First, I have never done this before so please bear with me as I try to not go too far off track and try to keep this interesting....
Growing up in the 80s and 90s just over the river from STL in Illinois, I was raised as mostly a Pirates fan. My parents are both from Pennsylvania and my father has long supported the Steelers, Penguins and Pirates. I grew up hearing stories about the greats like Clemente and Stargell. At the same time, everyone I knew was a Cardinals fan. I had players with the Cards I looked up to myself such as Mark McGwire, Brian Jordan and Ozzie Smith just to name a few. While I loved going to Cards games at the old Busch Stadium and enjoyed watching some of my favorite players, it just didn't feel like "my team." My father and I were more football fans than anything, so baseball was always sort of in the background.
Fast forward several years.... One day I hear about this young player named Alex Gordon, who I watched and thought "this guy is going to do stuff for sure." I enjoyed watching him but was still more of a football fan at the time so not much more thought was given. Then not too long after I noticed Gordo, Cardinals fans I knew get upset that Rick Ankiel was playing for the rival Royals. I thought, well that's interesting. I quickly realized that something about the Royals drew my interest. At first, maybe it was that their main color is my favorite color or that I have always liked something different than everyone else. I am not usually one to just follow suit. Then I thought about how Gordo's play caught my attention for some reason. My next thought was "alright, these Royals are my #2 team now."
I continued being mostly a Pirates fan for many years. Life got busy and baseball was just simply not on my radar as much as football.
Fast forward to 2014. My wife and I are living in Indianapolis with our young child and expecting our 2nd. I notice the Royals are in the post season. As previously mentioned, I am more into football. I do catch some of the World Series though and felt just awful that the team (KC) poised to win that year didn't.
In 2015, we are living back in the STL area, and the Royals return to the World Series. Something told me they are for sure going to get it. After some very exciting moments and outstanding teamwork, they did it. (Side note: I have rewatched the 2015 World Series film narrated by Paul Rudd more than most sports docs, I highly recommend it)
After my kids start getting older and us all being a Chiefs family, I decided to take my wife and children to KC and catch a Royals game for all of our first time at the K. After all, it is only a few hours west and it's a great weekend trip to a nicer city than what we are used to.
9/29/19 Twins Vs. Royals
My initial reaction was that the K is such a stunning ballpark, that was just from walking in the gates. Once inside I got this calm feeling that just washed over me. It was like I was meant to be there. I have missed this my whole life and am so happy that I get to experience this with my beautiful family. Nothing mattered outside of that ballpark. Then as we venture through the park to see the outfield experience for the kids and the Hall of Fame, it just kept getting better.
As we sit in our seats in the upper deck, I notice how marvelous the view is from farther up. I never felt that I could see a game that well from other ballparks.
"There is nothing like watching baseball in a park built for baseball, where you can be close to the field and the players."
-Media Guide (1973)
I then get to see one of my favorite players play in person finally, Gordo. Additionally, we see Ned Yost wave an emotional goodbye before his last game as a manager. Then seeing Jorge Soler hit a HR in the 1st inning, wow was that exciting. Soler Power! What a great game to go to for our first time being there.
For the next several years, we continued to try and make it to any games we could after that. My kids love being there as much as I do. They never want to leave. Almost any other stadium we have gone to, the kids ask when we can leave but not at the K.
This year we decided to become season ticket holders (yes, we still live near STL). I have always dreamed of being a season ticket member to one of my favorite teams but could never do it. I finally did it and felt instantly both excited and somewhat proud of the accomplishment. Throughout the season being able to catch STM events and meeting players, I could not be happier as a STM. I just wish I lived closer so I could be there more often.
We got to spend our first ever opening day at a ballpark this year. This was also the same week as my son's birthday. We caught the whole opening week series against the Twins. Plenty of memories were made there, from staff and fans in line singing happy birthday to my boy - to Royals staff visiting our seats to wish him a happy birthday, what an amazing experience.
Then in June, for my daughter's birthday we got to spend a long weekend at the K watching the Angels play. We again caught the whole series. My daughter's #2 team is the Angels as she is a very big Ohtani fan. Another great weekend of immense memories for my family and me.
I now use most of my vacation time for extended weekends and any trip we can make it to the K. We absolutely love it there.
The K to me is not just a ballpark. It's not just home to the Royals who are (unfortunately right now) one of the worst baseball teams. This is my place of peace. This stadium means more to me than most others. I could not ask for a better atmosphere. As someone who occasionally struggles with depression and anxiety, it is very much important that I have a place that I know I can go to even in my darkest times and find peace. Equally comforting is the bonding and joy my family and I get to savor there together.