August 19, 2016
I had bought tickets on a whim the night before and invited my brother to go with me. It was the beginning of a difficult year at work and I knew if I didn’t plan on doing something else, I would likely spend a good 2-3 hours at work after contract time yet again on a Friday. It was also likely to be the last time I would visit Kauffman that season. There was little consultation of the weather forecast before we headed out to the game. I packed my usual game day items and added a towel because it was August in Kansas City. I like to put a wet towel on my neck if I sit in the heat for too long.
1: Check the weather before you go to the game, and plan accordingly. Ponchos cost $10 at the stadium.
2: Charge up your phone before or on the way out to the ballpark. I didn’t.
We had tickets on the view level up on the 3rd base line. Edinson Volquez was pitching that night for us against the Minnesota Twins. It was Zombie night, and although I don’t recall seeing too many dressed up as Zombies in our section, there was definitely an air of the supernatural swirling about. View level as a whole wasn’t filled as much as you might expect for a Friday night, probably some smart fans consulted the weather and decided not to attend.
The Boys in Blue had taken the lead early and were up 4-1 going into the 5th inning. The weather was disintegrating by that time, the wind had picked up and the clouds were swirling, dark and menacing. Then the wheels came off the Volquezwagon and Minnesota came back to tie it up in the 5th inning. Most of us were in the stands hoping that Volquez could have held on long enough to get an official game. A collective groan issued from the stands when Polanco drove in a couple of runs tying it up as the storm rushed in.
There was lightning in the area and it was a real downpour, so the brother and I decided to head down to the ground level concourse. At that point we had no idea whether the game would be delayed or postponed. Part of me hoped for a postponement, as I was fairly tired after my work week.
There was the thought I always have of running down the ramp, but adult thoughts of slipping on the wet concrete won. We joined the thousands hanging out on the concourse as the storm blew in. It was noisy and crowded, although nothing like the crush of people at the parade. We had just finished some concessions; if I were smart I would have at least refilled my souvenir cup with some caffeinated beverage.
3: Concession stands tend to close early on a night game rain delay, so load up accordingly.
So we stood around for a while, called the parents to let them know we were okay and staying until we had more information. We made our way down the 3rd base concourse when we got tired of standing around to catch a breeze and check on the severity of the rain. It was still raining hard, water pouring off the side of the stands.
The brother found a TV to watch for a few minutes while I looked at the phone and perhaps posted once or twice on the game thread. My battery was probably down to less than 35% so I couldn’t spend too much time on the phone.
4: Pay attention to everything at Kauffman, check out the team store. Get really silly criticizing what the team will put a logo on.
Probably about an hour into the rain delay the concourse starts to clear out a little and we mosey our way to the team store, which stayed open. Did you know pylons on the main level concourse have interesting statistics and team facts on them? It was the kind of night to pay attention to each one. We spent about 30 minutes or so looking at every item in the team store. I remember purchasing some baseball cards and a team yearbook, at that point we had decided to hunker down and stay so we needed reading material.
5: Walk the length of the concourse a couple of times, might as well pad your daily step count. Or join the Forrest Gump Club and run around the stadium in the rain.
After walking down the 1st base side of the concourse and back, I was getting tired and needed to sit down. We made like bums and sat in front of the Boulevard bar near the Diamond Club. It was about 11:30 so I closed my eyes for a few minutes.
6: It’s always a good time for a nap.
Around midnight we got up again and started trying out seats in various sections behind Minnesota’s dugout. We cheered the Forrest Gump club as they came around yet another time. It was nice that they decided to show the end of the Angels game on the big screen, it kept the brother happy.
I think play resumed with a light drizzle around 12:30 with Strahm on the mound, which was a treat. We started out under the loge above a concourse tunnel but as the rain quit we eventually found our own row to hang out in around 10 rows behind the Minnesota dugout. That towel came in handy for cleaning off the seats.
The stadium was big and largely empty by this time. My best guess is there were around 1000 fans left. There is a grand echo and the feeling that the stadium is sighing. You can hear distinct voices yelling across the stadium.
7: If one of your greatest ambitions is to be featured on Crown Vision, this is the time to put forth your best antics.
We made it on twice, once when I perfectly timed popping my brother with the towel, the second when my brother laughed at me during air guitar.
By this time I am "drunk" with exhaustion, the whole thought of being at the stadium this late is surreal, some of the lights going out delayed the game by another 20 minutes, and we are into extra innings. While the brother and I are still hoping for a win, I think perhaps I would have been just happy to get it over with. The dudes in mantis masks start to swim before my eyes, while others flap angel wings in the Crown seats.
Then almost all of a sudden, Cuthbert gets on base and Hosmer is up to bat yet again. I remember yelling at Hoz "There’s no place like home". Next thing I know he hits one to drop into right field and Cuthbert rounds the bases to score the 5th run of the game, thereby ending the grand ordeal at 2:15 A.M.
My brother and I hug with joy, we watch Salvy dump a couple cups of water on Hoz for the first time and bounce our way up the steps toward the car. Yes, my brother was bouncing up the steps at 2:30 A.M. On the whole it was an unforgettable experience I hope not to repeat any time soon.