The Tour Was Boring So I Went Exploring
Road Trip to Kauffman
Rockies vs Royals Game 1 and 2
Robert and I drove straight through the night on a mission to give the Rockies some much needed support on the road during two of their three games in Kansas City.
Kaufman Stadium is the closest MLB ballpark to Denver and I’ve been wanting to go there since I read Zack Hample’s blog about his record breaking experience there.
The opportunity to see the Rockies play in KC doesn’t happen often so I jumped on it.
Robert hooked me up and drove part of the way so I could get some sleep as I have a job and he’s retired.
We crossed the Geogre Brett bridge arriving in front of Kauffman Stadium several hours before the joint opened.
Then we did what any baseball fan and photographer would do the first time they visit a new stadium. We walked around the outside of Kauffman taking pictures getting a feel for it.
We were also killing some time before we could check into our hotel room.
We were told the spot to see the players arriving was by the front entrance so Robert and I camped our butts there. I had one of the locals explain to me that the groups of collectors sort of split up into two groups.
I noticed a lot of the Royals players who use that entrance rushed past their fans who were waiting patiently for autographs. I witnessed Billy Butler(Royals first baseman) use his wife and kids as a shield to avoid signing.
Unless you have grotesque warts or a people phobia you should sign for the fans who wait patiently for you.
I can’t really judge Billy though, maybe he signs a lot and today he wasn’t feel’n it?
There’s (sort of) a secret tunnel that some players use when they want to avoid the painstaking process of signing a few autographs. But I’d say the majority manned up and used the front gate.
(I didn’t try for any autographs today. I just wanted to take pictures. I’ll explain later why I have only a few pictures from Friday.)
We eventually had to leave so we could check into the hotel and get ready for the game but before we did we purchased a ticket for a stadum tour.
Not just any tour, this one was right up my alley .
Ok so let me clarify the title of this entry. The stadium tour wasn’t really boring. In fact if you’re a Royals fan you might even find it interesting.
But from the second I set foot in Kauffman I wanted to explore. I knew the batting cages were up and the players were on the field.
Unfortunately before I could be free I had to watch a twenty minute long movie about the Royals from which there was no escape.
As soon as the movie ended and the tour continued I ducked out for a fake bathroom break and headed straight for left field….See Ya!
On my way there I walked past the Rockies bullpen where noticed Randy Flores warming-up.
He was finishing up and started walking out to left field to talk to someone. I called out his name but got no response.
I wandered out to where my seat location was in left field to check it out and realized I was the only visible fan in the entire stadium. Finally my moment of zen. I just stood there and let it soak in.
Moments like this are few are far between in my world and I enjoyed every second of my outfield bliss. My entire trip was worth those precious few minutes even if no BP homers were hit anywhere in the outfield during my moment of solitude.
When I came out of my zen moment I looked to my right and standing on the concourse were Robert and one of the tour guides both giving me the come here finger.
Oh well it was bliss while it lasted and I got mine.
They met up with me halfway and at that point we were standing along the third base wall. I explained to the tour guide that I really had no interest in the tour and I was only inside the stadium early to catch baseballs.
Just then Randy Flores finished his conversation walked by me and tossed me the baseball he had been holding.
Thanks Randy..I thought you didn’t notice but you did.
Our personal tour guide was more than cool. She let us stand behind the Rockies dugout for the rest of the tour. We hung out there watching the entire Rockies team work out until the stadium opened for the rest of the folks. Then we were released and free to roam.
For the short batting practice I stayed in left field but I did go over and check out the right field. It’s very cool the way you can just walk through there or stop and hang out.
I went back to left field and was glad I did. As I was standing on the top row I heard a loud crack and soon I was tracking a baseball heading my direction but beginning to curve to my right.
I had to dodge a few people and tripped over a chair slightly but I caught that ball.
I needed that to happen. I needed that memory…Now I could relax.
I met up with Robert after batting practice. He was shutout and not happy about it.
I never did sit in my exact seat during game one. Yes it was front row in left field but it was in the middle of the row and I would have been trapped. I sat in the last row of left field and had the chance at one home run ball.
Here’s the video the home run and you can see me on the walkway in left field by the Eldeman and Thompson billboard. I wasn’t that close but sometimes baseballs take a bounce so you never know.
This game was a tad depressing. It felt to me like the Rockies were tired and not into it. Not what I wanted to see after a long drive and a long day and the fact that I was totally into it. Props to my man Clint Barmes for trying to get something started with his homer in the eighth inning.
Rockies go on to lose my first regular season road trip game to see them by a final score of 9-2. To add insult to injury the next morning my film card got erased when we were trying to upload some of Robert’s pictures to my card.
So all of my day one pictures were deleted. It was my fault not Robert’s. For me losing pictures is like losing a friend. My pictures are my memory and my story..Oh well.
The Royals put on a fireworks show every Friday (home games), immediately after the game.
Armed with a freshly erased film card, a six pack of local brew and a desire to catch up on my picture taking Robert and I arrived at Kaufmann Stadium shortly after 11 am and proceeded to do a little tailgat’n.
Today was the World Series re-match of the 85 Royals vs the 85 Cardinals. Except they were playing softball.
The first Rockie to arrived was manager Jim Tracy.
Jim signed for everyone and when he got to me I shook his hand, introduced myself and told him that we came out from Denver to support the Rockies. I also mentioned that I write the world famous blog called the Rockpile Rant.
Feeling brave I then asked,… “Jim if I were to show up at the dugout at the end of the game is there any chance I could get the line-up card?”
Jim smiled and informed me that “they”(I’m not sure who “they” is), keep those cards. I was a bit bummed but Jim said it so damn nice that I didn’t mind.
