4.6% ABV on draught
Being arrogant New Yorkers and Yankees and Mets fans, we figured we could show up at a lackluster Royals game a few minutes before first pitch, hand over a sawbuck, and be sitting behind the plate within minutes. I am still surprised at how wrong we were. The drive from Arthur Bryant’s to the stadium was brisk, I’ve never seen such non-traffic for a professional sporting event. Kaufmann Stadium looks like America’s biggest minor league ballpark, it’s really unimpressive. What was impressive was how many fans the Royals actually have, or at least had on this night. I figured we’d be two out of maybe 18,000 in attendance, so few asses in the seats that on foul balls we would have this conversation:
FRIEND: Wanna go get that ball?
AARON: Eh…leave it.
And watch as a baseball just rested on a concrete third baseline aisle for several innings until some kid with a little gumption finally walked a few sections over to unenthusiastically retrieve it, yet another one for the collection.
But this scenario was nowhere close to what we encountered as we weren’t even able to get tickets and get into the park until the top of the third. Furthermore, I’ve seen very few sporting events in which a team’s fans were so completely covered in team apparel. And it did indeed take a lot of material to fully apparel these fatsos and their annoying children. It quickly became clear that everyone in Kansas City is fat from ages zero to 14, at which point the girls become stunningly hot (am I allowed to say that?) and the boys become ripped high school football players. Then everyone gets fat again from ages 19 to heart attack. We chuckled at the behomeths returning from the rare but overflowing concession stands lines with pyramids of countless foiled wrapped hot dogs and anything and everything covered in liquid nacho cheese. Still stuffed from the BBQ we didn’t eat anything or have a beer, but I did cool down with a very tasty sno-cone.
The most impressive–in fact the only impressive thing–about Kauffman is the “Crown Vision” scoreboard, a 105 by 84 foot monster that can surely be seen from space. We ourselves confirmed that it can be seen, and easily read, from several miles up the road on George Brett Superhighway*. It is said to be the largest scoreboard in the world and it is by far the most crisp, high-definition screen of any kind I have ever encountered. I’d rather watch that than the game. Unfortunately, neither the Royals, nor any other American or, as far as I know, international sports team has employed my greatest idea ever, one I will use the second I buy a team using all my Vice Blog royalties. You know the “Kiss Cam,” that lame but semi-compelling thing not-making-the-playoffs teams use during timeouts and between half-innings in order to drum up some crowd excitement, turning the camera on unsuspecting couples–and some non-couples–until they finally smooch? Well I am the copyrighted inventor of the “Second Base Cam,” aka the “Grope Cam.” I don’t think I need to explain it in detail or the excitement it will quite clearly generate.
After six innings we were bored with minor league baseball, the countless rubes that actually yelled “CHARGE!!!” at the end of the organ’s “duh, duh, duh, DUT, duh, DUH,” and the huge ignominy over the fact that there was no tribute to Bo Jackson anywhere on the premises. I mean seriously, you guys pay homage to the late Dan Quisenberry but not Vincent Edward Jackson?!
As we left the ballpark we learned two things that were special about this particular Royals game:
1. It was $1 hot dog night.
2. There was to be a fireworks display at the end of the evening.
Like “The Usual Suspects” or “The Sixth Sense,” everything I had seen in the previous two hours had to be immediately reevaluated as I now understand why so many Royals “fans” had shown up for the event. Hicks love fireworks and cheap dogs.
With it now 10:00 PM we planned to head back to the hotel to get a good night’s sleep as we had to get up bright and early to head to Manhattan, KS. En route though, while pondering what Jeter and Giambi do for post-game entertainment on three-game road swings here, we saw a most tantalizing site, The Isle of Capri, a riverboat casino. We swerved over a highway median, parking the rental car in a spare patch of grass to avoid the valet fee before heading in.
There’s no greater example of the retarded, hypocritical laws that govern America than the fact that you can gamble in some cities, and not gamble in others. That we placate the Indians by giving them crappy casinos on worthless acreage. Or that in certain places you can’t gamble on dry land but can gamble on what is ostensibly a boat floating “off-shore” on a body of water, but what is really just a boat-shaped object cemented to the riverbank via stilts and connected to the shore via countless walkways. Yeah, that makes sense. You’re really making the world a better place politicians.
