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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.

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On Sunday, the still-undefeated Kansas City Chiefs will take the field to face their mortal enemy: the Oakland Raiders. In this month’s “A Fan’s Notes,” commentator Victor Wishna tells us why it feels so good... to be a Raider-Hater. 

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The Kansas City Chiefs had the worst record in the NFL last year with just two wins and 14 losses. Now, they are sitting pretty with a perfect 5-0 record. But how did we get here and how long can we keep it going?

Joel Thorman, editor of Arrowhead Pride, is just as shocked as everyone else in Kansas City. "The Chiefs have set an NFL record for the best start after winning two or less games from the year before. It's really just shocking."

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t the only area football team with a 5-0 record. On the major college level, the Missouri Tigers are 5-0 and ranked number 25 in this week’s Associated Press poll.

The Tigers opened their Southeastern Conference schedule last Saturday with a victory over Vanderbilt University. The Tigers head deeper south this weekend to face the 7th-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. It’s still an adjustment period for fans following the Tigers in their second year of the SEC.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

NASCAR’s Sprint Cup drivers are still trying to shake off the “cheating” label that has shrouded the sport  over the last month. They’ll be at Kansas Speedway for the year’s biggest entertainment weekend in Wyandotte County.

Former Royals Outfielder Looks Back

Sep 29, 2013

From the highs of professional baseball and even the World Series to the lows of drug addiction and bankruptcy, former Royals player Willie Wilson has had quite the journey.

The Kansas City Chiefs are 3-0 so far this season, and with that kind of record comes more attention and fan interest. As a result, the Chiefs are dealing with ancillary issues as they prepare for Sunday’s home game at Arrowhead Stadium against the New York Giants.

In the preseason, some Kansas City Chiefs employees feverishly worked behind the scenes on a separate issue: traffic and parking. But, it may not have been enough.

"Operationally, we had some significant missteps," says Chiefs president Mark Donovan, who suggests fans leave early to avoid traffic gridlock.

In pursuit of post-season play, the Kanas City Royals revived interest September baseball.  For the final home game at Kauffman Stadium a crowd of more than 27,000 gathered. Manager Ned Yost sensed the enthusiasm.

“We needed to get the crowd into the game early, and we couldn’t do it,” said Yost.

Then the Royals loaded the bases in the tenth inning of the scoreless ballgame when Justin Maxwell stepped to the plate.

“I was just thinking of trying to hit it hard,” said Maxwell.

There was no doubt when Maxwell hit it. It was a grand slam.

Elana Gordon / WHYY

The Kansas City Chiefs are gearing up to play in Philadelphia tonight.  It’s an awkward homecoming for the Chiefs' new coach Andy Reid, who was with the Eagles for 14 years and was fired last December.

But there’s at least one spot, in the heart of South Philadelphia, where Reid won’t get booed when he walks into the stadium.  That’s Big Charlie’s Saloon, the home for Chiefs fans in Philadelphia.  And most of those fans aren’t Kansas City ex-pats.

Heading into late September, the Kansas City Royals are holding on to their hopes of reaching baseball’s playoffs for the first time since their World Series championship in 1985. A late season surge reversed a downward spiral at the All-Star break.

A rocky start to the season  

This spring the Kansas City Royals tied a franchise record set only one year earlier for 11 straight losses at home. Manager Ned Yost seemed at a loss about what to do next.

The Kansas City Chiefs are now 2-0 in the young NFL season after a 17-16 win over the Dallas Cowboys Sunday in the home opener.

Only two weeks into the 2013 season, the Chief's record is equal to last year's entire victory total. They grabbed the lead for good late in the third quarter, and the fans at Arrowhead Stadium sniffed a chance to bask in the Chiefs' second win of the season under new head coach Andy Reid.

"When our fans are going, you can feel that field," said Reid. "It just rumbles a little bit. It's crazy but an awesome feeling."