Ian Stewart signed for damn near every Royals fan there. For some reason he totally ignored me even when I wished him good luck. Not sure what was up with him today.
We drove a long way and I don’t mind not getting an autograph but I could have done without the scowl. No worries Ian, there’s always a second chance here on the Rockpile Rant.
Carlos Gonzalez arrived quick and entered quick. He recognized me from Coors and on his way in signed a ball on the sweet spot for me. I wished him good luck and that was it.
Thank you Carlos !
It was 1pm and time to enter the stadium. The field was set up for softball with fences in the outfield that kept falling down…Kinda funny.
The retired players were starting to come out of the dugouts and began warming up. You’d swear Snap, Crackle and Pop were throwing out the first pitch with all the bones creaking.
Here are the 1985 Cardinals
Here are the 1985 Royals
Robert and I figured we’d try for an autograph so we headed to the Royals side first. Danny Jackson was kind enough to autograph a ball for me. Danny had a homer in the game. Then we headed over to the Cardinal’s side, that’s where I met a very cool dude named John. John introduced himself and said he was Rant reader. He told me he thought the Rockpile Rant was entertaining.. John was on a road trip’n to Kauffman just like Robert and I.
He’s a huge Rockies fan and helped me get an autograph from Jack “The Ripper” Clark.
John was able to reach down low enough to hang a baseball in Jack’s face. Jack then grabbed the ball and signed it. Jack even autographed it “Ripper”. This is now one of my favorite autographs. Here’s a shot of John working Kauffman getting his Rockies helmet signed.
Nice to meet you John and thank you very much brotha!
I thought it was intersting and cool that more people walked up to me, introduced themselves and told me they read the Rant in the two games I was here in KC than the entire season so far at Coors.
Does that mean there are a lot of Rockies fans in KC or do I just have national appeal? :)
Either way it was an honor to meet and talk to all those nice folks.
Here’s a few shots from the softball game.
When the game finished it was time to take some warm-up photos of the Rockies and then head up as high as I could get behind home plate for the stadium shot before the game started.
I started climbing and here’s the picture that Robert took of me when I reached the top.
I peered out and here’s a shot of Arrowhead Stadium.I decided to catch the beginning of the game from the very top. I believe other than the Yankees big screen this one is the biggest in baseball.
I thought you Rockies fans might like to see your Rockies on the really big screen.
The Pepsi Party Porch
Ok now to the only ugly part of the trip. About the sixth inning I was sitting along the third baseline almost alone minding my own business taking pictures watching the game. The only people close to me were a group of rowdy college kids.
They were drunk as hell razzing the Rockies, no worries. All was cool until they threw a peanut at me. I turned around and stared them down. They all looked away and I turned back around and let it slide. Then a second peanut was thrown. I saw who did it this and this time I stared him down.
A few minutes went buy and they started chanting LETS GO Roy-Als. Over a period of time that developed into F’ck you Rockpile.
I couldn’t believe it at first, I don’t mind hazing but this made it personal. So I sat there debating what to do. Finally I got up, walked in front of the group and said, “What’s up, you got something to say… Say it now”
The group went silent. I stood there for over 30 seconds and not one of them uttered a word.
Just as I thought. No balls just talk. I let them know exactly what part of a woman’s anatomy they were and headed up the stairs out of that section.
The whole time this was going on a young usher just a few feet away oblivious to everything. I asked if he had witnessed any of that and he said “Witnessed what?”
I’d like to point out this Usher as he was a Jack-A’ss himself. Good job buddy way to monitor your area.
*NOTE: Other than this Usher every other Usher at Kauffman stadium was friendly and helpful to us. Many of them came up to Robert and I over the two days we were here and asked about our Jerseys and where we were from.
I decided to leave that area as I prefer to eat peanuts instead of get hit with them.
As I was walking up the stairs I was thingking “WTF am I doing? That’s not how I roll!” So I walked back down the stairs and picked a seat close to these folks and started taking pictures and shooting video.
That’s how I roll.
Here’s the Peanut Chucker…He’s my Royal’s Jack-A’SS of the game.
Remember at this point the Rockies are up 3-0??
I questioned myself afterwards on whether or not I did the right thing. What would you have done in my shoes? You know when someone makes it personal?
Either way it felt good to call them on it. The Rockies win this one 3-0.
Robert and I took the opportunity to razz the Royals fans as we left the parking lot.
Hell Yeah Go Rockies
I had planned to stay a bit late and try to sneak into the batter’s eye like my man Zack Hample last year but things have changed since his visit there.
Probably because of his visit there
Employees now empty the batters eye daily. Other changes include the stadium only opening 1.5 hours early. It used to be 2.5 hours. Rumor has it the players were complaining that the fans were bugging them as they tried to warm-up. Go Figure :).
Damn those pesky fans who pay their salaries.
Nice job Chris!
Andy(from spring training) had recommended this place and here’s what I ordered.
Best BBQ I’ve ever had in my life. The pork sandwich was the tenderest pork I’ve ever tasted and it melted as it hit your tounge.
Thanks Andy, I’ll never doubt you again.
Home Sweet Home Colorado
Props Go Out To:
All of the Ushers at Kauffman Stadium. Other than the above mentioned guy you were all professional and friendly.
The dudes who hung out in front of the stadium before the games. I chatted with several of you and you gave me good information. I really appreciate that..Thanks
The people of Kansas City. Other than the small group of hooligans throwing peanuts the rest of you are good people and I enjoyed my visit to your state.
Robert for hang’n with me on this adventure.
I’m “D” The Rockpile Ranter and thanks for joining me on my 58 hour Rockies road trip.