounded especially good coming from Kansas City's Power & Light District where fans cheered on local players, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi:

Suzanne Hogan / KCUR

Swarms of soccer fans packed the Power and Light District Monday to watch the United States beat Ghana 2-1 in the U.S. team's first World Cup match.

The KC Live Stage was filled to the brim of fans wearing red white and blue, chanting U.S.A., and S.K.C. to cheer for the two Sporting KC players on the team, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

Kansas City native, Matt Besler played in the first half but had to leave the game due to a hamstring injury. Graham Zusi was brought in at the 77th minute, and assisted in scoring the second goal that brought the team to victory.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

The University of Missouri athletics department announced Monday the men's basketball team will play Oklahoma State on Dec. 30 at the Sprint Center.

The match-up demonstrates the university's commitment to play in Kansas City and recruit from the metro area, says MU athletics director Mike Alden. He praised head coach Kim Anderson's willingness to put a tough non-conference team on the schedule.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

As the FIFA 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, we have the first installment in a series checking in on some of Kansas City’s international communities and how they’re cheering their home teams from afar.

It’s been a rocky path to the World Cup for host country Brazil: there were questions about whether the stadiums would be ready; ongoing crime concerns; and mixed emotions from Brazilians. 

Many Brazilians in Kansas City are a little sad to be watching the championship tournament from a continent away, but some are quite ambivalent about the games.

The Best Places To Watch The World Cup In Kansas City

Jun 11, 2014
dustjelly / Flickr-CC

As the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off this week in Brazil, many soccer fans in Kansas City will be cheering for the U.S. men's team and Sporting KC players Matt Besler and Graham Zusi.

But many other Kansas Citians will cheer on teams from around the globe.

For optimum World Cup viewing, we've rounded up a list of local places to go for a more international soccer experience:

Brazil: Taste of Brazil Market, 25 E. 3rd St, Kansas City, Mo. 

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

There will be crowds, cheering and that well-known cry of , "Futbol!" as the FIFA World Cup begins this week.

In the first part of Monday's Up to Date, we talk with Sporting KC's Chance Myers about what to expect from the competition and what U.S. team members-- and Sporting KC players-- Graham Zusi and Matt Besler might face.

Guest:

  • Chance Myers, Sporting KC

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