Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Making a Difference In the Offseason

For baseball fans the offseason is a time of impatience and anticipation. Sure, we understand that players need rest and that trades and re-grouping must take place at some point, we just wish a week was long enough. We think of MLB players and wonder what exactly they are up to during all the downtime. We know what some of them are up to because they pop in and out of our Twitter newsfeeds quite often. Some guys, however, go under the radar for a few months. Though, a little time outside of the spotlight is much deserved, praise is also deserved when a guy takes time during his off season to make a difference. Let the light shine on Minnesota Twins right-handed pitcher Nick Blackburn. The 30-year old from Ada, Okla., took the time this winter to make a small gesture that made a big impact on one deserving fan.
When you are a junior high kid with a huge passion for baseball, your main worries should be centered around how well you played your last game, current news surrounding your favorite MLB team and what homework assignment you need to turn in the next day at school. Unfortunately for 14-year-old Dylan Hargus, the past year left him with a bit more on his mind. In May 2011, Dylan had finished his first season of pitching for Amber-Pocasset Junior High’s baseball team in Amber, Okla. His older sister had just graduated Amber-Pocasset High School, his older brother had moved back home from college for the summer and his parents were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary. To celebrate, the Hargus family departed on their first family vacation to Mexico. One short day after landing in the Caribbean, the family was called with devastating news. On the evening of May 24, 2011, a large outbreak of tornados developed and moved across Oklahoma, and the surrounding states, killing eight and injuring 60 in Oklahoma alone. One of these outbreaks caused extensive damage in Grady County, southwest of Oklahoma City. It was soon discovered that the tornados completely demolished the Hargus home and farm located just east of Chickasha, Okla. The Hargus family was left without a house, vehicles and almost all of their belongings. Included in the loss were Dylan’s horse and the rest of their farm animals. Most importantly, the family survived since they were not at home. Though this was a huge blessing, surviving a traumatic event and having to pick up the pieces and start over was somewhat overwhelming for young Dylan and his family. Less than three months later, Dylan’s maternal grandfather, whom he was quite close to, suddenly passed away. The year had been tough, and by the time the holiday season rolled around, Dylan was in need of some cheer.
On December 12, 2011, cheer was exactly what he got. Blackburn had sent Dylan an early Christmas gift of a #53 Nike glove and a signed ball and baseball card. Dylan said, “I was really shocked.” However, it wasn’t a total surprise to his parents. A few weeks prior, Bryan Hargus encountered Blackburn in Norman, Okla. Blackburn was a familiar face to Bryan. In January 2010, his son Dylan had received a private pitching lesson from Blackburn at the baseball facility at Amber-Pocasset High School. Dylan had entered a silent auction for this lesson at the Grady County Basketball Tournament in Ninnekah, Okla. Alicia Blackburn, Nick’s wife, was the Ninnekah High School softball coach at that time and had submitted the prize.
During the encounter in Norman, Bryan struck up a conversation with Blackburn about the pitching lesson. When Blackburn asked how Dylan was doing, Bryan made him aware of the unfortunate events that his son had been subjected to that year, and noted that the signed baseball and card Dylan treasured, from the pitching lesson, were lost in the tornado as well. “He (Blackburn) took down our address and said he would send Dylan something,” said Dylan’s Mother, Dana Hargus, “but we didn’t know if he would remember.” Blackburn did remember though, and such a small package brought a great amount of joy to the family just a few days prior to Christmas. “Dylan was surprised and had a big grin on face,” Dana recounts. “He (Dylan) was excited and went straight into his room to put the items on a shelf, and took pictures with his phone to send to friends.” The special items sent from Blackburn were a nice touch to Dylan’s new room, as the Hargus family moved into their newly re-built home the week prior to Thanksgiving 2011.
Oklahoma is a great distance from Target Field, the Twins’ home field in Minnesota. However, Dylan was able to make a trip to Arlington, Texas last summer to watch Blackburn pitch for the Twins in the first game of four in a series with the Texas Rangers. The family plans to catch the Twins series with the Rangers again this summer, as well. It only takes a little effort to gain a fan for life. It is doubtful Nick Blackburn was thinking about boosting his fan base when he took the time to send a special gift, it would seem he wasn’t thinking about himself at all.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Moments I Remember Most: 2011

January is a month for rejuvenation and looking forward to great things in the year ahead. It is also time for reflection of the events and memories that stand out from the previous year. Here are some of the moments I remember most from the world of sports in 2011:

