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.

Sam Zeff KCUR 89-3


In an announcement Thursday morning, the White House said President Obama will congratulate the Royals on their 2015 World Series victory. 

The message came from the White House and via this Tweet from the Royals' official Twitter account. It features Kansas City native, White House Press Secretary and Royals fan, Josh Earnest. 

Before a college ballplayer can make it to the Majors, they've got to prove to coaches, scouts, and most importantly themselves, that they have what it takes. The Clarinda A's baseball team, and the small Iowa town that hosts it, has the unlikely distinction of not just developing that kind of talent, but of fostering hard work, integrity and responsibility in the process.


Curve Ball

May 23, 2016
Greg Echlin / KCUR

A swanky new baseball facility in the 18th and Vine district, sponsored by Major League Baseball, raises big questions: Are black kids still playing baseball? Are sports a "way out" for youth? Will the coaches come from the surrounding neighborhood? And what about the kids?


Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Parade Park in the 18th and Vine district will get a new look next year with the completion of the Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy. It’s aimed at motivating more kids to play baseball and softball, but some are hoping it along with a proposed $27 million investment from the city could revitalize the historic area.  

Finding the next Lorenzo Cain

St. Thomas Aquinas

When Riley Pint uncorked a 102-mile-per-hour pitch in February he may not have known the exact velocity, but he knew it felt good. Baseball scouts and coaches, meanwhile, knew they wanted to see more of the St. Thomas Aquinas High School senior on the mound.

Pint says pitching professionally would suit him just fine. "It's something I strive for, to be there [in the MLB] one day," Pint said during a phone interview on KCUR's Up To Date, "It's just a little earlier than I expected, I guess."

As major league teams spend more and more money on pitchers, arm injury rates for the men — and boys — on the mound are becoming increasingly common.


Men In Uniform

Mar 28, 2016

According to Pellom McDaniels, when African-Americans served in World War I donning uniforms, the experience empowered them, not just as Americans but as men. On the homefront, they relived that dignity in their baseball careers. 


Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

Alex Gordon has called Kansas City home for every season he's been in the MLB, and it looks like the 32-year-old may spend the rest of his career here.

Gordon, a four-time Gold Glove recipient, has signed to a four-year, $72 million contract with the Royals.

Gordon helped the Royals win the World Series in 2015 as a left fielder and with crucial at bats, including a solo home run that led to a 1-0 series lead versus the New York Mets.

Jeremy Bernfield / KCUR 89.3

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?”

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Few will argue against the notion that the Royals' recent run to a World Series title has been a good thing for Kansas City. The New York Times is lauding the metro's "resurgence" and newfound "swagger." Deadspin is fawning over the record-breaking turnout at Tuesday's victory parade. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Blue-clad and buzzing with 30 years' worth of pent up anticipation, Royals' fans began gathering in downtown Kansas City hours before the official start of Tuesday's World Series victory parade. 

Though they were here to cheer on the team that brought their city its first World Series title since the Reagan era, they also clearly drew a deeper meaning from the experience.

The Kansas City Royals became World Series champions last night and their hometown is buzzing with excitement. Up To Date retraces the team's incredible journey and hears from fans around the city.


Sam Zeff / KCUR

Late Sunday afternoon the Port Authority of Kansas City put out a Tweet and a Facebook post. They were going to have a party.

The authority and the Friends of the River KC put up a 26-foot screen, brought in some food trucks and created a brand new place for Royals fans to watch the World Series.

About 1,500 Royals faithful gathered at a park by the Missouri River just north of downtown.

Cody Newill / KCUR

A generation’s worth of Kansas City hopes and prayers and pleading was finally answered Sunday night in New York. The Kansas City Royals are World Series champions.

It took 30 years for the Royals to once again reach the top of the baseball mountain. Thirty years of Opening Days pregnant with promise. Thirty years of long, hot summers drifting aimlessly toward autumn.

Thirty years of disappointment turned in a flash to shock, and quickly on to joy, when in the twelfth the Royals took the championship 7-2 after a turn in the ninth when the Mets left in their starting pitcher, Matt Harvey, with more than 110 pitches.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Baseball is a notoriously superstitious sport for both players and fans. The superstition is so powerful that it has led two Royals fanatics to make a portable shrine to keep the boys in blue lucky during their battle for the World Series against the New York Mets.

Valdez Campos and Jon Watkins both love the Royals and they both work at Blvd. Tavern. One slow Sunday night at the bar, they got to thinking about how they could honor the team and create a good luck charm to see them through the Series.

Karen Eisenbraun / Twitter

If you've watched the World Series at all this year (and if you live in Kansas City there is a very good chance you have, according to FOX's TV ratings) then you know 'Fur Hat Lady.' She's this year's 'Marlins Man.' 

There she is, peeking over the shoulder of right-handed batters and boring her sunglass-gaze into your deeper conscious. 


