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. 
RPR driving 5-21-10.jpg 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.

                          Zack Hample at Kauffman Stadium 6-18-2009

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.

                          Although two hours in a car seat ain’t what I’d call quality ZZZZ’s.
Gone.jpg
George Brett Bridge.jpg

We crossed the Geogre Brett bridge arriving in front of Kauffman Stadium several hours before the joint opened.

 

Kauffman Parking.jpg

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.

RPR and Robert 5-21-10 first base gate.jpg

royals mural.jpgWe 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.

                            Those who collect autographs and those who sell them.
Split crowd.jpg                             Then there’s Robert. He’s like me,…. we don’t sell them.

Robert camped.jpg How cool is it that the players here use the front gate as their entrance into the stadium?

 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 .

Thumbnail image for Kauffman Early Bird Tour.jpg
           It was an  Early Bird Tour that gets you inside the stadium an hour early.                  

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.

                                       Guillen’s two-run blast

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.Barmes at Bat 5-22-10.jpg

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.

                            Here’s a few pictures Robert took of the display. 
DSC_4485.jpg 
DSC_4491.jpg                               Rockies vs Royals Game Two

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.Tailgat'n at Kauffman 5-22-10.jpg

             Not a bad beer for a local Pale Ale..Colorado’s microbrewed beer is better.KC Beer 5-22-10.jpg

Today was the World Series re-match of the 85 Royals vs the 85 Cardinals. Except they were playing softball.

              I guess the big yellow softballs are easier to hit after you’ve retired.

 I did my outside the stadium walk again and took pictures as we waited for the players to arrive and the gates to open.Kauffman Stadium 1.jpg

Kauffman Stadium 2.jpg

Kauffman Stadium 3.jpg

Kauffman Stadium 4.jpg

Kauffman Stadium 5.jpg

                         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.

                                     Jim Tracy is one helluva nice guy.Jim Tracy signing for fans 5-22-10.jpg        Several other Rockies arrived via taxis. Here’s Matt Belisle signing my baseball.

Matt Belisle signing 2 5-22-10.jpgIan 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.
Ian Stewart 2 5-22-10.jpg 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.

                                             Everyone has a bad day.Ian Stewart 5-22-10.jpg

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 !
Carlos Gonzalez autograph.jpg 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. 
Fence falling down 5-22-10.jpgThe 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
1985 Cardinals 5-22-10.jpg                                               Here are the 1985 Royals
1985 Royals 5-22-10.jpg 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.Danny Jackson 5-22-10.jpgDanny Jackson autograph 5-22-10.jpg Then we headed over to the Cardinal’s side, that’s where I met a very cool dude named John.Huge Rockies Fan.jpg 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 the Ripper.jpg                 Jack even autographed it “Ripper”. This is now one of my favorite autographs.Jack the ripper autograph.jpg                Here’s a shot of John working Kauffman getting his Rockies helmet signed.Working it 5-22-10.jpg

                     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. 

                                   Here’s “Jack the Ripper” trying to rip one.Jack Clark at bat 5-22-10.jpg                                                                Group Photo
85 Classic photo.jpg
85 Classic photo 2.jpg    Not that the score really mattered but it was 4-1 Royals over the Cardinals again.

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.

                                               Rockies warming-up.Tulo and Stewart 5-22-10.jpg

                                                          LOOK OUT        Smith toss 2 5-22-10.jpgStewart and Tulo warm up 5-22-10.jpgGiambi Helton 5-22-10.jpgJ Giambi 5-22-10.jpg                                                            Alanna Rizzo.

