KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Here at Kauffman Stadium, the area beyond the outfield offers a number of ways to be entertained. There’s a bar in left field near the trademark fountains. There’s a stage for live music. There’s a small baseball field where kids can take batting practice, plus a playground and a merry go-round.
But at the World Series, there’s a new attraction this year. It sits in the left-center field, next to the Royals’ Hall of Fame and has fans flocking to it in packs.
It’s the Fox Sports broadcast booth, a magnet for fan attention because it lets Alex Rodriguez and Pete Rose exist in the wild, where people can, like, point at them and take pictures. To be fair, Raul Ibanez and Frank Thomas are there too. But they’re not quite as gawkable as two of baseball’s most notorious players.
A-Rod and Pete Rose have 7,326 combined hits in the big leagues and they might have inspired that many pictures each of the past two days. Fans line up on both sides of the Fox booth. Some laugh at Pete Rose’s boots. Others offer their best A-Rod jokes. (Far as I heard, though, no one actually called him “A-Roid,” which is an accomplishment in public discourse).
“Hey, Pete, I bet a dollar on the game,” one fan shouted, but not nearly loud enough for Rose to actually hear him.
“That’s a good one,” one fan said to another about his A-Rod picture. “Put it on Facebook.”
None of them are probably that good. The stars are behind a netting, a good 25 feet from the common folk. If you want a pixelated, zoomed-in A-Rod pic — this is your chance!
It goes to show, though, that as much as Rose and A-Rod are villains of the game, they still command attention. They’re still guys who will stop baseball fans in their tracks and get them talking about this Yankees World Series or that Reds game. Even at the World Series.
In a matchup between the two best teams in MLB this season, fans can’t resist a taste of the A-Rod show and they can’t resist another Pete Rose gambling joke.
The first of a handful of postseason awards were handed Wednesday before Game 2. Major League Baseball honored the best two relief pitchers of 2015 with the Mariano Rivera (AL) and Trevor Hoffman (NL) Reliever of the Years awards.
This year’s winners were Andrew Miller of the New York Yankees and Mark Melancon of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Melancon led MLB with 51 saves, while Miller saved 36 games with a 2.04 ERA.
PHOTO(S) OF THE DAY
Here a few of the most interesting fans I saw around Kauffman Stadium in the hours before Game 2:
1. This guy doesn’t like Joe Buck. Interestingly, he held this up right outside the Fox Sports booth.
2. You’ve gotta be a committed Royals fan to dress up like this.
Things I heard while in a K.C. taxi this week, Part 2: “Last year, they lost in Game 7. This year, they gotta win. After 30 years, it’s gotta be something.” The faith in strong in K.C.
ON THE BARBECUE TRAIL
Kansas City is known for its barbecue, so as someone who has never been here in his adult life, the barbecue is an alluring side piece to baseball. Thankfully, there are many people here who know the in-and-outs of K.C.’s barbecue scene and have been happy to point me in the right direction.
These sexy beasts are the burnt ends from Char Bar, which opened last year in Westport that advertises its smoked meats and amusements. I missed the amusements, but got down on the smoked meats.
First off, the burnt ends were fabulous. It was delicious smoky meat complemented by a char crunch. Add some of Char Bar’s spicy barbecue sauce, and this earned the No. 1 spot on my K.C. barbecue rankings. It’s only No. 1 or two, but that’s not any lesser endorsement.
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