Wednesday, October 27, 2021

How Long It's Been: The Minnesota Twins Won a World Series (Or Even a Pennant)

October 27, 1991, 30 years agoThe Minnesota Twins become World Champions with a 1-0 victory in 10 innings over the Atlanta Braves, behind Jack Morris's masterful pitching. Gene Larkin's single off Alejandro Pena scores Dan Gladden with the game's only run.

The game is the 1st Game 7 to go into extra innings since the Senators-Giants Series in 1924. Morris is named the Series MVP for the Twins‚ who win all 4 games in the Metrodome while losing all 3 in Atlanta -- repeating their pattern against St. Louis in 1987. Four of the 7 games are decided on the final pitch‚ while 5 are decided by a single run‚ and 3 in extra innings. All are Series records. Morris's 10-inning masterpiece turns out to be the last extra-inning complete game of the 20th Century.

Through the 2021 season, the Twins' record in World Series play is 11-10: 11-1 at home (3-1 at Metropolitan Stadium in '65, 4-0 at the Metrodome in '87 and again in '91, and they have yet to get that far at Target Field) and 0-9 on the road. However, since that day, 30 years ago, they have never won another Pennant. The Braves have, although once in the World Series, they've rarely been better off. (Well, they are now.)

It's been 30 years. How long has that been?

*

The Metrodome was in its glory. This was the start of a 6-month stretch in which it would host the World Series, the Super Bowl, and the Final Four. On January 26, 1992, the team then known as the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills, 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI. And on April 6, 1992, Duke University beat the University of Michigan, 71-51.

No other stadium has ever hosted all 3 of these events. To put that in perspective:

* Only 4 stadiums have hosted both the World Series and the Super Bowl: The Metrodome, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, and Hard Rock Stadium in the Miami suburbs.

* Only 2 buildings have hosted both the World Series and the Final Four: The Metrodome and Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. 

* Only 8 buildings have hosted both the Super Bowl and the Final Four: The Metrodome, the Superdome in New Orleans, the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ford Field in Detroit, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, NRG Stadium in Houston, AT&T Stadium in the Dallas suburbs, and the Metrodome's replacement, U.S. Bank Stadium.

In 1982, the Twins and the NFL's Minnesota Vikings abandoned the suburban Metropolitan Stadium, and the University of Minnesota left its aging Memorial Stadium, all for the brand-new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, named for Minnesota's best-known politician. Early on, lots of people hated it. Former Yankee manager Billy Martin spoke for them when he said, "It's a shame a great guy like HHH had to be named after it." (Yes, Billy said it, not Yogi Berra.)

Eventually, even the Twins got tired of the bad turf, the bad roof, and the cheap homers. They moved into Target Field in 2010. The University of Minnesota opened TCF Bank Stadium in 2009. After a 2010 roof collapse due to snow, forcing them to move a home game to Detroit and another (with more prep time) to TCF Bank Stadium, the Vikings gave an ultimatum: New stadium or we move. After the 2013 season, the Metrodome was demolished, and U.S. Bank Stadium built on the site; the Vikes played at TCF Bank Stadium in the interim.

At the time, the Colorado Rockies and the team now known as the Miami Marlins only existed on paper. The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays only existed as ideas. The Milwaukee Brewers were in the American League, and the Houston Astros were in the National League. The Washington Nationals were still the Montreal Expos.

The Astros, the Expos/Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays, and the team now known as the Los Angeles Angels had never won a World Series. Nor had the Braves since moving to Atlanta. Nor had the Giants since moving to San Francisco. Nor had the Boston Red Sox since 1918. Nor had the Chicago White Sox since 1917. Nor had the Chicago Cubs since 1908.

The Astros, the Expos/Nationals, the Blue Jays, the Angels, and the Texas Rangers had never even won a Pennant. Nor had the Braves since moving to Atlanta. Nor had the White Sox since 1959. Nor had the Cleveland Indians since 1954. Nor had the Cubs since 1945. The Rangers and the Seattle Mariners hadn't even made the Playoffs.

All of those facts are no longer true.

Only 8 major league ballparks in use in 1991 are still in use today: Fenway Park in Boston, the Oakland Coliseum, Royals Stadium (now Kauffman Stadium) in Kansas City, the SkyDome (now the Rogers Centre) in Toronto; the 2 Chicago stadiums, Wrigley Field and the new Comiskey Park (now Guaranteed Rate Field); and the 2 Los Angeles area stadiums, Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium (now Angel Stadium).

There were still living players from the 1924 World Champions (George "Showboat" Fisher of the Washington Senators), and the 1927 and 1928 World Champions (Mark Koenig of the Yankees). Of the defining players of my childhood, most were retired -- Carlton Fisk, George Brett, Robin Yount and Nolan Ryan were the exceptions -- and some were already in the Hall of Fame.

Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and David Ortiz were in high school. Jimmy Rollins was 12 years old; Albert Pujols and CC Sabathia were 11; David Wright, Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera and Zack Greinke were 8; Max Scherzer was 7; Buster Posey was 4; Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg were 3; Madison Bumgarner and Freddie Freeman were 2, and Giancarlo Stanton was about to turn 2; Jose Altuve and Gerrit Cole were 1; Nolan Arenado was 6 months old, Mike Trout was 2 months old; and Christian Yelich, Kris Bryant, Aaron Judge, Mookie Betts, Bryce Harper, Corey Seager, Gleyber Torres and Juan Soto weren’t born yet.

Current Twins manager Rocco Baldelli was 10 years old. So was Luis Rojas, the most recent holder of the currently vacant Mets' managerial position. And Aaron Boone of the Yankees was at the University of Southern California.

Lindy Ruff of the Devils was the head coach of the minor-league Rochester Americans. Barry Trotz of the Islanders was an assistant coach with the minor-league Baltimore Skipjacks. Tom Thibodeau of the Knicks was a scout with the Seattle SuperSonics. Gerard Gallant of the Rangers was playing for the Detroit Red Wings. Steve Nash of the Nets, Ronny Deila of NYCFC, and Gerhard Struber of the Red Bulls were in high school -- in Canada, Norway and Austria, respectively. Robert Saleh of the Jets was 10 years old. Joe Judge of the Giants was 9. And Walt Hopkins of the Liberty was 6.

The Twins dethroned the Cincinnati Reds as World Champions. The other reigning Champions were the New York Giants, the Chicago Bulls and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Heavyweight Champion of the World was Evander Holyfield.

The Olympic Games have since been held in America and Japan twice each, and once each in Spain, France, Norway, Australia, Greece, Italy, China, Canada, Britain, Russia, Brazil and Korea. The World Cup has since been held in America, France, Japan, Korea, Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Russia.

There were 26 Amendments to the Constitution of the United States. The 27th Amendment, barring Congress from raising its pay in mid-session, was ratified the next year. The idea that two people of the same gender could marry each other, with all the legal benefits of marriage, was ridiculous. But then, so was the idea that corporations were "people," with all the legal rights thereof. In a contentious process, Clarence Thomas was just sworn in as a Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He is the only one who was on that Court then who is still there now.

The President of the United States was George H.W. Bush. Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, their wives, and the widows of Lyndon Johnson and John F. Kennedy were still alive. Bill Clinton was Governor of Arkansas, and launching his 1st campaign for President. George W. Bush was the owner of baseball's Texas Rangers, yet another business at which he was failing. Barack Obama was a young lawyer in Chicago. Joe Biden was in his 4th term as a U.S. Senator from Delaware. Kamala Harris was a Deputy District Attorney in Alameda County (Oakland), California. Donald Trump was facing bankruptcy, and his divorce from his 1st wife, Ivana, was not helping.

The Governor of Minnesota was Arne Carlson. The Mayor of Minneapolis was Donald M. Fraser. The Governor of the State of New York was Mario Cuomo. The Mayor of the City of New York was David Dinkins. The Governor of New Jersey was Jim Florio. 

As for the current holders of those offices: Tim Walz was serving in the Nebraska National Guard; Jacob Frey was 10 years old; Kathy Hochul was an aide to Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan; Bill de Blasio was an aide to Dinkins; his likely successor, Eric Adams, was the president of the Grand Council of Guardians, an African-American patrolmen's association; and Phil Murphy was a rising star at Goldman Sachs.

There were still living veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Boer War and the Russo-Japanese War. There were still living survivors of the Johnstown Flood, the Galveston Hurricane, the General Slocum disaster and the San Francisco Earthquake.

The Prime Minister of Canada was Brian Mulroney, and of Britain, John Major. The monarch of both nations was Queen Elizabeth II -- that hasn't changed. Each of North London's major soccer teams held one of English soccer's 2 major trophies: Arsenal had won the Football League Division One, and Tottenham Hotspur had won the FA Cup. (It remains their last major trophy, unless you count the 1999 and 2008 League Cups.)

The Pope was John Paul II. The current Pope, Francis, was teaching theology in Frankfurt, Germany, under his birth name, Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev had recently been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. There have since been 6 Presidents of the United States, 6 Prime Ministers of Britain, and 3 Popes.

In 1991, Douglas Coupland coined the expression that defined people born between the mid-1960s and the mid-1970s, myself included, in the title of his novel Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture. Alexandra Ripley published Scarlett, the authorized sequel to Gone With the Wind

Tom Clancy published the Jack Ryan novel The Sum of All Fears, John Grisham The Firm, and Bret Easton Ellis American Psycho, later turned into a film in which Christian Bale became the kind of man his later character, Batman, would have pursued and caught. None of the Harry Potter or A Song of Ice and Fire novels had yet been published.

Stephen King published Needful Things, George R.R. Martin was working on his Wild Cards series, and J.K. Rowling hadn't yet published anything. No one had yet heard of Deadpool, Alex Cross, Bridget Jones, Ash Ketchum, Robert Langdon, Master Chief, Rick Grimes, Wynonna Earp, Lisbeth Salander, Bella Swan or Katniss Everdeen.

Major films of the Autumn of 1991 included the football comedy Necessary Roughness, Frankie and Johnny, Little Man Tate, My Own Private Idaho, House Party 2, Curly Sue, 29th Street, Billy Bathgate, Highlander II: The Quickening, and Strictly Business, which helped launch the career of Halle Berry.

The James Bond franchise was in legal limbo, with Timothy Dalton still expecting to play Agent 007 for a 3rd time, but it didn't happen. Also in limbo was the Doctor Who franchise, with Sylvester McCoy having played The Doctor last. Michael Keaton was in the middle of his run playing Batman. Christopher Reeve was the last live-action Superman, Lynda Carter the last live-action Wonder Woman, and Nicholas Hammond the last live-action Spider-Man. A Flash TV series starring John Wesley Shipp had recently been canceled after just 1 season on CBS, mostly due to cost overruns.

Recently debuting on television were Home Improvement, Roc, Herman's Head, Reasonable Doubts, Step by Step, Brooklyn Bridge, Homefront, The Commish, I'll Fly Away and Silk Stalkings; the nationally-syndicated talk shows hosted by Maury Povich, Jenny Jones, Jerry Springer, Montel Williams and Charlie Rose; the cartoons Doug, Rugrats, The Ren & Stimpy Show and Darkwing Duck; and the live-action kids shows Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego and Liquid Television.

The Number 1 song in America was "Emotions" by Mariah Carey. Nirvana released Nevermind, Pearl Jam Ten, Guns N' Roses Use Your Illusion, Red Hot Chilip Peppers Blood Sugar Sex Magik, U2 Achtung Baby, and Michael Jackson Dangerous. Miles Davis and Freddie Mercury died. The day before his death, in a final public statement, Mercury admitted what he had long denied, that he had AIDS. Davis denied it to the end, his death officially attributed to pneumonia.

Inflation was such that what $1.00 bought then, $2.01 would buy now. A U.S. postage stamp cost 29 cents, and a New York Subway ride $1.15. The average price of a gallon of gas was $1.14, a cup of coffee $1.55, a McDonald's meal (Big Mac, fries, shake) $5.23, a movie ticket $4.21, a new car $15,473, and a new house $144,400. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed the preceding Friday at 3,004.92.

The tallest building in the world was the Sears Tower in Chicago. There were mobile phones, but they were still pretty big, and hardly anybody had them. The leading home video game system was the Sega Genesis. The Internet existed, but hardly anybody knew it. There were birth control pills, but no Viagra.

In the Autumn of 1991, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia were in the process of breaking up. The long civil wars in El Salvador and Cambodia came to an end. An earthquake killed 768 people in India. Russia and Israel restored diplomatic relations. So did China and Vietnam.

In America, a wildfire killed 25 people in the Oakland hills, killing 25 people and destroying many homes, including that of baseball legend Reggie Jackson. New England and Atlantic Canada were hit by what became known as "The Perfect Storm." The Upper Midwest was hit by "The Halloween Blizzard," killing 22 people.

Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel, and Gene Roddenberry, and Leo Durocher died. Shailene Woodley, and Taylor Hall, and Gio Urshela were born.

October 27, 1991, 30 years ago. The Minnesota Twins beat the Atlanta Braves, 1-0 in 10 innings, in Game 7, to end one of the best World Series ever with one of the best games ever.

They have not won a Pennant since. Given that they finished 73-89 in 2021, it doesn't look like a new one will come soon.

Then again, in 1990, they went 74-88, last place in the American League Western Division -- and won the World Series the next year. So, who knows?

How to Be a New York Football Fan In Kansas City -- 2021 Edition

This Monday night, the New York Giants will play away to the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have been to the last 2 Super Bowls, winning 1 and being cheated out of the other. (And if that's not true, then Tom Brady can sue me.) But they're in a nasty slump now, and the Giants may be working their way out of a rough start. It could be an interesting game.

Going to Kansas City.
Kansas City, here I come.
They got some crazy little women there
and I’m a-gonna get me one.


Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller wrote that tune back in the 1950s, and it’s been recorded by a lot of people. It hit Number 1 for Wilbert Harrison in 1959.

It doesn't say anything about football, though. Yet, in spite of a very spotty history -- the Chiefs have made the Playoffs a few times, but only once under the NFL banner have they reached the AFC Championship Game -- Kansas City has quite a fascinating history, and should still be regarded as a good football town.

Before You Go. K.C. can get really hot in the Summer, and really cold in the Winter, with the wind blowing across the Plains. Check the Kansas City Star website for the weather forecast before you go. (The rival Kansas City Times stopped publishing in 1990.)

For the moment, they are predicting that Monday afternoon will be in the mid-40s, and Monday night in the mid-30s, and they're forecasting rain. In other words, by New York standards, it's going to be rotten late Fall weather. Bring a Winter jacket.

Kansas City is in the Central Time Zone. Adjust your timepieces accordingly.

Tickets. Unlike the Royals, who have had attendance issues for years, the Chiefs averaged 75,465 fans per home game in 2019, the last pre-COVID season, which works out to about 96 percent of Arrowhead Stadium's capacity. Getting tickets from the team website, via Ticketmaster, could be hard. You may have to go to the NFL ticket exchange.

In the lower level, seats are $255 between the end zones and $190 behind them. In the upper level, they're $80 and $76.

