As the Royals dominated the AL Central this year my brother and I had a decision to make. We could go back to KC for a playoff game again, as we did last year, or we could hold out and see if the Royals could make the World Series for the second year in a row. We decided to shoot for the moon and wait to see if they could get back to the Fall Classic. On Friday October 30, they won Game 6 thanks to another otherworldly performance by Wade Davis and more late game heroics. My brother and I immediately started making plans and within half an hour we had it all worked out. We were going to see Game 2 of the World Series and we’d be in town to watch Game 1 in the Power and Light district.
We watched Game 1 from McFadden’s in the P&L. The game has been well chronicled, as has the P&L atmosphere, but I will say that experiencing it live was really fun. The music, the crowds, the celebrations after the Royals scored, it was quite a turnaround from the abandoned city center that I remember from my years of living in Kansas City.
On the day of Game 2 my brother and I started our day of baseball by visiting the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. It’s an interesting and humbling experience. I didn’t realize that the Negro Leagues had their own World Series for years and that they played night baseball years before the major leagues. I also didn’t realize that Geddy Lee had such a large collection of baseballs.
After the museum we went to Boulevard Brewing for a sampler flight and some beer merch, then to Joe’s Kansas City for my favorite barbecue. I highly recommend a stop at Joe’s if you are in Kansas City for any reason. Avoiding the Aramark concessions at the K was certainly a good enough reason for us.
We stayed at the Adam’s Mark Hotel, across the highway from Kaufman Stadium, so we were able to walk to the game. The trip back from Joe’s took longer than expected so by the time we got to the stadium we decided to get right in line for merchandise. That also took a while. After loading up on World Series stuff we walked around the stadium for a bit. We walked behind the outfield seating where a fan caught a disputed Mike Moustakas home run in that clinching ALCS Game 6. We walked over to the Fox Sports booth and watched Alex Rodriguez and Tom Verducci discuss the game. And we found some beer that wasn’t terrible, which can be a bit of a challenge in a stadium so close to the Busch dynasty.
We found our seats and found that we were directly next to Mets fans, as we were the night before at McFadden’s. They must have felt confident with Jacob DeGrom on the mound against the unpredictable Johnny Cueto. But the Royals were even more confident, and Johnny Cueto showed that Yost made the right decision to have Cueto pitch at home. Both pitchers were dominant, mostly, although Cueto ran into some trouble in the top of the fourth inning when two walks eventually cost the Royals a run.
DeGrom was brilliant, right up until the point that he wasn’t. It was amazing to watch in person as the Royals turned on the Keep the Line Moving train. Gordon walked. Rios singled. Escobar singled and drove in Gordon. Zobrist moved the runners to second and third on a ground out. Hosmer singled them both home. Morales singled. Moose singled, scoring another run. The Royals just didn’t stop, the fans went crazy, and the horizontal scoreboard that circles the stadium ran a Keep the Line Moving marquee that made me smile.
Cueto, given a three run cushion, started challenging the Mets and they didn’t respond. He held the Mets to two hits and, after the stadium chanted his name, came back out for the ninth inning to close out a complete game victory.
It was a strange experience, watching the Royals beat up on a good team. Apparently one of our Mets fans neighbors got a bit salty at one point, and they gave up and left before the game ended. After the game we went down to the lower deck and saw Cueto and Perez talking to reporters. Everyone was smiling.
As we walked back to the hotel we saw a huge crowd around the ESPN booth chanting Johnny Cueto. We got into the crowd for a bit and I might have been on screen briefly. It was like being back in the P&L.
It’s hard to describe the joy and nervous excitement that I felt throughout the game. The final score was 7-1 but it always seemed in doubt, partially because of Cueto’s unpredictability but also because it’s still tough to fully accept that the Royals are the best team in baseball. It’s a surprising but thoroughly enjoyable feeling.
Here are some more pictures from the 2015 World Series Game 2 at Kaufman Stadium. Enjoy!