The All-Star Game is at the K for the first time in 39 years. As a 25-year-old, I wasn’t even in existence when the Royals were last in the postseason, let alone for the All-Star Game. Therefore, I can’t even remember a big MLB event at the K. To add insult to injury, I haven’t been to a Royals game since I was roughly 10. I haven’t lived in Kansas City since I was three.
And now I don’t get to be there for the biggest event at the K in 27 years.
It’s not easy being a long-distance fan of any team. You wait patiently for the team to come to your city, if only to see all these guys you’ve heard about. You dish out money to watch the games however you can, and then MLB blacks out games seemingly based on randomly-determined boundaries at times. Other Twitter fans or bloggers attend games, are special guests, meet players, or have at least spent significant time at the home games in the past. But it’s not always like that.
In my lifetime, I think I’ve been to two games at the K. Otherwise, I’ve been to roughly 15 Royals games in Minneapolis and Atlanta. And so, I wanted to attend the All-Star Game, especially since I don’t know when the next big event will take place at the K. But life has other plans, and it doesn’t always work the way you hope.
At this time of year, however, we Royals fans get to finally cheer for something. Like booing Robinson Cano on Monday night or having what many media members called the best crowd that they’d ever seen at a Futures Game, Kansas City fans are baseball fans. They love their Chiefs and their Tigers/Jayhawks/Wildcats/others, but they’re big baseball fans. The World Series in 1985 and the general success of the teams of that era ensured that the city was inundated with baseball fans of all ages. And they’re still around. They’re still baseball fans.
The only problem is that there hasn’t been very much to cheer for.
Well, this is the time to cheer. I already drive around with Royals tags on my car and frequently wear Royals gear, but this is the time we can be even more proud. As long-distance fans, we all get the questions about why in the world we would root for the Royals. I can’t count how many times I get that when other fans realize I bleed Royal blue. But that’s the biggest challenge of all. We’re separated from our team and our stadium, but we’re still fans.
So, this goes out to all the long-distance Royals fans that couldn’t get to Kansas City for the All-Star events or that can’t get to games at the K. It’s to all of you that don’t get to see everyone in person or meet the players you watch and read about. Enjoy the All-Star Game tonight. For once, the K will be on national television. Fox is required to show a game in Kansas City. And it’s all the best playing in the stadium we love. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the Royals themselves, but, just like the Home Run Derby, it’s the excitement of big baseball in a beautiful big park. It’s baseball in Kansas City.
Have heart, long-distance fans. This is a huge event for Kansas City. It may even rejuvenate the fan presence for games. And, most importantly, it holds us over until the next big event at the K.
Just hope we don’t have to wait another 27 years.