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Kirsten Brown

The k-bro KC Report

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Originally posted at k-bro's baseball blog

The family and I went on yet another baseball-themed long-weekend trip, this time to beautiful Kansas City. And like every family trip we've ever been on, the weather was really hot.

The Weather:
Yeah, it's summer, and I'm fully aware that Kansas City knows how to do hot, but man, that heat was something else. Additionally, the whole area is suffering a devastating drought. So even though the lack of humidity makes for a dry heat, it also allows for the temperatures to raise to record numbers. Whew.

The dry conditions are remarkable. The ditches along the roads have no grass or wildflowers, only short stubbles of kindling. It looks like an errantly-thrown lit cigarette would cause serious problems.

Oh, and the heat also caused some engine trouble both on the way there and on the way home. Nothing serious, just an inconvenience. But not really fun when we were excited to reach our destination.

The Barbecue:
On the recommendation of a tweet from the Star-Tribune's La Velle E. Neal III, we decided to give Oklahoma Joe's a try. We went to the "original" location, which is attached to a really tiny gas station that, for some reason, also had a huge selection of frolfing (frisbee-golfing) discs.

It was two o'clock in the afternoon, and we still had to stand in line about 45 minutes.

It. Was. Worth. It.

I ordered a "Z-man" sandwich: brisket, melted smoked provolone, a few huge onion rings, and sauce on a kaiser roll. Oh. Emm. Gee! It was the best sandwich I've ever eaten. My husband, who is pretty selective about barbecued ribs, just loved them. The fries were very good as well. The coleslaw is fair, but I'm pretty fussy about that. The dirty rice was meh (my husband makes it way better).

I've heard that the "burnt ends" of brisket are amazing, but, alas, they were out.

Add this place to your bucket list.

The Museum:
Speaking of bucket lists, visiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum has been on mine for awhile. We've been to KC a number of times, and this time I demanded (well, ok, asked nicely) to allow time to visit.

It's a small-ish museum, but it's packed with lots of great stuff. And while the hardships that African-American players faced during segregation are discussed, the talent of these great players is the focus.

The best part was the "Field of Legends," bronze statues of the Negro Leagues superstars.

I enjoyed my experience there and I'm proud that I can cross this off my bucket list.

There is also a Jazz museum next door, but, regrettably, we didn't have time to visit.

The Bobblehead:
Speaking of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Saturday's Royals/Twins game was played in its honor. You may have seen the throwback uniforms the teams wore: the Royals in Kansas City Monarchs uniforms and the Twins in St. Paul Gophers (referred to in the museum as the "St. Paul Black Gophers") uniforms. The St. Paul Gophers weren't officially part of the Negro Leagues; the team dissolved before the league was formed. There were no official Negro League teams from Minnesota.

In addition, the stadium giveaway was an awesome bobblehead doll of Buck O'Neil. Buck was a former KC Monarchs player and manager, the first African-American MLB coach, a great ambassador for the Negro Leagues and all of baseball, and a great Royals fan.

Here he is:
Isn't he great?

The Game:
We only wanted to go to one game, so we chose Saturday's. We wanted to have an evening around the campfire on Friday, which, due to the drought, turned out to be an evening around the radio.

We tailgated a bit before the game, which was fun, even though it was pretty hot. We met some nice college-aged Royals fan guys. I've always liked Royals fans; they're quite friendly.

As far as the actual game: the Twins were terrible. The Royals were not.

Enough said.
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  1. TwinsGuy55422's Avatar
    Sounds like you guys had fun. I, too, drove to KC with my wife to take in some Twins baseball. We were there from Thursday afternoon until Sunday morning. We went to the game on Friday which was cool because they won 2-1 in 11 innings and they had the fire works display after the game. I also landed myself two balls which was pretty cool. One was thrown my way by Butera during batting practice and the other Casilla threw to me as he was running off the field after the last out of the first inning. We looked around in the Royals Hall of Fame before the game and it was pretty cool. They have a giant number 5 made up of 3154 baseballs representing the total number of hits in George Brett's career. In the middle of the 5, they have the bat he used for his 3000th hit in a display case.

    I went to the Negro Leagues Museum on Friday and found it pretty interesting. I liked the movie they show when you first come in and the field with the bronze statues.

    I ate lunch at the original Arthur Bryant's BBQ which looks like kind of a dive in a not so great part of town. We got there at just the right time because by the time we got our food there was a line out the door for the lunch rush. The food was phenomenal and the portions are huge. They also have all these pictures on the wall of various famous people eating there.

    I also checked out something called the College Basketball Experience which was pretty cool. It has all these different interactive exhibits and also houses the National College Basketball Hall of Fame.

    The Power and Light District in downtown was also a pretty cool place to grab some food and listen to music.

    I concur with your assessment on the drought conditions. I don't know if I saw a blade of green grass the whole time we were there.

    One other thing I noticed about KC in driving around different parts of the city was how quickly it would change from the nice part of town to the not-so-great areas.

    All in all, a very cool city and a great place to watch a ball game.
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