A Fan's Notes

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1:56 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

A Fan's Notes: Are We Not Entertained?

Credit Greg Echlin

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.

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3:46 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

A Fan's Notes: An Ode To The Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals players celebrate one of their many victories from the 2014 season.
Credit Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

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.

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3:03 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

A Fan's Notes: Our Time

Credit twitter.com/royals

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.   

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3:52 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

A Fan's Notes: Are You Ready For Some . . . Baseball?

Credit Beth Lipoff / KCUR

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.

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12:40 pm
Fri July 25, 2014

A Fan’s Notes: Hometown Heroes

Credit 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.

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4:56 pm
Wed June 18, 2014

A Fan's Notes: The World Cup Comes Home

Credit 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.

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4:12 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

A Fan's Notes: None Of Our Business

Credit blogscanada.ca

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.

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6:18 pm
Thu April 10, 2014

A Fan's Notes: Great Expectations

Credit KCUR-FM

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.

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5:07 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

A Fan's Notes: The Bucking Stops Here

Professional Bull Riders are judged for the amount of time they stay on the bull; the bull is judged, too, for torque of his twists, and the angle and height of his kicks.
Credit Sébastien Barré / Flickr-CC

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!

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3:25 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

A Fan's Notes: Why Be Sochi Pessimist?

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games are being held in Sochi, Russia.

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!

Yeah, right.

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.

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5:18 pm
Fri December 20, 2013

A Fan's Notes: Bowled Over

Kansas State will match up against Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl - one of 35 bowl games this season.

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.

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10:53 am
Tue November 26, 2013

A Fan's Notes: The Comforts of Home

There's nothing like watching the game after Thanksgiving dinner.
Credit Nate Bolt / CC

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.

Sports fans know the importance of home, too.

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1:42 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

A Fan's Notes: The Joy Of Being A 'Raider Hater'

They may look threatening, but don't let that stop you from hating the Oakland Raiders.
Credit Flickr

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. 

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3:18 pm
Thu August 22, 2013

A Fan's Notes: Little Big League

The 2013 Little League World Series is underway in Williamsport, Pa.
Credit Wikipedia Commons

This week the 2013 Little League World Series has bought teams from across the world to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The championship game will be played on Sunday.

In this month’s “A Fan’s Notes”, commentator Victor Wishna tells us what Major League players could learn from their Little League compadres.

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12:01 pm
Wed July 31, 2013

A Fan's Notes: MLS Stars Shine In KC

Credit Major League Soccer

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.

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10:28 am
Fri June 28, 2013

A Fan's Notes: The Long, Hot, Royal Summer

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.
Credit John Sleezer / The Kansas City Star

You think the road is long and difficult for the Kansas City Royals? Imagine how hard it must be for Royals fans.

Commentator Victor Wishna shares his thoughts on the roller-coaster team in this month's "A Fan's Notes."

__________________

The legendary broadcaster Ernie Harwell was not the first or the last to say that, “Baseball is a lot like life…full of ups and downs.”

Well, if Royals baseball is like life, then life has been hard.

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2:52 pm
Fri May 24, 2013

A Fan's Notes: Under The Spell

11-year old Olathe resident Vanya Shivashankar is competing in her 3rd Scripps National Spelling Bee competition this week. Vanya's sister, Kavya, won the 2009 championship.

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!

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11:48 am
Fri April 19, 2013

A Fan's Notes: Still Running

The Boston Marathon in 2010
Peter Farlow

­

The road to answers on why someone would bomb the Boston Marathon, the nation’s oldest annual one, remains long, and difficult.

In this edition of "A Fan's Notes," commentator Victor Wishna looks for inspiration in the marathon itself.

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11:45 am
Fri March 22, 2013

A Fan's Notes: Happy Together

Basketball

 

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.

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12:15 pm
Wed February 20, 2013

A Fan's Notes: Wrestling With Decisions Of Olympic Proportions

American wrestler Rulon Gardner beat Russian Alexander Karelin in the 2000 Summer Olympic Games

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.

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10:51 am
Fri January 25, 2013

A Fan's Notes: The Name Of The Game

You won't see this yellow sign adorning Sporting KC's stadium anymore

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

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10:46 am
Fri December 21, 2012

A Fan's Notes: The #1 That Got Away

Indianapolis Colts 2012 #1 draft pick, quarterback Andrew Luck, will take the Arrowhead Stadium field in this Sunday's match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs.

As the year comes to close, A Fan’s Notes commentator Victor Wishna looks back on “the year that was” in the world of Kansas City sports… with a glimmer of hope at what could be.

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10:20 am
Fri November 16, 2012

A Fan's Notes: Jinx

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.

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10:15 am
Fri October 12, 2012

A Fan's Notes: Misplaced Cheers?

Matt Cassel
Jeffrey Beall

When the bad news is about the fans instead of the game, you know things just aren’t right.

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12:34 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

A Fan's Notes: This Is Our Youth

Not one player on the 2012-2013 Kansas City Chiefs' roster is over the age of 30.

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.

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A Fan's Notes
2:04 pm
Fri August 10, 2012

The 2012 Olympic Games: Inspiration Through Perspiration

U.S. hurdler Lolo Jones
Getty

The 30th Summer Olympic Games come to a close on Sunday in London.

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11:45 am
Tue July 10, 2012

A Fan's Notes: The Stars Align In Kansas City

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."

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11:01 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

A Fan's Notes: That Competitive Fire

American Royal Custom Smoker Hog Shaped
Regarding BBQ Inc.

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:

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5:00 am
Fri April 27, 2012

A Fan's Notes: It's Just A ~Draft~

One of the most anticipated and widely watched sporting events of the year is happening right now—and it isn’t a championship game or a playoff series or a competition of any kind.

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10:46 am
Fri April 6, 2012

A Fan's Notes: Why Is This Night Different From All Other Nights?

Major League Baseball's opening day and Passover coincide this year
Image courtesy of the book "Matzo Balls & Baseballs" by Dave Cohen

Tonight, once again, families throughout Kansas City will gather together and reflect on a simple question: “Why is this night different?”

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