July 19, 2012 (Day 4 – Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri)
As the sun sets over Cincinnati, J. Rho and I come alive. Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s time for NIGHT DRIVING!! After the Reds game, J. Rho and I saddled up for the 10 hour drive to Kansas City. I know what you’re thinking, “why not just stay in Cincinnati for the night and get your spaghetti topped with chili in the late morning before embarking to Kansas City?” I wish it were that easy folks. A comfortable bed with the thought of that spectacular Cincinnati treat would have sounded delightful, however, the Royals have a day game tomorrow and this is a baseball trip.
J. Rho took the first leg, driving through Kentucky, which borders Cincinnati, before going into Indiana through the city of Louisville. J. Rho was able to take her into Illinois before we switched around 2am. By 2:30am (We had gained an hour crossing into central time) we had reached St. Louis and I was getting pretty tired. Not to mention St. Louis was our destination the following day so I was upset to pass it (St. Louis did not have a game Thursday so we bypassed it to get to Kansas City). Although I was tired, it was still amazing to go over the Mississippi River and see the St. Louis arch lit up. For anyone who hasn’t seen it, the St. Louis Arch is a beautiful monument and happens to be the tallest man made monument in America and tallest accessible building in Missouri.
At 4:00 am J. Rho couldn’t take it anymore and was famished, so we stopped into Missouri’s favorite, HARDEES! People….I love Hardees. In my opinion it’s amazing. I stepped up to the register comfortably and confidently and ordered a chicken biscuit meal with a side of gravy. To say the least and to spare you the juicy details, it was amazing. Afterwards, we were back on the road on our way to Kansas City for a 1:10pm Royals game. At 6am, J. Rho and I were too tired to carry on, and we decided to stop 5 miles from the stadium to get a hotel and get some much needed sleep. I should fill you in, Carlos was packed to the gills so that J. Rho’s front passenger seat could not recline even an inch, making it hard to get some Z’s. We found ourselves a nice Hilton and slept until 11:30am.
Stadium: Kauffman Stadium is probably the most unique baseball stadium I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. For starters, the stadium is a true park. There are no true grandstands in the outfield, everything is open, and there isn’t a bad seat in the house. Additionally, the waterfalls and fountain systems in the outfield make this place truly fantastic.
For those of you who do not know baseball well, the Royals do not draw a huge crowd. Furthermore, as it was a weekday day game, the crowd was even smaller which gave us an opportunity to purchase the cheapest tickets and sit anywhere we wanted.
Food: This is where it gets good. I have been to plenty of baseball games and stadiums. I have eaten all kinds of baseball food and one of a kind hotdogs, however, the hotdog I ate at Kauffman Stadium was the best I have ever had. Let me set this up for you. Kauffman stadium has a specialty hot dog place in their right and left field respectively. They have about five specialty dogs, ranging from the classic Chicago Dog to the Texas Dog. When I saw the Texas dog (chili and cheese) I knew that’s what we were going to get. I stepped up, ordered the Texas Dog, and the guy taking my order said the greatest thing I had heard thus far on that road trip: “Not many people are coming today so I will let you get whatever you want for no additional charge.” OH DAMN! I replied, “If you insist, I will have the foot long hotdog with chili, cheese, pulled pork, spicy brown mustard, onions and jalapenos.” Delicious.
After the game, J. Rho and I went to a Casino outside of Kansas City. All I will say is I didn’t do as well as I hoped to do. Although I had that humungous hotdog earlier, around 7pm J. Rho and I were getting hungry again so we decided to eat……..what else but some Kansas City BBQ.
Tangent: As a born Texan, I love barbecue. I will spare you the definitional differences between real barbecue and what northerners call hamburgers and hotdogs and simply say there are 4 capitals of barbecue in America. The first and the greatest is obviously Texas, which does everything beef. The second, Memphis, prides themselves on their exquisite dry rub and pork ribs. The third, North Carolina, perfected the pulled pork sandwich and the vinegar based barbecue sauce. And the Fourth, KANSAS CITY, packs an all around barbecue punch with supposedly GREAT sauce.
J. Rho and I went to Gates, and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. J. Rho and I each got a monster chopped beef sandwich and split a side of smoked sausage which we smothered in barbecue sauce. The barbecue sauce was so good that I even bought two bottles to bring home. The meat was fantastic too, however, not as good as the brisket in Texas.
After our stomachs were once again full, it was back to the hotel for some more sleep. A short drive to St. Louis tomorrow, stay tuned.