In KC, it’s not always easy to be a Royals or Chiefs fan
Royals: Despite the franchise’s urging to “Be Royal,” it hasn’t always been easy for fans of the city’s Major League Baseball club. A 28-year playoff drought will do that, of course. But last year’s 86-76 finish pumped some optimism into the franchise, and fans entered the 2014 season with eyes on the postseason.
As the Royals plug away this summer, thousands of fans will file into the fountain-bearing confines of Kauffman Stadium. On Buck Nights, you can get hot dogs, small sodas and peanuts for just a dollar a pop.
Chiefs: The team ended a recent run of futility last season to earn its first playoff berth since 2010. Led by a new head coach (Andy Reid) and starting quarterback (Alex Smith), the Chiefs reeled off nine straight victories to start the season and finished 11-6 overall.
They will attempt to build upon that success when they kick off the season Sept. 7 against the Tennessee Titans, but those hoping for a sneak peek of this year’s squad can get one at training camp this summer in St. Joseph or at preseason games at Arrowhead. Check kcchiefs.com for dates.
Sporting KC: It would have been hard to imagine just a few years ago, but Kansas City has slowly been transforming into a soccer-crazy town. Sporting KC has emerged as the city’s most successful sports franchise in recent history, highlighted by a victory over Real Salt Lake in the MLS championship last season.
The team’s state-of-the-art stadium is a Wi-Fi-infused gem, and the home team’s cheering section, the Cauldron, features the kind of raucous fans typically associated with college basketball.
College Basketball Experience: A focal point of the Power & Light District downtown, the CBE gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the sport and its rich history. It’s home to the National College Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as a variety of interactive exhibits. Visitors can test their three-point shooting, compare their physical attributes to those of college players or channel Dick Vitale in a highlight voiceover. Tickets are $10 for those ages 4-17 and $13 for adults.
| Dugan Arnett, The Kansas City Star
Cardinals, Rams and Blues share St. Louis with other popular franchises
St. Louisans have an undeniable love affair with their sports teams. The city is frequently ranked among the best sports cities in the nation with a knowledgeable and supportive fan base.
While the professional teams tend to get most of the glory and attention — the Cardinals are an intrinsic part of summer in the city — the minor league teams also draw a crowd. It can be a more personal and affordable experience for families.
The River City Rascals, in O’Fallon., Mo., and the Gateway Grizzlies in Sauget, Ill., are members of the West Division of the Frontier League. Both have special promotions in the summer, and the Grizzlies ballpark has appeared on Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food.” USA Today named it the top ballpark for food in 2013, and Sports Illustrated named it second in ballpark food that year. Tickets start at $5.
It would be unbecoming for fans of one of the most storied clubs in baseball to brag about their team, but the St. Louis Cardinals have won 19 National League pennants and 11 World Series championships, including those in 2006 and 2011. So join the sea of red and experience one of baseball’s best franchises. Tickets range from $11 to $650. Or head to the new Ballpark Village just next door for bars, restaurants, rooftop seats and Movie Mondays.
Fifty years of heartbreak have not deterred the area’s hockey fans from cheering the St. Louis Blues playing in the Scottrade Center. Despite chronic playoff disappointments, the Blues were a playoff presence every year from 1980 to 2004 — the third longest streak in North American professional sports history. Tickets range from $26 to more than $275.
The St. Louis Rams had their glory days with back-to-back Super Bowl appearances in 1999 and 2000. But even though the Greatest Show on Turf seems a distant memory, the team has turned around under head coach Jeff Fisher. Regardless of win-loss records, the Edward Jones Dome and tailgating remain NFL fan favorites. Tickets range from $54 to more than $327.
| Aisha Sultan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch