From Campus RV Park – Independence, MO
Since we scheduled this stop on our travel plans several months ago, we realized that the MLB All Star Game would be played in Kansas City during our stay. Unfortunately tickets to All Star events such as this are usually on a lottery basis (unless you have BIG bucks to spend) and/or you have to purchase them as soon as they go on sale…….neither of which we did! So we will watch on TV and know that it is being played just 7 miles away!
We did however decide to drive out to the Truman Sports Complex where the All Star festivities will be taking place and see what we could see. As frequent readers to the journal are aware, we are big sports fans and usually check out different stadiums of the MLB, NFL, NBA and NASCAR if in the area of one of them. So not surprising that we made the drive this morning……..thinking it better today than any closer to the event when I am sure traffic will become a nightmare on the roads leading to the stadium.
Formerly known as Royals Stadium, Kauffman Stadium nicknamed “The K” is where baseball’s elite (at least as elite as a fan’s popularity vote can be) will play in the annual All Star Game with the winning league having home field advantage come World Series time. This will be the 2nd All Star Game held in the stadium this week on Tuesday, July 10th. The first was held the summer of 1973 with the National League winning.
Other than hosting two All Star Games this stadium has also hosted two World Series, first was in 1980 which the Philadelphia Phillies won and then again in 1985 where the Royals won in the 7th game of the series against the St. Louis Cardinals. The stadium also just one month after its inaugural game on April 19, 1973 saw Nolan Ryan pitch the first of his career seven no hitters on May 15.
All gates were closed and personnel at the entrances were allowing only vendors and staff into the Truman Sports Complex and Kauffman Stadium. I had hoped that we could get access to the stadium store/gift shop and maybe get an All Star souvenir but not today. Bet however tomorrow and Tuesday vendors and local stores will have All Star merchandise for sale…….just need to watch out for “counterfeits”!
Kauffman Stadium is one of the stadiums in a two-stadium complex which was the first of its kind to be built. The other stadium in the complex is Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL Kansas City Chiefs. The 1972 football season was the first played in the stadium. It is the 4th largest NFL stadium in seating capacity and has had the honor of hosting a Pro Bowl in January 1974. Like Kauffman Stadium there was no access to this stadium either.
After getting some photo ops from a distance of the complex and each stadium we were going to head back to the RV Park but suddenly remembered that NASCAR races at the Kansas Speedway somewhere in this area. So we searched “attractions” on GyPSy Jill and it was just 30 minutes away in Kansas City, Kansas. With nothing else pressing on our agenda today we asked GyPSy Jill to lead the way to Kansas!
Again we found the speedway to be closed to visitors unlike when we visited Daytona and Talladega speedways. Both these other racing complexes were open and you could walk up into the stands and view the racetrack up close and personal. Tours were also available at both tracks if visitors wanted to participate and both had large gift shops for NASCAR paraphernalia………..was hoping Kansas Speedway would be the same and I could get me a Tony Stewart T-shirt.
This speedway as of last year holds two 400 mile races a season…….April & October. It has a 1.5 mile tri-oval track that was completed in 2001 and held its first NASCAR Winston Cup Race September 30, 2001. The Indy Car Series also raced at this speedway up until last year. After the October race this year the speedway will undergo reconfiguration. A road course will be added in the infield, the oval will be repaved and variable banking will be added.
After finding a good photo op spot on the top level of the Hollywood Casino parking garage located adjacent to the speedway we returned to the park just in time to have some lunch and begin watching some of today’s final baseball games before the All Star break.
How else would you expect two senior citizen “sport junkies” to spend a morning......when after all their full time Rving lifestyle began with a dream to attend Astros spring training games in Florida!