Getting There. Kansas City's Crown Center is 1,194 road miles from New York's Times Square, and it's 1,182 miles from MetLife Stadium to Arrowhead Stadium. Knowing this, your first reaction is going to be to fly out there. Round-trip from Newark Liberty to Mid-Continent International Airport, while changing planes in Chicago, can be just over $600 round-trip. If you want non-stop, it'll cost more than twice that, even if you order early. When you do get there, the 129 bus takes you from Kansas City International Airport to downtown in under an hour, so that’s convenient.

Bus? Not a good idea. Greyhound runs 6 buses a day between Port Authority and Kansas City, and only 2 of them are without changes in Pennsylvania (possibly in Philadelphia, possibly in Harrisburg). The total time is about 29 hours, and costs $247 round-trip. The Greyhound terminal is at 1101 Troost Avenue, at E. 11th Street. Number 25 bus to downtown.

Train? Amtrak will make you change trains in Chicago, from their Union Station to K.C. on the Southwest Chief – the modern version of the Santa Fe Railroad's Chicago-to-Los Angeles "Super Chief," the train that, along with his Cherokee heritage, gave 1950s Yankee pitcher Allie Reynolds his nickname.

Problem is, the Southwest Chief arrives in K.C. at 10:00 PM, meaning you would need to leave New York on Saturday afternoon to get there late on Sunday night to see the game on Monday night. At least the fare is cheap by Amtrak standards: $385 round-trip. But if you want to try it, Union Station is at Pershing Road and Main Street. Take the MAX bus to get downtown.
Union Station in Kansas City. This city has a fountain fetish.

If you decide to drive, it's far enough that it will help to get someone to go with you and split the duties, and to trade off driving and sleeping. You’ll need to get on the New Jersey Turnpike, and take Interstate 78 West across New Jersey, and at Harrisburg get on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, which at this point will be both I-70 and I-76. When the two Interstates split outside Pittsburgh, stay on I-70 west.

You'll cross the northern tip of West Virginia, and go all the way accross Ohio (through Columbus), Indiana (through Indianapolis), Illinois and very nearly Missouri (through the northern suburbs of St. Louis). You'll begin the Missouri section in St. Louis, on the Stan Musial Memorial Bridge; and end it in Kansas City, on the George Brett Super Highway. (The St. Louis portion of I-70 had been the Mark McGwire Highway, but after the steroid revelations, it was renamed the Mark Twain Highway.) In Missouri, Exit 9 will be for the Sports Complex. But you'd be crazy to come all this way and not get a hotel so you'll get a decent night’s sleep, so take I-70 right into downtown.

Exit 2C is for downtown, but it might be cheaper for you to get a hotel on the Kansas side. Continue West on I-70. Exit 411B will be for the stadium, onto Interstate 435. The 1st exit you see will be Exit 13B, and that's the exit for the stadium.

If you do it right, you should spend about an hour and 15 minutes in New Jersey, 5 hours in Pennsylvania, 15 minutes in West Virginia, 3 hours and 45 minutes in Ohio, 2 hours and 30 minutes in Indiana, 2 hours and 30 minutes in Illinois, and 4 hours and 15 minutes in Missouri before you reach the exit for your hotel. That's going to be about 19 and a half hours. Counting rest stops, preferably 7 of them, and accounting for traffic in both New York and Kansas City, it should be about 28 hours.

Once In the City. Kansas City, founded in 1838 and named for the Kanza tribe of Native Americans who lived there, is one of the smallest cities in the major leagues, with just 508,000 people, and one of the smallest metropolitan areas, with 2.3 million -- indeed, if you rank the 24 MLB markets (remembering to divide New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco in half, although the fandom doesn't really break that way), K.C. ranks 24th.

Kansas City is set on the confluence of the Missouri and Kansas rivers, and on the Missouri/Kansas State Line. Kansas City, Kansas is a separate city with about 140,000 people, and is known locally as KCK, while the more familiar city is KCMO. As for KCMO, Main Street runs north-south and divides Kansas City addresses between East and West, while the north-south addresses start at 1 at the Missouri River.

The light rail system, the KC Streetcar, is free downtown. For the Streetcar outside downtown, the fare is $1.50. That's also the base fare for buses, though to go to the Missouri suburbs or KCK it's doubled to $3.00. A 3-day pass is $10. The sales tax in Missouri is 4.225 percent, but it more than doubles to 8.475 within Kansas City. If you go into Kansas, their sales tax is 6.5 percent.
The State Capitol is in Jefferson City, 147 miles east of downtown Kansas City, 126 miles west of downtown St. Louis, and 30 miles south of the University of Missouri campus in Columbia.
The Missouri State House,
on the Missouri River in Jefferson City

ZIP Codes for the Missouri side of the Kansas City area start with the digits 640 and 641; and for the Kansas side, 660 and 661. The Area Codes are 816 in Missouri, 913 in Kansas. The metro area does not have a "beltway." Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) runs the electricity.

KCMO is about 55 percent white, 30 percent black, 10 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian. KCK is more balanced: About 40 percent white, 28 percent Hispanic, 27 percent black and 3 percent Asian. Strangely, the State Line flips the housing segregation: On the Missouri side to the east, it's white on the North Side, black on the South; but on the Kansas side to the west, it's minorities on the North Side, and white on the South.

With its legacy of jazz and the Negro Leagues' Monarchs, Kansas City has been one of the top cities for black American culture. And it has been luckier than most in terms of racial disturbances. But in back-to-back years, it suffered one of the 1967 "Long Hot Summer" riots and another following the assassination of Martin Luther King.

Going In. The Harry S Truman Sports Complex, including Kauffman Stadium (known as Royals Stadium from 1973 until the 1993 death of founder-owner-pharmaceutical titan Ewing M. Kauffman) and Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs since 1972 and site of a 2001 U.S. soccer team win over Costa Rica, is 8 miles southeast of downtown Kansas City, at the intersection of Interstates 70 and 435, still in the city but on the suburban edge of it.

The official address of Arrowhead Stadium is 1 Arrowhead Way. You don't have to worry about the ballpark being in a bad neighborhood: It's not in any neighborhood. Parking costs $11.
Public transportation is not much of an option. In fact, aside from Arlington, Texas, this is one of the least friendly stadiums in the NFL for those without a car. The Number 28 bus will drop you off at 35th Street South and Blue Ridge Cutoff, and then it’s a one-mile walk down the Cutoff, over I-70, to the ballpark. The Number 47 bus will drop you off a little closer, on the Cutoff at 40th Terrace, about half a mile away.

The big thing everyone remembers about Arrowhead is the smell -- a good smell. Kansas City prides itself on barbecue, and few football stadiums -- college or pro -- have a better reputation for tailgating. If you like to tailgate, this may be your kind of place. Especially if you're willing to swap and share. Chiefs fans are usually friendly -- usually. (More on that in "During the Game.") Indeed, going in, you might see the smoke from the tailgaters' grills before you see the stadium.
Most fans will enter by the spiral walkways at each corner, a holdover from the 1960s sports stadium architecture that also befell Giants Stadium, among others. The field began in 1972 as artificial turf, but was switched to natural grass in 1994. It is now named GEHA Field, but the stadium still carries the Arrowhead name. It is aligned northwest-to-southeast, but the NFL considers this to be north-south. The end zones are crowned by oval -- some might say football-shaped -- scoreboards.
Arrowhead has hosted the Big 12 Conference football championship game 5 times, most recently in 2008. The "Border Showdown" between the universities of Kansas and Missouri, the oldest college football rivalry west of the Mississippi River, was played at Arrowhead from 2006 to 2011, when Missouri left the Big 12 for the Southeastern Conference. They are not scheduled to play each other in football this year or next year, and as far as I know, there are no plans to revive the rivalry in 2018 or later. But such rivalries never stay dormant for long, and if the Big 12 continues to fall apart (they're now at 10 teams, as they've lost Missouri and Texas A&M to the SEC, Nebraska to the Big 10 and Colorado to the Pac-10/12, but have also gained West Virginia from the Big East and Texas Christian from the Western Athletic Conference), it wouldn't be outrageous to see Kansas in the SEC in the foreseeable future.

As Chiefs founder-owner Lamar Hunt was one of the main movers and shakers of American soccer -- the American equivalent of England's FA Cup is officially named the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup -- he helped to found MLS, and the Kansas City Wizards began play at Arrowhead in 1996. They won the MLS Cup in 2000.

But the Hunt family sold that team in 2007, and, under the name Sporting Kansas City, it now plays across the State Line in Kansas City, Kansas. Still using the Wizards name in 2010, they played a preseason friendly against Manchester United at Arrowhead, and won 2-1. It has been selected by the U.S. Soccer Federation as a finalist to be one of the host venues for the 2026 World Cup.

Although the stadium is the 5th-oldest currently in use in the NFL (behind only the Los Angeles Coliseum, Lambeau Field in Green Bay, the Oakland Coliseum, and Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego), it was recently renovated (as was neighboring Kauffman Stadium), and the Chiefs signed a lease that will keep them in Arrowhead through at least 2031. Granted, NFL teams have wiggled their way out of leases before, but it looks like that weird shape, with the points at the corners (I'm guessing sight lines aren't too good from there), will remain a part of the NFL landscape for a long time to come.

On September 12, 2017, Thrillist had an article ranking all 31 NFL stadiums. Arrowhead came in 12th, in the top half but not quite the top 1/3rd: 


On June 24, 2019, Scott Nordlund wrote an article on NFL stadiums for Moneywise, and Arrowhead came in 3rd: "If you have never been to Arrowhead for a game -- you need to."

Food. Kansas City has a reputation for great barbecue, and Arrowhead has that, and many other good food items. Specifically, stands named "Kansas City Style Barbecue" are at Sections 215 and 238, featuring "Chiefs brisket stack and pulled pork sandwiches, smoke house loaded baked potatoes, KC brisket dogs, jumbo hot dogs, bratwursts, Big Red KC cheesesteak, nachos, vegetables, hummus." (Hummus? Must be for them dirty whinin' lib'rals at the University of Kansas.)

Fiorella's Jack Stack features "BBQ sandwiches, beef burnt ends, ribs, fries, beer and soft drinks" at 112, 130, 326 and 339. Blanc features "Specialty burgers, corned beef and chicken sandwiches, specialty fries, beer and soft drinks" at 122. Foolish Dog features "Specialty hotdogs, extreme fries, loaded nachos, beer and soft drinks" at 107, 131 and 322. Blaze has "Beef hamburgers, chicken tenders, bratwurst, fries, beer and soft drinks" at 102, 108, 111, 116, 126, 136, 310, 316, 321, 327, 333 and 345.

Gridiron Grill has "Specialty burgers, hand-breaded chicken tenders, hand-cut fries, beer and soft drinks" at 109, 127 and 303. Slice has "Specialty flatbread pizzas, pizza slices, Panini sandwich, frozen desserts, candy, beer and soft drinks" at 107, 125, 315, 323 and 343. And Chiefs Bar has a "Full selection of cocktails featuring margaritas, domestic and imported beers, wine" at 102, 104, 109, 111, 117, 121, 129, 134, 301, 308, 317, 326, 331, 332 and 340, and outside at the Ford Fan Zone.

Team History Displays. In 61 seasons of play (including their 1st 3, 1960-62, as the Dallas Texans), the Chiefs have reached the Playoffs 23 times (including last season), won 13AFL or AFC Western Division Championships, have reached 7 AFL or AFC Championship Games, lost Super Bowls I and LV, and won Super Bowls IV and LIV.
A Dallas Texans helmet. The city, the team name,
and the helmet design changed, but the colors didn't.

And yet, there appears to be no notation of these achievements viewable from Arrowhead Stadium's seating areas. Nor does there appear to be any notation of their retired numbers.

The Chiefs have 10 retired numbers, and 1 other that, while not officially retired, has not been issued since the players wearing them died while still active. This is an extraordinary number for a team that's been playing for less than 60 years. However, 3 of the 10 also died while still active. In fact, the Chiefs' history has been a bit tragic.

The Chiefs have a team Hall of Fame with 49 members, one elected every year since 1970, except for 1983 and, due to COVID restrictions, 2020. (Their 2021 inductee has not yet been announced.) This is the most of any NFL team except for Green Bay. Unlike their titles and retired numbers, these are visible in the seating area, around the mezzanine. There's also a Chiefs Hall of Honor inside the stadium, with each figure represented by a bust, as are the honorees in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. The members are:

* From the 1960s, but before their Super Bowl IV win: Running backs Abner Haynes (Number 28 retired) and Mack Lee Hill (died while active, Number 36 retired) and receiver Chris Burford (who did, at least, make it to their Super Bowl I team). Running back Stone Johnson (that was his real name: "Stone Edward Johnson") was killed in a 1963 exhibition game, getting his neck broken in a tackle, and never played a regular-season down. While he's not in the team Hall of Fame, the Chiefs did retire the Number 33 that he wore exactly once.

* From their 1969 World Champions, winners of Super Bowl IV: Founder-owner Lamar Hunt (who also has a statue outside Arrowhead, and the AFC Championship trophy is named for him), coach Hank Stram, team administrator Jack Steadman, quarterback Len Dawson (Number 16 retired), running backs Mike Garrett, Curtis McClinton and Ed Podoloak, receiver Otis Taylor, tight end Fred Arbanas, center Jack Rudnay, guard Ed Budde, offensive tackles Jim Tyrer and Dave Hill, defensive tackles Buck Buchanan (Number 86 retired), Curley Culp and Jerry Mays, linebackers Bobby Bell (Number 78 retired), Willie Lanier (Number 63 retired), E.J. Holub, Sherrill Headrick and Jim Lynch, cornerback Emmitt Thomas (Number 18 retired), safety Johnny Robinson, kicker Jan Stenerud (Number 3 retired) and punter Jerrel Wilson.

* From the early 1980s: Running back Joe Delaney (died while still active, Number 37 kept out of circulation), cornerback Gary Green and safety Gary Barbaro.

* From their 1986 AFC Wild Card Playoff team: Running back Tony Richardson, offensive tackle John Alt, defensive end Art Still, linebacker Gary Spani, cornerbacks Albert Lewis and Kevin Ross, safeties Deron Cherry (a Rutgers graduate) and Lloyd Burruss and kicker Nick Lowery.

* From their 1993 team that won the AFC West and reached the AFC Championship Game: Coach Marty Schottenheimer, Richardson, Lewis, Ross, Lowery, running back Christian Okoye, guard Will Shields, linebacker Derrick Thomas (died while still active, Number 58 retired), and defensive end Neil Smith.

The quarterback on this team was Joe Montana, who led the Chiefs into the Playoffs in his last 2 seasons in the NFL, but, having played only 2 seasons with the team, he is not in their Hall of Fame. Oddly, while he starred for this team, and is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Marcus Allen has not been inducted. Ross went to other teams, then returned for their 1997 AFC West Champions.

* From their 2003 AFC West Champions: Richardson, Shields (also on their 1995 and 1997 AFC West Champions), tight end Tony Gonzalez, and running back Priest Holmes and guard Brian Waters. Gonzalez and Waters were also members of their 2010 AFC West Champions.
Lanier and Stenerud were named to the NFL's 75th Anniversary Team in 1994. Lanier, Bell, Buchanan and Allen were named to The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Football Players in 1999. Lanier, Bell, Allen and Tony Gonzalez were named to the NFL Network's 100 Greatest Players in 2010. Lanier, Stenerud, Bell, Buchanan and Gonzalez were named to the NFL's 100th Anniversary Team in 2019. (Of course, Montana was named to these teams as well.) Bell, Buchanan, Haynes, Dawson, Arbanas, Budde, Tyrer, Mays, Robinson, Wilson and cornerback Dave Grayson were named to the AFL's All-Time Team.

The Chiefs have had 4 Heisman Trophy winners: USC running backs Mike Garrett (1965, with the Chiefs 1966-70) and Marcus Allen (1981, 1993-97), Notre Dame quarterback John Huarte (1964, backup to Dawson 1969-71), and Louisiana State running back Billy Cannon (1959, 1970).

As an original AFL team, the Chiefs' biggest rivals are their fellow AFC West teams, the Denver Broncos and the Whatever City They're In This Year Raiders. All-time, they are 67-55 vs. the Broncos, and 68-54-2 against the Raiders.

They represented Western Missouri against the St. Louis Rams for Eastern Missouri, from the Rams' 1995 arrival from Los Angeles until their 2016 return. The Chiefs won all 6 games against the Rams during this period.

Stuff. The Arrowhead Pro Shop is located in the middle of the lower level on the east sideline of the stadium. The usual items that can be found at a team gift shop (jerseys, helmets, caps, jackets, balls, etc.) can be purchased there. I presume that this includes, due to Kansas City's Western heritage, cowboy hats with the team logo. However, while they haven't had the same kind of backlash as the Washington Redskins, I wonder if this team, named for a leader of an Indian tribe, sells Native American-themed paraphernalia.

Books about the Chiefs are not exactly well-known outside the K.C. area. Jeffrey Flanagan and Doug Weaver of the paper in question wrote A Sea of Red: 50 Years with the Chiefs and the Kansas City Star. There is also a biography of their founder, Michael MacCambridge's Lamar Hunt: A Life In Sports.

MacCambridge also wrote '69 Chiefs: A Team, a Season, and the Birth of Modern Kansas City, published in 2019, on the 50th Anniversary of the achievement. And then he collaborated with head coach Andy Reid on Chiefs Kingdom: The Official Story of the 2019 Championship Season

The NFL released the DVD NFL America's Game: 1969 Chiefs. They also have NFL History of the Kansas City Chiefs, released in 2007. There does not, as yet, appear to be a Greatest Games DVD package for the Chiefs.

During the Game. A 2019 Thrillist article on the NFL's most obnoxious fans ranked
Chiefs fans 14th, about right in the middle:



It’s a little embarrassing that the biggest rivalry you have going right now doesn’t involve the team on the field, but whether you can make more noise than the fans in Seattle. And since they’ve got that nifty metal overhang, you're never gonna get the edge. Congratulations. With Patrick Mahomes undoing Andy Reid's home playoff losing streak, you've got a lot of hype and a genuinely exciting young quarterback at the helm. But until Reid can prove he's not Marty Schottenheimer 2.0, you shouldn't get too excited.
That sounds about right. Because of their Great Plains/Heartland image, Chiefs fans like a "family atmosphere." Therefore, while they hate the Oakland Raiders and, to a lesser extent, the Dallas Cowboys, any ill feelings they might have for the Jets dissipated with the 1970 merger. (And any cross-Missouri rivalry they had with the St. Louis Rams vanished when they moved back to Los Angeles.) So they will not directly antagonize you. At least, they won't initiate it. But don't call them rednecks, hicks or sheep-shaggers.

They will, however, much like baseball Cardinal fans across the State, come dressed in bright red. While not official like the University of Nebraska's Memorial Stadium, Chiefs fans at Arrowhead could be called the Red Sea.

They are also loud: Now that the Redskins have left the tight confines of RFK Stadium in the District for the expansive stadium in the Maryland suburbs, the Chiefs have the loudest outdoor stadium in the NFL. On September 29, 2014, against the Patriots on Monday Night Football, they set an NFL record of 142.2 decibels.

From September 1 to 7, 2017, during the NFL National Anthem protest controversy,
FiveThirtyEight.com polled fans of the 32 NFL teams, to see where they leaned politically. In spite of the natural conservatism of both Missouri and Kansas, Chief fans were found to be 0.8 percent more liberal than conservative, although that still put them in the top 1/3rd of most conservative fan bases.

In 1984, the 25th season for the 8 original AFL teams -- the Jets, the Texans/Chiefs, the Buffalo Bills, the Boston/New England Patriots, the Oakland Raiders (then in their L.A. sojourn), the Denver Broncos, the Houston Oilers (now the Tennessee Titans) and the Los Angeles/San Diego Chargers -- wore a shoulder patch commemorating this anniversary. In 2009, they wore another for their 50th seasons. The Chiefs, the AFL's founding franchise, are the only team that still wears a patch commemorating the AFL.

Their original mascot was Warpaint, a spotted horse that would be ridden around the field before every game and after every Chief touchdown, by Bob Johnson, who wore full Indian regalia, including a headdress.
Judging by the natural grass field, this is almost certainly Warpaint I,
at Municipal Stadium.

There was a game in 1975 when the Chiefs beat the Raiders 42-10, forcing Johnson to ride the 2nd edition of Warpaint around the field 7 times (once before the game, and once for each of the 6 touchdowns). John Madden, then the Raiders' coach, said, "We couldn't beat the Chiefs, but we damn near killed their horse."

In 1989, having survived Madden's Raiders (and Tom Flores' Raiders, and Don Shula's Miami Dolphins, and Chuck Noll's Pittsburgh Steelers, and Don Coryell's San Diego Chargers, and Dan Reeves' Denver Broncos), the Chiefs dropped Warpaint II -- not because they were trying to get more sensitive about the Native American stuff, but because the horse was 19 years old and having trouble running on the artificial turf, which has since been replaced with real grass. He made one more appearance at Arrowhead, in 1997, and got a standing ovation, and lived to be 37, which is very old for a horse.

Upon retiring Warpaint II, the Chiefs adopted a new mascot, K.C. Wolf. He was named for a group of noisy fans at the old Municipal Stadium, who called themselves the Wolfpack. He has been elected to the Mascot Hall of Fame.
K.C. Wolf

In 2009, as part of the team's 50th Anniversary celebrations, a Warpaint III was introduced, this time ridden by a Chiefs cheerleader, not wearing Native American regalia. However, the act was retired before this season, as a nod to racial sensitivity. Nevertheless, Warpaint remains the name of the team's weekly game program.
Susie Derouchey aboard Warpaint III

The Chiefs hold auditions for National Anthem singers. For several years, the Chiefs borrowed the hideous "Tomahawk Chop" song from Florida State University and the Atlanta Braves. But their traditional fight song is "Give a Cheer for Kansas City":

Give a cheer for Kansas City, 
Loud and clear for the red and gold, 
As the Chiefs march on to vict’ry 
Like our mighty teams of old.
Beat the drum, here they come 
Warriors, brave and strong.
In the stands, loyal fans 
Cheer their team along.


After the Game. Since the sports complex is not in any neighborhood, let alone a bad one, you should be safe after a game, day or night. As I said, leave the home fans alone, and they'll probably leave you alone.

Chappell's Restaurant & Sports Museum, not really a museum but with a huge memorabilia collection, has been called the best sports bar in town. 323 Armour Rd., at Erie St, 11 miles northeast of the sports complex, and 5 miles north of downtown. 

If you want to be around other New Yorkers, Johnny's Tavern, 1310 Grand Blvd., downtown, across from the T-Mobile Center, is known as a Giants fan's bar. Be advised that it is also known as a Sporting KC bar -- and a USMNT bar, and a University of Kansas bar. Drivers Sports Cafe is also cited as a Giants fan bar. 8220 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, Kansas, 12 miles south of downtown KCMO, and 18 miles southeast of Children's Mercy Park. Reachable by public transit, but not easily.

If you visit Kansas City during the European soccer season, which is now underway, you can probably find your favorite club on TV at No Other Pub, 1370 Grand Blvd., across from the T-Mobile Center.

Sidelights. On February 3, 2017, Thrillist made a list ranking the 30 NFL cities (New York and Los Angeles each having 2 teams), and Kansas City came in 22nd, in the bottom 1/3rd, saying, "Just focusing solely on BBQ is selling the city a bit short."

Kansas City's sports history is a bit uneven. When the Royals and Chiefs have been good, they’ve been exceptional. But they've also had long stretches of mediocrity. Still, there are some local sites worth checking out:

* Site of Municipal Stadium. This single-decked, 17,000-seat ballpark was built as Muehlebach Field in 1923, by George Muehlebach, who also owned the beer and the hotel that bore his name, and the American Association's Kansas City Blues. It hosted the Blues' Pennants in 1929, 1938, 1952 and 1953 – the last 3 as a farm club of the Yankees. (They'd previously won Pennants in 1888, 1890, 1898 and 1901, for a total of 8 Pennants -- or 5 more than the A's and Royals combined in nearly 60 years thus far.) Future Yankee legends Phil Rizzuto (Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year in 1940) and Mickey Mantle (1951) played for this club at this ballpark.

The Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro Leagues also played at Muehlebach, renamed Ruppert Stadium for the Yankees' owner in 1937 and Blues Stadium in 1943. They won 13 Pennants there from 1923 to 1955, including 3 straight, 1923-25, and 4 straight, 1939-42.

Hall-of-Famers Satchel Paige, Willard Brown and Hilton Smith were their biggest stars, although it should be noted that, while he played with them in the 1945 season, Jackie Robinson was, at the time, not considered as much of a baseball prospect some of the other players who were thought of as potential "first black players," like Paige, Monte Irvin and Larry Doby; it was his balance of competitiveness and temperament, as much as his talent, that got Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey interested in him. And in a travesty, Monarchs legend Buck O’Neil has never been elected to the Hall of Fame. The Monarchs had to leave after the 1955 season, because of the arrival of the A's.

Muehlebach Field, as it was then known was also the home to Kansas City's 1st pro football team, the team known as the Blues in 1924 and the Cowboys in 1925 and '26.

In 1954, the Philadelphia Athletics were sold to trucking company owner Arnold Johnson, and he moved the club to Kansas City, where his pal Del Webb, co-owner of the Yankees, had his construction company put an upper deck on what was renamed Kansas City Municipal Stadium, raising the capacity to 35,020.

In 1960, Charlie Finley bought the A's, and he wanted a new ballpark, and Kansas City wouldn't give it to him. He moved the team to Oakland after the 1967 season, and Major League Baseball gave Kansas City the Royals to start play in 1969. For the new team, with Ewing Kauffman rather than Finley as owner, the city built a new park. The Royals moved out after the 1972 season. Neither the Royals nor the A's ever came close to October while playing there.

The Chiefs began playing at Municipal Stadium in 1963, with a bleacher section from the left field pole to center field increasing the seating capacity to 47,000. Playing there, they won AFL Championships in 1966 and 1969 (in addition to their 1962 title as the Dallas Texans), won Super Bowl IV, and played their last game there on Christmas Day 1971, a double-overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins that is still the longest game in NFL history.
Kansas City Municipal Stadium in its football configuration

The U.S. soccer team played Bermuda at Municipal Stadium on November 2, 1968, and won. The attendance was 2,265. That gives you an idea of how far U.S. soccer has come.

When the merger happened, the NFL required its teams to have stadiums seating at least 50,000 people. Combined with one of Major League Baseball's requirements for a new K.C. team being a new ballpark, this doomed Municipal Stadium. It was torn down in 1976, and a housing development is going up on the site.

22nd Street and Brooklyn Avenue, near the 18th and Vine district that was the home of Kansas City jazz, making it a favorite of the Monarchs players. The legendary Arthur Bryant’s barbecue restaurant is 4 blocks away at 1727 Brooklyn Avenue. Number 123 bus.

* Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and American Jazz Museum. Founded by Buck O’Neil and some friends, this museum "tells the other side of the story." As Buck himself said, the pre-1947 all-white major leagues called themselves "Organized Baseball," but, "We were organized." The museum's lobby features statues of several Negro League legends, including Paige, Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard and Oscar Charleston – having played for the Monarchs was by no means a requirement for that.

The Negro Leagues were a sometimes dignified, sometimes willingly silly, and very successful response to the color bar. But the raiding of their rosters, with no regard to contracts and thus no money changing hands, by the white majors from 1947 onward, was the beginning of the end. But Buck O’Neil had the right perspective, as he said in Ken Burns' Baseball miniseries: “"appy. Happy... Of course, it meant the death of our baseball, but who cared?" The owners of the Negro League teams cared. Other than that...

1616 E. 18th Street. The same building is home to the American Jazz Museum, which includes a working jazz club, the Blue Room. Number 108 bus. The Museum is 5 blocks west of Arthur Bryant's, and a short walk from the site of Municipal Stadium – and neither of these facts is a coincidence.

* Municipal Auditorium. Built in 1935 in the Art Deco style then common to public buildings (especially in New York), it replaced the Convention Hall that was across the street, which hosted the 1900 Democratic Convention which nominated William Jennings Bryan for President (and at which a 16-year-old Harry S Truman served as a page) and the 1928 Republican Convention that nominated Herbert Hoover.

The replacement arena has a Presidential connection as well, as the 2nd and last debate of 1984 was held at the Music Hall within. This was the one that President Ronald Reagan began by brushing away fears that, at 73 years old, he was too old for the job, by citing former Vice President Walter Mondale's "youth and inexperience" (ignoring that Mondale was very experienced at age 56, while Reagan never even ran for office until he was 55), and ended it by giving a rambling closing statement that restored the fears of some. (He won in a landslide, but he was, clearly, already dealing with Alzheimer's disease.)

The arena seats 7,316 people, but for special events can be expanded to 10,721. The NCAA hosted what would later be called the Final Four here in 1940, '41, '42, '53, '55, '57, '61 and '64 – featuring such legends as Bill Russell (1955, University of San Francisco), Wilt Chamberlain (1957, his Kansas team losing to North Carolina in triple overtime), Jerry Lucas and John Havlicek (1961, their defending champion Ohio State getting shocked by cross-State rival Cincinnati) and John Wooden (1964, completing an undefeated season with Walt Hazzard and Gail Goodrich and starting his UCLA dynasty).

The NBA's Kansas City Kings played their 1972-73 and 1973-74 home games here after moving from Cincinnati – having to change their name because Kansas City already had a team called the Royals. An accident at the Kemper Arena forced the Kings to move back to the Auditorium for a few games in the 1979-80 season. The basketball team at the University of Missouri at Kansas City (UMKC) played their home games here from its opening until they opened an on-campus arena in 2010.

