With the Major League Baseball All Star Game having been played at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City Tuesday night, I have an All Star Game memory of my own.
I was at what was known as Royals Stadium back in July 1973 the last time the All Star Game was played in Kansas City.
It’s hard to believe it’s been 39 years ago that I was at the Mid-Summer Classic.
Bill and Alma Dey invited me to go to the game with them and their son Ross.
I saw some of the greatest players ever to play the game that night.I saw Hank Aaron, Williie Mays, Pete Rose, Johnny Bench, Frank Howard, Willie Starge, Willie McCovey, Luis Aparacio, Bert Campenaris, Rollie Fingers, Bob Gibson, Carl Yastrzemski, Rudi, Gene Tenace, Steve Blass, Manny Sanguillen, Tim McCarver, Curt Flood, Harmon Killibrerw and Rod Carew. I could go on and on.
I will get to the main point of this column. You see, our seats were way, way up there. How high? Exactly one row from the top row of the stadium. I am deathly scared of heights. One of the ushers took us to our seats I was okay until we got to the top of the first level and were on solid ground.
The usher kept climbing and my knees started to shake. We got to the top of the second level. We still had a whole third level of steps to climb. My knees were banging and my stomach was starting to churn. I didn’t dare look down.
We finally reached our seats and I grabbed hold of the seat at the end of the row.I looked up and noticed there was only one row between us and falling some 500 feet below. I could look up over the railing and see downtown Kansas City in the distance and if you looked hard enough, you could see the state of Kansas in the far distance.
I was never so happy to sit down in my seat, I could have kissed the hot plastic. It was a might warm that night.
I don’t remember much about the game. The players looked like ants from our seats. Since the National League won all the time back then, I am guessing they won that night.
When the game ended, I thought, ”Oh no. Now we have to go back down those steps to get out of the stadium. I just tried to look straight ahead and felt for the steps.
There were no concrete, circular ramps to go to the upper levels at Royals Stadium in those days.
I took the trip down very slowly. If I had fallen I was going to take lot of fans with me. I wanted to kiss the ground again when we finally got down there.
You know it’s terrible to go to a ballgame and be scared the whole night. But I want to thank Bill, Alma and Ross Dey for inviting me.