The Arrowhead Experience: Baseball Edition

Peter G. Aiken/USA TODAY Sports via US PRESSWIRE

This isn’t how I imagined starting off my authorship at Arrowhead Addict, but the thing I want to write about as my first ever post on this fantastic site transcends sports right now. It’s about loyalty and the Kansas City fan base.

Let me back up for a moment. My name is Nathan Bramwell, I am a recent college graduate, born and raised in Missouri, and a life-long fan of all Kansas City sports. I saw that Sir Patrick Allen (I’m still trying to impress a bit) was looking for writers and I jumped at the opportunity. I wrote my own Chiefs blog since 2010, but was amazed at how little time the real world affords you after you receive your diploma. So a once-a-week post opportunity seemed like the best option for me to continue publishing my thoughts about the beloved Chiefs.

I moved to West Virginia this summer for an internship with a minor league baseball team (I just can’t get away from Big 12 country it seems), and have dearly missed Missouri, but particularly spending my summer figuring out which days to drive up to Kauffman to catch a Royals game. I have, but the entailing of minor league baseball affords very little time to be able to use it. So when I got the opportunity to watch the Home Run Derby on TV without having to be at the ball park for a home stand, I was thrilled. There was no way I was going to miss seeing the biggest spectacle Kansas City has had in decades.

On Monday night, the packed seats of Kauffman Stadium reverberated on a national scene from the boo birds let out when Yankee All-Star Robinson Cano stepped up to the plate during the Home Run Derby. The boos did not stop until Cano made contact with his first pitch and it didn’t leave the ball park. Then the crowd started cheering, and they continued cheering for the next nine balls Cano hit that weren’t home runs. They mocked him in a way I imagine he’s never been mocked in his life; they got so far into his head that Cano was no longer in the batter’s box of Kauffman, he was in his own personal Twilight Zone episode where balls weren’t leaving the park, his dad couldn’t throw batting practice, he wasn’t being cheered and the right field wall wasn’t a high school distance of 314 feet away.

That must have been a hellish experience.

But that’s what you expect from the Kansas City fan base. Why do you think that Arrowhead is (or at least used to be) one of the most feared venues in all of sports to play at? Because of the fans! Don’t give me that crap about how it’s a parabolic disc and traps all the noise and thus makes the stadium louder. Without the fans, there would be no noise to trap. This incessant mind-freak that Cano experienced is what opposing teams and quarterbacks have to deal with, or should have to deal with, anytime they enter Arrowhead. Some handle it better than others; Cano didn’t handle it at all.

Now I’m supposed to feel guilty because the mega-market of New York got its collective feelings hurt over a “disrespectful” showing from the fans? No. I don’t, in the least bit, feel guilty or embarrassed to be a Royals fan. In fact, Monday night’s display made me very proud to say that I was. I took a lot of flak from other interns I was watching the derby with, but I didn’t care. If you’re a KC sports fan, then you shouldn’t either.

Loyalty to one’s own is perhaps the most important aspect of fan-hood. And loyalty is what KC fans demonstrated after Cano, captain of the American League derby team, promised to pick a Royals player for the derby earlier in the season and then didn’t keep that same promise. I don’t think fans would have been that upset if no such promise was made, but it was, and that’s why, when it wasn’t kept, the fans ripped Cano a new one.

Surely fans of other teams, especially small-market ones, can appreciate that. And even if they can’t, some Chiefs players did. When tight end Tony Moeaki learned on Twitter why fans were booing Cano (after stating that he doesn’t watch baseball, just Jeopardy and Judge Judy), he responded with the following tweet: “… That’s why Kc fans are The best! #legends”

While the fans reinforced Moeaki’s appreciation for Kansas City, the derby introduced a new Chief to how awesome the fan base is. Stanford Routt, new cornerback for the team, tweeted: “Wow….if this is how many ppl showing up for the Home Run Derby I can only imagine how many will be there for season opener!!#ChiefsNation”

It’s nice to see players respond to their fan base, even if it’s across sports.

Anyway, I’d like to once again express my gratitude to the fans in attendance of the derby. You made it one heck of a show. I expect to see that same sort of behavior when I get back in September and catch some Chiefs games.

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