Butler County Times Gazette
  • Costello: What team loses on Fan Appreciation Night?

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  • Deep down I knew it wasn’t true, but I thought I was a good luck charm there for a while.
    I’ve been to two NFL regular-season games (and several preseason games along the way), an Oklahoma City Thunder-Los Angeles Lakers game, half a dozen Wingnuts games, two or three Wichita Thunder games and now a Kansas City Royals game. Until the Royals game, which was Saturday, every team I went to go see won that day.
    But the Royals, who are at the tail-end of a desperate playoff chase, decided it wasn’t important enough to win with me in attendance. And on Fan Appreciation night, no less. Who doesn’t win on a day you honor your fans? They did have cool clips of all the players thanking their fans. Some were short and sweet, others were descriptive, and all were (mostly) heart-felt.
    No, but seriously, if ever there was a leadoff triple that would dictate the way a game was going to go, it came when Ian Kinsler blasted a shot to right field and slid safely to third. He scored on a groundout for a quick 1-0 lead.
    Rangers righty Matt Garza decided he was going to turn in one of his best performances of the past month-plus with eight shutout innings. The Royals only were down 3-0 when Eric Hosmer got a big hold of a pitch as it sailed over the left-field fence for the Royals’ first run. KC had a runner on first later in the inning as a rally possibly was unfolding, but two Royals struck out in the ninth in the 3-1 loss.
    At home games, fans will use just about any excuse to cheer. The KC fans got loud every time the giant scoreboard flashed “Get Loud”. They cheered every time KC got a man on base, which wasn’t often. There’s a palpable feeling when the air gets sucked out of a stadium, most evident with the leadoff triple. You know those old cliches about starting a game strong and getting the crowd into it? That’s a real thing. The fans never had a chance to get on top of the Rangers.
    Watching a professional home run from the left-field line was enthralling. The solo shot carried well, then slowed to a mere floating speed the last second or so before hitting the stands. Homers look very different than from behind the plate, where I’ve been for all the other home runs I’ve seen. Watching a foul ball streak toward your section is entertaining and nerve-wracking at the same time.
    Of course, the usual hub-bub of faded crowd noise, picture-taking and “Get your hot dog” lines from the concession guys made for a relaxing atmosphere. The few times the crowd had reason to unite brought the focus back to the diamond, but attending a baseball game is different than, say, basketball or football.
    Page 2 of 2 - “The K” is a great sporting venue. Royals fans showed that, when an important game comes up on the schedule, fans are ready to tailgate. It looks bleak now, but hopefully the Royals treat the fans to a home playoff game, their first since 1985.
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