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KCUR 89.3 covers community-related topics about sports in the Kansas City region. Do you have a story idea? E-mail News Director Maria Carter, maria@kcur.org.

Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

The Oakland Athletics confirmed Wednesday that Billy Butler will play for the team starting in 2015.

Despite showing a desire to remain a Kansas City Royal, Butler's $12.5 million option for 2015 was too much for Royals managers.

Oakland approached Butler with a three-year, $30 million contract and $5 million signing bonus.

Some had mixed emotions about seeing Butler leave the only professional team for which he's played. Dean Tangeman posted this response on Twitter:

Sprint Center To Host 2017 Elite Eight

Nov 17, 2014
Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

No stranger to big-time college basketball, Kansas City will play host to late-round games in the 2017 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, the NCAA announced Monday.

Kansas City is the host of 2017’s Midwest Regional games, which include two Sweet Sixteen games and one Elite Eight matchup. The games will be played at the Sprint Center.

The Final Four is scheduled to be played in Phoenix. San Jose, Calif., will host the West Regional games. The South Regional games will be held in Memphis, Tenn. New York will host the East Regional games.

Not since the Missouri Tigers squared off against the Kansas Jayhawks in 2011 has any big-time college football team played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Next year, however, MU will play a game there against Brigham Young University.

MU athletics director Mike Alden said he knows fans would love a rematch between the Jayhawks and Tigers, but it's up in the air whether that could be arranged.

"Boy, it would be awesome if one of these days we could get that together," Alden said. "But who knows?"

Chiefs To Skip 2015 Home Game To Play In London

Nov 6, 2014
Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

The Chiefs’ home away from home next season? London.

The team will “host” the Detroit Lions at London’s Wembley Stadium on Nov. 1, 2015, the NFL announced Thursday. Designated the home team, the Chiefs will play one fewer game at their true home, Arrowhead Stadium, next year.

Each NFL team usually plays eight regular season home games each season. Next year, the Chiefs will host seven regular season games and likely host two preseason contests.

Bill Anderson / KCUR

When Up To Date host Steve Kraske was joined in studio by Billy Collins, he wasn't expecting the former U.S. Poet Laureate to have scribed a few lines a la Casey at the Bat as he waited in the green room.

But, impressed by the Royals and their fans, Collins offered this tribute.

Frank Morris / KCUR

About 6,000 fans Thursday made one more trip to Kauffman Stadium, just to celebrate the 2014 Kansas City Royals.

It was cloudy and threatening rain as fans filed into Kauffman Stadium. Almost on cue, the sun came out when the celebration started. 

Fans chanted “Thank you, Royals,” with the familiar cadence. Many were smiling. It was festive. There were little kids dressed as baseball players, cheerleaders, and Sluggerrr, the Royals’ mascot.

Most were smiling, but Mike Arnott stood with eyes puffy from crying. 

Royals Fall Just Short, Drop Game 7

Oct 29, 2014
Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Just two hours before midnight Wednesday, autumn magic ran out of juice. The coach turned into a pumpkin. The Kansas City Royals’ magical postseason run ended a win shy of a championship.

Behind a dominating relief appearance by usual starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner, the San Francisco Giants beat the Royals 3-2 to win Game 7 and capture the crown.

Cody Newill / KCUR

In an appearance at Union Station Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Sly James showed up decked out in a blue bowtie and matching Kansas City Royals hat to show support for the boys in blue as the team headed into the final game of the World Series.

James said the excitement Kansas Citians have shown during the World Series has been long overdue.

"You can't buy this kind of pride," James said. "It's about time that we had something like [the World Series] where we can say, 'This is ours, we did it, we showed the rest of you, and this is something we're going to cherish.'"

Alex Smith / KCUR

When the Royals won the American League Championship in mid-October, Selim Henderson got busy buying T-shirts.

A lot of T-shirts.

“I bought about 30 dozen to start with,” Henderson says.

He set up a roadside stand in south Kansas City, and sales went so well, he bought another 30 dozen.

His best seller? The Royal Flush.

“That has five of the players on cards – ace, king, queen, jack, ten – and that’s the winning hand in poker,” Henderson says.

By beating the San Francisco Giants, 10-0, Tuesday night, the Kansas City Royals forced the seventh and deciding game of the 110th World Series.

It was the most lopsided World Series victory since the seventh game of the 1985 series when the Royals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-0.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A blue wave of cheering fans gathered at Kansas City's Power & Light District Tuesday night to watch the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 10-0 in Game 6 of the World Series.

“I’m proud of them,” said Victor Stringer. “I’ve been following the Royals since the 1970s, I think we can take this whole thing. I just believe in them.”

Twelve-year-olds Jaydon Dickinson and Donte Smith played a game of catch before the start of the game.

MoDOT / Flickr--CC

Even before the Royals made it to the World Series by sweeping Baltimore, something was happening to how America saw Kansas City.

This summer, The Huffington Post named Kansas City the 'coolest' city in America and the World Series has just made the spotlight brighter.

Kansas City, it seems, has a whole new reputation. It's a hidden gem, the place to visit, the new "it" town.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Four-year-old Will Duke from Kansas City, Mo., likes few things in life more than the swings at Loose Park, but this year’s Royals team might give any swingset a run for its money.

Duke knows only a winning hometown team; he has favorite players (Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore), and even has a Royals take on a favorite baseball tune.

Listen to Duke sing his Royals version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." And let's hope it brings them a little luck as they go into Game 6 Tuesday night.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

The fact that the Kansas City Royals have home field advantage in the World Series has rekindled debate.

It’s traced back to a July night in Minnesota, better known for the All-Star farewell to New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. The American League won the game and that’s why the Royals have three and potentially four home games with a possible seventh game in the World Series.

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, the A.L. All-Star manager this year, says the All-Star result should not determine the home field advantage.

Numbers Say Royals Still Have A Chance

Oct 27, 2014
Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Down 3-2 to the Giants, you might think there’s no way the Royals end up winning the World Series. But you’d be wrong.

Sportswriter Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight crunched the numbers and he puts the Royals’ chances of claiming the crown at about 30 percent – in 100 parallel universes, there are about 30 ways the Royals end up with the title.

“They’re still right in it and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they won the World Series, truth be told,” Paine said.

Ryan Knapp / Flickr--CC

Sporting Kansas City will leave Major League Soccer's Eastern Conference and join the Western Conference in 2015, the MLS announced Monday.

The move will be a homecoming of sorts for Sporting KC, which played in the Western Conference from 1996 to 2005. 

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner again  was untouchable Sunday night.

This time, Bumgarner didn’t need any help from the Giants bullpen. He outdueled Royals starter James Shields one more time and tossed a complete-game shutout in the 5-0 victory over the Royals.

Eric Hosmer was one of the Royals hitters who was baffled by Bumgarner.

“He’s tough guy to really get comfortable at-bats in,” said Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. “It just seems like it’s a constant battle every time you face him”

Despite an early 4-1 lead, the Kansas City Royals couldn't maintain the upper hand against San Francisco in game four of the World Series Saturday.

The Giants scored ten unanswered runs en route to an 11-4 victory. Kansas City's starting pitcher Jason Vargas said his goal was to set the stage for the team's dominant bullpen.

"As a starting pitcher you want to get as deep into the game and close the gap for the bullpen as much as you can," Vargas said.

Atomic Hot Links / Flickr--CC

The mayors of Kansas City, Mo., and San Francisco may really be betting honorable things like feeding the homeless and reading to children if their teams win the World Series.

But if the Royals triumph over the San Francisco giants, Kansas City wants something sweeter — chocolate.

Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

During the regular season, the Royals were accustomed to adjusting their lineup when they played in a National League city. There was no designated hitter during many of those games.

So that means Kansas City's DH deluxe, Billy Butler, will begin Friday's game on the bench when game three of the World Series gets underway in San Francisco. Teammate Alex Gordon tried to see the bright side of the situation.

"The good thing is he's a great pinch-hitter," Gordon said. "So he comes of the bench and can cause some damage." 

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

    

With the Royals in the World Series you might think that Kansas City has never been quite this excited about anything.

Everywhere you look there’s Royals blue.

But if you think Kansas City is baseball crazy now, you should have seen 1955 when the Athletics arrived from Philadelphia.

Jeff Logan, president of the Kansas City Baseball Historical Society says the whole city turned out when the team flew in from its spring training site in Florida.

Bill Fischer

Enough with the pity!

For Kansas City Royals fans who live outside the region, it’s a brand new world.

“The last lot of years, I have gotten a lot of pity looks and sympathy whenever I wear my gear or say I'm a Royals fan,” says Tara reid-O’Brien, who lives in Las Vegas. “And I have just told people ‘just you wait.’”

Royals fans took a hit Tuesday with a 7—1 loss against the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series, but ahead of the win in Game 2 Wednesday, a rally with former Royals who won the World Series focused on the positive.

Sportswriter Joe Posnanski led a panel of 1985 Royals Willie Wilson, Frank White and Danny Jackson at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. White said he sees similarities between the 2014 Royals and the 1985 Royals, but the fan support has been much different.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Kansas City Royals tied up the World Series Wednesday night against the San Francisco Giants with a 7-2 win in Kansas City. Each team has one win in the best-of-seven Series.

The teams will now travel to San Francisco and face-off in Game 3 on Friday night at AT&T Park. The Royals will need to win at least one game in San Francisco to bring the 2014 Series back to Kauffman Stadium.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

SungWoo Lee, super-fan of the Kansas City Royals, traveled all the way from Seoul, South Korea, arriving at Kansas City International Airport on Monday to cheering fellow-fans.

His presence wasn't the World Series good luck charm he'd hoped it would be.

As the first game of the series got off to a shaky start for the Royals, Lee told USA Today, he was “a little bit down because of San Francisco's 3-0 lead." Lee was among the thousands at Kauffman Stadium who watched that lead grow to seven home runs. Eventually, the Royals scored one run.

Kathleen Kunkler / KCUR

Kansas City welcomed back the World Series Tuesday with a deafening roar after a dream season, only to be disappointed as the San Francisco Giants beat the Royals 7-1.

What had been an electric open quickly fizzled into first-inning fear as the Giants leapt to a 3-0 lead they held onto for the rest of the night. As fans left Kauffman Stadium early, diehards asked them to stay and look at the Big Leagues big picture.

It’s October and most Major League Baseball players have gone home — all except the players who are in the World Series.

For players who don’t live in Kansas City year-around, it means temporary housing until the series is decided.

Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain became a father just before a stellar performance in the American League Championship Series that earned him the Most Valuable Player award in the series.

So, he’s adjusting to becoming a new parent and living in a hotel until the World Series concludes.

A New Generation Of Royals Fans Knows Only Winners

Oct 21, 2014
Courtesy / Katie Duke

It has been a long wait, but 29 years after the Royals won the franchise’s only World Series title, Kansas City is once again the center of the baseball world.

The team faces off against the San Francisco Giants in Game One of the World Series Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium, just four wins away from bringing back the city’s second baseball championship.

Courtesy photo / KCUR

Five-hundred pounds of Rice-A-Roni?

A trolley car for Kansas City's new streetcar line?

C’mon, Kansas City. We want to know what you think San Francisco should pony up if the Royals beat the Giants in the World Series. And what should Kansas City dish out if the Royals lose?

Beth Lipoff/Eliza Spertus / KCUR

On the eve of the 2014 World Series, Up to Date broadcasts live from Kauffman Stadium, the "center of the sports universe."

During the hour we look at the team's chances in this year's series, what makes the Royals comeback so fascinating, how the staff of the Royals and Kauffman Stadium are preparing for packed houses and an onslaught of world media, and some new additions to the Royals Hall of Fame.

Guests:

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