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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kansas City Royals' Lorenzo Cain (6) adds the bottle of Billy Butler Hit A Ton rally sauce onto his arm muscle in the dugout after hitting a two run home run in the ninth inning to tie during a game against the Detroit Tigers on June 12, 2013, at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
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!
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
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.
The Kansas City Chiefs open their regular season this Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons. It’s hard to see underneath those protective uniforms, but this years’ team is….well, let’s not sugar coat it – young.
The All-Star Game is known as the Midsummer Classic. But for all the attention it's bringing to their team's hometown, many Royals fans won't be distracted from their dreams of a World Series--and a Fall Classic in Kansas City. Victor Wishna explains, in this All-Star edition of "A Fan's Notes."
Although you're more likely to find people huddling over their smokers in warmer weather, barbeque is a year-round passion. And for some, it's a whole lot more, says A Fan's Notes commentator Victor Wishna: