Stormy Night at the K

Well, last night was interesting.

Our university was set to join the Royals for a special “Northwest Night at the K, a gathering of our alumni, families, students and friends. The planning began months ago and we had really looked forward to it.

But severe storms have threatened our region for days, and the forecast heading into yesterday was not promising.

Figures. We haven't had much luck with Mother Nature and Royals games, considering it's rained at some point during all but one of the games we've attend during the last two seasons, the exception being this year's School Day at the K.

We drove briefly through pelting rain and hail on our way to Kansas City yesterday afternoon. When we arrived in the Kauffman Stadium parking lot, the skies were menacing and bright strikes of lightning flashed around us – but no rain.

The rain began, however, as we started our walk across the parking lot. And it got harder the closer we came to the large tent where our group was gathered for a tailgate party. Kates had an umbrella to carry over her and protect Phoebe, but I was stupidly unprepared for the weather and had Faye riding on my shoulders with her hoodie pulled over her head. Faye and I were drenched by the time we arrived safely under the tailgate tent.

There was some joy as we got settled and greeted friends. The highlight of the night was seeing the championship trophies. We had our football national championship trophies on hand, and the Royals graciously allowed the World Series trophy to join our party. Phoebe and I had our pictures taken with them, and it was good.

But the wind was picking up and the situation had begun to get a little dicey under the tent with food getting wet and the winds tossing some of our equipment. Phoebe – still affected by our mini hurricane several years ago – was reduced to sobbing as Kates tried to comfort her.

We were just getting in the food line with the girls when an announcement was made for all of us to take shelter. We moved inside the stadium concourse and took cover for a short time in the restrooms. Then, stadium staff instructed us to head for the basement of the Royals Hall of Fame. Not a bad place to be to wait out a storm, I suppose. …

We waited there for about a half hour, though it seemed much longer as we scrolled through our social media feeds and monitored our weather apps. Shortly after 6, we learned the game was being canceled and the stadium staff gave us the all clear to move back outdoors.

Kates and I pondered staying for what was left of the tailgate, but the girls were done and wanted to go home. So we made the long trek across the parking lot back to our car and headed for home. … Starving, Kates and I stopped for food at an Arby’s. I tried the new Bourbon Steak and Bacon sandwich, which makes my mouth water every time I see the commercialand oh, it was awesome.

We drove through a hard rain and lightning all the way back to The ‘Ville. Faye fell asleep, while Phoebe listened to her iPod – and asked every 10 minutes “how many more minutes until we get home?” … Obsessed with counting minutes and steps, Phoebe knows the GPS shows our ETA and counts down the minutes. As we drove through last night’s storm, the answer was especially important to her.

By 8:30 we were back home and unloading the car. It felt like we just returned from a vacation. … The girls “got cozy” and turned on the TV.

This morning comes the news that Mike Moustakas tore his ACL last weekend and is likely done for the season … which is rapidly growing into a bummer of a championship defense.
The Moustakas news offered a second, unexpected, gut punch. In seconds, on an inconsequential foul ball in a 3-2 loss, the Royals lost an All-Star left fielder for a month and an All-Star third baseman until 2017.

“To lose two All-Stars on one play,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “it’s kind of tough.”

The news cast a pall over the clubhouse as the Royals, 24-22, prepared for a weekend series against the Chicago White Sox. (Thursday night’s game was rained out, with a makeup date coming later this season.)

The reality cut deep into a close-knit room. In March, the Royals spoke confidently about their motivations this season: Another American League pennant, another championship, an improbable mini-dynasty in one of baseball’s smallest markets.

Seven weeks into the franchise’s first World Series championship defense in three decades, the Royals must trudge on with the left side of the diamond gutted by injuries.

But, hey, we also got a trip to IKEA out of the ordeal. We visited One of the Greatest Stores Ever before our trip to the stadium and purchased a new desk and shelving unit for Phoebe’s room. It’s long overdue and will be a welcome addition to her room and tween life.

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