sports

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

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. 

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

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.”

Joyce N. Boghosian / National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution / Flickr - CC

Scott Simon, journalist and longtime host of Weekend Edition Saturday, is known for his calm, civilized demeanor, but that attitude quickly changes when it comes to the Chicago Cubs. We speak with NPR's Saturday morning voice about his ties to the baseball team and how their thrilling 2016 World Series win drove him to write a book about his beloved Cubbies.

UMKC

This story has been updated to reflect some comments made by UMKC officials.

The 92-82 win Wednesday night by the UMKC men's basketball team over Green Bay was its first post-season appearance and victory in the 30 years the Kangaroos have played in Division I.

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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.

Professional Bull Riders (PBR)

Kansas City's microloan program has surpassed the $3-million mark. The funding focuses on business start-ups and expansion as explained by the lender involved and an entrepreneur who has benefited from one. Then, two of the top 45 international bull riders are Missouri-natives. Hear about their climb to the professional world and the techniques they use during those dangerous 8 seconds atop a bucking beast.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

That '70s Show made way for rising stars like Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher, but they were supported by a corps of veteran actors. Today, we speak with Debra Jo Rupp, who spent 17 years acting on stage before portraying the quirky mom on the long-running sitcom. After that, we try to help would-be gamblers avoid a super blow-out with a preview of the Super Bowl and an explainer on how point-spread betting could work for or against you.

Foutch Brothers, LLC

An ambitious $30 million plan to convert the Kemper Arena into a bustling center for amateur athletics won support for tax incentives Thursday from a public development agency.

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority approved a 12-year property tax abatement for the redevelopment project of the arena in the West Bottoms being pursued by Foutch Brothers. The PIEA also authorized up to $24 million in revenue bonds for the project.

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Before you pack away your Chiefs gear: A look back at the history of the team and how they helped shape KC.

Plus, Question Quest discovers why people keep leaving little bird figurines around a statue in Brookside.

Guests:

  • Monroe Dodd, KCUR's resident historian
  • Joel Thorman, Editor, Arrowhead Pride

Queen Yuna / Flickr - CC

Figure skating competitors are in Kansas City this week for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Sprint Center. It’s the first time the figure skating national championships are in Kansas City since 1985. That was a breakthrough year for diversity in the sport, the figure skating nationals have struggled since then to match that diversity.

Phil Hersh, a former writer for the Chicago Tribune who covered 30 U.S. Figure Skating Championships, calls Tiffany Chin’s performance at the 1985 championships an “absolute revelation.”

Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg / U.S. Marine Corps

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.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

While Arrowhead Stadium will be jammed on Sunday for the Kansas City Chiefs playoff game, the Chiefs must still deal with the case of the parking lot fatality from three years ago.

Though the criminal case over the death of Kyle Van Winkle was settled last year, a wrongful death suit against the Chiefs is still pending. The victim’s family has also named the perpetrator, Joshua Bradley, in the suit. The lawsuit addresses several parking lot issues that the Chiefs continue to deal with.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Chiefs will host the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sunday in an AFC divisional playoff game. Some experts feel this year’s Chiefs have the best shot at reaching the Super Bowl since they won it in 1970. The other side of it is the heartbreak Chiefs fans have become accustomed to in the post-season.

Getty Images/NBA

Kansas City may be known more as a college basketball town these days, but two NBA head coaches with Kansas City ties, Cleveland’s Tyronn Lue and Phoenix’s Earl Watson, will make history when their teams face each other on Sunday.

Last June, the Cleveland Cavaliers won the NBA championship and set off a celebration in that city. At the same time, Cavs coach Tyronn Lue, a graduate of Raytown High School, couldn’t pry himself from the bench. He sat with his face buried in his hands.

Sobbing.

Ian Echlin

The Northwest Missouri State football team won its second straight NCAA Division II championship on Saturday, but the shine from that trophy wore off when the university announced just a few hours later that football coach Adam Dorrel was leaving. He accepted an offer to coach at Abilene Christian University in Texas.