1/3/2011 The Golf Channel rolled out a new morning show. Morning Drive was not only successful and greatly influential in its first year, it gave an exciting new buzz to the golf world. Everyone that worked in golf or was a fan of golf was talking about Morning Drive. It is now my favorite way to wake up in the morning. Among the topics discussed on the show are a couple of my favorite stories of 2011. The Year of the Rookie: 7 wins on the PGA Tour in 2011, were earned by 6 PGA Tour rookies. Two of these wins were majors. The Golf Boys: The un-official boy band of the PGA Tour, consisting of Ben Crane, Bubba Watson, Hunter Mahan and Rickie Fowler. Their single Oh, Oh, Oh…still makes me laugh and raised good money for charity.

3/27/11 For the second year in a row…and in only their second year as a franchise… the Oklahoma City Thunder clinched a trip to the NBA Playoffs after a 99-90 win over Portland. 5/25/11 Dallas Mavericks beat the Thunder 100-96 on their way to the NBA Finals in game 5 of the series. 6/12/11 Mavs won the NBA Championship title in Game 6 over the Miami Heat.

4/4/11 University of Connecticut beat Butler 53-41 to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four Championship in Houston. This is significant because for the first time in years I could not remember just now who won! All I could tell you is that St. Johns was the March Madness team in 2011 that the country discovered for possibly the first time. 3/17/11 St. John was eliminated from the tournament by Gonzaga. 4/2/11 I became aware of the best golfer to come out of St. Johns University…this also took place in Houston. What a great 2011 for PGA Tour rookie Keegan Bradley, who won the Byron Nelson and the PGA Championship in his first attempt at a major.

4/10/11 Rory McIlroy led or co-led the entire 2011 Masters until the 10th hole of his final round. One wayward shot led to an epic collapse. I literally paused the coverage on my DVR and said a quick prayer for the kid. He was so off focus and emotional. McIlroy walked off the course at Augusta, after losing the championship to Charl Schwartzel, with his head held high and gave a very inspiring and positive post-round interview. However, you knew he was hurting. 6/19/11 Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open in dominating fashion. McIlroy won by a record low score of 268, 16 under par. The 22-year-old hugged his father Gerry that day on the 18th green, surely one of the best Father’s Day gifts Gerry has received from his son.

4/26/11 Chicago Blackhawks were knocked out of the NHL Playoffs in Round 2 by bitter rivals the Vancouver Canucks after a 2-1 overtime loss in Vancouver. Though my beloved Blackhawks left game 7 with a loss in hand and visions of defending their Stanley Cup wiped away…it was one of the most intense and fun games of hockey I have ever seen. The game went down to the nail biting end after Chicago came back from a 3-0 deficit in the series to force game 7. The highly visible Canadian Olympic Gold Medal winning goalie Roberto Luongo had 31 saves in the game after struggling in the series. However, he was evenly matched by Chicago’s rookie goalie Corey Crawford who ended the game with 36 saves. It was an incredible battle between two beasts. The Blackhawks went from just sliding into the playoffs to being a legitimate threat. It was in a word: Crawsome.

5/31/11 It was announced that Winnipeg, Manitoba would get an NHL hockey team, once again, much to the elation of Winnipeg residents. 6/4/11 Season tickets for the Jets games were sold on in 17 minutes.

5/31/11 On the same day…this side of the border, Jim Tressel resigned as Ohio State’s head football coach. This was amid NCAA violations due to players selling championship memorabilia for tattoos. Tressel’s knowledge of players receiving improper benefits from the tattoo parlor’s owner, keeping it quite and then lying about this knowledge till confronted with emails, landed him in hot water. This scandal at Ohio State seemed dicey at best...till November rolled around. 11/9/11 Penn State Head Football Coach Joe Paterno resigned at age 84. Paterno had coached football for 61 years and it was often thought that he might literally coach at Penn State for the rest of his life. However, after also holding knowledge that should have been made know he was all but forced to make an exit. Joe Paterno was aware of at least some of the facts surrounding his long time Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky’s part in the abuse of at least 8 children. Kind of makes tattoos in exchange for some National Championship bling sound like less of an issue huh?

9/28/1 The final day of the 2011 MLB regular season. Two comebacks in extra innings and 4 key games to dramatically change which teams would have a spot in the playoffs. The Rays came back from a 7-0 deficit in the 8th inning to beat the Yankees in extra innings and earn the AL Wildcard…only because the Orioles beat the Red Sox in extra innings within the same hour. The Orioles celebrated as if THEY were in the playoffs, however they were just proud to have thwarted the Red Sox from moving forward into the post season. The Cardinals won easily in Houston to keep them in the hunt for a playoff spot. Since the Braves topped off their disappointing season by losing to the Phillies…this sealed the playoff berth for St. Louis. 10/28/11 The Cardinals won the 2011 World Series, beating the Phillies along the way.

11/19/11 8 Seconds. Isn’t that a bull riding reference? A sappy movie with a guy from 90210 as the star cowboy? With only 8 seconds left in the Baylor vs. Oklahoma game, Baylor’s Robert Griffin III threw a touchdown pass to Terrance Williams to steal win from the Sooners. The Bears won 45-38 and on 12/10/11 Waco’s Honey BEAR RGIII won Baylor a Heisman.

Thanks for everyone who took time to read my blog in 2011 and years before. Hopefully, I will make more time to write in 2012. Cheers!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Dallas is Trending: Local Pro Teams Making Dallas the Place to Be!

I’m one of those people that always desire a new adventure, new places to experience and a new environment to thrive in. I have lived in the Dallas Fort Worth area for several years and I always catch myself saying that I want to move to Denver, San Diego or anywhere but Dallas. I’ve met athletes and musicians that say Dallas is one of their favorite cities to visit. Until recently I just didn’t buy into those statements. I would tell them they are crazy…that it's easy to say Dallas is fun when you have the luxury of actually living in a great place like Chicago or Jupiter, Fla. It’s Texas people! Also…I’m an Oklahoma girl that doesn’t believe that Texas is truly a great nation of its own. Despite my doubts, in the last couple of months I made a conscious decision to take in all that Dallas has to offer and to really embrace this city. A huge part of that, if you are a sports addict like me, is learning to appreciate the home teams. The following is a look at what we are working with in DFW. The Dallas-Fort Worth area is laid out like this: Dallas to the east, Arlington in the Middle and Fort Worth to the West. The Mavericks and the Stars play in the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. The Cowboys and the Rangers compete in Arlington, a block away from one another.


I will go ahead and get the obligatory Cowboys blurb out of the way. It is quite simple. We are not “living the life” here in Dallas nor reaping any rewards associated with pride and victorious spirit, due to any accomplishments of the Cowboys. The Dallas Cowboys have made it to the post-season five times since 2000. In 2010 the team won the NFC Wild Card, their first playoff win since 1996, only to lose the following divisional game. No one is jumping on that band wagon! One would hope that at least some members on the Cowboys roster would catch some of the Rangers fever to win, since they are in close proximity, but it hasn’t happened yet.


The Rangers are making scorching hot Texas summers even hotter…and much more tolerable. In 2010 the ball club made their first World Series appearance since moving the organization to Texas. In 2011 the Rangers made their second trip. Since 2000 only three American League teams tout multiple World Series appearances: Texas, New York and Boston. If you know anything about baseball you are aware that being in a grouping alongside the Yankees and the Red Sox means success, national attention and confidence. Instead of being just one of 14 AL teams, the Rangers are now a highly relevant club in a city full of other successful and elite professional sports teams. How ya like that Jay-Z?! Fans should look forward to the 2012 season, with an $11.5 million dollar renovation to the centerfield plaza and visitor bull pen underway at The Ballpark in Arlington, and C.J Wilson the only notable free agent with a probable exit from the team, things are looking solid. The Rangers should make a strong push for the playoffs in 2012. DFW may never be granted the opportunity to host another Super Bowl…but the area will most like host another World Series!


Let’s move over to downtown Dallas, where dining options and nightlife are on a whole other level if nothing else. Before we discuss basketball let me remind everyone that the Dallas Mavericks ARE the reigning NBA Champions. That may not be much for Mavs fans to hold onto right now but it is still huge. In case you have no idea how things work on the professional hardwood, the Mavs hosted their 2010-2011 season opener on October 27, 2010. Due to a lockout, (I won’t go into detail) there has yet to be an NBA game played this season, and I for one, am not looking to see one played any time soon. Hold onto that NBA title Mavs fans, it has been the first and only in Dallas since the club hit Dallas in 1980, but it is still an accessory no other city has the chance to claim right now.