Susan B. Wilson / KCUR

According to the National Cheerleading Association, more than 3 million Americans participate in the sport. But cheerleading is no longer just about pom-poms and whipping crowd spirit into a frenzy, it has evolved into a bona fide sport where many athletes — as they are now considered — train year-round.

These athletes work on the strength, balance and gymnastic skills they need to stand out and win competitions. I recently visited a gym in Grandview where teaching girl power and the sport of cheerleading go hand in hand.

Mike Morbeck / Flickr--Creative Commons

The Kansas City Chiefs open the 2013 NFL season with a road game Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla. With general manager and coaching changes this year, hopes are not just resting on a reversal from last year’s 2-14 record. It’s more about ending a drought that has now lasted 20 years.

Ironically, at the Kansas City Chamber of Commerce luncheon last week for the Kansas City Chiefs everyone there enjoyed a full plate, while eight-year veteran linebacker Derrick Johnson shared with the event’s emcee, Mitch Holthus, a rather desperate feeling.

Chief Nation Plans For The Season Ahead

Sep 4, 2013
David Reber's Hammer Photography / Flickr - CC

The Kansas City Chiefs suffered a number of challenges last season both on field, finishing last place in the NFL, and off the field, with the murder suicide of Kasandra Perkins and Jovan Belcher.  Management has turned a new page hiring coach Andy Reid to set a new tone.  But, can a team who has seen such hardship transform itself in one season?  

Kansas City Chiefs President, Mark Donovan, believes the expectation is very high from the fan base, but right now he just wants to focus on Jacksonville and coming back 1-0. 

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This week the 2013 Little League World Series has bought teams from across the world to Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The championship game will be played on Sunday.

In this month’s “A Fan’s Notes”, commentator Victor Wishna tells us what Major League players could learn from their Little League compadres.

Royals In The Play-offs?

Aug 22, 2013
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It's nearly September, and the Royals have won more games than they've lost. This might seem like a minor achievement, but here in Kansas City, this is a huge deal. We haven't had a winning season since 2003 and before that, 1994.  An entire generation of baseball fans have not seen the Royals do well. To put this into perspective, Eric Hosmer, the Royals' first baseman is 23 years old. He was born in 1989, a full 4 years after the Royals last made the play-offs (and went on to win the World Series).

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The new road course constructed within the oval at Kansas Speedway will be the site of sports car competition for the first time this weekend. Pricier models such as Porches, Ferraris and BMWs are more associated with this group of drivers compared to the more common Chevy, Ford and Toyotas on the NASCAR circuit.

And, the brand of cars isn’t the only thing different about sports car racing.

A golf rarity took place Sunday when two professionals with ties to the area won separate tournaments, and combined for more than $800,000 in prize money along the way.

Gary Woodland is a Topeka, Kan. native who played golf at KU. He won a PGA Tour event in Nevada and collected $540,000.

Earlier in the day, Tom Pernice Jr. earned more than $262,000 for a Champions Tour win among the 50-and-older pros.

With four top-5 finishes in the first five Champions Tour events Tom Pernice Jr. played this season, he said in late May he felt close to winning again.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR

AS Roma defeated the MLS All-Star team Wednesday night 3-1 in the MLS All-Star game at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The MLS team included three players from Sporting Kansas City, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler and Graham Zusi. Their opponent from Italy included United States National Team center midfielder Michael Bradley who received high praise during from stadium fans on his announcement onto the field.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

For years, the old YMCA building was an eyesore at the entrance of the 18th and Vine District. But over the last few years, the façade has been restored and the windows replaced. And, on the south wall, a giant mural has gone up of the legendary baseball player, coach and keeper of the Negro Leagues flame Buck O’Neil. 

The Negro Leagues got their start in Kansas City, when eight independent black baseball teams met at the Paseo YMCA in 1920. Buck O'Neil played for the Kansas City Monarchs, and had a major role in opening the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum.