Richard Wright, the newly-named coach, has hardly had time to think about the big shoes he’ll fill. In six years, Adam Dorrel took the Bearcats football team to a level the university had never seen before.

www.famousidahopotatobowl.com

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.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

In Kansas City, there are few events that cause the same fervor and competitive spirit as a Chiefs/Raiders faceoff. The last time the two rivals hit the gridiron, we even saw our own friendly mascot KC Wolf commit what could only be seen as an act of treason in the eyes of a Raiders fan on Facebook.

We doubt that video stung nearly as hard as the spanking Oakland took on the field though.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

For the second year in a row and third time in the last four years, the Rockhurst University men’s soccer team advanced to the NCAA Division II semifinal matches. Only this time it was practically in the Hawks’ back yard at Swope Park Village.

The Hawks had everything they wanted, including a raucous group of blue-clad students in the stands, with hopes of reaching the title match for the first time in program history.

Except for the win.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

First, a recollection of the Chief's overtime victory over the Broncos Sunday night. Then, a look at an agency that settled a case last month involving charges of illegal kickback payments, but is still doing business with the state of Kansas. Finally, Author Candice Millard recounts the adventures of a young Winston Churchill as detailed in her latest book.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Having returned in March from 340 consecutive days aboard the International Space Station, astronaut Scott Kelly reflects on the mission, the science, and the unconventional life he carried out there. Then, Victor Wishna contemplates uncertainty and sports fandom in times of turmoil.

@CatchingKelce / Twitter

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.

Arturo Pardavila III / Flickr -- CC

Sluggerrr's handler weighs in on Mascots, Christopher Guest's new mockumentary, then KCUR's political podcast host discusses competition in sports and politics.

Also: sportswriter Joe Posnanski on the Cubs-Royals connection, curses, underdogs and more.

Guests:

Late October is a time for matchups, showdowns and playoffs of all sports. We continue our series on childhood development with some tips for keeping your kid-athletes in the game by avoiding repetitive motion stress and burn-out. Also, Bill Brownlee introduces Berwanger in this week's Local Listen.

Courtesy ShotTracker

Kansas City entrepreneur Davyeon Ross just got the endorsement of a lifetime — from NBA legend Magic Johnson. 

Ross is the co-founder of ShotTracker, a basketball analytics startup and Johnson, along with former NBA commissioner David Stern and other investors, announced they're putting $5 million into the firm's latest product. 

"I grew up watching Magic play, so to be sitting in a conference room with him, and have that relationship is huge," Ross says.

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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.

Brook Ward / Flickr-CC

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill has already made an impression on the field just four games into his rookie season. But it’s his past off the field that has drawn the Chiefs into the controversy concerning how the NFL deals with players who commit domestic violence.

The NFL has been under fire for how it handles its domestic abuse offenders. The controversy surfaced in Kansas City on the NFL Draft’s second day last April when the Chiefs chose Tyreek Hill in the fifth round.

FinisherPix

For a handful of triathletes training in a pool at the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas, simply swimming laps is too easy.

Instead, they’ve got their legs constricted so their arms do the work of dragging their bodies through the water.

Kansas City, it seems, is an Ironman triathlon training destination for reasons that might surprise the locals. Triathlete Sarah Piampiano says she comes here because the area in late summer is a lot like… Hawaii.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

  

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.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The NCAA has put off its December announcement on future championship sites to give itself the chance to monitor what happens in state legislatures this fall.

When the Missouri legislature re-convenes, it’s possible that a so-called "religious freedom" bill may pop up again on the agenda. That concerns Kansas City Sports Commission Executive Director Kathy Nelson. Especially since the sports commission submitted a record of 55 bids to the NCAA to host championships.

“For us, we have 55 have chances to get shot down if someone decides to vote for this,” said Nelson.

On this edition of Up To Date, the Ethics Professors take on the recent outcry involving athletes Ryan Lochte and Colin Kaepernick, and look at the University of Chicago's refusal to create safe spaces on campus.

Guests:

  • Wayne Vaught is dean of the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences and a professor of philosophy, medicine and bioethics.
  • Clancy Martin is a professor of philosophy at UMKC and a professor of business ethics at the Bloch School of Management. 

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