Elvis Presley sang there as a new national star on May 24, 1956, and as an entertainment legend on November 15, 1971 and June 29, 1974. The 2nd Presidential Debate of 1984 was held there. This is where Ronald Reagan joked about his age and experience compared to Walter Mondale's, then gave a closing statement that made him look like the Alzheimer's he was later diagnosed with was already in effect. 301 W. 13th Street. Pretty much any downtown bus will get you close.

* Hy-Vee Arena. Built in 1974, and known as Kemper Arena until 2018, this building immediately began hosting 2 major league sports teams – neither of which lasted very long. The NBA's Kansas City Kings played here until 1985, when they moved to Sacramento.

The NHL's Kansas City Scouts were the ne plus ultra – or should that be ne minus ultra? – of expansion teams, lasting only 2 seasons before moving in 1976 to become the Colorado Rockies – and then again in 1982 to become the New Jersey Devils. A few minor league hockey teams have played here since, but its only current tenant is the American Royal show.

In the Kings' final season, they hosted the Knicks in a game that resulted in one of the most frustrating injuries in NBA history, Knick star Bernard King jumping for a rebound and tearing up his knee. I’ll never forget watching on TV and hearing him yell, "Oh, damn! Oh, damn!" and then crumpling to the floor, repeatedly slapping it with his hand. Bernard did play again, and well, but a great career turned into a what-might-have-been. But that wasn't the worst injury here, and I don't mean the 1979 roof damage, either: This was where professional wrestler Owen Hart was killed on May 23, 1999.

Kemper was also the last building seating under 20,000 people to host a Final Four, hosting the 50th Anniversary edition in 1988, in which the University of Kansas, led by Danny Manning, upset heavily favored Oklahoma. In fact, KU made the 40-mile trip from Lawrence many times, creating an atmosphere that got the place nicknamed Allen Fieldhouse East, a name they have now transplanted to the T-Mobile Center. They went 80-24 at Kemper, including the 1988 title game.

The 1976 Republican Convention was held there, nominating Gerald Ford. Elvis sang there on April 21, 1976 and, in one of his last concerts, June 18, 1977. 1800 Genesee Street, at American Royal Drive, a block from the Missouri-Kansas State Line. Number 12 bus.

In addition to the preceding, Elvis sang in Western Missouri at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield on May 17, 1956; and the Hammons Student Center at Southwest State University (now Missouri State) in Springfield on June 17, 1977.

* T-Mobile Center. This arena, known as the Sprint Center until 2020, opened in 2007, with the idea of bringing the NBA or NHL back to Kansas City. (The arena builders appear not to care which one they get, but with K.C. being a "small market," they'll be lucky to get one, and will not get both.) It almost got the Pittsburgh Penguins, before a deal to build the Consol Energy Center was finalized. It was also being considered for the New York Islanders, before they cut a deal to move to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

For basketball, it seats 18,555; for hockey, 17,752. For the moment, no teams, major- or minor-league, play here regularly, although has hosted college basketball: KU games, the Big 12 Tournament, NCAA Tournament games. 1407 Grand Boulevard, at West 14th Street. Number 57 or MAX bus from downtown.

On May 12, 2014, The New York Times printed a story that shows NBA fandom by ZIP Code, according to Facebook likes. You would think that, being between Chicago and Oklahoma City, with no team in St. Louis, the Kansas City area would be divided between Bulls and Thunder fans. Instead, the distance is so great (508 miles from Sprint Center to United Center, 349 miles to whatever OKC's arena is called now), that they divide up their fandom among the "cool" teams: The Bulls, the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat. (As yet, there is no hockey version. The closest NHL team is the St. Louis Blues, 247 miles away, but the KC-St. Louis rivalry may get in the way.)

It's unlikely that, even with a new arena, Kansas City will get a new team anytime soon. The metro area would rank 24th in population in the NBA, and 23rd in the NHL. Face it: With his desire to take teams out of Canada and cold-weather cities and put them in Sun Belt cities, if Commissioner Gary Bettman wanted Kansas City to have a team, it would have one by now.

* Colleges. Downtown Kansas City is 126 miles from the University of Missouri in Columbia, 44 miles from the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and 124 miles from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas.

And yet, despite KU (never written as "UK" even though that would be correct) being 3 times as close as UM, the State Line is the absolute delineator: If you live in Kansas City, Missouri, you are much more likely to be surrounded by Missouri Tiger fans than you are Kansas Jayhawk fans. Kansas having won the 1988 National Championship at Kemper Arena and a few KU-UM games being played at Arrowhead have done nothing to change that.

* Children's Mercy Park. The new home of Major League Soccer's Sporting Kansas City, formerly the Kansas City Wizards, has also hosted 5 games, by the U.S. soccer team, 4 wins and a draw, most recently a 4-0 win over Bolivia in the Copa America on May 28, 2016. And it hosted 5 games of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup. It is across the State Line in Kansas City, Kansas.

SKC won the MLS Cup in 2000, and again in 2013, with the Final on home soil. From 2012 until 2017, they shared their stadium with FC Kansas City, Champions of the National Women's Soccer League in 2014 and 2015. FCKC moved to Salt Lake City after the 2017 season, becoming the Utah Royals.

Seating 18,467, it is at State Avenue & France Family Drive, with the ballpark for the independent baseball team the Kansas City T-Bones, the Kansas Speedway racetrack, and the Legends Shopping Mall all adjacent. Number 57 bus, transferring to Number 101 bus.

* Museums. Kansas City has 2 prominent art museums. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art is K.C.'s "Metropolitan Museum of Art," 3 miles north of downtown, at 4525 Oak Street, in Southmoreland Park. And their "Museum of Modern Art" is the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, 2 blocks away, at 4420 Warwick Boulevard at 45th Street. Both can be reached by the Number 57 bus.

Kansas City is still, in a way, Harry Truman's town. The 33rd President, serving from April 12, 1945 to January 20, 1953, was born in nearby Lamar, and grew up in nearby Independence. He opened his Presidential Library and Museum in 1957, and frequently hosted events there until a household accident in 1964 pretty much ended his public life.

Upon his death in 1972, he was buried in the Library's courtyard; his wife Bess, born Elizabeth Wallace, followed him in 1982, at age 97, to date the oldest former First Lady; and their only child, Margaret Truman Daniel, was laid to rest there in 2008. Currently, the Library is run by his only grandchild, Clifton Truman Daniel.

500 West U.S. Highway 24, Independence. Number 24X bus to Osage & White Oak Streets, and then 4 blocks north on Osage and 3 blocks west on Route 24. The Truman Home – actually the Wallace House, as Bess' family always owned it – is nearby at 219 N. Delaware Street. Same bus.

Just west of the Crown Center is the Liberty Memorial, including the National World War I Museum, honoring the 1914-18 conflict that was then frequently called "The Great War" (accurate) and "The War to End All Wars" (not accurate, as it turned out). 100 West 26th Street.
There aren't a whole lot of tall buildings: One Kansas City Place, at 1200 Main Street, is the tallest in the State, at 624 feet, but only one other building is over 500 feet. The Kansas City Power & Light Building, at 1330 Baltimore Street, and the twin-towered 909 Walnut were built in the early 1930s and are the city's tallest classic buildings.

If you want to copy the song "Kansas City," and be "standing on the corner, 12th Street and Vine," you're out of luck: Due to urban renewal, it no longer exists. There is, however, a park with a plaque roughly where it was.

There haven't been many TV shows set in Kansas City. By far the most notable was Malcolm & Eddie, the 1996-2000 UPN sitcom that starred Malcolm-Jamal Warner and Eddie Griffin (a KCMO native). ABC Family's Switched at Birth is also set there. But both shows were taped in Los Angeles and did no location shots, so if you're a fan of that show, there's nothing in Kansas City to show you. The United States of Tara was set in suburban Overland Park, Kansas.

There have been a few movies set in Kansas City and the surrounding areas. The 1962 horror film Carnival of Souls was filmed in Lawrence, Kansas. The 1983 nuclear-war TV-movie The Day After was filmed in KCMO and Lawrence. Raquel Welch's roller-derby movie Kansas City Bomber was filmed in KCMO, as were Mr. & Mrs. Bridge and Article 99.

Most movies filmed or set in Kansas itself tend to be Westerns, such as The Plainsman, Dodge City, Santa Fe Trail, Red River, Winchester '73, Dances with Wolves and Sarah, Plain and Tall. The TV Western Gunsmoke was set in Dodge City, although filmed in Hollywood. Kansas' desolate plains lend themselves well to Depression-era films like Splendor in the Grass, Paper Moon and The Great Waldo Pepper.

The 1978 version of Superman established the hero's hometown of Smallville, previously considered a typical American small town, as being in Kansas, and every version of Superman since has accepted this. Plains, Trains and Automobiles had a big chunk set in Kansas, but actually filmed in Illinois.

And, of course, Kansas was the setting for the "real" parts of L. Frank Baum's novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and all its film adaptations since. (Judy Garland's line as Dorothy in the most familiar version, 1939, is one of those movie/TV lines everybody gets wrong: It's actually, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!")

*

Kansas City is a great American city, almost literally in the center of this great country. And its citizens, and the people who come from hundreds of miles around to see the Royals and Chiefs, love their sports. It's well worth saving up to check it out. 

How Long It's Been: The Atlanta Braves Won a World Series Game

Last night, Game 1 of the World Series was played at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Atlanta Braves beat the Houston Astros, 6-2. They won in spite of the fact that their starting pitcher, Charlie Morton, took a line drive off his shin in the 2nd inning, inning, and had to leave the game early after facing and retiring 3 more batters.

That happened to Bob Gibson once. In the 1967 game, he took a line drive off the bat of Roberto Clemente, and retired the next batter to finish the inning. Then he missed the next month of the season, but came back to help the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series. Race. Charlie Morton had it happened to him in the World Series. The braves hung on to win the game, and it was their 1st win in a World Series game in 25 years.

October 21, 1996: The Atlanta Braves beat the Yankees 4-0 in Game 2 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium. The defending World Champions now go back home needing to win 2 of the last possible 5 games to repeat. And up to 3 of them will be at home. And they've won their last 5 postseason games by a cumulative score of 48-3.

And yet, the Braves didn't win a World Series game again, until last night. The Yankees took the next 4, including coming from 6-0 down in Game 4, when Mark Wohlers hung a slider to Jim Leyritz to tie it in the 8th. Despite 12 postseason berths since then, including another Pennant in 1999, their record in World Series games in the last 25 years was 0-6.

So it was 25 years and 5 days. How long has that been?

*

Manager Bobby Cox (6), 3rd baseman Chipper Jones (10), and pitchers John Smoltz (29), Greg Maddux (31) And Tom Glavine (47) have all had their uniform numbers retired. All of those men are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. They also had Fred McGriff and Andruw Jones, who should be in the Hall; and David Justice, Marquis Grissom and Jermaine Dye, who aren't very far from serious consideration for it.

The Boston Red Sox hadn't won the World Series in 78 years. The Chicago White Sox, in 79 years. The San Francisco Giants, in 42 years -- or never, if you're only counting from their 1st game in San Francisco forward. The Yankees, in a relatively brief, but long for them, 18 years. All have since won it at least once.

The Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Rays hadn't begun play yet. They, the Colorado Rockies, the Miami Marlins, the Houston Astros, the Texas Rangers and the Washington Nationals had not yet won a Pennant. The Astros were still in the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers were still in the American League, the Marlins were still named the Florida Marlins, the Nationals were still the Montreal Expos, and the Mets were still the last New York baseball team to have won a World Series. None of those facts is true any longer.

Of the 28 ballparks in use during the 1996 Major League Baseball season, 11 are still in use now: Anaheim Stadium (now Angel Stadium), Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Fenway Park in Boston, Wrigley Field and the new Comiskey Park in Chicago (now Guaranteed Rate Field), Jacobs Field in Cleveland (now Progressive Field), Coors Field in Denver, Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, the Oakland Coliseum and the SkyDome in Toronto (now the Rogers Centre).

In Atlanta, the Braves were about to replace Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium with Turner Field, and have now replaced that, after just 20 years, with Truist Park. The Omni, after just 25 years,  was soon replaced by Philips Arena. And the Georgia Dome, after just 25 years, was about to be replaced by Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In New York, every team except the Knicks and the Rangers has since moved to a new building.

Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Bob Feller, Warren Spahn and Buck Leonard were still alive. Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez had just completed their 1st full seasons in MLB. David Ortiz would debut the next season. Jimmy Rollins was about to turn 18. Albert Pujols was 16. David Wright, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera were 13. Zack Greinke turned 13. Alex Gordon and Max Scherzer were 12. Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes were 11. Felix Hernandez was 10. Buster Posey was 9, Clayton Kershaw was 8, Matt Harvey and Madison Bumgarner were 7, Mike Trout was 5, Kris Bryant and Bryce Harper were 4, Carlos Correa was 2, and Julio Urias was 2 months old.

Current Braves manager Brian Snitker was managing the Danville Braves of the Rookie-level Appalachian League. The Yankees' Aaron Boone was in the Cincinnati Reds' farm system. The last holder of the currently vacant Mets' managerial job, Luis Rojas, was in high school.

Lindy Ruff of the Devils was an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers. Gerard Gallant of the Rangers was the head coach of a minor-league team on Prince Edward Island, the Summerside Capitals. Barry Trotz of the Islanders was the head coach of a minor-league team in Maine, Portland Pirates. Steve Nash of the Nets was a rookie with the Phoenix Suns. Ronny Deila of NYCFC was playing for Odds BK in his native Norway. Gerhard Struber of the Red Bulls was playing for FC Austria Salzburg in his homeland, the team now known as the Red Bulls' parent club, FC Red Bull Salzburg. Robert Saleh of the Jets and Joe Judge of the Giants were in high school. And Walt Hopkins of the Liberty was 11 years old.

The Braves were the defending World Champions. So were the Dallas Cowboys (who also haven't been since), the Chicago Bulls and the Colorado Avalanche. The Heavyweight Champion of the World was Mike Tyson, and he was set to fight former Champion Evander Holyfield, and expected to clobber him. It would be the other way around.

The Olympics have since been hosted in America, Canada, Australia, Greece, Italy, China and Britain. The World Cup has since been hosted in France, Korea, Germany and South Africa. Japan, Korea, Russia and Brazil have since hosted both.

The idea that two people of the same gender could marry each other, with all the legal benefits of marriage, was considered a long way off. On the other hand, the idea that corporations were "people," and entitled to all the legal benefits thereof, was considered ridiculous. Only 2 Justices then on the U.S. Supreme Court are still on it: Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer. Hardly any American had ever heard of Steve Bannon, Alex Jones, Monica Lewinsky or Osama bin Laden.

