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Saturday, July 07, 2012

Posnanski: Kansas City

“I had been conditioned to believe that for a losing team to right itself and become a winning team was an immortal task, and certainly would not be accomplished in less than seven years.”

For that decade between 1976 and 1985 when the Royals were winning, the Royals were always in the top five in attendance, the Royals talk consumed the city and, even more, the region. The Royals were Oklahoma’s team and Nebraska’s team and parts of Iowa and Arkansas, too. Of course, the Cardinals had owned the Midwest for a half century, and largely still do, but the Royals meant something. They wore blue, and they turned singles into doubles, and they broke up double plays, and they caught everything, and they didn’t need the home run to win but when they hit one the fountains in the outfield would dance. This was the spirit of Kansas City baseball, the spirit that the last 25 years has stepped on and kicked and stabbed.

But that spirit is still around. The forecasters are calling for it to be 106 degrees today, and the grass has yellowed, and the Royals are 8 1/2 back already, and the Royals still have unhelpful veterans like Jeff Francoeur and Yuni Betancourt in their everyday lineup, and Jonathan Sanchez wrecks things every fifth day while the guy he was traded for, Melky Cabrera, is hitting like .789 in San Francisco. But people still care. They still care enough to want GM Dayton Moore to be pushed out and owner David Glass to sell. They still care enough to check Wil Myers’ amazing numbers in the minors (.327/.403/.676 with 20 doubles, five triples and 27 homers in 83 games between Class AA and Class AAA), they still care enough to notice [Eric] Hosmer’s coming on, and [Mike] Moustakas is playing a nice third base and to check in on how the surgeries for Danny Duffy and Felipe Paulino are going.

Kansas City is probably the smallest market in baseball. There are numerous ways to judge such things—population in the city, population in the metro area, population going out 100 miles, television market size, radio reach—and in all of those, Kansas City and Milwaukee scrape bottom. If Major League Baseball was starting a 30-team league right now, Kansas City almost certainly would not get a team. The Royals are here for the effort and obsessive believe of a few people who loved this town—mainly owner Ewing Kauffman and sportswriters Ernie Mehl and Joe McGuff—and stayed here because people cared, and have kept caring. It isn’t easy. There are some inside Kansas City who think the city would be better off without the Royals, and many, many more outside the city limits who think baseball would be better off without Kansas City.

But enough people still love the Royals, and every summer the Royals play, and people keep hoping for the best.

The District Attorney Posted: July 07, 2012 at 11:33 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: all-star game, joe posnanski, royals

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. CFBF Is A Golden Spider Duck Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:22 AM (#4175962)
Joe's totally right about the Kansas City airport. KCI is awesome.

About as far away from the places where actual people live as it could be while still accurately calling itself a Kansas City airport, however. If you get in a fatal accident while driving out there the next person who sees your body will be a 32nd century archaeologist.
   2. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4176040)
KCI is about to get renovated to make it less convenient, but with more amenities. The location will be the same.

Beautiful piece by Joe. Nails why I moved back to KC after living in DC. In DC everyone I met spoke glowingly and wistfully about their hometown. This really is an exciting time to be back in KC and Joe is actually off in his perception of a lack of downtown!
   3. tshipman Posted: July 08, 2012 at 11:40 AM (#4176060)
Joe's totally right about the Kansas City airport. KCI is awesome.


Isn't MCI the airport where they do security at the gate or something weird like that? You can't really walk around. I did not like that airport. Also was sort of shitty in that it was brown and not very nice.

Nails why I moved back to KC after living in DC. In DC everyone I met spoke glowingly and wistfully about their hometown.


Well, when the weather is 100 degrees in a swamp, wouldn't you think longingly of elsewhere?

   4. McCoy Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4176080)
If you get in a fatal accident while driving out there the next person who sees your body will be a 32nd century archaeologist.

So that's why Derrick Thomas died.
   5. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:21 PM (#4176085)

Isn't MCI the airport where they do security at the gate or something weird like that? You can't really walk around. I did not like that airport. Also was sort of shitty in that it was brown and not very nice.


Yea, they cluster the gates, so every 4-5 gates has its own security. Its actually convenient, because generally, none of the lines are very long. But once you get in, you're kinda stuck inside these cages. They've added some bathrooms and packaged sandwiches and water, but it still sucks. The proposed renovations will go the traditional one terminal layout most airports have.

Ah, 70s art deco. Can you tell everything in KC was built in the 1970s?

The location of KCI sucks, but aren't most airports out in the boonies? I would think most people don't want to live by an airport, so any proposal to build one near the city center would be thwarted (and is it even allowed post 9/11?)
   6. McCoy Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4176093)
The location of KCI sucks, but aren't most airports out in the boonies? I would think most people don't want to live by an airport, so any proposal to build one near the city center would be thwarted (and is it even allowed post 9/11?)

Reagan National airport is really conveniently close. Philly's airport is just down the highway. Midway is inside the city, O'Hare is in the burbs but the burbs are jammed full of people and they have rail line into the city, though not into the suburbs but I believe they are building one or havee, so it is pretty convenient. My experience with airports have been that they are either in the metro area or very close to them.