Minda Haas / Flickr -- CC

When Kansas City Royals outfielder Paulo Orlando replaced Alex Rios as a late-inning defensive change last Tuesday, he made history. Orlando became the first native of Brazil to play in the World Series.

The next challenge is for Orlando, and the sport of baseball, to gain more notoriety in Brazil.

Keith Allison / Flickr -- CC

Game 2 of the World Series is Wednesday night with the Kansas City Royals up one after winning, 5-4, Tuesday in 14 innings. The Royals say they have the pieces to go all the way against the New York Mets, and the biggest splash was the acquisition of pitcher Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds last July.

Though it was difficult for some Reds fans to say goodbye, Cueto’s up-and-down performances since then have left the Royals feeling blue.

Sam Zeff / / KCUR

I wouldn't make a good Royal. 

In Game 4 of the ALDS in Houston, after the Astros hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh to go up 6-2, facing near-certain elimination from the postseason, I gave up. Stopped watching. Walked out of the bar, swallowed the bitter bile gathering in my throat, looked up resentfully at blue sky and thought it might be a good time to rake some leaves.  

Bring on football season, I thought. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

It's a cliche but it must have some truth because you hear it before every World Series: good pitching stops good hitting. Who Royals Manager Ned Yost was going to pitch in Game 1 Tuesday evening at Kauffman Stadium had a lot of people worried.

Would he go with Johnny Cueto, the mid-season pick up who got shelled in his last start against Toronto (he gave up eight runs in just two innings) or would Yost hand the ball to the veteran Edinson Volquez?

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

By now, many Royals' fans know these facts about Kansas City's World Series opponent, the New York Mets: they have tremendous starting pitching, infielder Daniel Murphy is on a historic postseason home run binge, and their season changed when they acquired Yoenis Cespedes in late July. 

But did you know the franchise was once managed by a Kansas City-native nicknamed the 'Old Professor'? Or that they once set the modern mark for regular-season futility? Or that their ticket prices to this year's World Series purport to be the most expensive in Major League Baseball history? 

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

This is not a dream. The Kansas City Royals are headed to the World Series for the second-straight year.

Kansas City eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays four games to two, after winning Game 6 by a score of 4-3 to take the American League pennant. The team will face the New York Mets for the Major League Baseball title.

The clinching win was anything but easy.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in October 2015.    

Ask a Royals' fan about FOX announcer Joe Buck, and you might get a response like Adam Jones'.  

"I think it's safe to say he did not call last year's World Series with any kind of objectivity."

Courtesy Photo / Mary Mathews

It turns out, some of the best Royals' stuff comes from family.


Every Christmas, fond memories rush over Mary Mathews of loved ones who are no longer with her — and the Kansas City baseball team.  

When we asked fans this week to share their most loved Royals stuff, Mathews, of Grandview, Missouri, took a photo of two simple Christmas ornaments that commemorate the team's 1985 World Series win.

Alyson Raletz / KCUR

Hot peppers, tomato wedges, onions and a pickle spear. That's a Chicago dog.

Mustard, kraut and onion — that's New York.

But what's on a Kansas City hot dog? Is it tangy barbeque sauce or simply a Boulevard beer to wash it down? As of now, there isn't a universal version of a KC-style dog. So we asked three local eateries to invent their signature Kansas City dogs. Here's what they created:

Alex Pope, The Local Pig, 2618 Guinotte Ave., Kansas City, Missouri. 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

It was a familiar scene on Wednesday: Once more, a team in ugly orange uniforms had come to the K for a series-deciding finale, and put up an early lead. But this time, the game, like Johnny Cueto, was nearly perfect. The Royals grounded the Houston Astros to claim their rightful place as hosts of the American League Championship Series, which starts tonight. The specter of last year’s heartbreak lingers, but its exorcism continues. 

Yet most of all, best of all, this is fun again.

Tell KCUR: Show Us Your Most Loved Royals Stuff

Oct 16, 2015

Hey Royals fans, you know all those T-shirts, baseball cards, banners and bobbleheads you've collected over the years?

We want to see them.

Tell KCUR: Show us your most loved Royals stuff.

Share photos of your most prized Royals gear and memorabilia on Twitter with the #TellKCUR hashtag or go to our Facebook page and leave your photo in a comment. 

Don't forget to tell us why you love it so much!!

The Royals were on their deathbed Monday afternoon, down four runs heading into the 8th inning. It didn’t end that way, thanks to a five-run rally to finish the inning. Now they face the deciding game against the Astros tonight at Kauffman Stadium.


  • KCUR’s Jeremy Bernfeld and Greg Echlin have been covering the Royals during the 2015 playoff run.

They've been living and breathing Royals' baseball all season long. On this edition of Up To Date, a roundtable of sports journalists tell what it's been like to cover the boys in blue, and what they expect from them in the postseason.


  • Andy McCullough covers the Royals beat for the Kansas City Star.
  • Sam Mellenger is a sports columnist for the Kansas City Star.
  • Vahe Gregorian is a sports columnist for the Kansas City Star.