Friday, June 24, 2011

Day 8: Kansas City Royals, Kansas City, MO. In Which Our Heroes are Irradiated, Detoured by Flooding, Almost Crushed by Rob Riggle, and Nigh Immolated by Post-Game Fireworks

Ben and I would like to hereby lodge our official petition to have Missouri re-named the Out-To-Get-Me State. It's been a lot of fun, really, but this state has been full of borderline toxic situations. To wit, day 8.

We began by bidding a fond sod off to our host of the past 3 nights, Jason. We then hit the road west and, a half hour later, stopped off at the Weldon Spring Site Remedial Action Project (known by the smooth-flowing acronym WSSRAP or its name on Roadside America, the Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail). This is, in a nutshell, a site where the army took over and dismantled 3 towns during WWII, displacing its residents and putting in their place an explosives manufacturing plant (primarily DNT and TNT).

Then in the '50s and '60s the DOE repurposed the site to refine the ever-loving shit out of thousands of tons of uranium ore.  In 'Nam it was almost used for Agent Orange manufacturing. Then in the mid-80s someone was like, whoa, maybe we should Superfund that ho?

From the early 90s til 2001, they basically tore everything down and folded thousands upon thousands of tons of contaminated soil, water, and sludge into a giant "containment cell" which looks like a huge mountain of rocks (but is actually spectacularly engineered).

Anyway, for some incomprehensible reason, you can totally climb all over the containment cell. For reasons even less comprehensible, we totally did. It was...well...

Zach surveys the New World Order from atop The Cell

So as if that wasn't dangerous enough, we then went to Jack in the Box for lunch. Then, baseball.

We hustled on off to Kansas City for the Royals game. We got there super early to take advantage of cheap "Fountain Tickets" on the lower level (though way in the outfield, so we had to use crowd reaction to judge the relative success of fly balls near the track; this was difficult, as Cubs fans, like the roaches they are, made up a large proportion of the crowd). 

We also got there early for the Celebrity Wiffle Ball Game, with captains Paul Rudd and Rob Riggle. The game also featured local radio personalities (BOOOOOOOO) and real celebrities like Rob's co-Daily Show correspondent John Oliver, Kevin Pollak, Horatio Sans, Nick Kroll, Dermot Mulroney, Matt Cassel, Dustin Colquitt (you wouldn't call the Chiefs punter a celebrity? The guy had a homer in the game!), and George Brett (Royals legend).

We were super-close to Oliver and Riggle at times in right field. Riggle nearly ran us over when he ran into the chain link fence behind first after needlessly rushing for an easy single (good hustle, Bobby!). Nick Kroll stumbled over a couple times, too.

The game ended in a satisfying 11-11 tie, with all runs coming on HRs. Matt Cassel, for his 2 HRs, was named MVP, but the best play by far belonged to Dermot Mulroney.

Riggle's team was trying to intentionally walk him to set up a force, but Dermot into the path of the ball - a good 2 feet high and outside - with his bat, swung it overhand like a tennis racket, connected, and sent it out of the park. Nice job, Mulroney!

Bonus points also for the bench-clearing brawl that ensued after the first hit batsman of the game. Extra bonus points for members of both teams deciding the gang up on the mascot. The sportsmanship was sad to see after the game, though.

The Royals game, was, alas, not quite as entertaining given the 6-4 loss. But the park is quite beautiful with some funky architecture, and as you would expect in Kansas City, features some awesome BBQ.

The crowd was all blue, sure, but it was difficult to tell where Royals fans stopped and Cubs fans began. A refreshing change after our all-red outing for Cards-Phils in St. Louis.

The fountains at Kauffman Field? Yeah, as beautiful as advertised. This was the angle from our seats, but it was downright spectacular from the infield. Any true fan of the game has to make it a point to visit this park.

The game wasn't all bad, since Ben and I got to once again root against Melky Cabrera and Jeff Francoeur, both of whom we hated on the Braves. Unfortunately, Frenchie  gunned a guy down at home from deep in right field and hit a 2-run HR to tie the game at one point, but Ben and I still booed. I think Jeff understood.

Also, it was post-game Fireworks Friday, so we stuck around for that. I always thought Indiana was the Land of the Free, but Missouri gives it a run for its money. Super-low gas and liquor taxes, high speed limits, and fireworks warehouses everywhere. Well, not so much warehouses as tents. With no protection from extreme temperatures or combustible weather conditions like, oh, I don't know...lightning?

They also apparently don't believe in fire safety regs, because the fireworks were shot off so close to the outfield the entire concourse was covered in smoke and several smoldering embers. I had to don sunglasses for physical protection from the show. One huge firework also went off prematurely, shooting a large white flaming canister into a statue of the stadium's namesake, where it proceeded to explode and almost take out several bystanders.

It was one of the coolest things I'd ever seen in my life. Missouri, you rock!

But alas, tomorrow is our last day. We take in the Kansas City T-Bones on the Kansas side of KC, then the next morning shoot out bright and early for Omaha. We wouldn't have to leave bright and early except that I-29 is apparently closed because of massive flooding of the Missouri. So, 35 to 80 it is. At least that guarantees we'll see the sweet I-80 truckstop in Iowa!


  1. I wonder what my grandkids will look like now that you jave visited the Cube. I paid good money for those fireworks and they missed you? I'll have to ask for my money back. Damn

  2. Don't you mean "Slag off!"?

    I predict the world's largest truckstop will disappoint you unless you really love Taco Bell. That was my experience at least.

    Still lookin' for that Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell,

  3. That's cool and cool picture too! Shots like that are awesome. That's also the reason why I bring my camera into the game, I collect nice shots of the actual game.

    Royals Tickets