My brother-in-law and I made the drive up to KC this weekend for the Saturday and Sunday games. Here are some quick random thoughts/observations as well as some photos.
--I'm a jinx, no doubt. Those will most certainly be the only two Reds games I see live this year and they quite literally could not have played worse in either game. It was awe-inspiring ineptitude on all levels.
--I'd never been to Kaufmann Stadium before, but I'd heard it was really nice after their renovations-- I'd have to agree. This is a model example for a franchise upgrading its' current stadium rather than building a new one. Very nice ballpark, even if it lacks some of the bells and whistles of the newer ones. Great sight-lines, pretty scenery, conviniently laid out. It shows its age in the concourse and in the bathrooms, but it's a winner pretty much everywhere else it matters.
--I know the downtown ballpark/stadium is the trend that everyone wants, but there is absolutely something to be said for having a stand-alone stadium a bit out of the way.....parking is EASY, and traffic is more than managebale. I've been to a college game at Arrowhead (right next door), an NFL game at Arrowhead, and now two MLB games at Kaufmann, and each time, it was super convineinet getting in and out of the area. We stayed about 10 miles away from the stadium Saturday night and I'd say it took 30-35 minutes from the last pitch until we were back at our hotel.
--Fans were friendly, and the attendence was decent considering the teams. But you can absolutely tell that the Royals fanbase has been decimated by their decade+ of awfulness. It was very clear to me that people were there to enjoy a day at the park and nothing more. It was as if the majority of the fans didn't even know the Royals roster, their place in the standings, or anything about the current state of the team. There was very little analysis or real interest about what was happening on the field. Lots of folks supporting the team, wearing the colors, etc. but a much different "feel" from the fans that I get at other ballparks.
--More Reds fans there than I thought. Not a ton by any means, but I wasn't expecting to see us as well represented as we were. I guess when you go 10 years between a series in a given city, it draws some local fans.
--Stayed at the Argosy Hotel and Casino...very nice. "On the river" is a joke-- it sits next to a sandbank, which has like two feet of water in it. There is NOTHING else around, but the hotel/casino itself is at least close to Vegas-- maybe a midrange Vegas hotel. Really nice buffet Sunday morning and we stayed up Saturday night until 4:00 playing the tables, having fun. Not somewhere you could go and make it your sole desitination as a vacation, but a perfect weekend stop or a good place to stay if you have other plans in KC. Somehwat pricey, but we felt we got our money's worth-- quite possibly the nicest hotel bathroom I've ever had (hey, I'm easily impressed ).
--I won't analyze the games much, as there is truly not much else to say other than that we were terrible. We had a bit of bad luck to boot both nights-- especially Sunday-- but it didn't really matter with the way we played. I knew the offense was in a major, major tailspin, but I was hopeful our pitching and defense could grind out some wins like we'd been doing for several weeks. But Arroyo and Cueto both got hit hard and the defense behind them was atrocious.
--My brother-in-law and I did have a lot of fun laughing at Willy Taveras. Wow, just wow-- it's shocking that we went out of our way to sign that guy. Amazing.
--Anyway, don't want to end on a negative note. Definitely disappointed that they were uncompetitive both nights-- especially considering I get to see them so rarely, but I do love the Reds and was very happy/excited to get to see a couple of games. And it's never a bad day/night if you are with friends/family at the ballpark, that's for sure. A quick, fun weekend treat to be sure.