We were in Kansas City much of this past week celebrating my son Isaac’s 16th birthday. (Someday I will have to share our tragic tale of having to become parents in the 6th grade — so young we were — as soon as I make it up.)
The trip included our first visit to the renovated Kauffman Stadium, where the Royals seemed as though they might break their latest losing streak … but then managed to blow a 6-2 lead in the 8th inning. (That game was Wednesday. The streak finally ended tonight, Saturday.) For me, the Royals are the living face of economic decline in the Kansas City region. Only Wal-Mart seems to thrive around here. The Royals are owned by a man who made his money at Wal-Mart and now runs the team like Wal-Mart: a shiny setting in which to sell the cheapest, flimsiest products undemanding consumers will buy. How cheap and flimsy? The Royals’ putative “power”-”hitting” outfielder, Jose Guillen, the best free agent the owner would shell out for, sustained a season-ending leg injury putting on his shin guard the night we were there. Guillen was announced in the starting line-up, then pinch-hit for in the first inning. Baseball fan Isaac focused on Mark Buehrle’s perfect game and the Cardinals’ much-needed trade for Matt Holliday to stay in his birthday happy place.
During our visit, my Mom had on hand the official photographic record of the Missouri School of Mines 50-year reunion Isaac and I attended with my Dad in June, chronicled in my controversial post on Rolla a while back. Readers may recall that this event featured a personal appearance by the King, in the form of Elvis Tribute Artist Rich Vickers, who was in no way an impersonator like those other guys. Accidentally, I assure you, it seems that the official photographic record included a shot of a certain historian studiusly avoiding eye contact with E.T.A. Vickers or his merch-selling Queen:
One more Show-Me travel note. It seems to be a bad idea to label any post as “part 1” or to promise continuations, as I did in the Rolla post mentioned above. I wrote most of “part 2” on our swing through the Lead Belt back then, but only finally finished and posted it yesterday. Exercising my control over space and time on this blog, I backdated the post so the internal references would make sense, but you can read it here. And it involves some actual history.
Now playing: The Who – Substitute