sports

Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

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.

We might be breaking kayfabe in saying so, but it's well-known that most professional wrestling is three parts theater, one part combat. While the moves in the ring might be choreographed, the injuries sustained by performers and the emotion from the crowd is anything but a farce.

Guest:

http://ballcharts.com/

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.

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

Not content to let the "Boys in Blue" bask in their 2015 World Series glow, popular statistical analysis blog FiveThirtyEight says the Royals only have a four percent chance of winning the World Series this year.

The blog's new daily 2016 MLB predictions are a little more generous for the Royals' playoff and division leadership chances: 47 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Leicester City Football Club

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.

Tatiana/flickr-- cc

  Overland Park's  Jack Sock is defending his first singles tennis title at the ATP’s U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship underway in Houston. Sock, 23, is currently ranked No. 25 in the world and is the second-best American singles-player behind John Isner.

In 1967, a young woman runner looked to make the Boston Marathon her first marathon. She signed up using her first two initials and her surname. That year, Kathrine Switzer became the first registered female runner of the Boston Marathon, an event that changed the course of her life.

If raising the World Series banner at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday wasn't enough, Tuesday's awarding of the Series rings was the just the excuse Up to Date was looking for for a trip to The K.  We take you behind the scenes as we talk with sportswriters, the team's official scorer, the man behind the public address system and just what it takes to secure that World Series trophy. 

Ian Echlin / KCUR 89.3

When the NCAA Men’s Final Four was last held in Houston five years ago, it had the storyline of two basketball mid-majors — Butler and VCU — that navigated their way to Space City. But in the end the title was won by a traditional power: Connecticut.

Whether or not the UConn Huskies return for another shot at winning in Houston will be determined Saturday night in Des Moines when they take on the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the second round. The Huskies’ 2011 title came under the now-retired coach Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie has since taken over.

SD Dirk / Flickr-CC

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.

Now that simulated sky dives are a form of local entertainment, the time is right to ask: what's the difference between someone who jumps out of a plane for the joy of a free fall, and someone who considers that the opposite of fun? Sky-diving pros defend the appeal of their sport.

Guests:

iFLY

If you just want to watch the video: scroll down.

Like most people, I've had fun dreams about flying around through the air. But as a person who is generally scared of heights and gets nervous looking over the edges of balconies and roof tops, I never thought I'd actually want to jump out of an airplane and go sky diving. That is, until recently.

When I heard about the new iFLY facility in Overland Park, Kansas. I poked around on the internet and thought, Sky diving-lite? I can handle that.

Twitter - @Sluggerrr

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?

In sports, everyone is equal: Train hard and the strongest will win. But are sports really played on an equal playing field? A local thinker says they aren't — and you can see it from Pop Warner to the Super Bowl.

We explore the intersection of race, sports and business.

Guest:

Super Bowl 50 is this weekend, and everyone can watch it on network TV. But how will we be watching the Super Bowl ten or twenty years from now? 

Guest:

  • Mike Pandzik spent 21 years as the founding president and CEO of the National Cable Television Cooperative.
Courtesy / Kansas City Chiefs

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?

It's been an amazing year for KC sports fans. The Royals won the World Series, and the Chiefs made the playoffs for the first time since 1993.

Is Kansas City a football town or a baseball town? Is the spirit of KC more deeply connected with baseball or football ... or something else?

Guests:

Have you ever considered playing golf with a bow and arrow? What about boxing with fireworks? On this edition of Up to Date, we find out about these pastimes that sound made up but are actually very real.

Guest:

  • Edward Brooke-Hitching is the author of Fox Tossing and Other Forgotten and Dangerous Sports, Pastimes and Games.
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.

Pro-athletes. A huge, cheering crowd filling the stadium. No, it's not a Royals game — video games have become a spectator sport, one that attracts massive viewership numbers. Two locals gamers tell us about KC's electronic sports scene.

Guests:

John Sleezer / The Kansas City Star

The roar of the fans, the daring runs on the field, and the click of camera shutters all go together at a major league sports event. When you're a photographer on the field, you get a different perspective of the game.

Photographers and Kansas City-area residents John Sleezer of the Kansas City Star and Denny Medley of USA Today Sports told Steve Kraske on Up to Date that being in the moment is crucial — the action can be fast and furious or few and far between.

On getting the shot 

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.

Guests:

Frank Morris / KCUR

The morning after the Royals take the crown in the 2015 World Series, KCUR listeners tell us what this moment means to them. Plus, what fireworks have to do with the Kansas City-style of celebration.

Guests:

  • Frank Morris, national correspondent and senior editor, KCUR
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. 

Creative Commons, Wikipedia

With Kansas City and New York about to face off in the World Series, KCUR's Central Standard challenged the Brian Lehrer Show at WNYC to a battle of wits, demonstrating once and for all why New York is a terrible place to live and Kansas City is a bastion of love, happiness and joy.

Guests:

  • Brian Lehrer, The Brian Lehrer Show, WNYC

College football isn’t about touchdowns or bowl games— it’s about money. That's according to Gilbert Gaul, author of Billion-Dollar Ball: A Journey Through the Big-Money Culture of College Football. Gaul spent years finding out just how far universities will go for a winning football pro gram. 

  At Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, the Kansas City Royals will field four starters and as many as seven players altogether—all-time Royals records. Sure, it’s just an exhibition, but as “A Fan’s Notes” commentator Victor Wishna sees it, there’s a lot more on display.

  

Goal

Jun 30, 2015

The US Women's Soccer team is headed to the semi-finals of the World Cup in a high-stakes match against Germany. Four of the team members are from Kansas City. Should we be hearing more about that?

Guests:

  • Yael Averbush, midfielder, FCKC
  • Greg Echlin, sports reporter, KCUR
  • Chandrima Chaterjee, editor, Women United FC

Kansas City's beloved sportswriter Joe Posnanski discusses the friendship— and rivalry— of golfers Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus. Plus, he shares his thoughts on some of the biggest sports headlines today, including the Kansas City Royals

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Courtney Frerichs can run faster than you.

Already one of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s most-decorated athletes, she’ll represent UMKC in the steeplechase on Thursday in the semifinals of the NCAA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Entering the field as one of three favorites, Frerichs hopes to become UMKC’s first-ever national champion and to bring the title back to Kansas City.

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