Hearne was correct and we all know it…
The 2012 All Star Game is for us. Just us. Few people came into town for the occasion and the events outside the stadium are for the most part not very well attended. The restaurants around town – with some exceptions – aren’t extra busy. And we got the city cleaned up and ready for…us. And maybe a few television cameras.
But hey, that’s OK. We did a great job. For us.
So did George Brett on ESPN last night. He stole the show.
Like many of you I’ve never thought of George as a great speaker, but last night he was just that. He made the Royals seem important. He made Kansas City seem like everyone’s home away from home and was humble in doing so.
He was the best man for the job.
He sat with the ESPN boys for quite a long run. In fact, we missed most of Prince Fielder‘s homers, because the spotlight was on Brett – Chris Berman couldn’t get enough George.
Brett talked about the glory days of the Royals. His days.
He made us remember how the stadium used to look when it was sold out on certain nights every week no matter what. Back then we only held just over 30,000 fans, Brett reminded us but it was so electric. And about all of the ’70s playoff series with the hated Yankees. back when we couldn’t beat them until Brett jacked the winning home run off Goose Gosage to send KC to its first World Series in1980. ESPN showed all the Brett highlights – the big homer, the pine tar incident and his run at .400.
Berman was quick to note that Brett was baseball’s best hitter since Ted Williams.
George explained that he believed the Royals were finally on their way to the top again. Brett said our young players are awesome and it’s time.
Did he really believe that? Somewhat, but no.
Brett used KC bbq to distract Berman from his embarrassing comments about the Royals not being to a play off since 1985. Brett’s only answer was our baby back ribs are great. Berman ate them on the air and agreed.
Other than Robinson Cano, the captain of the American League team and a Yankee going 0 for 10 and coming in last, George was the big star of the night, even though he never suited up or hit the ball.
It was his team, his town.
Brett is THE FACE OF THE ROYALS to this day.
The game of baseball has changed and not for the better. There’s less offense and, since 2000, fewer American players. Today’s players are mostly Latino. The Star even pointed out how few blacks play in the pros anymore.
The reason: simple, money and time.
In Latin American countries there is no NFL or NBA, so a ball and bat still rule the day. It’s their only way out. Not so in America.
The game has lost too many young fans, they simply don’t care much about baseball. It’s that simple.
It’s more of a local sport now. Games are still well attended in some cities like KC, even with really bad teams. National TV ratings are falling every year and post season playoffs don’t draw on the tube anywhere much except the cities that have teams in the games.
Baseball’s kinda a dying sport and that’s sad.
In Kansas City, Brett reminded us of how great our team once was and how important and proud the Royals made us feel.
But that’s long gone.
Yes, the Negro League museum pretends this will put their small exhibition hall on the map. It won’t, sorry.
Eighteenth and Vine is a sad joke and we all know that.
Remember, younger blacks don’t care about baseball and not many white people go down there to see Negro League stars they never heard of from 50 or 70 years ago.
The Star wrote a front page story today about the out of towners here for the All Star Game. Something like, "as people across the country FLOCK to Kansas City for the All Star Game."
Really? All what – 2,000 of ’em?
I called some hotels like the Ambassador at 1111 Grand (brand new, nice redo, rooms $200 a night) and asked for a room from Sunday-Wed…they said OK. Can I get six rooms for the rest of my family? No problem. So PLEASE, enough with the out of towners there are none basically.
Brett is to the Royals what Len Dawson is to the Chiefs.
These two men represent our sports shinning moments of the last half century.
When President Bush came to town on a big swing, the two men sent to the airport to meet him on TV were Chiefs boss Carl Peterson and George Brett. That says it all.
Great job George, thanks for making us remember why our city – with all its faults – is still a great city to call home. It really is!