The isle of Capri looks pretty decent from the outside, like something Mark Twain may have worked on and Maverick may have gambled on. However, the inside told a different story as a plume of dense smoke instantly bitchslapped me upon spinning through the revolving doors and entering. I assume using vacuumed sealed revolving doors in a place so rife with tobacco smoke and BO has something to do with a massive eugenics project at a local university.
Upon entering we had to actually apply for a special gambler’s card before hitting the floor. I hate nothing worse than when I have to go through a rigmarole before doing something I don’t have much interest in in the first place. It’s like look, I barely want to be in this dump, now you’re gonna make me present 15 forms of ID and fill out a long SAT form with a number 2 before I can enter? Get real. Nevertheless we did, watching in amazement as the desk clerk scrutinized our NYS driver’s licenses, even calling over an assistant, we no doubt the wealthiest patrons to ever enter this place. Guess they don’t want any Union money. Nevertheless, we put up with this bullshit, mainly because we saw no other place to get a “late night” (10:00 PM recall) drink in the greater Kansas City area.
Upon taking the escalator down to the floor, we were quickly returned to two billion years ago, coming face to face with a much lower form of humanity. For all you creationists out there–and I’m sure Kansas City has plenty–please go to the Isle of Capri and tell me that you are not a higher evolved species than what you see there. No God would create what we saw. Richard Dawkins need only point to this casino’s patronage to turn the whole world into committed Darwinists. What you see there at the Isle of Capri are people pondering how many stools it’ll take to support them, how quickly they can smoke a full pack of butts, and how briskly they can blow throw the month’s government assistance check. The floor was 99.9% slots and of those it was about 95% penny slots. Yet, these people played the games and pulled the levers as if they were about to become millionaires. These people were the absolute opposite of the “Bringing Down the House” MIT card-counting nerds. I’d love to hear these folks’ brilliant strategies for “beating the system” at penny slots cause you know they have some.
Not surprisingly, I saw the first cigarette vending machines I’ve seen since Reagan’s first term. Later we would learn that gamers are only allowed to lose $500 per 24 hours, a stat that is monitored on those stupid swipe cards we had to sign up for. That’s 50,000 penny bet pulls on the one-armed bandit, assuming you’re the unluckiest SOB in the world. And, you’ll have to believe me when I say that if there was an “Unluckiest SOB in the World” contest, the Isle of Capri could definitely submit a few title contenders.
I don’t really like gambling unless it involves betting nerdy kids how many _____ they can consume, or how many _____ they can do naked, or how often they can _____ while _____, so I went straight for the bar to canoodle with the vermin and watch the Opening Ceremonies. There, I was floored to see that every drink apparently comes default with whipped cream: daiquiris, margaritas, White Russians, it didn’t fucking matter. And, I’m not talking a dollop of whipped cream either. I’m talking one of those massive, swirling cones that looks more like soft serve and which empties out half a can of Reddi-Wip. I was starting to understand why every one was so fat. Fuck, in the morning my iced coffee was given to me topped off with some whipped cream that was taller than the cup the actual drink portion came in. Not particularly digging putting 1000 calories of pure fluff into my belly to start the day, I was forced to use my spoon/straw (the most popular utensil in KC) to wrist-shot the goop off my drink and onto the sidewalk. I’m kinda surprised that pure whipped cream isn’t drank in Kansas City.
At the bar I ordered a Boulevard Wheat, sans whipped cream, but unfortunately plus a crummy little lemon slice. Boulevard Wheat is the beer that everyone in KC seems to think is the greatest brew on the planet. And, indeed, it ain’t bad. Light, zesty, wheaty, very refreshing. But just like the brewery’s Pale Ale, far too low in alcohol content. Wonder if that’s some arcane state law influencing things. Alas, it is a pretty good beer especially when the only other things on tap are shitty macros.
After a few plastic pints, far too much televised Yao Ming, and contracting full-blown emphysema, we headed home to clear our lungs and throw away our clothes.
*I wish I was making a joke. [Pathetically small George Brett statue figurine pictured above.]