In what feels like just a few short years (but is actually closer to a lifetime) Major League Baseball‘s gone from No. 1 on my list to not even on my list….
What’s more I suspect I’m not alone.
If my mother hadn’t given away my baseball card collection, I probably wouldn’t be sitting here now writing this. I’d be jet skiing with Mitt Romney or wind surfing with John Kerry in Nantucket.
I was that into baseball…despite how bad the team here was. I even liked that silly mascot mule.
Then when the Royals got good – like pretty much everybody else here – I hopped on the bandwagon – but the passion was really never the same. And after the team fell out of bed, I completed the process of moving on in life.
Look, I had the highest read column in the Star off and on for 16 years and batted to about every field imaginable; entertainment, politics, real estate, society, celebrity, business, the arts, radio, television…and sports.
But for the life of me, I can barely remember writing anything much about the Royals all those years.
They just didn’t matter much to me, nor to anyone else. Which rendered baseball a secondary sport here at best. I’d watch a couple playoff or World Series games. Maybe. And if George Brett or another baseball player who halfway mattered made an ass of themselves on the Plaza I’d write about it. Maybe.
Here’s a story I wanted to write but then sports editor Mike Fannin wouldn’t allow me to.
Several years ago I went to some boring baseball kickoff luncheon. The one that’s kind of a big deal to sports media types and other assorted jock sniffers. But trust me, it was boring.
Afterwords, I hooked up with a huddle of reporters shooting the shit with Royals star Mike Sweeney who was there with his brand new bride.
Sweeney was off the "available" list and here was his new leading lady. I took a pic of the pair, made some small talk and left with the intention ofgivingreaders the news and a gander at the new Mrs. Sweeney.
No harm, no foul, piece of cake, right?
Wrong, Sweeney and the Royals prevailed on Fannin – who was pretty much always first in line to kiss sports management butt – to kill my tiny tidbit and photo. Sweeney wasn’t ready to show off his prized new possession
It was small, hick town journalism on Fannin’s part. You think any editor in Chicago, New York or LA would kill a story like that? A tidbit about a cleancut baseball star getting married in the off season and here’s what his wife looks like. But that’s the way things can work at the Star.
Sometimes it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know and Sweeney knew Fannin.
Anyway, baseball doesn’t do much for me any more, but if the team takes off, I’m sure I’ll lock arms with the rest of you fair weather fans and pretend I’ve been true blue just like Brandon.
Then I’ll probably care when some of player shoots up Westport like the ’90s Chiefs. I’ll probably care when somebody parties until the break of dawn, then strikes out and costs the team a playoff berth. I’ll care if one of them gets in a May – December affair with Madonna.
But I really won’t give two hoots about the All Star Game.
Not unless they decide to play it in Loose Park or something. It just doesn’t matter. Never did.
And anybody who doesn’t know the All Star game doesn’t matter probably doesn’t know anything about baseball.
That said, I’ve rained on enough parades lately; The Addams Family, Ted, Alamo Drafthouse‘s texting policy. I don’t want you guys to typecast me.
I even went to the last All Star game in KC.
My dad took me. It’s been a while, but I knew it didn’t matter then either. And we had lower level box seats right on third base. That’s back when George Brett was just a few years away from mattering – he wasn’t just some ex jock that had a few to many and mouthed off at a golf tournament.
Anyway, instead of bagging on next week’s All Star game, I’m gonna say, great for Kansas City!
Have at it, everybody. If you get a chance to catch the game live, do soby all means. If there’s nothing else on telelvison (or your DVR), go for it on the small screen. And don’t skip the ads, it’s here in KC, let’s support this baby all the way.
But for heaven’s sake, how much more of this over-the-top, phony cheerleading about what big a deal this game is must we endure?
It’s not like this is a actual reason to clean up Kansas City. We don’t need to pick up after ourselves because a few dozen TV cameras will be roving about and we don’t want to appear untidy.
We don’t need to paint the city streets and write phony headlines like, "Hoping for a Home Run" and "Jazz District Thrilled" to try and breath meaningfullness into a meaningless game that’s gonna be on national TV for a few short hours.
Who are we kidding?
This isn’t the sort of formal affair Kansas City needs to rent a tuxedo for. Nice slacks and a clean shirt will do fine. We don’t need to pretend this is like the 1964 World’s Fair in New York because frankly it’s not the 1964 Worlds Fair. Not even close.
Acting like this is a far bigger deal than it is makes us look like Podunk and Kansas City is not Podunk.
So go out, have a good time, do whatever it is you plan to do – and if some out of towner starts raving abou how cool it is that Kansas City got the All Star game, calmly look at him and say, "Who’s playing?’