The President of the United States was Bill Clinton, about to get re-elected. No one had yet considered that First Lady Hillary Clinton might run for office. Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter attended that Series as guests of Braves owner Ted Turner and his then-wife, Jane Fonda. They are still alive today. So are George and Barbara Bush. Still alive then, but not anymore, were Gerald and Betty Ford, and Ronald and Nancy Reagan. George W. Bush was Governor of Texas. Joe Biden was a Senator from Delaware. Donald Trump was on Wife II, and the idea of doing a TV show, let alone a Presidential campaign, with him was ridiculous. 

The Governor of the host State, Georgia, was Zell Miller. Current Governor Brian Kemp was in the construction business. The Mayor of Atlanta was Bill Campbell -- not to be confused with the former Boston Red Sox reliever or the legendary Philadelphia broadcaster of the same name. Current Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms was a juvenile court prosecutor.

The Governor of the State of New York was George Pataki. The Mayor of the City of New York was Rudolph Giuliani. The Governor of New Jersey was Christine Todd Whitman. The current holders of those offices? Kathy Hochul was a member of the Town Board in the Buffalo suburb of Hamburg, New York; Bill de Blasio was an aide to Congressman Charles Rangel, and his likely replacement, Eric Adams, was a police Lieutenant who had recently founded 100 Blacks In Law Enforcement, seeking to improve opportunities for African-Americans in the field; and Phil Murphy was running the European headquarters of Goldman Sachs in Frankfurt, Germany.

Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo and José Manuel Ramos-Horta were about to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, for their work to end the civil war in East Timor. (Ramos-Horta later served as its President). The Pope was John Paul II. The Prime Minister of Canada was Jean Chrétien, and of Britain John Major. The monarch of Britain was Queen Elizabeth II -- that hasn't changed. Manchester United had recently won "The Double": The Premier League and the FA Cup in the same season.

There were still living veterans of World War I, the Easter Rising, the Bolshevik Revolution, the Mexican Revolution, the March On Rome and the Beer Hall Putsch. There were still people who, as children, survived the Johnstown Flood of 1889, the Galveston Hurricane of 1900, the General Slocum Fire of 1904, the San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.

Major novels of 1996 included Primary Colors by Joe Klein, listed for most of the year as "Anonymous," because he was too much of a coward to risk his career to make his point that he hated President Clinton. Not afraid to write novels about corrupt Presidents, although not necessarily basing them on Clinton, were David Baldacci with Absolute Power, and Tom Clancy with Executive Orders.

The year also included Bridget Jones's Diary, starting Helen Fielding's franchise; A Game of Thrones, starting George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire franchise; The Green Mile by Stephen King; How Stella Got Her Groove Back by Terry McMillan; We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates; Gods and Generals by Jeff Shaara; Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace; Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt; and Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. That last one, I don't want to talk about it.

The 1st novel in J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series would be published 8 months after the 1996 World Series; the 1st in the Twilight series and the 1st in the Lisbeth Salander series, both 9 years; the 1st in the Hunger Games series, 12 years.

Major films released in the Autumn of 1996 included That Thing You Do!, The Glimmer Man, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Michael Collins, William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet (actually Baz Luhrmann's present-day version), Set It Off, The Mirror Has Two Faces, The English Patient, Jingle All the Way, Star Trek: First Contact, a live-action version of 101 Dalmatians, and the Michael Jordan-Bugs Bunny team-up Space Jam.

Major TV shows debuting that season included 7th Heaven, Everybody Loves Raymond, Judge Judy, Spin City, The Pretender, Suddenly Susan, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Early Edition, Profiler, Millennium, Arthur, Hey Arnold! and, introduced by new network Fox News Channel, The O'Reilly Factor. Some of these shows were more animated than others. Some were more cartoonish than others.

Dean Cain was playing Superman. The Batman franchise had dumped Val Kilmer for George Clooney. Pierce Brosnan was playing James Bond, and Paul McGann had just done a one-shot Doctor Who film.

No one had yet heard of Carrie Bradshaw, Tony Soprano, Jed Bartlet, Robert Langdon, Master Chief, Jack Bauer, Omar Little, Rick Grimes, Leroy Jethro Gibbs, Michael Bluth, Lisbeth Salander, Bella Swan, Michael Scott, Don Draper, Katniss Everdeen, Walter White, Jax Teller, Richard Castle, Leslie Knope, Sarah Manning or Maggie Bell.

The Number 1 song in America was still the damn "Macarena" by Los Del Rio. Michael Jackson had just divorced Lisa Marie Presley, married Debbie Rowe, and begun his yearlong HIStory World Tour. Faith Hill and Tim McGraw got married, Madonna had a baby girl named Lourdes Leon, and Prince became the father of a son, Gregory Nelson, who died after 7 days due to a birth defect.

Slash quit Guns N' Roses, and the Stone Roses broke up. Fountains of Wayne released their self-titled debut album, Marilyn Manson released Antichrist Superstar, and Paula Cole released This Fire (including the songs "Where Have All the Cowboys Gone" and what became the theme to the TV show Dawson's Creek, "I Don't Want to Wait").

Kanye West was soon to become what he would title his breakthrough album: The College Dropout. Katie Holmes, Heath Ledger, Kourtney Kardashian, Alecia Moore (Pink), Michelle Williams (both of them), Ben Savage, Kim Kardashian, Christina Aguilera, Alicia Keys, Hayden Christensen, Jessica Alba, Natalie Portman, Chris Evans, Beyonce Knowles, Britney Spears, Sienna Miller, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Natalie Dormer, Hayley Atwell and Kirsten Dunst were in high school. Matt Smith, Anne Hathaway, Andrew Garfield and Khloe Kardashian were in junior high.

Prince Harry was 12 years old. Lady Gaga was 10, and Drake and Emilia Clarke were about to turn 10. Rob Kardashian was 9. Kevin Jonas and Rihanna were 8. Emma Stone, Daniel Radcliffe and Joe Jonas were 7. Emma Watson was 6. Sarah Hyland was 5. Louis Tomlinson, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas were 4. Miley Cyrus, Nicki Minaj, Zayn Malik, Ariana Grande, Liam Payne and Niall Horan were 3. Harry Styles, Justin Bieber and Halsey were 2. Kendall Jenner was about to have her 1st birthday. Sophie Turner was 8 months old, and Abigail Breslin was 6 months. Maisie Williams, Kylie Jenner, Ariel Winter and Rico Rodriguez weren't born yet.

Inflation was such that what $1.00 bought then, $1.53 would buy now. A U.S. postage stamp cost 32 cents, and the fare on the New York Subway was $1.50. The average price of a gallon of gas was $1.29, a cup of coffee $1.79, a McDonald's Big Mac, fries and shake $5.50, a movie ticket $4.40, a new car $18,525, a new house $119,000. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed that day at 6,090.87.

The 1st tablet computer had been introduced, and more and more people were finding out about the Internet. But there was, as yet, no Wikipedia, no iPod, no Skype, no MySpace, no Facebook, no YouTube, no Twitter, no Tumblr, no iPhone, no Pinterest, no Instagram, no iPad, and no Vine. There were birth control pills, but no Viagra.

In the Autumn of 1996, in events unconnected to baseball or the Presidential election, the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Kofi Annan was elected by the United Nations to be its next Secretary-General. The last of the infamous Magdalene asylums was closed in Ireland. A cyclone killed over 2,000 people in India. The trial in the wrongful-death civil suit against O.J. Simpson began. The Sands Hotel in Las Vegas was demolished, to make way for the Venetian Hotel.

Former NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle, French tennis legend and shirt designer René Lacoste, and Italian soccer legend Silvio Piola died. Zendaya, and Lorde, and Devin Booker were born.

October 21, 1996. The Atlanta Braves won a World Series game -- their 6th in a little over a year, and their 11th in the last 6 seasons.

It took them 25 years to win another. Can they finish the job against the Houston Asterisks, and break the Curse of Mark Wohlers? Stay tuned.

Scores On This Historic Day: October 27, 1986, The Mets Win the World Series

October 27, 1986: The New York Mets win the World Series. I was not happy about this.

They have not done so since. I am very happy about that.

After Game 7 was pushed back a day by rain, the Boston Red Sox actually seem to be shaking off the historical, hysterical Game 6 loss. They lead the Mets, 3-0 in the bottom of the 6th inning. Bruce Hurst, with an extra day's rest, is doing just fine. The Sox have chased Ron Darling. Sid Fernandez has relieved him. The Sox are just 12 outs away from their 1st World Championship in 68 years after all.

Can they hold it? These are the pre-steroid Boston Red Sox, what do you think? The Mets tie it up in the 6th. The idiot manager John McNamara brings in Calvin Schiraldi, who choked in the 10th the night before, to pitch the 7th, and Ray Knight leads off with a home run.  he Mets make it 6-3 by the inning's end.

The Sox make it 6-5 in the top of the 8th, so there's still hope, but then Al Nipper serves one up to Darryl Strawberry, and he hits one out, and takes a leisurely stroll around the bases, allowing NBC to run about a dozen commercials.

The Mets let reliever Jesse Orosco bat for himself, and he drives in another run, and he gets the last out by striking out Marty Barrett. Mets 8, Red Sox 5. Orosco hurls his glove high into the Flushing air.

The Mets won their 1st World Championship on October 16, 1969. It took them 17 years and 11 days, but they had now won their 2nd World Championship.

Anyone then thinking that they wouldn't win their 3rd World Championship for at least another 35 years would have been asked what he was smoking.

But, tonight, exactly 35 years later, more than one-third of a century, the Mets are still looking for that 3rd World Championship. They've won just 2 more Pennants and just 2 more World Series games since that night -- 1 in 2000, and 1 in 2015. To make matters worse, following the 1st of those Pennants, they went on to lose to the Yankees in the World Series, 1 of 5 the Yankees have won since 1986.

*

October 27, 1986 was a Monday. And another New York Tri-State Area team won: On ABC Monday Night Football, the New York Giants beat the team then known as the Washington Redskins, 27-20 at Giants Stadium, in the Meadowlands of East Rutherford, New Jersey.

The NBA season wouldn't start for another 4 days. And only 1 NHL game was scheduled for that night: The Montreal Canadiens beat the Los Angeles Kings, 6-5 at the Montreal Forum. Chris Nilan, better known as an enforcer, scored the winner for Les Habitantes with 7:36 left in regulation.

The Curse of Kevin Mitchell: Now 35 Years

No, I won't stop posting this every year on the anniversary. Why should I? The hard part is finding a different photo every year.

October 27, 1986: The New York Mets win the World Series. I was not happy about this.

They have not done so since. I am very happy about that.

After Game 7 was pushed back a day by rain, the Boston Red Sox actually seem to be shaking off the historical, hysterical Game 6 loss. They lead the Mets, 3-0 in the bottom of the 6th inning. Bruce Hurst, with an extra day's rest, is doing just fine. The Sox have chased Ron Darling. Sid Fernandez has relieved him. The Sox are just 12 outs away from their 1st World Championship in 68 years after all.

Can they hold it? These are the pre-steroid Boston Red Sox, what do you think? The Mets tie it up in the 6th. The idiot manager John McNamara brings in Calvin Schiraldi, who choked in the 10th the night before, to pitch the 7th, and Ray Knight leads off with a home run.  he Mets make it 6-3 by the inning's end.

The Sox make it 6-5 in the top of the 8th, so there's still hope, but then Al Nipper serves one up to Darryl Strawberry, and he hits one out, and takes a leisurely stroll around the bases, allowing NBC to run about a dozen commercials.

The Mets let reliever Jesse Orosco bat for himself, and he drives in another run, and he gets the last out by striking out Marty Barrett. Mets 8, Red Sox 5. Orosco hurls his glove high into the Flushing air.

The Mets won their 1st World Championship on October 16, 1969. It took them 17 years and 11 days, but they had now won their 2nd World Championship.

Anyone then thinking that they wouldn't win their 3rd World Championship for at least another 35 years would have been asked what he was smoking.

*

But, tonight, exactly 35 years later, more than one-third of a century, the Mets are still looking for that 3rd World Championship. They've won just 2 more Pennants and just 2 more World Series games since that night -- 1 in 2000, and 1 in 2015. To make matters worse, following the 1st of those Pennants, they went on to lose to the Yankees in the World Series, 1 of 5 the Yankees have won since 1986.

Indeed, since October 27, 1986, the Mets have reached the Playoffs 6 times, not a bad total at all. Of the other 25 teams then in existence, 5 have not done that well. Baltimore, San Diego and Montreal/Washington have each made it 5 times; Seattle, 4; and Kansas City, 2 -- but both of the Royals' were Pennants, and 1 was a World Series win over the Mets.

But the Yankees have done it 21 times, including 7 Pennants and 5 World Championships. As late as 1992, before the Yankees started contending again, it could be argued that the Mets were the top baseball team in New York. It has never been true again -- it wasn't even true in 2015.

World Series wins since 1986? The Yankees 5, the Boston Red Sox 4, the San Francisco Giants 3; 2 each for the Minnesota Twins, the Toronto Blue Jays, the Florida (now Miami) Marlins, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Los Angeles Dodgers; and 1 each for the Oakland Athletics, the Cincinnati Reds, the Atlanta Braves, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Anaheim (now named Los Angeles, through they're still in Anaheim) Angels, the Chicago White Sox, the Philadelphia Phillies, the Kansas City Royals, the Chicago Cubs, the Houston Astros and the Montreal Expos/Washington Nationals.

This gets even more embarrassing when you look at some of the droughts that ended: The Cubs 108 yers without a World Championship, the White Sox 88, the Red Sox 86, the Twins 63 (they had never won since moving from being the Washington Senators), the Giants 56 (they had never won since moving from New York to San Francisco), the Astros 56 (their 1st ever), the Expos/Nats 51 (their 1st ever), the Angels 42 (their 1st ever), the Dodgers 32, the Royals 30, the Braves 28 (they had never won since moving from Milwaukee to Atlanta), the Phillies 28.

Also, the last time the Mets won a World Series, these teams did not yet exist: The Marlins, the Rays, the Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. The Marlins and Rays have matched the Mets with 2 Pennants, the D-backs and Rox 1 each.

And I'll bring up the Yankees again: They've won as many World Series since the Mets' last title as the Mets have won Pennants in their entire history. So the old "How many were you alive for?" argument doesn't work.

On the other hand, if a Mets fan followed my path (aside from choosing the Yankees, of course), and watched his 1st game on television at age 7, and that was in 1987, that would mean we now have Met fans in their 40s who cannot remember their team winning the World Series. It would be like me with the pre-renovation Yankee Stadium, the Yankees playing at Shea, the Chris Chambliss home run, and the Mets' Pennant of 1973: They would know it happened within their lifetime, but not within their memory.

Or, to put it another way: The youngest player on the '86 Mets was John Mitchell, a pitcher who appeared in 4 games that season, and he's 56 years old, a year younger than Dwight Gooden, who turns 57 next month. The oldest? George Foster, now 72. (He was gone by the time the reached the postseason. The oldest player on the postseason roster was Ray Knight, who is about to turn 69.)