What have the Dallas Stars Benn up to?! No typo there…I am saving the best for last. Since we are in Texas…not the Midwest, the northeast or Canada, you may need some urging and education to grab onto the local NHL team. I know most of us have a hard time getting excited about hockey at first. It is often not in our blood. We didn’t play it growing up, it is not a family tradition like football on Thanksgiving and most of the athletes are foreign anyway. However, if you love sports you need to trust me on this. Hockey is the fastest, most aggressive and demanding sport played. Lucky for you, the Dallas Stars are a team to beat this season. Yes, some of you thought the Stars would struggle after the loss of center Brad Richards to the New York Rangers. However, with guys like left winger Jamie Benn, right winger Loui Eriksson, center Steve Ott and team captain Brenden Morrow looking better than ever, it makes sense that the currently Stars lead the NHL Western Conference.

So, you might not be skiing on the weekends like you would as a Colorado resident. You won’t be eating the freshest seafood and perfecting a golden tan, whilst watching surfers on a Saturday, as you would in San Diego either. Yet, Dallas residents should feel secure that the city we live in is trending. It is a hot spot of fashion, fine cuisine and successful professional sports teams…that are only getting better.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Five Ballparks in 2011: Angel Stadium of Anaheim

Angel Stadium of Anaheim- Anaheim, CA- Home of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

From San Francisco to Anaheim, National League to American. Welcome to Angel Stadium of Anaheim. Let it roll of your tongue. Los…Angeles…Angels…of…Anaheim. Ok, so the name is slightly unpleasant and trying, especially for life-long Angels fans. However, the home ballpark for the Angels is quite the opposite. The updated version of “The Big A”, as fans call it, was complete in time for Opening Day in 1998. I am sure there is no argument that it was an adequate improvement to say the least.
As you arrive, park conveniently just outside Angel Stadium for under $10 and make your way toward the welcoming two giant Angels’ hats that adorn the impressive entrance. Leave your jacket in the car, as the California sun should be fully present for the game. We ate in Downtown Disney prior to the game, so I am not able to suggest my favorite food option. However, I did read that in 2011, ARAMARK added 11 new dinning venues to the park and 50 new menu items. Head over to the outfield plaza sponsored by Coors Light to make a selection, and even enjoy the outside bar area. While in the outfield, take note of the “California Spectacular.” This landmark of the stadium is a pile of boulders, some of which are appropriately in the form of an “A”, in left centerfield equipped with geysers that erupt and stream down the side throughout the game.
If you don’t have tickets yet, let me tell you which ones you want to save your pennies for. In between the home and visitor dugout, 50 feet from the batter’s box, are 10 dugout suites that hold 12 people each. Can you imagine that game experience?! If you aren’t quite so privileged, you will still enjoy the game. Look out from your seat, past the cars speeding by on Highway 57, and take in the view of the San Gabriel and Santa Ana Mountains, along with the Brea Hills. We were lucky enough to enjoy a post-game concert featuring Dierks Bentley the night of the game we attended. Though, I always enjoy seeing Dierks, the acoustics in the ballpark left a lot to be desired, as you would imagine.
As you head out of the park, you will hopefully get to see the halo atop the long standing “A” marquee lit up to signal a home or away game victory for the Angels. As an added bonus, it should take you no time to get out of the well flowing parking lot. Now…go light up L.A!
Overview: Convenient stadium access, view of the mountains, nice weather, plenty of food options, and not a bad seat in the park.

Centerfield Plaza Surrounding the "California Spectacular"

The Dugout Suites

Stadium View

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Five Ballparks in 2011: AT&T Park

