sports

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:

Finding Strange And Obscure Sports

Jan 8, 2016

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

File: 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.

Meet Shelby Winslow, Missouri's Own Katniss Everdeen

Jun 3, 2015
Patrick Quick / KCUR

With the recent success of The Hunger Games book and movie series, competitive archery has become a rapidly growing sport with young women across the U.S. Missouri even has its own Katniss Everdeen — the series' main character — her name is Shelby Winslow.

The Great Olympian Indoor Archery Range in Lee's Summit, Missouri is where the 3-time state archery champion, who is 16, practices her prowess.

 

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Kansas City is generating a lot of buzz about its growing startup community. On this edition of Up To Date, we talk with three entrepreneurs who are creating sports technology that could change the way we train and work out in the near future.  

Guests: 

Fantasy sports used to be the province of stat geeks, the kind who made a hobby of analyzing every last box score. But today, it’s a mega-industry unto itself that’s only gaining momentum, from the stadium to the statehouse. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in  “A Fan’s Notes.”

We sports fans love sports because they are at once games of skill and games of chance. Lacing a line drive past a diving third-basemen—that’s skill. But then, the wind pushes it just foul. Such are the chances.

But what if, you know, you’re just pretending?

The Super Bowl is a national celebration of football... and advertising. For one day a year, we all gather around our television screens to watch commercials so we can partake in the sport of reviewing them the next morning. But is this still a relevant platform for advertising? Local ad experts weigh in.

Guests:

When It's From Stuart Scott, A BooYah Can Matter

Feb 2, 2015
Deb Skodack

Stuart Scott, a sportscaster and anchor on ESPN's SportsCenter, died Jan. 4 at the age of 49. Here is one local woman's remembrance of a chance encounter.

Thank you, Mr. Scott. My kid listened to you.

Only once in my life have I ever sought a souvenir from a celebrity. It was in a Phoenix restaurant in 2004 where I was enjoying a girls’ weekend with my husband’s sisters.

Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

The Oakland Athletics confirmed Wednesday that Billy Butler will play for the team starting in 2015.

Despite showing a desire to remain a Kansas City Royal, Butler's $12.5 million option for 2015 was too much for Royals managers.

Oakland approached Butler with a three-year, $30 million contract and $5 million signing bonus.

Some had mixed emotions about seeing Butler leave the only professional team for which he's played. Dean Tangeman posted this response on Twitter:

Zephyr Press

Bill Littlefield is host of Only a Game the syndicated program aimed at the serious sports fan and the steadfast sports avoider. (It airs Saturday mornings at 6:00 on KCUR.)

Littlefield has written several books on sports and two novels so his latest work, Take Me Out, a book of sports-related poems, is a bit of a departure. Bill talks with Steve Kraske about what inspired him to poetry, the history behind Only a Game, and his thoughts on this year's World Series.

Kansas City Royals' Big Win In 140 Characters Or Less

Oct 15, 2014
Cody Newill / KCUR

By now, reality has sunk in for most of the Kansas City area.

The team with one of the most dramatic underdog stories in recent baseball history clinched a spot in the World Series Wednesday, when the Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1.  

From crying fans to a photo of a flabbergasted George Brett, here’s a look at how Kansas City tweeted the historic victory.

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

Sweeping away 29 years of heartbreak and bringing home an American League pennant to a rejoicing city, the Kansas City Royals clinched a trip Wednesday to the World Series.

Final score after a fast fall game under clear royal blue skies: Kansas City 2, Baltimore 1.

Screaming fans at Kauffman Stadium, on their feet for the ninth inning, counted down the outs until their beloved Royals were in the series.

"Three. More. Outs ... Two ... Strike out! ... One. More. Out ... Sweep! Sweep!"

International Business Times

Two underdog cities have made it to this year's American League Championship Series. The intensity among baseball fans in both Kansas City and Baltimore has reached a fever pitch. Public radio staffers have caught the bug; hear a little trash talk, public radio style.

Guest:

After paddling solo 340 miles down the Missouri River, stopping only briefly to catch the teensiest bit of shut-eye, two competitors in the MR340 share their experiences, from paddling through fog to hallucinating on the water.

Guests:

  • Doug Jennings, organizer and longtime participant
  • Amy Sevcik, first-time competitor

Daniel Juřena / Flickr--CC

High school athletes in Kansas and Missouri start outdoor workouts for fall sports in August, no matter how hot or humid it is outside. One of the main safety concerns in the heat is dehydration. 

Sometimes it’s not the weather but what the athletes drink that makes the problem worse. A can of Red Bull, Monster, 5-Hour Energy, or any other energy drink before practice can dehydrate an athlete.

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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