Gary Carter is dead. That's as much of a shock as the fact that Gooden, Darryl Strawberry and Lenny Dykstra are still alive, after all they've done to themselves (and others). Darryl and Doc, at least, seem to be repentant. "Nails" -- or "Dude," as he's known to his teammates on another bunch of ne'er-do-wells, the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies -- is not.

Looking at the clips from 1986, they're in color, and they look like they could have happened yesterday. The world has changed so much since. We've had retrospectives like Jeff Pearlman's book The Bad Guys Won! ESPN has done 2 30 for 30 documentaries on the 1980s Mets: Doc & Darryl in 2016, and Once Upon a Time in Queens just last month.

What the hell happened? Well, when something goes wrong, people like to look for scapegoats. Someone frustrated with the Red Sox' inability to win a World Series since 1918 thought he found a reason: They hadn't won since they sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees in 1919, and the phrase "The Curse of the Bambino" was born. The phrase was popularized by Boston Globe sports columnist Dan Shaughnessy, and became the title of his 1990 book about the history of that franchise.

*

December 11, 1986, a date which lives in Flushing infamy: The Mets sent Kevin Mitchell, Shawn Abner, Stan Jefferson, Kevin Armstrong and Kevin Brown (no, not that Kevin Brown, though he did also pitch for the Padres later) to Mitchell's hometown, San Diego, for Kevin McReynolds, Gene Walter and Adam Ging. Forget everyone else, if you hadn't already: The keys to this trade were Mitchell and McReynolds.

McReynolds was a good player, but he was not a member of the glorious '86 team that went all the way. When the Mets didn't go all the way again, he became a scapegoat, and got the hell booed out of him. Fair? Of course not.

But it wouldn't have mattered so much if Mitchell hadn't panned out. And, as far as his hometown Padres were concerned, he didn't: On July 5, 1987, not even at the All-Star Break of his 1st season with them, he was batting just .245 in 62 games, so they sent him, and pitchers Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts, up the coast to the San Francisco Giants, getting back 3rd baseman Chris Brown, reliever Mark Davis (both of whom became All-Stars but never helped the team into the Playoffs) and 2 guys you don't need to remember. So Mitchell-for-McReynolds didn't help the Mets or the Padres.

These two Mitchell trades, however, helped the Giants tremendously. Before the trade, they had been in San Francisco for 29 years and had reached the postseason exactly twice, the last time, 16 years earlier. In 1987, the Giants won the NL West, as Mitchell responded to the change of scenery by hitting .306 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs in just 69 games for them.

In 1988, Mitchell tailed off a little, and the Giants tailed off a lot. But in 1989, he hit 47 home runs, had 125 RBIs, put up a sick OPS+ of 192, and made one of the great catches of all time, a running barehanded catch in St. Louis -- off the bat of defensive "Wizard" Ozzie Smith, no less -- that almost sent him barreling into the stands. Not since the salad days of Willie Mays had the Giants seen that kind of outfield defense.

He won the NL's Most Valuable Player award, and helped the Giants win only their 2nd Pennant in 35 years, while the Mets finished 2nd in the NL East for the 5th of 6 times in a span of 8 years – the others being the '86 crown and the '88 Division title. (Funny, but nobody ever talks about how bad trading Mitchell away was for the Padres.)

Problems with his weight and other disciplinary issues led to Mitchell being traded several times. But he did help the Cincinnati Reds into 1st place in the NL Central Division when the Strike of '94 hit, and still had an OPS+ of 138 as late as 1996.

But he played his last big-league game in 1998 at age 36, and after bouncing around the independent minors, including stints in New Jersey with the Newark Bears and the Atlantic City Surf, he called it a career. Sort of: He went back to his native San Diego, playing in an "adult baseball league" (no, no porn stars involved – that I know of), and won a title with his team in 2009.

At 59, he is now an instructor for youth baseball teams, and recently recovered from a nasty neck injury that put him in the hospital for a month. By the time he returned to Shea for the celebration of the 30th Anniversary of the title in the Summer of 2016, he was walking on his own again, and hoping to go back to his passion for motorcycles. He belongs to a motorcycle club (not a "biker gang" -- he calls it "Just a bunch of old guys having fun") called the Hood Beasts. 
Mitchell in 2016, at the title team's
30th Anniversary reunion at Citi Field

Mitchell had an adolescence connected to gangs in San Diego. He has been arrested for assault twice since his last major league game, although on neither occasion did the case go to trial. He was once listed as a tax delinquent to the tune of over $5 million. And then there's the shocking story that Dwight Gooden told, in his first memoir, of an act of animal cruelty -- a story which Doc, in a later memoir, admitted that he made up, and Mitchell has called "wildly untrue."

It seems silly to suggest that he was angry about being traded by the Mets so soon after winning the Series, certainly not so angry that he would place a "curse" on them. After all, he went to his hometown, the team he grew up rooting for. They soon traded him, but that worked out really well for him. Perhaps not in terms of team success, but, in terms of fame and fortune, getting away from the Mets was the best thing that could have happened to him.

Still, the fact remains that the Mets won a World Series, and were expected to win more; then, just 45 days after they won said Series, they traded Mitchell away, and they haven't won one since.

Are the Mets cursed? Or have they just been hit with a 3-decade-long combination of good competition and their own incompetence -- on the field, in the dugout, and in the boardroom?

Other teams have waited longer. Some, a lot longer. Some of those teams have had bizarre moments and crashes-and-burns that suggest being cursed. Some haven't, and have just... not... gotten it done.

The Mets?

* Post-season chokes in 1988, 1999, 2006, 2015 and 2016.

* Regular-season chokes in 1998, 2007 and 2008. 2021 should also count: They were in 1st place for over 100 days, and ended the season with a losing record.

* Near-misses for the Playoffs, that can't really be called "chokes," in 1987, 1989, 1990, 2001, 2019, and, in this COVID-19-forced expanded-playoffs season, 2020.

* Injury-riddled seasons, aside from those, in 1995, 1996, 1997, 2002, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2017. (Certainly, 2016 and 2020 qualify.)

* The Madoffization of the Wilpons' finances in 2008.

* And losses to teams they considered rivals in 1987 (Cardinals), 1989 (Cubs), 1998 and 1999 (Braves), 2000 (Yankees), 2006 (Cardinals again), and 2007 and 2008 (Phillies both times). Depending on how you want to definit it, that's at least 14, and possibly as many as 24, out of 35 seasons with possible "Curse Material."

The Curse of Kevin Mitchell? Do you believe?

Met fans like to use the old line of 1965-74 relief pitcher Tug McGraw: YA GOTTA BELIEVE!

I'd rather believe in the curse on the Mets than believe in the Mets themselves.

*

October 27, 1858: Theodore Roosevelt Jr. is born at 28 East 20th Street in the Gramercy Park section of Manhattan. (He would drop the Jr. after his father died in 1880.) Over a century and a half later, he remains the only legitimately-elected President to have been born in New York City.

Others have, at some point or another, lived in the City: Washington, both Adamses, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Grant, Arthur, Cleveland, Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, Obama. Eisenhower was, for a time, president of Columbia University, and Obama was a student there. So was Monroe, at a time when it was still called King's College.

TR was a member of the boxing team at Harvard University. (Yes, colleges once had boxing teams, even the Ivies.) He loved tennis, although, knowing it was considered an elitist sport, refused to allow the press to photograph him while he played. (He warned his handpicked successor, William Howard Taft, not to let them take his picture while he played golf, another sport then considered elitist, but Taft didn't listen to him.)

Seeing a newspaper photo of a bloodied Swarthmore College player, Robert "Tiny" Maxwell, in 1905, TR called in the top football officials of the time, and told them to do something about the violence in the game, or he would act. Not knowing how far he would go, fearing he might pass a law banning the game, in 1906 they formed what became the National Collegiate Athletic Association, and passed rule changes including the forward pass.

Had he ordered football shut down, that might have given soccer its best chance to succeed in America until the current boom. But he didn't.

Mount Rushmore, outside Rapid City, South Dakota, has the faces of 4 Presidents, chosen by sculptor Gutzon Borghlum for the following reasons: George Washington, as the father of the country; Thomas Jefferson, not at all for writing the Declaration of Independence, but for the Louisiana Purchase, beginning America's westward expansion; Abraham Lincoln, for saving the Union and making the Transcontinental Railroad possible; and Theodore Roosevelt, for being the 1st President to really have a connection with the West, as he had a ranch in North Dakota.

Downtown Rapid City recently commissioned statues of all the Presidents, including the living former Presidents, although they don't yet have one for the current occupant of the White House.

When Epic Rap Battles of History did Winston Churchill vs. Theodore Roosevelt, Dan Bull, a British rapper playing Churchill, told "Epic Lloyd" Ahlquist, playing TR, "They put your fat head on a mountain to save face, but if Rushmore were a band, you'd play bass!"

I say that TR is "the only legitimately-elected President to have been born in New York City." Officially, he is the 1st of 2 Presidents to have been born in The City -- and he would have beaten the shit out of the 2nd. Granted, that would have required a lot of beating, because Donald Trump is full of shit. But TR was fond of what he called "The Strenuous Life."

October 27, 1871, 150 years ago: William Magear Tweed, a.k.a. Boss Tweed, who controlled the Democratic Party in the City of New York and the State of New York through the Tammany Hall "political machine," is arrested on corruption charges. A State Senator and a one-term member of Congress, as "Grand Sachem" of Tammany, his construction and other schemes led to the machine pocketing as much as $200 million in his 13 years in charge -- about $4.5 billion in today's money.

Although he escaped from jail and got to Europe, he was arrested in Spain, because a policeman recognized him from the cartoons drawn by Thomas Nast for Harper's Weekly. Tweed often complained that the poor immigrants and their families that he was trying to help couldn't read, but they could see the cartoons, and that was what led them to turn their backs on him. Tweed died of pneumonia in prison, in 1878. He was just 55 years old, although he was always quite fat.

Nast also drew the first "jolly old elf" image of Santa Claus, putting that image into the public consciousness for all time; and drew an elephant to symbolize a heavy vote for the Republican Party, leading to it becoming the Party's symbol. While he frequently drew a donkey as the symbol of the Democratic Party, and "Uncle Sam" as a symbol for America as a whole, he did not originate either symbol. But he did as much as anyone else to bring Boss Tweed to justice, and for that, we owe him our thanks.

October 27, 1896, 125 years ago: Michael Hogan is born Tipperary, Munster, Ireland. Unusually for a Catholic at that time, he had no middle name. He was a right full back, and Captain of the Tipperary County football team. That's Gaelic football, which resembles rugby, with the most notable exception being that the ball is round like a soccer ball.

On November 21, 1920, with the Irish War of Independence ongoing, he played for Tipperary in a challenge match against Dublin County, at Croke Park in Dublin. During the game, officers of the Royal Ulster Constabulary entered the stadium. In retaliation for General Michael Collins' "Squad" killed 15 members of the Cairo Gang, a group of British Intelligence officers, earlier in the day, these "Black and Tans," already known and hated for their extrajudicial killings, and opened fire. Hogan was 1 of 14 people killed.

It was one of many days in Ireland's struggle that has become known as "Bloody Sunday." In 1924, a new stand was built at Croke Park. It was named the Hogan Stand in his memory. In 1999, as part of the stadium's redevelopment, a new Hogan Stand was built. A plaque at the now 82,300-seat stadium commemorates Bloody Sunday, including Hogan's death.

*

October 27, 1904: The 1st Subway line opens in New York. It runs from City Hall to Grand Central Station (roughly today's 4, 5 and 6 trains), then turns onto 42nd Street (today's S, or Times Square-Grand Central Shuttle), then up Broadway to 207th Street (today's 1 train) before making one final curve into the Bronx to Bailey Street (this part is part of today's A train). The fare is 5 cents -- $1.46 in today's money.

The Polo Grounds of the time, and its 1911 successor, were served by the 155th Street station that opened on this day. It was supposedly on this line in 1908 that Jack Norworth, a songwriter, saw a sign saying, "Baseball To-Day, Polo Grounds," inspiring him to write the lyrics to "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

It would be 1918 before "34th St.-Penn Station" opened to service the 1910-built Pennsylvania Station, and thus to the successor station and the "new" Madison Square Garden built on the site. The 34th Street station on the 8th Avenue side of Penn Station opened in 1932, as did the 42nd Street station that serves the Port Authority Bus Terminal that opened in 1950, and the 50th Street station that served the old Garden from 1932 until its closing in 1968.

The current 4 train station at 161st Street and River Avenue opened in 1917, and began serving Yankee Stadium at its opening in 1923; the D train station there opened in 1933, probably to coincide with the opening of the nearby Bronx County Courthouse. The Prospect Park station now used by the Q train became part of the City Subway in 1920, and was used to get to games at Ebbets Field.

The station now served by the 7 train opened in 1939 for the 1939-40 New York World's Fair, well predating the 1964-65 World’s Fair and the opening of Shea Stadium and the National Tennis Center. It was named "Willets Point Blvd." from 1939 to 1964 and "Willets Point-Shea Stadium" from 1964 to 2008, and has been renamed "Mets-Willets Point," as the MTA did not want to use the name "Citi Field" due to CitiGroup's role in the 2008 financial crisis.

October 27, 1907: Union Station opens in Washington, D.C., 6 blocks north of the U.S. Capitol, replacing 2 earlier stations. It hosts service for the Pennsylvania Railroad and the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (a.k.a. the B&O). In 1971, in the wake of the bankruptcies of most of America's passenger railroads, it becomes the headquarters of Amtrak.

*

October 27, 1922: Ralph McPherran Kiner is born in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. He grew up in Alhambra, California, outside Los Angeles. From 1946 to 1952, he led the National League in home runs every year, twice topping 50 homers in a season.

He was a one-dimensional player, but he was the best player the Pittsburgh Pirates had. Still, the team wasn't doing well, on the field or at the gate, and team president Branch Rickey said, "We finished last with you, and we can finish last without you," meaning, "We can finish last without having to pay your salary," and sold him to the Chicago Cubs.

A back injury ended his career in 1955, after only 10 seasons. But in those 10 seasons, he hit 369 home runs. If it had been 20 years, double that, and it becomes 738 home runs – not as many as Hank Aaron and the cheating Barry Bonds ended up with, but more than the man who held the record then, Babe Ruth. Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn said, "Ralph Kiner can wipe out your lead with one swing."

Kiner allegedly said, "Home run hitters drive Cadillacs, singles hitters drive Fords." That line has also been attributed to Luke Appling, but he probably didn't say it, since he was a singles hitter (albeit one of the best ever).

Kiner went into broadcasting, and joined the staff of the expansion New York Mets in 1962. His postgame show Kiner's Korner did so much to teach a generation of us about the game. But Ralph's broadcasting, well, had its moments. Remembering early Met Marv Thronberry and '73 Met George Theodore, he called Darryl Strawberry "Darryl Throneberry" and "George Strawberry." He said, "Darryl Strawberry has been voted into the Hall of Fame five times in a row" – he meant the All-Star Team. He called Gary Carter "Gary Cooper." He called himself "Ralph Korner" many times.