AT&T Park- San Francisco, CA- Home of the World Champion San Francisco Giants

Is there anything more American than catching a baseball game on the Fourth of July? Try one of the greatest American cities (San Francisco) in one of the most coveted ballparks in America (AT&T Park), watching the reigning World Champion Giants, in perfect California Bay Area weather. Yeah…it was a great holiday. The Giants moved from Candlestick Park to their new home at AT&T Park in 2000. Originally, the park was called Pacific Bell Park, however, it was re-named SBC Park after the company’s acquisition of Pacific Bell in 2003. When AT&T merged with SBC in 2006 the park was re-named once again. I might note at this point that my iPhone worked just fine under AT&T service at the crowded park. My friends and I chose to park at Pier 39 for the game, since we planned to return there afterward. We hopped on a cable car then hopped off a few blocks from the stadium to walk the rest of the way, past the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Outside the stadium, you are greeted by a massive Willie Mays statue surrounded by 24 palm trees in tribute to the number 24 jersey Mays wore as a Giants’ legend. The right field wall inside AT&T Park is 24 feet high, also in honor of Mays. When you enter the stadium take some time to walk around and check things out before you settle down in your seat with a fresh order of garlic fries and clam chowder in a bread bowl. As you start out to explore AT&T Park, first take in the scenery. It is without a doubt one of the most picturesque views of any ball park in America. Gazing out to the San Francisco Bay, fans might have the tendency to drift away from the game at hand and simply enjoy the view and the nice San Francisco weather. It was July, so it was hot, but still bearable. Those attending a night game would most definitely need a jacket to stay comfortable though. Next, cruise on down to the promenade level of the stadium. Beginning in left field you will find a key area of excitement for kids or kids-at-heart, known as the Coca-Cola Fan Lot. A giant Coke bottle will stand before you that is actually an 80 foot long slide that lights up at night. I am still kicking myself that I didn’t take the time to go down that slide! Kids can also enjoy a giant baseball mitt, the Little Giants Mini Ballpark, and a cable car donned with a sign that boldly states “No Dodgers Fans Allowed.” In centerfield there are four pillars that shoot up water upon each Giants home run and victory. These pillars stand just above the very notable Levis Landing. Levis Landing is host to the Splash Hits board. Each Giants home run that is blasted outside the park to McCovey Cove is called a Splash Hit and these hits have been recorded cumulatively since the park opened. There have been 58 recorded Splash Hits by Giants at AT&T Park. Barry Bonds was responsible for 35 of them and Pablo Sandoval takes credit for the one I was fortunate enough to see on July 4, 2011. (Number 56 in the tally) McCovey Cove is the area of the China Basin just outside the park in right field. The Cove (as called by Giants fans) is named after former Giants first baseman Willie McCovey and is frequented by boats and kayaks enjoying the atmosphere and hoping to secure a coveted Splash Hit ball. Last stop around the promenade is the strikeout board in right field. This record of Giants strikeouts-per-game is manned by fans that place a K on the board for every strikeout earned. Now, make your way to your seat and enjoy the game. Try not to get too distracted by the sites that you miss a possible Splash Hit and the certain fight that will follow out in The Cove over the ball. After the game, head back over to Pier 39 for some excellent seafood and night life. Not all of you will be blessed enough to watch fireworks over Alcatraz…but there is always fun to be had in San Francisco. Overview: Unbeatable view of the San Francisco Bay, a giant Coke bottle slide (do not turn it down), nice weather, suspense of a possible Splash Hit and a great American city to enjoy while in town.
Overview: Unbeatable view of the San Francisco Bay, a giant Coke bottle slide (do not turn it down), nice weather, suspense of a possible Splash Hit and a great American city to enjoy while in town.

Wille Mays Statue and Honorary 24 Palm Trees

McCovey Cove and Strikeout Board

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Five Ballparks in 2011: Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park- Houston, Texas- Home of the Houston Astros