                      Robert offered to take a picture of her and I but I chickened out.Alanna Rizzo 5-22-10.jpg

                                                 Spilly signing for the kids.Spilly signing 5-22-10.jpg

Hammel toss 5-22-10.jpg                                                     Manny Corpas pre-game.Manny Jamm'n 5-22-10.jpg

    I started climbing and here’s the picture that Robert took of me when I reached the top.
RPR at the top of Kauffman.jpg                              I peered out and here’s a shot of Arrowhead Stadium.Arrowhead under construction 5-22-10.jpgI 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.
Full view Stadium.jpg       I thought you Rockies fans might like to see your Rockies on the really big screen.Giant Helton 5-52-10.jpg

                                            Here’s a shot of Todd at bat from above.Helton at bat 5-22-10.jpgxGiant Hawpe 5-22-10.jpg

xGiant Giambi.jpg

                                           Here’s Giambi at bat from above. Giambi from above 5-22-10.jpgGiant Fowler.jpg                                                    Dexter at bat from above.Fowler at bat 5-22-10.jpg                             I’ve seen every one of Jeff Francis’s starts so far.Francis from above 5-22-10.jpg                                 Check out the guy trying to Hi-5 the weiner.

Guy HI five the weiner.jpg                                                 Robert and a pair of feet.

Robert and feet.jpg                                    Some shots of the inside of Kauffman.

                                              The Pepsi Party Porch

Thumbnail image for Pepsi Party Porch.jpg                                                    Bud Light Party Deck

Bud light party Deck.jpg                                            Outfield pole to outfield pole.

Outfield pole to outfield pole.jpg

Francis and Stewart 5-22-10.jpgHawpe at bat 5-22-10.jpgTulo and Barmes 5-22-10.jpg Tulo Gum 5-22-10.jpg Matt Belisle 5-22-10.jpg Beimel.jpg Beimel throw 5-22-10.jpg 
Barmes jump.jpg                                 Remember former Rockie Scott Podsednik? Scott Podsednik 5-22-10.jpgI remember him because he would never sign autographs for fans. Rumor has it here he hasn’t changed.

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. 

                                         KC Royals USHER of the YEAR
Usher of the year.jpg

       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.

 
Thumbnail image for Royal Jack-xxx.jpgIn case you doubt my story here’s a little video of this classy group in action.                   

                             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.

Final Score game 2 kc.jpg Jeff Francis gets his second win and Robert and I get to exit Kauffman stadium with our heads held high. It wasn’t much fun walking out the previous night losers.

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.

                                         A few more pictures…My autographs.KC trip autographed Bballs.jpg

season ticket stubs.jpg                                              The Hostess Sweet Spot.Hostess sweet spot.jpg

 Royals Cup.jpg Kent informed me tht the guy wearing the Royals cape is Chris. This dude has been to almost 500 consecutive Royals home games.

                                                        Nice job Chris!


IMG_1061.JPGThe only other thing I wanted to do before I left Kansas City was eat some good BBQ. We decided on Gates BBQ because it was close and I heard it was excellent.

Gates BBQ restaurant.jpg       Andy(from spring training) had recommended this place and here’s what I ordered.
Gates BBQ Pork Sandwich.jpg 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.

Full stomach and the sun setting we hit the road home in search of some thinner and less humid air. 
sun setting over Kansas.jpg                Kansas had great food but it’s way too flat and I dig my mountains.

  After I dropped off Robert and was almost home I had to just stop and look. You know, one of those moments.Colorado Rockies my home.jpg

                                           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.

                                                        Go Rockies…DThumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Green Floppy Hat.JPG

13 Comments

Can’t wait to hear how it went…

Hey D,
How awesome was our Rockies?!!!!!!! Good to see the bats heating up. Can’t wait to hear all about your time out there. Luvmyrox and I want to go there next time the Rox play at K-stadium and get seats next to the dugout. That would be cool beyond belief.

Z-Man aka Professor of Snag-Welcome to the Rant. This is one hell of a long entry brotha, looks like I’ll be finishing this up Wednesdayish.
R-LUV-You’ll love it out here..Worth the trip…D

Hey D,

I knew that was you! I just wasnt sure! I think it was Fridays game or Saturdays game, but I was on the third base line with my Rockies hat during batting practice, and I gave you high five twice! I called out to you I think too. I said ” Directly from the Rockpile” but I dont think you heard me.

Anyway man, isnt Kauffman beautiful? Sunday Jason Giambi hit a home run into the batters eye, and I was going to get it after the game, but an usher climbed down there to give it to a kid. Lucky fan.

Youll have to shoot me an email if youre ever at Kauffman again. Im planning a trip to Coors Field next year so hopefully I can meet up with you then!

Much respect,

Wayne

WAYNE-Welcome to the Rant brotha. I’m positive I saw you several times. I do plan to visit Kauffman again. Sorry I missed the “Directly from the Rockpile” comment, That’s funny. I checked the batters eye a few times myself..Too bad. Great stadium, great time, holla if you make it to Coors…D

Hey D,
It was nice meeting you at Kauffman and I’m glad you had a good time in KC. The guy wearing the Royals cape is a guy named Chris, and he’s been to almost 500 consecutive Royals home games. Also, good choice eating at Gates, its one of my favorites. Next time you’re in KC you should check out the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum if you haven’t already.
-Kent

Wow, that was fantastic! You certainly lay it out perfectly, and make us feel like we were there. Thanks for that. :)

First game was indeed very disappointing, but the 2nd was redemptive. Rockieluv and I looked for you during both games, and kept hoping a nice long HR ball would be hit your way. We are planning a road trip for next time, whenever that may be!

KENT-Cool to meet you also and welcome to the Rant brotha. Robert and I drove by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and I mentioned that I would like to take that tour. Next trip for sure.
LUVMYROX-Thank you my friend. I think I’d like to get in on that road trip, sounds like fun…D

D,

That sucks you got harassed by those college kids. Its happened to me before at Kauffman as well. But not as severe. I was just confronted by two drunk guys that could barely stand up making fun of my Mariners hat. If you ever have any problems at the K again, tell the Usher to get the head of security “Bob” to take care of the problem. From what Im told by other Ballhawks from the K, Bob is serious about that stuff, and he LOVES to throw people out of the stadium. Hes a big tall black dude. LoL.

Take care, D!

Much Respect

Wayne

“D” “Jazz” the clown I stumbled across a couple of your blogs and I also talked to Kaufman @ the game 5/30. I would like to give you the stories. Reach me @ jazztheclown@hotmail.com

AWESOME WORK !!!!

“JAZZ” the clown

Now this is what I call a great baseball adventure. Thanks for sharing these pics.
–Mike
‘Minoring In Baseball’
http://burrilltalksbaseball.mlblogs.com

Hey D -
I ran into you at Friday’s game as you and Robert were hanging at the Rockies dugout prior to BP. I saw you make that catch in LF. I was standing near the LF foul pole. Sucks that you lost a lot of your pictures. I got shut out Firday night. I should have stayed in one spot during BP and would have at least got one ball. I moved based on who was at the plate sometimes. The K is a beautiful stadium. We watched the game from the upper deck right behind home. Great view for the fireworks after the game, since their were limited fireworks from the Rockies during the game.

We also went to Sunday’s game when the Rockies pounded Greinke and he left the game during the 4th inning. Got balls from Fowler, Spilly and a BP homer from Stewart while standing in the upper section of the Pepsi Porch in RF. Jimenez tossed a ball to my wife. Her first ball ever! I think she is hooked on BP now. Sat in the outfield in LF next to the gap under the batter’s eye. Three balls were in the gap and later Fowler’s glove ended up in there while trying to catch Jose Guillen’s triple off the wall. (I have a picture of him behind the wall during the game!)

By the way I was able to get Podsednik’s autograph down in the Tucson in ’09 Spring Training along with 17 other Rockies.

I am going to be at Coors Field with my family on the 7th and 13th of June. Hope to see you there. Excellent Blog Ranting!
- Ken

KEN-Welcome to the Rant. I remember you. You mentioned to me on Saturday in front of Robert that you saw me snag that BP homer on Friday. Thanks for being my witness. “K” is a great stadium. I won’t be at Coors on the 7th but I’ll try to make the Sunday game on the 13th. Take care.
MIKE-Thanks, anytime.
JAZZ THE CLOWN-Tell me a story brotha?
WAYNE-No worries, I’m thick skinned, thanks for the tip though. I think I saw big Bob at the “K” on that Saturday…D

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