He once called his broadcasting partner "Tim McArthur." At the end of the game, Tim McCarver said, "Well, Ralph, Douglas MacArthur said, 'Chance favors the prepared mind,' and the Mets obviously weren't prepared tonight." Kiner said, "He also said, 'I shall return,' and so will we, right after these messages."

Then there was, "Today is Father's Day, so for all you dads out there, Happy Birthday." Like Herb Score in Cleveland and Jerry Coleman in San Diego, he is sometimes cited as having said, "He slides into second with a standup double." But he definitely said, "Kevin McReynolds stops at third, and he scores." Like Phil Rizzuto across town with the Yankees, he frequently called home runs that ended up off the wall or caught.

My favorite Kinerism is when he cued up an ad for Manufacturer's Hanover, a bank now owned by CitiGroup, by saying, "We'll be right back, after this message from Manufacturer's Hangover."

He blamed his malaprops on hanging around Casey Stengel and Yogi Berra so much in the Mets' early days. But when he did call a home run correctly, it was with a variation on the classic theme: "That ball is going, it is going, it is gone, goodbye!" And he paid one of the great tributes to a player, when he cited the fielding of the Phillies' 1970s center fielder: "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water. The other third is covered by Garry Maddox."

A bout with Bell's palsy left him with a noticeable speech impediment, and as he reached the age of 80, his workdays were cut back, but into the 2010s, he still did Met games on Friday nights. As the Mets' radio booth is named for Bob Murphy, their TV booth is named for Kiner. The Pirates retired his Number 4, the Mets elected him to their team Hall of Fame, and he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 2014, at age 91, and was, deservedly so, one of the game's most revered figures.

*

October 27, 1941, 80 years ago: David Joseph Costa is born in Yonkers, Westchester County, New York. A guard and a defensive end, Dave Costa was a 4-time AFL All-Star, with the Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos. He died in 2013.

Also on this day, Leonard Wayne St. Jean is born in McMillan, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. A defesnive end, Len St. Jean was also an AFL All-Star, and the New England Patriots later named him to their 1960s All-Time Team. He is still alive.

October 27, 1946, 75 years ago: Rick Gerald Austin (not "Richard") is born in Seattle. A pitcher, he pitched a perfect game for Washington State Univesrity against Gonzaga University in 1968. His major league career was less notable, as he went 4-8 from 1970 to 1976, for the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers. He is still alive.

Also on this day, Ivan Reitman is born in Komárno, Slovakia. He has directed Meatballs, Stripes, the 1st 2 Ghostbusters films, Legal Eagles, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Dave, Junior, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and, most recently, the football film Draft Day.

*

October 27, 1951, 70 years ago: Jayne Harrison (no middle name) is born in Washington, D.C. The 1st black woman to win the Miss USA version of Miss Ohio (a few years before Halle Berry did), she became an actress under her married name of Jayne Kennedy. She was a regular correspondent on CBS' The NFL Today in the 1978 and 1979 seasons, the 1st black actress to appear on the cover of Playboy (but she didn't pose nude for the magazine), and the 1st black woman to host an exercise video. Some people were calling her "the black Farrah Fawcett."

She's stayed out of the public eye the last 30 years, and has raised 4 now-grown daughters.

October 27, 1954: The divorce of Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe is certified in San Francisco. Apparently, Joe wanted Marilyn to stay home and be a good little Italian wife -- even though, with a birth name of Norma Jeane Mortensen, Marilyn was of Scandinavian descent. And she wanted to keep acting. Supposedly, the last straw was the skirt-billow over the subway grate scene, filmed for The Seven Year Itch on September 15, 1954, in front of the Trans-Lux Theatre, at 586 Lexington Avenue at 52nd Street.

It's been alleged that Joe hit her on occasion. Even if that despicable possibility is true, in 1961, he got her out of a psychiatric institution to which she'd been committed. And, with rumors abounding that they might remarry before she died in 1962, he organized her funeral and kept all the Hollywood leeches out.

For 20 years, he had roses sent to her grave every day, until he found out they were being stolen by tourists and local kids. He seemed never to have gotten over her: According to his lawyer, Morris Engelberg, when Joe died in 1999, his last words were, "At least I'll finally get to see Marilyn again."

We haven't gotten over her, either: Even in the 1st verse of "We Didn't Start the Fire" and the spoken-word part of "Vogue," respectively, Billy Joel and Madonna rhymed their names. Each made the other a bigger public figure, and they're still tied together: In a 2012 episode of Epic Rap Battles of History, Cleopatra, played by Angela Trimbur told Marilyn, played by Kimmy Gatewood, "You'll sleep with any guy who says he likes it hot. Even Joe DiMaggio took a swing in your batter's box!" 

To paraphrase Elton John's song about her, "Candle In the Wind," I would've liked to have known her, but I wasn't born yet -- her candle may have burned out, but the world never will forget.

*

October 27, 1961, 60 years ago: William Charles Swift is born in Portland, Maine. With the 1992 San Francisco Giants, Bill Swift went 10-4, and led the National League with a 2.08 ERA. In 1993, he went 21-8. In 1995, he helped the Colorado Rockies, in only their 3rd season, win the NL Wild Card. He finished 94-78, with 17 saves, and his 767 strikeouts lead all Maine-born pitchers. He has since served as the head coach at Arizona Christian University in Phoenix.

Also on this day, the designers, builders and crew of the USS Constellation get a ticker-tape parade in New York. The aircraft career had been built in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and served the U.S. Navy until being decommissioned in 2003.

October 27, 1971, 50 years ago:  Theodoros Zagorakis is born in Kavala, Greece. The midfielder won the 2000 League Cup with Leicester City, and the 2002 Greek Cup with AEK Athens. In 2004, he captained Greece to win Euro 2004. In the Final, they beat Portugal on home soil, and Theo was named Man of the Match and Player of the Tournament. In 2014, he was elected to the European Parliament.

October 27, 1981, 40 years ago: In the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, this is the day that the alien who ends up being named "E.T." is stranded on Earth. He ends up staying for 5 days, including Halloween.

According to Steven Spielberg, the film's director, E.T.'s real name was "Zreck."

October 27, 1985: The Kansas City Royals rout the St. Louis Cardinals 11-0 in Game 7, to win their 1st World Championship, and the 1st All-Missouri World Series since the Cardinals-Browns matchup of 1944. They become only the 6th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit and win the Series (and remain the last to do so). Series MVP Bret Saberhagen pitches the shutout while Cardinals ace John Tudor allows 5 runs in 2 1/3 innings.

The Cards are still upset over the blown call that cost them Game 6 – 34 years later, despite 5 Pennants and 3 World Series wins, they and their fans still are – and allowed it to affect their performances and their minds for Game 7.

After being lifted from the game‚ Tudor punches an electric fan in the clubhouse and severely cuts his hand. Fellow 20-game winner Joaquin Andujar is ejected for arguing balls and strikes during Kansas City's 6-run 5th inning, screaming at Don Denkinger, who blew the call at first base the night before and is now behind the plate. Manager Whitey Herzog also argues, and is also tossed, mainly for questioning Denkinger's call the night before. The Cardinals finish the World Series with a .185 team batting average‚ lowest ever for a 7-game Series.

It took the Royals 29 years to even reach the Playoffs again, and I began to wonder if they were cursed. But they won the Pennant in 2014, and went all the way in 2015, so if they were cursed, the curse was broken.

Also on this day, Billy Martin is fired by the Yankees for an unprecedented 4th time (not counting all those firings in 1977 that didn't take), and is replaced by former Yankee outfielder Lou Piniella‚ who had been the team's hitting instructor since retiring as a player in 1984.

October 27, 1986: On the very day the Mets won their last World Series to date, Jonathon Joseph Niese is born in Lima, Ohio. He pitched for the Mets from 2008 to 2015, appearing in all 3 rounds of the 2015 postseason, including 4 of the 5 games of the World Series. He was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 2016, and then reacquired by the Mets, and released.

He was signed to minor-league deals by the Yankees in 2017 and the Texas Rangers in 2018, but, each time, he was released in Spring Training. He was signed by the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League in 2019, and was quickly snapped up by the Seattle Mariners and assigned to their top farm team, the Tacoma Rainiers. But he was released in July, and hasn't pitched in a regular season major league game in 4 years. Although plagued by injuries, he has a career record of 69-68.

October 27, 1989: After a 10-day delay following the Loma Prieta Earthquake, the World Series resumes at Candlestick Park in San Francisco. Ceremonial first balls are thrown out by 12 rescue workers, from both sides of San Francisco Bay, San Francisco and Oakland.

The title song from the 1936 musical film San Francisco, about the 1906 quake ("San Francisco, open your Golden Gate... ") is sung on the field by the cast of a San Francisco-based drag-queen stage show, Beach Blanket Babylon, and in the stands by 60,000 people. After the events of the last 10 days, suddenly no one has the energy to make bigoted or silly remarks about gay people, drag queens, or people dealing, directly or otherwise, with AIDS.

Game 3 begins, but it is over nearly as quickly as it was 10 days earlier, as the Oakland Athletics hit 5 home runs, to beat the San Francisco Giants, 13-7. The A's can wrap it up tomorrow.

I wasn't aware of this at the time, although I had set my VCR to record it. I was otherwise engaged, at Jay Doyle Field in East Brunswick, to see EB play Madison Central of Old Bridge, the school now called Old Bridge. We pulled one of the biggest upsets in the history of Middlesex County football, 10-9, ending Madison's 24-game winning streak. They'd beaten EB 33-0 in the 1987 Playoffs, 55-3 in the 1988 regular season, and 31-7 in the 1988 Playoffs. We'd graduated most of our good players, while they still had a lot left from their title teams.

It remains the biggest upset in EB's 60-season football history, and probably our most satisfying regular-season win ever.

*

October 27, 1991, 30 years agoThe Minnesota Twins become World Champions with a 1-0 victory in 10 innings over the Atlanta Braves, behind Jack Morris's masterful pitching. Gene Larkin's single off Alejandro Pena scores Dan Gladden with the game's only run.

The game is the 1st Game 7 to go into extra innings since the Senators-Giants Series in 1924. Morris is named the Series MVP for the Twins‚ who win all 4 games in the Metrodome while losing all 3 in Atlanta -- repeating their pattern against St. Louis in 1987. Four of the 7 games are decided on the final pitch‚ while 5 are decided by a single run‚ and 3 in extra innings. All are Series records. Morris's 10-inning masterpiece turns out to be the last extra-inning complete game of the 20th Century.

Through the 2021 season, the Twins' record in World Series play is 11-10: 11-1 at home (3-1 at Metropolitan Stadium in '65, 4-0 at the Metrodome in '87 and again in '91, and they have yet to get that far at Target Field) and 0-9 on the road. However, since that day, 30 years ago, they have never won another Pennant. The Braves have, although once in the World Series, they've rarely been better off.

October 27, 1994: Had the 1994 baseball season been allowed to reach a conclusion, this is the day that Game 5 of the World Series, had the Series gone that far, would have been played, at the home park of the American League Champions.

October 27, 1999: The Yankees defeat the Braves‚ 4-1‚ to win their 25th World Championship. Roger Clemens gets the win‚ hurling 4-hit ball before leaving the game in the 8th inning, to finally get his 1st World Series ring, 13 years after his only previous appearance, with the ill-fated '86 Red Sox.

Mariano Rivera gets the save‚ his 2nd of the Series. Jim Leyritz hits a solo homer in the 8th, the last home run, and the last run, in baseball in the 20th Century. The last out is Keith Lockhart flying out to left field, where the ball is caught by Game 3's hero, Chad Curtis. Rivera wins the Series MVP award. It is also the last major league game for New York baseball legend -- if not quite "hero" -- Darryl Strawberry, who goes 1-for-3 as the Yankee DH, his last hit a single off John Smoltz in the 2nd inning.

Four years earlier, as the final out was registered of the 1995 World Series, NBC's Bob Costas called the Braves "The Team of the Nineties." That label made sense at the time. Going into this Series, in the decade, the Braves had won 8 Division Titles and 5 Pennants, but just that 1 World Series; the Yankees had won 3 Division Titles (4 counting the strike-shortened 1994), 3 Pennants and 2 World Series.

This Series decided it, and in indisputable fashion, as the Yanks were now 2-0 over the Braves in Series play in the decade. This time, after the final out, Costas gets it right: "The New York Yankees. World Champions. Team of the Decade. Most successful franchise of the Century."

*

October 27, 2001, 20 years ago: Game 1 of the World Series, the 1st ever played in the Mountain Time Zone. The Arizona Diamondbacks pound the Yankees by a score of 9-1 behind Curt Schilling, who hurls 7 innings to win his 4th game of the postseason. Craig Counsell and Luis Gonzalez (cough-steroids-cough) homer for Arizona as Mike Mussina takes the loss for New York.

October 27, 2002: The Angels win their 1st World Series in 42 years of play – under any name -- as they defeat the San Francisco Giants‚ 4-1‚ in Game 7. John Lackey gets the Series-clinching win, making him the 1st rookie to win Game 7 of a World Series since Babe Adams of the 1909 Pirates. (My, how times have changed.)

Garret Anderson's bases-loaded double in the 3rd inning scores 3 runs for Anaheim. Troy Glaus is named Series MVP. The Giants had a 5-0 lead in Game 6, and were up 5-3 and just 9 outs away from winning the Series, but they blew it.

Soon, people begin to wonder if the Giants are a "cursed team." The Curse of Horace Stoneham? The Curse of Captain Eddie (Grant)? The Curse of Candlestick? The Kurse of Krukow? Who knows. And, now that the Giants finally have won 3 World Series as a San Francisco team, who cares?

This is the 21st World Series to be played between two teams of the same State, the 7th from a State other than New York, and the 4th from California. In each case, it remains, through 2020, the last.

October 27, 2004: The Curse of the Bambino is finally broken. Well, sort of. The Boston Red Sox win their 1st World Series in 86 years with a 3-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Memorial Stadium.

Derek Lowe ends up as the winning pitcher in all 3 postseason series-clinchers for the Sox, the 1st pitcher of any team to do so. (Andy Pettitte became the 2nd in 2009, and the 1st to start and win all 3 series-clinchers.) Johnny Damon hits a home run for Boston. Manny Ramirez is voted Series MVP‚ as he leads Boston to the 4-game sweep with a .412 BA and 4 RBI.

Some people had joked that the Red Sox winning the World Series would be a sign of the Apocalypse. Well, according to the Bible, one such sign is the Moon turning blood red -- and, in fact, there was a full lunar eclipse during the game. (Although this was hardly a surprise, as astronomoers had announced it years in advance, and newspapers and news networks had mentioned it before nightfall.)

A sign held aloft at the victory parade in Boston sums it all up: "Our (late) parents and g'parents thank you." So many people said, "We wanted them to win it in our lifetime, just once." Well, as Dan Shaughnessy of The Boston Globe said in the following weeks, "There was no spike in the obits. We checked. All those people who said they couldn't die until the Red Sox won a World Series decided to live a little longer."

