This will be my first summer in nearly a decade that I’ll live within a short distance of Kauffman Stadium. Now instead of trying to schedule trips to KC for Royals games, I look forward to deciding mid-afternoon to take in a game, jumping in the car, and being there in no time.
When living close to the K, one of my favorite things is to check pitching matchups and say “Hey, so-and-so is pitching tonight. We should go to the game.” And actually do it.
Of course another benefit to being close is the occasional chance that someone will offer you a last-minute free ticket. (Take note all you season ticket holders: this doesn’t happen nearly as often as I would like.)
And another benefit of living close is the chance to attend the many promotional events the team hosts. T-Shirt Tuesdays, food and drink specials, giveaways… I’m so glad I can be close for such opportunities.
Futures Game: One of the highlights of last season was the minor league exhibition that was played in Kauffman before the minor league season began. I know that event was held entirely to capitalize on the enthusiasm surrounding the #1 ranking accorded the Royals’ farm system. With so much of that talent now in KC permanently, little such enthusiasm exists. But I still think a pre-season event makes sense. There is a “Futures Game” scheduled for September 14. But what that event will amount to remains to be seen.
Negro League Salute: Thank goodness the Salute to the Negro Leagues will be back this season. I never knew the true reason the event wasn’t held last year, but I guess the Royals realized it is a worthy event because it is back. Seeing the current ballplayers in the throwback uniforms is reason enough to attend. But the Negro Leagues need to be remembered, and Kansas City of all cities should be in the lead of this effort.
All-Star 5K: It appears the Royals 5K charity run will actually be turned into an All-Star Game event this year. On July 8, the run will have an “All-Star” theme and participants will get a medal and T-shirt.
A check of the Royals website gives additional information about some of the events, but not all. I wish some of the events were better explained.
Happy B-Day Slug: Kids might enjoy Sluggerrs Birthday Bash on April 14. But without further explanation, it doesn’t do much for me.
Honoring #42: The Royals offer a Jackie Robinson T-shirt on April 15 – Jackie Robinson day. Robinson is celebrated league-wide, and for good reason. But what the celebration entails isn’t explained. Will the Royals recognize Robinson’s ties to KC? The Dodger great, of course, started his professional career with the KC Monarchs, and also played for a short time with a barnstorming team called, of all things, the Kansas City Royals!
Clothing Giveaways: Judging by the pictures online, one of the best looking items to be given away is the Retro Batting Practice Jersey, available April 21.
I’m not much of a connoisseur of 1960s headwear, so I can’t recommend the giveaway that is part of the Salute to the Kansas City A’s on June 2. But a fan of the history of Kansas City will find that event interesting. The history of that ball club is pretty intriguing.
Celebs?: Another event that needs further explanation is the Celebrity Classic Game. I’m not aware of what such events KC has hosted in the past, but this one better be promoted well when the time comes, or I’ll save my money.
Faith on the Field: Being a parent myself, I always circle the Faith and Family event on my calendar, but then, for one reason or another, we never attend. For those with an interest in religious values, it might be worth attending. Unfortunately I haven’t been there to say if it’s good or not.
Frenchy and Fun Runs: A couple of the regular events are worthy of mention.
Every Thursday this season will be something called Frenchy Quarter Thursday. $21 will get you a t-shirt and Mardi Gras beads and a seat behind Jeff Francoeur in right field. Judging by the festive atmosphere in the right field box, this will probably be best suited for adults.
If you’ve never done it, you need to try at least one Sunday Fun Run sponsored by Sprint. It’s not just for kids. It’s a chance to set foot on the field. Take a few moments to look up into the stands and try to take it all in from a player’s perspective. It’s pretty impressive.
The product on the field in Kauffman is finally worth the price of admission. But a good promotional event can make going to the ballpark all the more exciting. I hope to take in many games this year, claim some good giveaway items, and enjoy more than ever that we have a team in Kansas City.