Glazer: How KC Wasted the Last 40 Years Going Nowhere Fast

The Star’s Randy Covitz wrote a nice story about Kansas City being a big sports town back in 1973…

That was the year baseball’s All-Star game last came here. And what a year it was. As Covitz points out, we had FOUR PRO SPORTS TEAMS, hockey, basketball, football and baseball. It was the last time Kansas City played host to the All Star game.

Hard to believe that was 40 years ago, nearly half a century. Damn.

Yep, we were on our way, the nation’s 26th largest city with a new Kemper Arena, Crown Center and just a few years away from the 1970 Super Bowl Champion Chiefs’ season. The Royals were about to launch George Brett‘s career, becoming one of baseball’s best teams of the 1970s and early 1980s. And one of our most interesting events, the Republican National Convention was just a couple years away.

Kansas City was maybe at its all time best.

We very much looked like we were well on our way to becoming a city of maybe three or four million by the end of the 90’s. A city with strong leadership and much to do and see.

So what Happened? Where did we go wrong?

Since then the city has added almost nobody to its population. The Kansas City Kings basketball team were a bust and fled. As did did the KC Scouts hockey team. The Chiefs became a doormat for a couple decades and eventually the Royals became baseball’s worst franchise after the passing of owner Ewing Kauffman.

The city spread to the north and south with midtown becoming low income and urban. And the leadership of a parade of nice guy, do-gooder mayors destroyed our shot at becoming a bigtime, winning city.

Yes, they kept us on the straight and narrow path alright. But the city was rocking when we had a little crime and the mob ran downtown. They kept it safe and you could even go into a strip club and see a girl dance naked. Thank the lord that’s not the case now.

Yep, they cleaned it all up.

But now nobody wants to come here and visit because we’re boring.

That’s what most people around the country think. That we don’t matter much. But we should.

Mayor Kay Barnes brought us the new, now broke, downtown with like three restaurants, nine bars and a B-rated arena called Sprint Center.

No pro team wants to call it home.

Most of our other attempts have also met with failure. All of our malls, save Oak Park, struggle and that includes the once-great Plaza. Kansas City once had a night life that mattered in our crown jewel, but now it’s usually dead by 9 pm. 

Westport is making a giant comeback and the Power & Light has some packed Saturday nights, but nothing on weeknights, unless Q 104 or somebody is hosting a concert.

We are always hoping our Royals and Chiefs are coming back, but God knows when. Both teams have been awful for way too long. It’s true the Chiefs and Royals finally have some talented young players, but so far, no go. Both are still no shows.

Kemper is toast. Sprint has fewer and fewer events that draw less and less people every year. Few people like to go downtown. Maybe if it gets those apartments it can survive.

I’m sure (and I hope) our city leaders are looking deep into the issues of not having 1,000 DUI checkpoints on weekends and busting bars just because an employee forgot their meaningless liquor cards. Kansas doesn’t even have them.

About our 2012 All Star Game…

It’s gonna bring in millions and we need to clean up the city for all those visitors, civic leaders say.


Most hotels here have plenty of rooms left. Probably 35,000 of the 40,000 fans going to the game LIVE HERE.

Almost nobody is coming in from out of town, except for the media and players. PLEASE!

The only one making a buck on the All Star game is the Glass family.

Cute trick.

Buy tickets for 20 games and we’ll let you buy All Star tix too.

Hey, that seems to have worked out well. Yes, dads are bringing junior to the game, but they all live here. 

Who else really wants to go see a boring, meaningless baseball game in this heat?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nice event and I’d rather have it than not. But is it really a big deal? Uh NO. It’s not. This ain’t the Super Bowl folks.

Yep, back in 1973 the road ahead looked bright….WTF happened?

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7 Responses to Glazer: How KC Wasted the Last 40 Years Going Nowhere Fast

  1. Rainbow Man says:

    1. The 1990s brought the proliferation of brew pubs and “fast casual” restaurant/ sports bar and grills on every major corner in the suburbs. They were clean and comfortable and trendy and close to home… so the central districts lost that business. Even Brookside and Waldo people hand in their own area and do not even need to go a mile north.
    2. The DUI enforcement is out of control. They have turned it into a money making machine. Lawyers here love it. They make a ton of money off of it.
    3. KCMO mayors have been horrible. Cleaver was obsessed with African American issues only, and his trajectory toward Washington DC. Barnes was as dry toast as dry toast can get. Funkhouser actaully tried hard not to be cool. He actually tried to be boring.
    4. There is big money in this town. Huge money. But they want to spend it in The Hamptons or Martha’s Vineyard. They wanted a performing arts center and they built it. They want nothing to do with public transportation, or diversity or excitement. They sit in their Reagan era furniture in the American Restaurant in their beloved sterile Crown Center, and have thwarted every effort to improve anything around them. They even made it hard on Union Station.
    5. There are only two things that can improve our downtown and midtown areas. More people need to move there and there has to be a public transit solution.

  2. smartman says:

    Three Werds Pub Lick Education
    No less an Einstein than Chris Fritz stated the obvious over a decade ago; that Kansas City needed to focus on the 5 S’s ; schools, streets, sidewalks, safety and sewers. Had an emphasis been put on correcting those problems we might be be looking at rivals other than Omaha and Des Moines. Currently there are a little over two million people in the 15 county metropolitan area. In order for KC to really get a groove on that number needs to increase to THREE MILLION. That’s a number we will most likely NEVER see in our lifetimes unless we turn the east side into an exclusive Muslim enclave.

    It’s really too bad that Craig didn’t run for and get elected mayor of KCMO. He’d have been a helluva lot better than the recent pinheads that have inhabited the office.

  3. BarKeeper says:

    Grade Card
    The five S’s get an F in every category.

    The schools are beyond a total joke. Our streets are festooned with tire killing potholes, whoop-de-do’s, and enough steel plate to build a Missouri-class battleship. Sidewalks are cracked, jacked, and mostly missing.
    Safety is another joke as big and sad as the schools. And Sewers erupt daily in all parts of town.

    What does the Public Works and Water Department have in common with Shoe Source? Both have two thousand loafers.

    Whatever happened to that Carole Coe gal? She knew how to run a town.

  4. expat says:

    Funny no mention of KC’s desegregation case in 1977 that started the flood of White people with money, kids and common sense into Johnson County.

  5. expat says:

    Bring back Pendergast!

  6. Ranger Danger says:

    KC is Kaput!
    They don’t make enough lipstick to dress up this pig!

  7. the dude says:

    It is so bad they don’t even
    have cows in this cowtown anymore. What is a cowtown without cows?

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