Of course, they didn't win it just once in those people's lifetimes – except for those who died between October '04 and October '07. And now that we know that the Red Sox are a bunch of lying, cheating, dirty, low-down, no-good bastards, we can tell the truth: They still haven't really won a World Series since 1918*. The Curse lives.

So all those Sox fans who weren't old enough to suffer through Harry Frazee, Johnny Pesky, Harry Agganis, Tony Conigliaro, Larry Barnett, Bobby Sprowl, Bucky Dent, John McNamara and Bill Buckner – though most of them did get through what Nomar, Pedro and Grady put them through – and showed more bastardry in victory than their forebears ever showed in defeat can kiss my 27 rings (well, 7 in my lifetime – for the moment), and then they can kiss my Pinstriped ass.

Now, where was I? Oh yeah. Also on this day, Arsenal play for the 1st time since their 49-game League unbeaten streak was broken by some major cheating that Manchester United were allowed to completely get away with. It's a League Cup match against the other major Manchester team, Manchester City, at the City of Manchester Stadium (now the Etihad Stadium), and ends in a 1-1 draw.

Making their Arsenal debuts are Spanish goalkeeper Manuel Almunia and Swiss centreback Philippe Senderos. Both would infuriate Arsenal fans. In Senderos' case, it was less his never really panning out, and more his being the 1st player to receive the Number 6 jersey since Tony Adams, the longtime Captain known as "Mr. Arsenal," had retired. Fans never warmed up to him. He was loaned out to A.C. Milan in 2008 and to Everton in 2010, and was sold to Fulham at the start of the next season. Having played for Switzerland in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 World Cups, he later played in America, for the Houston Dynamo, and is now retired.

With Almunia, it was different. He had to go into the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final when starter Manuel Almunia was wrongly sent off by the referee, and managed to keep the clean sheet going until Samuel Eto'o scored in the 76th minute, a goal that should have been disallowed as offside. Four minutes later, Juliano Belletti won the game for Barcelona.

Lehmann went back to Germany in 2008, making Almunia the starter. He was not up to the standard of legendary Arsenal goalies Alex Wilson, George Swindin, Jack Kelsey, Bob Wilson, Pat Jennings, John Lukic, David Seaman and Lehmann. Fans sang, to the tune of "Michael, Row the Boat Ashore," "Manuel will not let them score, Al-mu-ni...a!" But, just as often, they called him "The Clown." He was not re-signed after his contract ran out in 2012, and, after 2 years at Watford, he retired.

Soccer games like these, in Europe, were pretty much the only other games played on the day. It was midweek for football, the NBA didn't start its season for another 6 days, and the NHL team owners had locked the players out, with the result being that there was no 2004-05 season. So I can't do a "Scores On This Historic Day" for the day the Red Sox "broke the Curse of the Bambino."

Also on this day, Paulo Sergio Oliveira da Silva dies. Better known as Serginho, the Brazilian played for São Caetano as a defender, and was playing for his team in a Campeonato Brasileiro match against São Paulo when he suffered a fatal cardiac arrest 60 minutes into the match.

A later autopsy showed Serginho's heart to weigh 600 grams, twice the size of an average human heart, causing mystery towards his real cause of death. He had just turned 30, and his team was defending league champions. His son Raymundo followed in his father's footsteps and also played in the Brazilian league.

Also on this day, The West Wing airs the episode "The Birnam Wood." President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) and his staff take the Prime Minister of Israel and the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority to Camp David, and, somehow, negotiate a solution that never seems to have occurred to any real-life President.

But White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry has been arguing with Bartlet, and, after telling him the solution won't work, and being told by Bartlet that it would, says to his best friend, whom he prodded into running for President and has guided in that office for 6 1/2 years, "My counsel is no longer of use to you." He resigns. A few minutes later, after taking a walk in the woods, he has a heart attack, and nearly dies.

What was not known to the general public at the time is that Leo's portrayer, John Spencer -- like his character, a recovering alcoholic whose heavy drinking had compromised his health -- had cancer. This storyline enabled him to step away from the show for treatment. Alas, Spencer's illness returned the following season, and he died, forcing the writers to kill Leo off as well.

October 27, 2006: The St. Louis Cardinals defeat the Detroit Tigers, 4-2, to take the 2006 World Series. Jeff Weaver – Jeff Fucking Weaver? Are you kidding me?!? – gets the win for St. Louis, who get a pair of RBIs from Series MVP (and former Trenton Thunder shortstop) David Eckstein. Sean Casey homers for Detroit.

After the 2004 Series, when the Cardinals lost to the Red Sox, Cardinal fans began to speculate about a Curse of Keith Hernandez. Hernandez had helped the Cards win the 1982 Series, but manager-GM Whitey Herzog didn't like him and traded him to the Mets in 1983.

After this, the Cards reached but lost the Series in '85 (on the Don Denkinger blown call and their Game 7 11-0 meltdown) and '87, blew a 3-games-to-1 lead in the '96 NLCS, reached the Playoffs in 2000 and '02 but failed to win the Pennant, and looked awful in losing the '04 Series. Someone brought up pitcher Jeff Suppan's baserunning blunder in '04, and noted that he wore Number 37, which was Hernandez's number in '82.

But this win, in the Cardinals' 1st season at the 3rd Busch Stadium, their 10th title, 2nd all-time behind the Yankees and 1st among NL teams, erases any possibility of a curse on them. It should be noted that the Cards' 83 regular-season wins are the fewest of any team to win a World Series in a full 162-game, or even 154-game, season.

October 27, 2007: After 25 years at the drafty, unsuitable arena at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, the New Jersey Devils play their 1st game at the Prudential Center in downtown Newark. The Ottawa Senators spoil the party, winning 4-1, with Chris Neil scoring the 1st goal. Brian Gionta scores the 1st for the Devils.

Also on this night, in the 1st World Series game ever played in the State of Colorado, Daisuke Matsuzaka becomes the 1st Japanese pitcher to start a World Series game. (Hideki Irabu was on the Yankees' World Series roster in 1998 and '99, but did not start any games. Hideo Nomo never appeared in a World Series.) He allows 2 runs on 3 hits in 5 1/3rd innings, to get the win against the Rockies in the 10-5 Red Sox Game 3 victory.

After paying $51.1 million for the rights simply to negotiate with the righthander, Boston obtained "Dice-K" from the Seibu Lions, signing the World Baseball Classic MVP to a 6-year deal worth $52 million.

With where the Sox have been since, especially with Dice-K missing so many games due to injury, how does the deal look now? Pretty good, since he did help them win a World Series. As far as is publicly known, he isn't one of the steroid freaks that helped the Sox cheat their way to said victory -- but with all of those injuries, you could wonder.

*

October 27, 2010: Game 1 of the World Series, the 1st ever for the Texas Rangers. It doesn't go so well for them. The highly-anticipated matchup of the Rangers' Cliff Lee and the San Francisco Giants' Tim Lincecum goes by the boards, and turns into a slugfest. The Giants score 6 runs in the bottom of the 5th inning, and win 11-7.

October 27, 2011, 10 years ago: Game 6 of the World Series. In 1986, the Red Sox had a 2-run lead in the 10th inning of Game 6, and were 1 strike away from winning their 1st World Series in 68 years... and blew it. Exactly 25 years and 2 days later...

The Texas Rangers had a 2-run lead in the 9th inning of Game 6, and were 1 strike away from winning the 1st World Series in the 51 years of the franchise, 40 of them in their current location... and blew it... and then had the exact same setup in the 10th inning, and blew it again! David Freese hit a game-tying triple in the 9th. He wasn't involved in the 10th inning comeback, but in the bottom of the 11th, he hit a walkoff home run, and the Cardinals won, 10-9.

If the '86 Red Sox were not officially off the hook for the biggest World Series choke ever seen to that point, thanks to the Red Sox of 2004 and '07, they were now, thanks to the Rangers having a bigger one.

October 27, 2012: The last game is played at Ivor Wynne Stadium, formerly Civic Stadium, in Hamilton, Ontario. The Canadian Football League's Hamilton Tiger-Cats beat the Winnipeg Blue Bombers 28-18. They had played at the 29,000-seat facility since 1950, and one of their forebears, the Hamilton Wildcats, had played there since it opened in 1930.

The Ticats played the 2013 CFL season at the 13,000-seat Alumni Stadium in nearby Guelph, while the old stadium was torn down, and the 24,000-seat Tim Hortons Field was built on the site. They moved in for the 2014 season.

October 27, 2013: As if the interference call ending last night's game wasn't weird enough, Game 4 of the World Series also has a weird ending. The Red Sox win the 1st World Series game to ever end on a pickoff, beating the Cardinals, 4-2.

Kolten Wong, a 23 year-old rookie pinch-running for Allen Craig, is caught off 1st base by Boston closer Koji Uehara, ending the Busch Stadium contest with the dangerous Carlos Beltran at the plate.

The Cardinals had momentum after the previous night's wacky ending, but now, they won't win another game that counts until March 31, 2014.

October 27, 2015: Game 1 of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. The Kansas City Royals played in the World Series just last year. The Mets? Not since October 26, 2000, 15 years earlier.

Matt Harvey starts for the Mets. The 1st pitch thrown by "The Dark Knight" is hit by Alcides Escobar for an inside-the-park home run, the 1st in Series play since Mule Haas of the 1929 A's -- 86 years earlier. Curtis Granderson hits a home run off Royals starter Edinson Vólquez, giving the Mets a 3-1 lead. But the Royals tie it in the bottom of the 6th, taking Vólquez off the hook. Only then is he told that his father died earlier in the day.

The Mets took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 8th, and were just 2 outs away from taking Game 1, when Jeurys Familia blows his 1st save opportunity since July 30, by giving up a home run to Alex Gordon. He becomes the 5th player, the 1st since Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius of the 2001 Yankees, to hit a game-tying 9th inning home run in World Series play.

The game goes into extra innings, and Granderson makes a sensational catch of a Jarrod Dyson drive in the 11th. But in the bottom of the 14th, David Wright, the Mets' 3rd baseman and Captain -- and, to hear Met fans tell it, "the face of New York baseball" now that Derek Jeter has retired -- makes a throwing error that lets Escobar reach 1st. Ben Zobrist singles him over to 3rd, and Eric Hosmer flies out to center, a sacrifice fly that brings home the winning run. Royals 5, Mets 4.

This was the 1st time in World Series history that the same player scored both the 1st run of the game on the 1st pitch, and the last run of the game on the last pitch. The game tied the record for the longest game by innings in World Series history, shared with Game 2 in 1916 and Game 3 in 2005. The loss made 42-year-old Bartolo Colón the oldest player ever to lose a World Series game.

It was also the 7th time in the Mets' 25 World Series games to that point in which they had a lead and blew it. That ratio would get worse.

October 27, 2018: Game 4 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium. Rich Hill starts for the Dodgers, having pitched in relief the night before, in the longest game in Series history. This made him the 1st pitcher to start a Series game the day after pitching in one since Fred "Firpo" Marberry of the Washington Senators in 1924.

The game is scoreless until the bottom of the 6th, when the Dodgers score 4 runs on an error and a 3-run home run by Yasiel Puig. But the Red Sox score 9 runs over the last 3 innings, including home runs by Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce. Kanley Jansen joins Byung-hyun Kim of the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks to give up game-tying home runs in back-to-back games. The D-backs won that Series anyway, but now, with a 9-6 win, the Red Sox take a 3-1 lead.

Before the game, a moment of silence was held for the victims of a despicable crime. Earlier in the day, Robert Gregory Bowers, a white supremacist, takes an AR-15 assault rifle, walks into the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh during a Shabbat service, and shoots 17 people, 11 of whom die. Among the 17 were 4 policemen, all of whom survived. After 2 years, he has yet to go on trial.

The day before, Cesar Altieri Sayoc Jr, who sent pipe bombs to several Democratic Party officials, including former Presidents Barack Obama and Bill Clinton, was caught. He became known as the MAGABomber because of his van, festooned with Trump memorabilia.

Donald Trump still refuses to accept responsibility for his incendiary rhetoric, including bigoted "dog whistles," including the word "globalist" and references to George Soros, code words for "evil Jews." Soros was also the first person to receive a MAGABomb.

October 28, 2019: Donald Trump has his best day as President, with the news of U.S. Special Forces having killed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of "The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," or ISIL. (Often incorrectly called "The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," or ISIS.)

But he screws it up by staging that photograph with generals in the White House Situation Room, with a time-stamp about 2 hours after it happened. When it actually happened, he was, big surprise, playing golf. And he may not even have been told about it before it happened, so he didn't even get to make the order himself, unlike Barack Obama with Osama bin Laden on May 1, 2011.

Naturally, Trump's 50-minute speech on the matter made it sound like al-Baghdadi was a bigger kill than bin Laden. Trump has this desperate need to be seen as bigger and better than Obama. Mainly because, the day before bin Laden was killed, Obama released his birth certificate and humiliated Trump at the White House Correspondents' Dinner.

bin Laden killed a hell of a lot more Americans than al-Baghdadi did. What's more, Trump said that nobody knew who bin Laden was before 9/11. This is a lie. There were news reports about his terrorist activities as early as 1996. In 1998, when al-Qaeda bombed 2 U.S. Embassies in Africa, it was known and publicized that bin Laden ordered it.

In contrast, I never heard of al-Baghdadi until the night he was killed. I literally never knew he was alive until I knew he was dead. ISIL/ISIS, sure, everyone's heard of them. But ask any American to name their leader before that day, and they would draw a blank.

And then Trump goes to Game 5 of the World Series. He had not been asked to throw out the ceremonial first ball. That honor was bestowed upon Washington-based celebrity chef José Andrés.

Trump took Melania. He did not take Barron, his 13-year-old son, who is a known sports fan. The World Series was 2 miles from his house, and he had tickets, and he didn't take his 13-year-old son.

Yeah, sure, it's a school night. I think a note from the President of the United States would carry some weight. Well, it would, if it were any other President.

When a group of veterans is shown on the Nationals Park scoreboard in the middle of the 3rd inning, the sellout crowd of 43,910 cheers them. When the image shifts to Trump, it is about 60-40 boos, and the boos are louder than the cheers. Fans chant, "Lock him up!" The scoreboard operator has to switch back to the camera on the veterans, and the crowd goes back to cheering.

Nobody booed Franklin Roosevelt on D-Day. Nobody booed John F. Kennedy after he solved the Cuban Missile Crisis. Nobody booed Obama after he ordered the bin Laden raid. Even George W. Bush didn't start getting booed until well after that dumb "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" stunt.

This was Trump's best day as President, and he got the hell booed out of him anyway. For this, Washington Nationals fans have my thanks forever.

Oh yes, there was a game. The Houston Astros jump out to a 4-0 lead after 4 innings, and Gerrit Cole protects it, as the Astros beat the Nats 7-1. They take a 3-2 lead in the Series, and can wrap it up by taking either Game 6 or Game 7 in Houston. However, this is a Series in which the road team has won every game. If that pattern holds, the Nats will win.