Victor Wishna | KCUR

Victor Wishna

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

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Here’s a newsflash: It’s hot. The sky is blue. The grass is brown. And the Kansas City Royals are really, really bad. Commentator Victor Wishna doesn’t need to elaborate, but he does in this July edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

Ah, the dog days of summer. The heat. The humidity. The sense of powerlessness and impending doom. And that’s just for local sports fans.

Photo of Sporting KC fans in the Cauldron section of Children's Mercy Park
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Without the frenzied cheers and boos from the stands, that Major League Soccer match or NBA Final or American League showdown really would be only a game. But sports fans are far from just a madding crowd with a mob mentality. As Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” they—that is, we—contain multitudes.

If you’ve been to even one Sporting KC home game at Children’s Mercy Park, then you’ve seen them, and heard them.

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The underground economy of amateur college sports — where agents, boosters, and other deal-makers pay to play — has long been an open secret, to coaches, student-athletes and even fans. But now that someone — specifically, the Justice Department — is making a federal case of it, could a real cleanup be on the way? Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

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Commentator Victor Wishna attended his first Royals game as a toddler, and he was there in person to witness the final out of game seven of the World Series. But he'd never journeyed to where it all begins: spring training. That changed this week. Victor reports back from Surprise, Arizona, with this travelogue edition of 'A Fan's Notes.'

If, like me, you’ve never been to spring training, it’s quite a trip.

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The nations of the world are gathered once again for the Olympic Games and — wouldn’t you know it? — there still isn’t peace on earth. Yet as commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes,' in times like these, it really may be the thought that counts.

When the delegations of North and South Korea walked in to Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium this week as one team, was it a big deal or just a big show?

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Look around any stadium on game day and you’re bound to see more than a few in the crowd — from George Brett to Tony Gonzalez; the old jerseys our favorite players left behind. But All-Stars fade and rising stars soar … out of reach of the payroll — especially in Kansas City. Parting can be such sweet sorrow — well, sometimes. Victor Wishna explains, in this month’s 'A Fan’s Notes.'

We sports fans love our teams — and even when we hate them, we sort of love to hate them. There are ups, there are downs, the relationship continues.

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Here we are, 10 days ‘til Christmas, halfway through Hanukkah, and maybe you’re still looking for that perfect gift for your favorite sports fan. Don’t worry. 'A Fan’s Notes' commentator Victor Wishna is back to tell you what you he really, really wants.

Well, ‘tis the season, as they say. The most wonderful time of the year, when so many of us look forward to getting what we say we’ve wanted, and I’m not just talking about the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl — go ‘Cats!

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Fans know their favorite teams are full of drama, on the field and sometimes off. Players come and players go, but at every game there’s at least one real character whose only job is to be a good sport. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

Who says there’s no good news anymore?

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There was a time when the phrase "armchair quarterback" was a put-down, but the armchair may be exactly where a new breed of competitor will be making a living or earning a scholarship. Victor Wishna explains in this month's 'A Fan's Notes.'

It’s amazing, and silly, how some ’80s movies managed to predict the 21st century.

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The Kansas City Chiefs are off to a championship-caliber start. But their prospects, and the future of football itself, may depend on whether the game can be made safer — for players to play, and for fans to watch with a clear conscience. Commentator Victor Wishna elaborates in the September edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Hey, don’t look now — and it’s only been two games — but the Chiefs are Super Bowl favorites.

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The term “fan” first entered the sports lexicon as shorthand for “fanatic” — and it wasn’t meant as a compliment. But as commentator Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” when done responsibly, there’s no shame in getting carried away. It’s all part of the game.

So, how’s everybody’s summer?

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As the Major League Baseball season enters the stretch run to fall, this is shaping up to be the summer of slam: Baseballs are flying out of the park at a record pace. But nowhere is this power surge more noticeable than right here in Kansas City. Commentator Victor Wishna explains, in this mid-season edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

The sound ... is unmistakable.

Crack. “High fly ball! Deep left field! Gone!”

KC Roller Warriors

On movie screens everywhere, the latest superhero sensation wields a sword, a shield and a magical golden lasso. The only thing missing from Wonder Woman’s arsenal might just be a pair of roller skates. Wait—what? Commentator Victor Wishna explains, in this latest edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

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Sports fans in Kansas City and beyond are generally a forward-thinking bunch — “There’s always next year,” goes the rallying cry. But what keeps fans coming back for more is a healthy sense of history and, as commentator Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” an occasional blast from the past. 

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The Kansas City Royals are off to a rough start. But what can fans do about it? What should they do? Simply wait it out? Well … yeah. Sorta. Commentator Victor Wishna explains, in this April edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

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From biblical birthrights to the Belmont Stakes, people have always been obsessed with finishing first. Racing is the most fundamental form of sporting competition and, for better and for worse, a part of human nature. Commentator Victor Wishna elaborates in “A Fan’s Notes.”

