I made it out to the Royals game last night, as they took on the Indians in the first game of the series. It was also T-shirt Tuesday, and in hopes of snagging one of the “Forever Royal” T-shirts, I made it out to Kauffman Stadium about an hour before the gates opened, which is by far the earliest I have ever arrived at any event. The stadium concourse seemed like a ghost town.
I was early enough to have the opportunity to watch the Indians have batting practice, but apparently not early enough to watch the Royals. I suppose this was okay, as there is rarely anything too exciting about batting practice. I picked up a beer and a copy of Royals Baseball Insider, and sat back to enjoy myself. Kauffman Stadium is one of my favorite place to relax, and the time leading up to the game is the best time to do this, as the stands are still relatively empty.
Unfortunately, my sense of relaxation was not to last. The game started, and the seats to my right were still empty. The occupiers of those seats finally did show up in the bottom of the first inning. It was a family, and while they seemed more concerned with talking to each other than they did about the game, it was still a minor enough situation that I could easily ignore them.
About the fourth inning, however, the family in the row in front of us left, and when it became evident that they would not return, the lady next to me invited other people–apparently more family–to take those seats. This was when the feelings of annoyance began to set in. Instantly, I had a full-blown family fun time session going on right next to me, and little of rambunctiousness had anything to do with what was going on out on the field. Around the seventh inning, when the couple to my left got up and never returned, I moved down a seat to put some distance between myself and this family. My sense of peace and concentration was short-lived, however, as the same lady invited even more family over, and they settled into the remaining empty seats to my left.
I was now surrounded.
The rest of the game, I had a very difficult time focusing on the field, as I had to put up not only with the unrelated noise pollution, but also items and kids being passed back and forth in front of me. I had to bite my tongue against the urge to point out that this was a baseball game, and if that was not why these folks had come to the K, they needed to take their family reunion elsewhere. As much as I enjoy the Royals winning, this is easily my least favorite part of it all — the influx of new “fans” who go to games because it’s suddenly “cool,” not because of baseball.
Unfortunately, the Royals’ performance did little to raise my spirits. While it was refreshing to see Jeremy Guthrie have a good outing for a change, Wade Davis’s performance was quite a downer, and the Royals left far too many men stranded on base. The whole experience felt like one of those “and all I got was this T-shirt” moments.
There will be many more Royals games to come. Hopefully, this will be the worst of them.