Major League Soccer

Barely a year after baseball's best swooped through town, another All-Star Game will kick off Wednesday night at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan. The fanfare may be more subdued, but as Victor Wishna cautions in this month's edition of A Fan's Notes, don't believe the lack of hype: soccer--especially soccer in Kansas City--is major league.

file photo / KCUR

Major League Soccer’s all-star game will offer the best of its league against Italy’s AS Roma at Sporting Park Wednesday in Kansas City, Kan. Though it’s tough to get a ticket for the match, it follows the pattern lately for Sporting Kansas City’s home games with a string of 27 straight sellouts.

Kansas City: soccer hotbed

It was raining Monday afternoon, but fans showed up with umbrellas to watch professional soccer players aim for a soccer goal across Brush Creek in the plaza.

Proforged / Flickr -- Creative Commons

Wednesday is the 18th Major League Soccer All-Star Game and it will pit the best that MLS has against Italy’s AS Roma team.  All of this will happen right here in Kansas City.

Kansas City Women Pave Their Path To The Soccer Pitch

Jul 29, 2013
Sangeeta Shastry / KCUR

The pop of the ball as it’s booted down field. Shouts from the sidelines. Cleats kicking up clumps of grass.  

Sound familiar? You might have played on a soccer team when you were growing up, or perhaps these are the sounds you hear when you shuttle your kids to practices and games.

Laura Ziegler

The Major League Soccer All Star Game team was arriving in Kansas City Monday as the hype and festivities grow for Wednesday’s big game.

Sporting KC Coach Peter Vermes, who will coach the All Star team, told national and international media how proud he was about the success of soccer in Kansas City.           

Vermes has been in Kansas City since the team was called The Wizards, and played in Arrowhead Stadium.

He said the 80,000 seat venue dwarfed whatever crowd came out to see the team.

Brett Leaves Dug Out For Front Office

Jul 26, 2013

Kansas City Royals legend George Brett is returning to the front office after almost two months as temporary hitting coach for the team. At a news conference Thursday, Brett was emotional when he said it wasn’t easy to leave the dug out once again.

The team is on the verge of traveling to three different cities on their current road trip, and Brett says traveling is rough on him.

Today marks the 30th anniversary of a game between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees that made history. It would become known as the "Pine-Tar Game."

On July 24, 1983, in the top of the ninth, with the Royals trailing 4-3 and down to their last out, George Brett came to bat. Brett hit a 2-run homer that gave the Royals a lead in the game. But those runs were taken off the scoreboard when an umpire ruled that George Brett had too much pine tar -- a substance used to get a better grip -- on the bat.

Courtesy photo / Sporting KC

Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes had his contract with the team extended Tuesday. Vermes is now under contract through the 2017 season

He says he really wasn't thinking about going anywhere else.

"When you're around this every day and you're around the leaders of this club, and you hear and understand what their vision is, it's an easy choice," said Vermes. "You'd be an idiot to not want to be a part of it."

Sporting Kansas City is currently in first place in the East Division of Major League Soccer.

Luther College Photos / Flickr -- Creative Commons

In the early summer of 1972 President Nixon signed into law a piece of legislation that changed the way America plays sports. It is one of the most socially impacting pieces of legislation in modern history, transforming the lives of millions of women, empowering over 900% more girls to participate in High School sports and over 450% more women to participate in College athletics between 1971 and 2006.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

The PGA Tour’s web-dot-com circuit stops this week in the Kansas City area. First-round play begins Thursday at the Lions Gate course in Overland Park, Kan.

For a long time, area courses have served as the host site for golf tour events, but never a major. 

More than 34,000 fans attended Sunday’s final round of the US Senior Open at Omaha Country Club, the single largest attended sporting event in Omaha history.

It took place on a course that was built in the late 1920s. Tom Pernice, who grew up in Raytown, was impressed with the turnout.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

When the Major League Baseball All-Star game is played Tuesday night at Citi Field in New York, it will stir up memories from last year in Kansas City, Mo.

The game returned to Kauffman Stadium in 2012 after a 39-year absence. But, besides the memories, what is Kansas City left with after hosting the mid-summer classic?

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig said in 2010 a footprint would be left in Kansas City long after the All-Star game’s last out.

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