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Dispatches from Kansas City: “If this is what we’re doing, then dammit let’s do it with passion”

Jul 7, 2012, 6:10 PM EDT

kauffman stadium

HardballTalk’s Drew Silva is filing regular stories from this year’s MLB All-Star Game festivities in Kansas City, Missouri. Part One. Part Two.

I drove out to Kauffman Stadium around 10 a.m. this morning to pick up my press credentials — a badge on a lanyard, basically, with my headshot and “NBC SPORTS” emblazoned across the bottom. “Must be worn at all times,” it states. “No autographs.”

Kauffman is a few miles east of downtown, right along the interstate. It shares a sprawl of asphalt parking lots with Arrowhead Stadium, a cathedral for football fans and home to the beloved Kansas City Chiefs. I’ve been to Arrowhead twice and left without a voice on both occasions. Chiefs fans don’t sit down. The bright red seats are merely noisemakers, and if you’re not screaming your face off you’re the enemy.

I’ve never been inside Kauffman Stadium, not yet at least. The media stuff was handed out at a ticket window.


FanFest is the first event on MLB’s All-Star schedule. It’s being held over the next four days at the Kansas City Convention Center, a long, modern-looking building adjacent to the Power & Light District — a kind of planned nightlife and entertainment center, the likes of which can be found in most medium-sized towns. A blues band was rocking close by, but the 106-degree heat drove most of today’s attendees indoors.

source:  Admission for adults was $30. Tickets for children were $25. My press pass allowed me to glide through the makeshift turnstiles at no charge.


I love irrational fandom. You should have a favorite team and you should buy a jersey of your favorite player and you should sit in seats that you can’t really afford and you should get overly optimistic during five-game winning streaks. Because in the grand scheme of things, a professional sport is a pretty silly concept. We should all be out saving the planet.

If this is what we’re doing instead, then dammit let’s do it with passion.

FanFest is a celebration of that irrationality. Adults wait in line in jersey shirts to meet retired players and kids slide onto pads while videos of famous stolen bases play on giant screens. You can test your fastball at radar-ready pitching stations or work on your swing in batting cages.

On a turf field in the middle of the warehouse-like space, former Royals first baseman Mike Sweeney taught a clinic on plate approach to a group of preteens. A kid in a royal blue Mike Moustakas tee listened intently.


Jack Morris and Jeff Nelson took questions from fans on an MLB.TV broadcast near the back of the Fest. There were sponsored booths from Rawlings, Phiten, Taco Bell and various baseball memorabilia companies. Dave Winfield was inside a fabricated clubhouse by the exit, talking about his upbringing in Minnesota and recalling some memories from his playing days. All-Star Game-themed artwork was on display. There was a stand for ice cream sundaes. The ice cream bowls were plastic Royals helmets.


Tomorrow is the Futures Game and the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. I’ll get my first feel for Kauffman Stadium and work for the first time from a big-league press box. Tonight, it’s more Boulevard and barbecue.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:29 PM

    Did you pick up your credentials in Raoul Duke fashion?

    • Drew Silva - Jul 7, 2012 at 6:42 PM

      Maybe one day. That sorta thing requires clout.

    • mrwillie - Jul 8, 2012 at 10:34 AM

      We can’t stop here. This is bat country

      • Drew Silva - Jul 8, 2012 at 11:29 AM

        That’s just a fantastic comment.

  2. shawnamer - Jul 7, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Come drink with us in the parking lot tomorrow!

    • Drew Silva - Jul 8, 2012 at 4:23 AM

      I’ll absolutely do it. You guys are tailgating for the Futures Game?

      • groundruledoublebourbon - Jul 8, 2012 at 2:13 PM

        Tailgating is a must here. Hope enough tickets went to locals who know how to do it right.

  3. meteor32 - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:04 PM

    That’s kinda lame that they won’t let you give autographs.

    • mybrunoblog - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:17 PM

      You got it all wrong bro. It means no autographs from the players. I guess a media member could give an autograph if he wanted to but who would want one? Then agan a Craig Calcaterra signed ball would……ah never mind.

      • meteor32 - Jul 7, 2012 at 10:20 PM

        It was a joke and I would love to get Craig’s autograph on a Kent Hrbek card.

  4. prov1x - Jul 8, 2012 at 9:35 AM

    Check out the Royals Hall of Fame at the stadium. Ask them where the Don Dekinger exhibit is.

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