You may not even know about it, but there is an earth-moving event happening right downtown. More than 3,000 tons of dirt is being hauled in to the Sprint Center, dumped on the floor, and bulldozed into a twisting track of moguls, ramps and jumps.

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This Sunday, the NFL playoffs return to Kansas City for the first time since 2011, and the Chiefs have a chance to go further than they’ve gone in a generation. But as commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of 'A Fan’s Notes,' that’s not all that’s on the line.

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As you’re out doing your holiday shopping this month, you certainly don’t want to forget your favorite sports fans — a team hat, a scarf, a jersey, maybe even some season tickets. Yet as commentator Victor Wishna details in this edition of 'A Fan’s Notes,' his own wish list is a little longer than that.

Well, it’s that time of year again. By which I mean, the time of year when there isn’t much time left in the year. It’s a time when everyone, it seems, is making lists — best-ofs, in-memoriams, resolutions — and, you know, checking them twice.

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In these heady weeks of, well, transition… perhaps you’ve found yourself asking, “What happens next?” Sports fans know there's no such thing as a sure thing. And, as Victor Wishna explains in 'A Fan's Notes,' that's the point.

Uncertainty. It’s a word you might be hearing a lot right now. And whether you’re jubilant or traumatized or just bewildered, you’re probably feeling it, too. Can’t think why.

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Football season… baseball season… none is as seemingly endless as election season. This one has been particularly nasty, brutish and long—and now, as Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” it’s bullied its way into the sports headlines, too.

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Another NFL season kicked off last week, and the opening spectacle in Kansas City was most unprecedented, in more ways than one. Commentator Victor Wishna expounds on the situation in this month’s edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

If all you knew about Sunday’s win at Arrowhead was the final score, you’d think the Kansas City Chiefs had done exactly what they were supposed to do. After all, the six-point margin was just a half-point off the Vegas line, and with four straight victories over San Diego, beating the Chargers had become routine.

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It’s been a week since the Olympic flame was lit in Rio de Janeiro, and so far these Games have gone more or less as expected — for better and for worse. Amid all the storylines and golden moments, "A Fan’s Notes" commentator Victor Wishna muses on a larger, urgent meaning for all of us watching back home.

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Just think, for a moment, about how many great sports stories begin with an open field, or an empty stretch of asphalt. Maybe a cornfield. An old sandlot.

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The proud parents watched from the stands, as their little boy stepped up to the plate for the first time. Mom, nervously pressing her face into her hands. Dad, holding up his phone to record every second. So what if TV cameras were already capturing the moment from six different angles? So what if their little boy was 27 years old? They’d been to just about every one of his games—so what if this one happened to be at Kauffman Stadium?

Ah, rookies.

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Flipping through the channels this time of year, you might catch one of the 27 rounds of the NBA playoffs. But around here, basketball season pretty much ends with March Madness.

Or, maybe not.

This weekend, this city of the Royals and Chiefs, and once Monarchs and Kings, welcomes some new sports nobility to town: The Kansas City Majestics are the first professional women’s basketball team in 20 years to call KCMO home.

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Yes, the Royals are back, flashing the magic that made them World Series champs, Sporting KC’s cruising along at the top of the standings, and fans across Kansas City are feeling blue—in that good way that we’re almost used to by now.

Which is why I want to talk about Lester.

Who’s Lester? Exactly. But if you don’t know, then you’re missing the greatest underdog story in the history of sports.

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It’s hard to believe that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship — the main event of March Madness — was, for years, boringly sane, with all of eight teams. Filling out a bracket probably wasn’t that exciting when the second round was also the Final Four.

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As sports fans, we wear our hearts on our sleeves, and our team’s name over our hearts. We’ll sleep out for days to get tickets, travel hundreds of miles to watch exhibitions, spend thousands of dollars, quit jobs and skip weddings to be at the big game or tournament—without necessarily even getting inside. We’ll stand in freezing cold, blistering heat, pelting rain. We’ll paint our faces, shave our heads, don moose antlers … just to show how much we care.

Yes, it’s crazy. But is it love?

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Wow. That was some game against the Patriots, huh? Twenty-seven to nothing at halftime. Tom Brady benched with nearly a whole quarter left. And how about Jamaal Charles?

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The year is winding down, and if this wasn’t already one of the greatest years in local sports history, here come the re-energized Kansas City Chiefs. The Royals took the crown, but as commentator Victor Wishna explains in the latest edition of A Fan’s Notes, this might really be “our time.”

So. how ’bout them Chiefs? No, really — if you'd asked a month or so ago, most would’ve said, “Uh…what about ’em?”

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