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Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City-area officials celebrated in June when the U.S., Canada and Mexico won their combined bid to host the men’s World Cup soccer tournament in 2026. That’s because the city is one of 17 in the U.S. that have a chance at hosting matches.

“Kansas City is probably shining as much as it can and we still have so much room to grow,” Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Sly James said June 14.

Top-level minor league baseball likely will return to Wichita in 2020.

Mayor Jeff Longwell said Thursday that the New Orleans Baby Cakes of the Pacific Coast League have filed an application to relocate to Wichita. The application must be approved by Minor League Baseball and the Pacific Coast League. It also must be reviewed by Major League Baseball.

Segment 1: Tailgating is more than an activity in Kansas City. It's a culture.

Tailgating is a big deal to local sports fans. Why is that and what's the meaning behind it? On this episode, we explore those questions and more in light of a controversial new tailgating policy at Arrowhead Stadium.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The Kansas City Royals are on pace to break a team record. It’s not one they’ll be proud of.

In 2005, the team lost 106 games. There are 29 left this season, and whatever the Royals’ record is by then, it may not be the worst in baseball.

This weekend’s series between the Royals and Baltimore Orioles will have a say: Two teams mathematically eliminated only four years after they played each other in the American League Championship Series.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Updated Tuesday, Aug. 28, at 5:45 p.m. with remarks from Chiefs president Mark Donovan.

The Kansas City Chiefs announced changes to their tailgating policy this week, and it's left some fans as hot as their grills.  

Fans won't be able to tailgate in the parking lot after kickoff — they'll have to enter the stadium or leave, according to the Chiefs website.

It isn't clear whether it'll take effect for Thursday's preseason game against Green Bay, or whether it'll be on the Sept. 23 home game. 

Courtesy of Cris Medina

With professional teams like Sporting KC and the Kansas City Comets, soccer is clearly a popular sport in Kansas City. And there are tons of recreational leagues for adults and kids. But that was not always the case.

Sporting KC

Ike Opara was 26 in 2015, in the prime of his career and facing the possibility of retiring from professional soccer due to a torn Achilles tendon.

“I thought that was it for me,” Opara said.

This year, the defender is one of the major reasons Sporting Kansas City is a MLS Cup contender. Opara is one of a handful of Kansas City professional athletes who have demonstrated that an Achilles injury no longer is considered a career-ender.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James sits behind a microphone. He is wearing headphones.
Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: If approved, the proposed 3/8-cent sales tax to fund expanded early childhood education in Kansas City will be on the November ballot.

VICIS

The first preseason Chiefs game is in the books and September is just around the corner, which means it’s time to ask yourself: 'Are you ready for some football?' As commentator Victor Wishna admits in this edition of A Fan’s Notes, that isn’t the easiest question for everyone to answer.

As training gets underway at camps and campuses from coast to coast, football is back in the headlines — and most of them are bad:

Pablo Tupin-Noriega / Wikimedia Commons

Segment 1: Park University to introduce esports as varsity program.

file photo / KCUR

A new report finds legalizing sports gambling could boost revenue for states like Kansas, but any windfall is likely to be brief.

Sports gambling began to tempt lawmakers after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalized it earlier this year. The report released Thursday from the Pew Charitable Trusts said sports book likely won’t be a magic pill to cure state budget issues.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is taking place this week in Washington, D.C., with Salvador Perez representing the Royals.

But there’s another Kansas City tie: The first All-Star game was played in 1933, the same year the Washington (D.C.) Senators went to the World Series with a first baseman who was known around Kansas City, Missouri. His name was Joe Kuhel (pronounced “cool”).

Stephen Koranda / KPR

Segment 1: How Kris Kobach changed the secretary of state's office in Kansas.

After winning the bid for Kansas secretary of state in 2011 with 59 percent of the vote, Kris Kobach recieved national attention for controversial his voter I.D. laws and anti-immigration stance. Most recently he's made headlines with his gubernatorial campaign. Today, we reflected on the changes the former law professor has brought to the secretary of state's office and whether the transformation Kobach has effected is permanent. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Bethany College track and cross country coach Aaron Yoder spends a lot of time on the treadmill in the Lindsborg, Kansas, school’s cardio room. It doesn’t seem unusual unless you see what he’s doing — running backward.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

UMKC's new chancellor won't start the search for a new athletics director until he sees a "working blueprint for the future," he said Tuesday.

C. Mauli Agrawal issued a statement about the athletics department, which is in transition after athletics director Carla Wilson was reassigned last week to the chancellor's office, where she'll be the senior director of student support services. 

Rebekah Hange / KCUR 89.3

With the Kansas City Royals battling the Baltimore Orioles for the worst record in Major League Baseball this year, it should come as no surprise that the hometown team's average attendance is headed for its worst result since 2010, the Kansas City Business Journal reports.

A blonde woman and a man with dark hair sit at a desk behind microphones.
Kathleen Pointer / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: A labor lawyer who campaigned for Bernie Sanders and a Leawood-based banking executive hope to unseat U.S Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS). 

In the final episode of our three-part series covering Yoder's Democratic challengers, we talked with Brent Welder and Sylvia Williams. They discussed the difficulties of running in a densely red state on platforms that include planks like universal healthcare. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Alfonzo King presided over Kansas City’s public golf courses in the 1960s and 1970s. That was especially true at Swope Park, where he’d regularly play 18 holes with barbeque icon Ollie Gates and civic leader Bruce Watkins.

“A lot of guys used to come down from L.A., Chicago,” the 73-year-old said. “Everybody wanted to come to Kansas City to beat me. I was the drawing card.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Golfers in this week’s U.S. Open will be trying to avoid hitting a ball into the sand. But at courses in Harrisonville, Missouri, or Leonardville, Kansas, finding the sand is equivalent to a day at the beach.

CREDIT DAVID JONES/FLICKR -- CC

Kansas City could see World Cup soccer action in 2026 now that FIFA has officially selected the "United Bid" of Canada, Mexico and the United States to host the event eight years from now.

The FIFA Congress selected the United Bid over a bid from Morocco in a 134-65 vote early Wednesday morning. Kansas City is among 23 cities listed in the bid as candidate cities to host some of the 80 matches that will be played in the three countries over the course of the event.

Photo of Sporting KC fans in the Cauldron section of Children's Mercy Park
ryanknapp / Flickr--Creative Commons

Without the frenzied cheers and boos from the stands, that Major League Soccer match or NBA Final or American League showdown really would be only a game. But sports fans are far from just a madding crowd with a mob mentality. As Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” they—that is, we—contain multitudes.

If you’ve been to even one Sporting KC home game at Children’s Mercy Park, then you’ve seen them, and heard them.

Harpers470 / Creative Commons-Flickr

The NFL now has a rule that requires players to "show respect for the flag and anthem" during pre-game ceremonies. Players aren't required to be on the field for the anthem but if they are, no kneeling or sitting is permitted. They must stand.

The rule, announced last week after a meeting by team owners, sparked an immediate political firestorm. President Trump said he was pleased, but suggested if a player doesn't want to participate, "Maybe you shouldn't be in the country."

Dank Depot / Flickr - CC

Segment 1: What science does (and doesn't) know about medical marijuana.

Missouri and Kansas are edging closer to legalizing medical marijuana under limited circumstances, but what do we really know about its health effects? While state lawmakers debate possible harms or benefits of cannabis and its derivatives, we spoke with a scientist who helped write a major study about the good, bad and unknown health effects of marijuana.

Segment 1: What should we consider when naming a street after Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Kansas City is one of the few cities in the country that doesn't have an MLK Boulevard. A discussion on the movement to rename The Paseo after Martin Luther King, Jr.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

As the Kansas City Royals celebrate the franchise’s 50th year, the team is hoping to rekindle what made them successful early on. And that all started by trading an obscure pitcher named John Gelnar.

Shane Adams / Flcikr - CC

Segment 1: Adidas and KU have been implicated in an FBI investigation of collegiate basketball.

Segment 1: What's up with demolition derbies?

Americans have been intentionally ramming cars into each other, for sport, since the 1950's. Learn about the Midwest's Colosseum and why the old school demo derby may be running out of gas.

  • Frank Morris, NPR correspondent and senior editor, KCUR

Segment 2, beginning at 22:46: Yes. Even if you're a Midwesterner, you still have an accent.

The Midwest has a reputation for being a bland, neutral, accent-free place. But experts say that simply is not true.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite some disappointing off-season roster changes and a freak knee injury for veteran catcher Salvador Perez, at least a few Kansas City Royals fans are excited for the 2018 season to get under way. In what has become a tradition, we spent opening day at Kauffman Stadium speaking with everyone from announcers and reporters to chefs and brewers to get a sense for what's new — on the field and off.

Charles Sollars / Flickr - CC

Commentator Victor Wishna attended his first Royals game as a toddler, and he was there in person to witness the final out of game seven of the World Series. But he'd never journeyed to where it all begins: spring training. That changed this week. Victor reports back from Surprise, Arizona, with this travelogue edition of 'A Fan's Notes.'

If, like me, you’ve never been to spring training, it’s quite a trip.

file photo / Sam Zeff KCUR 89.3

March madness has many Kansans filling out their NCAA brackets. Kansas lawmakers are considering legislation that could tap into that market by legalizing sports gambling in the state.

A bill before the House Federal and State Affairs Committee would allow sports betting through the Kansas Lottery. At least one major professional league says it wants some input on the rules, and a cut of the winnings.

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