I've driven to or from about a dozen or so airports in America so far and the only one that felt like it was out in the boonies was Stewart Airport in Newburgh. Though if I ever use Dulles before the new metro line is built I might feel that it was out in the boonies as well.
   7. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4176102)
Nails why I moved back to KC after living in DC. In DC everyone I met spoke glowingly and wistfully about their hometown.


Well, when the weather is 100 degrees in a swamp, wouldn't you think longingly of elsewhere?

Yeah, but if he just hops over the state line, it was 115 in Kansas less than a week ago. DC's only made it up to 106, and Kansas City's recorded temperatures as high as 109. Take away Death Valley and the desert regions of the Southwest, and most of the record breaking Summer temperatures in the U.S. are in the Midwest and Plains states.
   8. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:46 PM (#4176104)
Though if I ever use Dulles before the new metro line is built I might feel that it was out in the boonies as well.

Dulles is only about 35 - 40 minutes from Kensington, and you can always find easy short term parking. That limited access road is the main reason that driving there's not as bad as O'Hare.
   9. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 08, 2012 at 12:50 PM (#4176106)
I have found flying to KC from DC a pleasure. Republic Air offers non-stop flights on the Embraer 190 jets (no middle seat!) from DCA to MCI. It's easy in, easy out.
   10. tshipman Posted: July 08, 2012 at 01:40 PM (#4176145)
Yeah, but if he just hops over the state line, it was 115 in Kansas less than a week ago. DC's only made it up to 106, and Kansas City's recorded temperatures as high as 109. Take away Death Valley and the desert regions of the Southwest, and most of the record breaking Summer temperatures in the U.S. are in the Midwest and Plains states.


Yes, but DC is a swamp. It's disgusting. The Midwest and Plains states are also fairly shitty, but not as shitty as DC (or Atlanta!).

The location of KCI sucks, but aren't most airports out in the boonies? I would think most people don't want to live by an airport, so any proposal to build one near the city center would be thwarted (and is it even allowed post 9/11?)


The airport name is MCI. This is almost certainly only bothering me.

As I understand it, a lot of it has to due with noise restrictions and clear paths around the runway. Also, just from a practical point of view, airports require lots of land. Land very close to major cities is quite expensive. NRT in Tokyo, for example, can take up to two hours to get to Marunouchi.

San Diego's airport (not very large) is very close to downtown, around 15 minutes drive, just for a counterexample.
   11. vortex of dissipation Posted: July 08, 2012 at 02:09 PM (#4176158)
NRT in Tokyo, for example, can take up to two hours to get to Marunouchi.


True, but there are two major airports in the Tokyo area, and Haneda is much closer to most destinations in the city.
   12. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: July 08, 2012 at 02:14 PM (#4176163)
Thanks to the Ted Williams Tunnel (baseball-related!), it's now really easy to get from Logan to downtown Boston. Boston started a high-speed bus line, called the Silver Line, that gets you from the airport to South Station in five stops. And obviously the drive by car is pretty easy too.
   13. cardsfanboy Posted: July 08, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4176174)
The airport name is MCI. This is almost certainly only bothering me.


It wasn't bothering me, but it was making it difficult to follow along on the thread. :)

Yes, but DC is a swamp. It's disgusting.

I always find it funny that everyone seems to have a perverse pride in their place being the worse. I mean the number of midwesterners who like to #####/brag about the ability to have to turn on the heater and air conditioner on the same day has always been a source of bemusement.
   14. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 08, 2012 at 02:43 PM (#4176179)
I mean the number of midwesterners who like to #####/brag about the ability to have to turn on the heater and air conditioner on the same day has always been a source of bemusement.

In my condo building in DC, there is always at least a one-week hiatus twice a year when neither the air nor heat is operational due to convector issues, which sometimes makes for one or two quite uncomfortable days in late April and early October.
   15. Vrhovnik Posted: July 08, 2012 at 05:56 PM (#4176242)
The airport name is MCI.


The IATA airport code is MCI, which I believe stood for Mid-Continent International. The name of the airport is Kansas City International.
   16. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: July 08, 2012 at 06:13 PM (#4176245)
Yes, but DC is a swamp. It's disgusting.


Speaking of airports, DC is now so much of a swamp that people are now unable to leave.
   17. Jolly Old St. Nick Still Gags in October Posted: July 08, 2012 at 06:23 PM (#4176247)
Yes, but DC is a swamp. It's disgusting. The Midwest and Plains states are also fairly shitty, but not as shitty as DC (or Atlanta!).

I'll agree that Atlanta is the east end of an incontinent westbound mule, but the only advantage that the Midwest and Plains states have over DC (besides the lack of Dan Snyder) is their cheap cost of living and a lot of good college football. I'll admit those aren't minor advantages.

-----------------------------------------------

Speaking of airports, DC is now so much of a swamp that people are now unable to leave.

Well, when Congress names your airports after Ronald Reagan and John Foster Dulles, you've got to expect a little pushback from above.
   18. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: July 08, 2012 at 06:36 PM (#4176254)
having travelled a fair piece i can share that most airports have improved considerably

right now the only place i travel that i find tedious is st. louis. airport stinks. weather stinks. and the people are all dour because they know their city is dying and nobody has any answers.

luckily thanks to the last point my visits become less and less frequent.

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