I am laughing at all the sappy intros I could use to begin this review. I will spare you the “come on ride the train” comments, as I can only imagine most would just roll their eyes and stop reading after the first sentence of this post (which still may happen). In June, I took a trip to Houston to visit friends and catch an Astros game at Minute Maid Park. Yes, Minute Maid Park is in Houston. Texas. Odd as it may seem that a ballpark holding the name of a citrus company is in Texas, it is one of the most interesting ballparks I have been too. Minute Maid Park is located in downtown Houston, with parking readily available across the street from the park on all sides. The city of Houston was basically built as a railroad stop, thus, the ballpark is strongly tied into local history. The park is connected to the former operating Union Station, and Minute Maid’s most unique attraction is the locomotive that runs on a track above left field after each Astros home run and victory.
Sitting out in the Huston humidity just not sounding fun to you? No worries, Minute Maid is equipped with a retractable roof. Much like another “OJ flavored” ballpark, Tropicana Field in Tampa, baseball is played indoors on most game days. However, in Houston you get the best of both worlds. On days with favorable weather (tell me when that is in Houston), the roof is open and outdoor baseball is enjoyed. When the roof is closed, fans are still treated to a downtown view since the retractable was designed with a glass wall. Sit in your seat and sing along to “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” or take time to stroll along the left field concourse and check out the tributes to Astros greats and successful seasons of the past. Minute Maid has a refined concourse loaded with Texas inspired food choices. Though it doesn’t offer view of the field, The Five Seven Grille in the outfield adds a sleek restaurant to the park. You want the view while you enjoy your ballpark food? Minute Maid offers several appealing spots for watching a ballgame while entertaining. The Union Station Roof Deck holds up to 125 and can be rented for $500. With both a downtown and park view, this is an impressive spot to host a party. If you are looking for a more engaging spot to watch the game you might want to reserve Coke Corner. Located at the top of center field, Coke Corner will seat 50 people and is rented for $625. I am betting the view from this premiere seating will not disappoint. If you would rather have the feel of a sports bar without the need for a flat screen, Minute Maid has you covered with an “are you kidding me?!” deal. Seating in the Budweiser Patio in centerfield, next to the Astros bull pen, is only $65 a seat and includes: dinner, unlimited beverages, and table service! Budweiser Patio is also right next to Tal’s Hill, which is exactly 436 feet from home plate. You never know what you might see over at Tal’s Hill either! The “grassy knoll” in dead centerfield was host to what is now known as “The Great Fan Escape,” in May 2011. During a home game a fan jetted across the outfield and was able to scale the hill and the ivy wall above it to evade security. I suppose you could witness a variety of entertainment at an Astros game. If at long last you are ready to venture out of the park to enjoy the company of friends, cross the street to the B.U.S. The laid-back open-air sports bar is a local favorite.
Overview: Climate controlled ballpark, unique seating options, great dining spots, easy access to pre or post-game downtown entertainment and a train loaded with oranges… that leaves you pulling for the home team just so you can see it move!

The centerfield concourse outside The Five Seven Grille and Budweiser Patio.

The leftfield concourse featuring a tribute to Astros great Jeff Bagwell.

View of Minute Maid Park from leftfield.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Five Ballparks in 2011: Kauffman Stadium

Kauffman Stadium- Kansas City, MO- Home of the Kansas City Royals

How does a trip to the City of Fountains sound? Not Rome…the official City of Fountains. Kansas City has more fountains than any city other than Rome at over 200 in total. Perhaps none of these fountains is more famous than the fountains of Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals. The weekend after I returned from San Diego and my visit to Petco Park, I made a day-trip to Kansas City to visit Kauffman Stadium and watch the Royals play the Twins. Since, Kauffman is in somewhat of a remote location the only notable view once inside the park is of the fountains, but it is still a really great park to watch baseball.
Parking is made very simple at Kauffman Stadium, since there is only one choice. You will park in a massive lot that is shared with the Chief’s Arrowhead Stadium, and you will pay $10. Drop-offs will be tricky. There could be a Midwest chill in the air if it is early or late in the season, but the weather should be nice and warm if it is summertime in Kansas City. It might be a good idea to get to the stadium early if you are not willing to miss a couple of innings of the game to visit the Royals Hall of Fame. This museum, found in left field, is a must see. Exhibits are not limited to Royals history and tributes to George Brett, but also include American League memorabilia and the history of the glove and bat. While in the outfield, check out the kids play area, featuring a Royals Carousel.
I suppose the thing to eat in Kansas City is barbecue, and might I suggest dining at Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue while in town, because that is where I ate prior to the game. I am unable to suggest a food selection at the park, however, I would lean toward stopping by Rivals Sports Bar in right field. This sports bar has an open air view of the park and offers a great atmosphere for watching the game. Located just below Rivals Sports Bar is the visitor’s dugout…and just to the right of it in center field is the best experience of Kaufmann Stadium, Pepsi Party Porch. For $45-52 you can secure a spot on this porch for game viewing and a fun and rowdy time. The porch is right in front of the fountains…which light up at night I might add. If you don’t have a ticket for the porch, no worries, the entire area behind it is open viewing, so check out who is warming-up to take the mound or just take in the view. Either way you are sure to enjoy a nice Garth Brooks sing-along to “Friends in Low Places,” and come away singing praises of Kauffman Stadium! I did….and my Twins sadly lost 2-11.

Rivals Sports Bar

The Fountains at Night

A Kansas City Home Run

Royals Hall of Fame- Tribute to George Brett's 3,154 Hits