Warning: array_slice() expects parameter 1 to be array, boolean given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164

Warning: key() expects parameter 1 to be array, null given in /home/uvatha/public_html/kayhoflander/wp-content/plugins/my-twitter-widget/widget.php on line 164



Oct 19

A look back at my columns about the Kansas City Royals: Part 4 — A lone Royals fan at Fenway Park. First published June 3, 2010, in The Examiner, an Eastern Jackson County, Mo., daily newspaper.

A lone Royals fan at Fenway Park

“This is the place to be. Baseball town. The intimacy of Fenway, the toughness of it…I like the edge.”—David Cone, former Kansas City Royals ace pitcher.

The Boston Red Sox played the Kansas City Royals last week at Fenway Park, and I was there. I guess you could say, I count my self–lucky.

And as a result, I know why David Cone loved it.

It’s that first moment as Jason Stark, ESPN sports analyst, commented: “That moment, when you first lay eyes on that field—The Monster, the triangle, the scoreboard, the light tower Big Mac bashed, the left-field grass where Ted Williams once roamed—it all defines to me why baseball is such a magical game.”

And why Fenway Park is such a revered ballpark.

It is the fact that you feel as though you are playing the game itself, not just watching. Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn once said, “As Commissioner, you’re supposed to be objective. It wasn’t much of a secret, though, that I loved Fenway—especially how it made you a participant not a spectator.”

That’s it. The field is close and no seat is far from Big Papi warming up before the game on the green grass. At Fenway, it’s the history, the players who once played there, the hallowed ground, the Green Giant, and, not to go without saying, the aromatic Fenway franks and the free-flowing Dunkin Donuts coffee.

But of course, there is the energy of the fans at Fenway. My goodness, the fans cheer, no erupt is more like it, when an outfielder catches a meaningless short fly ball. At Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, you might hear golf claps.

In Kansas City, fans excuse themselves to the hip, new outfield entertainment area when the game gets boring. At Fenway, no one ever leaves one’s seat except to stand and cheer, which they do constantly. Fans would never leave, they might miss a called strike.

Although we have a brand-new remodeled and up-to-date ballpark in Kansas City (“everything is up-to-date in Kansas City), we don’t have anything akin to the magic that happens at Fenway.

Perhaps, no other ball park does.

Forgive me Royals fans, I’ll quit waxing poetic about Fenway. Back to my experience at the game.

Admittingly, I was worried at first, to be one of a handful of Royals fans, attired in powder blue and lost in a sea of red-shirted Boston fans.

I spotted one man in a bright blue Royals shirt just inside the park gates but never saw another Royals fan after that, although I am told there were two behind the Red Sox bullpen.

Texting from Fenway, I posted on my Facebook page, “At Fenway and may be the only Royals fan in New England ! Sure to be a good story to follow. For self-preservation, buying a Red Sox hat to wear with my Royals jersey!

I did, in fact, purchase one immediately upon entry into the park, a Red Sox hat, one that stood out noticeably, a hat with bling sporting glittery bright red socks. I wasted no time donning it in an attempt to make my Royals light-blue jersey less noticeable.

Honestly though, the fans were great to me with very little heckling and only a few puzzled questions.

The fan in front me appeared slightly incredulous, “So, tell me again, why are you here? Seriously, are you really following the Royals to Boston? Who does that? I am serious.”

The comments continued and were always followed by raucous laughter, “You may be the only Royals fan here ya’ know; you may be the only Royals fan anywhere. Ha ha ha.”

“Did you see the movie ‘Fever Pitch’? There was this scene in it when the guy with the season tickets gave his buddies tickets to the Red Sox v. Royals games as punishment. Ha ha ha.”

And so the game went, until the eighth inning. Everyone there, and it doesn’t matter which team you cheer for, comes alive with joy and happiness that is difficult to describe.

You’ve seen it on television, but that does not do justice to the Fenway Park crowd singing loudly and by heart, Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”.

It gives me goosebumps still, because at Fenway Park, everyone sings loudly in unison and by heart and sometimes without music. They are really singing a love song to Fenway, their beloved historic ballpark.

“Where it began. I can’t begin to knowin’, but then I know its growin’ strong. Was in the spring and spring became the summer…hands touchin’ hands, reachin’ out, touchin’ me, touchin you…Sweet Caroline, good times never seemed so good, so good, so good!”

Ah yes, Fenway, just might be the eighth wonder of the world. The magic of Fenway is a site to behold, and that is why people love it.

But did I mention my Kansas City Royals won the game? Ha, ha, ha.`