If you frequent this blog, you're probably aware that I am a Twins fan. If you have frequented this blog a lot over several years, you might also be aware I like the Royals. I've liked the Royals since they were bad. You can call me a bandwagon fan, that's fine, but just know I've been on this bandwagon since it was stuck in a giant pile of manure.
Last Saturday I went to Kauffman Stadium for the first time and watched Game 2 of the ALCS. It was amazing.
It wasn't something I had planned on doing. A friend asked me Friday night if I wanted to go to Kansas City with her, and 45 minutes later I was in a car barreling south down 35W. I'd never been to Iowa before, let alone Missouri or Kansas City. Spoiler alert for anyone who has never been to these places: Iowa basically looks the same as Minnesota (except with fewer lakes), and Missouri looks just like Iowa (except with fewer casinos shaped like barns).
I'm going to be honest: it was really weird at first. It was like being in a foreign country. I'd gone to MLB games before that the Twins weren't involved with, but I had never gone to a baseball game actively rooting for any team other than the Twins. Then there I was, wearing a newly-purchased Lorenzo Cain shirsey, walking around the Kauffman Stadium parking lot at 12 pm with a "KC" logo painted on my face. It felt really weird, and I was nervous someone would find out my secret that I'm really a Twins fan.
Good news: People in Kansas City do not care. Collectively, the people I met there were the nicest people I've ever met in one place. Do not even come at me with any "but Minnesota Nice" bull-crap. "Minnesota Nice" is a term used for the anti-confrontation/passive-aggressive/aloof nature of Minnesotans, which most of the country doesn't find to be "nice" at all. I love Minnesota, don't worry, but let's get a little self-perspective here.
I had actual conversations with many happy, out-going strangers at Kauffman Stadium (even when the Royals were losing), and told all of them I was a Twins fan. They just thought it was cool. There were also more Toronto fans at the game than I expected, and I talked to a group that had driven 12 hours (!!) from Manitoba to come to the game. I later introduced some rando Royals fans I met to the rando Blue Jays fans I met and we metaphorically sat around and sang kumbaya.
At one point I was with my friend in a plaza-ish area in the outfield and she says to me, "Oh look at your buddy." I looked around and saw a lady walking by in a navy blue Minnesota Twins LaTroy Hawkins jersey. She didn't look to be in too big of a hurry, so I walked over and told her that I liked her jersey and that I was a Twins fan too. We said a few things about LaTroy and the Metrodome, and I asked her why she was at the game. Like a dummy.
"To watch LaTroy."
"Are you part of the LaTroy Hawkins Fan Club?" I asked, at that point kinda already knowing the answer. Yes, she was part of the LaTroy Hawkins Fan Club. She was actually at the game sitting in tickets LaTroy had given her with his wife. I then also noticed her very nice jersey was signed by LaTroy, so there is no way she was lying to me.
The Royals were behind in the game until they made their awesome 7th inning comeback against the Blue Jays, which was awesome. I'd high-fived random strangers at nice Twins victories before, but never had I ever high-fived strangers at some game that had nothing to do with the Twins. At that point, I was on a roll. It was exciting, and everyone was happy. Really what baseball is at its best, and what I am excited to see with the Twins in the near future.