Archive for Thursday, January 27, 2005

Opinion: Why not in our area?

January 27, 2005

Think back, for a minute, to the last time you were incredibly proud to tell people that you were a fan of Kansas City-area sports.

OK, maybe you beamed with pride last year when the Chiefs rolled to a 13-3 record. But that only lasted until Peyton Manning and Co. came to town.

Since then, it's pretty much been all downhill for you Chiefs choppers.

So what else?

Sure, there was the magical run by Tony Pena and the Royals a couple of years ago. And, although that was a lot of fun, the whole thing pretty much fizzled out the final month of the season, leaving the Royals and their fans to lament further on life as a small-market team.

The Jayhawks basketball team has been pretty hot the past few years, but even though the Hawks came just a couple of minutes away from making it three straight trips to the Final Four last season, most of the year was spent missing Roy Williams or griping about the new guy and his slower system.

Besides that, unfortunately, outsiders tend to think of Kansas City as half KU supporters and half Missouri supporters, and the Tigers' recent troubles have likely overshadowed the Jayhawks' accomplishments.

I think the last time I remember bragging about being a local sports fan was back in the early '90s when KU reached the Final Four, a bowl game and the College World Series all in the same year.

I don't exactly remember how the Royals or Chiefs did that year, but I guess if I can't remember that means it probably wasn't too spectacular.

So why the criticism of our local sports teams? Why now?

Because across the country in Beantown, New Englanders everywhere are enjoying one of the most magical years in sports history.

First the Red Sox win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. Then, the Patriots follow up their 2004 Super Bowl victory with a berth in 2005's big game.

In between, the Boston College basketball team has darted out to an undefeated start and is one of the most exciting stories of the college basketball season thus far. Wow!

Must be nice.

Unfortunately I don't think it'll ever happen that way around here. Too bad. Why not?

For starters, it's been hard enough getting one or two of our teams to be competitive year-in and year-out. Asking -- or worse, expecting them -- to do it in the same year seems about as realistic as the New York Yankees agreeing to cut their pay roll to make the game fair.

It's not that the powers that be in this area aren't committed to winning. Allard Baird has done everything possible to make the Royals a contender. It just so happens he's running uphill knee deep on a mound of concrete.

Those in charge of the Chiefs have also committed to winning. Their biggest problem is it's been so long since they've really done it, I'm not sure they remember how.

Of course, that Larry Johnson pick sure looks good now, doesn't it. Score one for you Carl Peterson. Gimme a break.

I'm not really sure why this column came about. Perhaps it was born because I'm jealous of what Bostonians are currently experiencing, complete sports euphoria.

Or maybe, it came about because the nicer weather we had earlier in the week inspired me to stare out of my window, and daydreaming got the best of me.

Either way, I'm happy for the people in the Northeast. And although I'm jealous of their success, I'll certainly let them keep their sports triumphs, as long as they keep that nasty weather, too.

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