As someone who calls himself a Royals fan, I'm ashamed to admit I've never been to more than 10 games in a season, have never purchased multi-game packages, and have only entertained the idea of season tickets the same way one entertains the idea of springing for the nice underpants at Nordstrom's.*
*will anyone else enjoy this?
*will I enjoy this?
*this is such a waste of money, right?
*I wonder if anyone will see me
*wait, isn't Ancient Aliens on right now?
Saying that, I still think I know Kauffman pretty well and have enjoyed most views both before and after the renovations. Opening Day, Friday nights, Sunday days, Tuesdays-while-I'm-supposed-to-be-working. Up close, up top, under the canopy, in the rain, 1st base side, 3rd base side, in the Luxury Boxes* (imagine: refridgerators stocked with as much Stella as you can stomach!), in the "outfield plaza." Almost everywhere in the K.
*I once sat about 5-6 seats and a box-divider away from Glass himself. He was grimacing but was otherwise pleasant if devoid of anyone else sitting next to him.
*I also got to see Splittorff in person before his voice changed. He was bigger than I thought he'd be.
One thing I hadn't had an opportunity to try before last night, though, was the BATS Crown Club Seats™. My brother-in-law called me last week, saying his company had some and it was his turn to go. Rain or shine, Twins or Marlins, I'm there, I say! Well, it was against the Twins but it only pretended to almost rain. Otherwise, it was an awesome experience.
Here's how it went:
First, you get to pull right up to the back door of the stadium in that small parking lot between Kauffman and Arrowhead. The only other time I've parked that close was trying to score Opening Day tickets. Walk right in, no lines, take the elevator down, enjoy the game sir.*
*Just an observation: riding an elevator makes rich people feel rich.
Once the elevator settled one level below, I stepped out into a welcoming line of wide-eyed-but-pretending-they've-done-it-before attendees. One amazing and slightly-drunk hillbilly family in front of us wasn't even pretending to not be amazed. When we stepped in behind them, the mom leaned-in with bug-eyed wonder, "We were SELECTED." If you remember the green aliens from Toy Story you'll know the exact voice she used. At the end of the line we were awarded our Come To Play™ t-shirts and an invisible stamp on our hands.
Not exactly 10-J-Q-K-Greinke shirt night.
The next part was walking into what looked like a standard hotel conference room, with a middle island as a nice buffet. Lots of mingling. Lots of button-ups and polos. Tons of staff. There was prime rib with a guy cutting as much as you want, an entire salad bar, a fajita bar, with meats and cheeses and shrimp. Imagine any Game of Thrones feast and it was pretty close except there were no murders. I ate as much as I could stomach (avoid the smokey cheese. Trust me.), and drank as much as I could swallow.
Just before the game, we found our seats. Mine was front row, 4 over. You literally cannot get closer to the game without being in the game. From there it was time to enjoy the game (LOL). The servers were still ready to bring whatever I wanted, which was another few drinks and a big nacho.
The Game Itself
Obviously, the game was terrible. The best part was being within spitting distance of Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau while they were standing in the unmarked batter's circle. I didn't actually spit at them.
I won't lie and say I wasn't starstruck. I will say it was very similar to any movie you've ever seen where there's an actor slightly-out-of-focus and not looking directly at the camera that made it so surreal. If they all had one thing in common, it's that even the smaller guys seemed so huge.*
*Did Moustakas gain weight around his ... uh ... midsection? I don't ask to be hurtful (since I'm certainly guilty of the same), I ask because that's not what I expected from a man that's supposed to be one of the foundations of our club. I also realize comparing diets/work-out regimens against Alex Gordon's probably isn't fair. But still, I'd love a confirmation on whether I'm imagining a little pooch appearing on our favorite Moose.
Watching the pitches come in from that angle was fun. Watching the Royals whiff and miss and not swing was not fun. Watching the great Billy Butler stop in mid-run (instead of legging it out) because he thought he was already out was disappointing, but it's hard to get on one of our best hitters. I will admit I screamed out, Where's George?!!
The overwhelming feeling I got from watching the Royals was that they just didn't want to be there. I'm probably projecting how I would feel if I was doing that poorly and getting paid millions to not do poorly.
All-in-all, I completely loved the experience even if the Royals were entirely unwatchable. Great food, attentive service, amazing seats, and almost wonderful memories. Getting Hosmer, Mauer, and Butler in the same photo was just a bonus: