Welcome to Kansas City! This year’s annual father/son road trip was a visit to Kaufmann stadium to see how the Nationals stacked up against the 2015 World Series champs. After a three-hour flight from Philly, we arrived in KC. Kansas City straddles the states of Kansas & Missouri. The city center, airport, major attractions and stadiums are all on the Missouri side. We booked a suite at the Intercontinental hotel overlooking the Country Club Plaza. The Plaza is a trendy shopping & restaurant district that is decorated by beautiful fountain-lined piazzas. Kansas City has more than 200 public fountains which is second only to Rome. Picturesque Brush Creek winds around the Plaza and is passable by a series of pedestrian bridges.
Upon arrival we made our way to the stadium for the Nats Monday night match-up with the Royals. We sprung for tickets behind home plate that included access to the Crown Club. The Crown Club provided a tasty buffet and complimentary in-seat wait service for food and drinks. KC fans are extremely friendly and knowledgeable. The stadium was full of energy, and the fans were curious and tolerant of our Washington Nationals gear. The Nats were victorious that night and we ubered our way back to the hotel.
The Intercontinental Hotel was spectacular! They had a delicious breakfast buffet overlooking the plaza. The gym and steam room were top notch and the staff was extremely courteous. An added bonus was that the Nats players were staying there as well. That morning we saw their strength coach in the weight room and All Star second baseman Daniel Murphy in the lobby.
We explored the Plaza for lunch. The locals recommended Jack Stack’s. KC is renowned for their BBQ and this was the spot that won the most awards. We had a combo of pork ribs and burnt ends that was brilliant! The local brewery is Boulevard, and they provide an excellent assortment of suds on tap. Our waitress told us that Nats outfielder Jason Werth had stopped in for lunch the day before.
We headed back to the stadium at 4 PM that afternoon for an All Access Tour. Morrie Carlson was our informative tour director. Before we began he asked us to remove our red Nationals hats and replaced them with blue Kansas City lids. He then took us behind the scenes to the VIP suites, locker rooms and inside the press box. Then we spent about an hour on the field during batting practice and got to meet Royals manager Ned Yost and Slugger the mascot. We stayed on the field through the National Anthem and then were escorted to our seats in the Craft Draft section. On the way we met Royals legend and Hall of Famer George Brett in the elevator – what a surreal surprise!
Anthony Rendon pounced on a fastball in the 1st inning to put the Nats ahead, but closer Jonathan Papelbon choked away the lead in the 9th to give the Royals a walk off win. Our consolation was another elevator meet and greet at the Intercontinental later that night. We ended up sharing a lift with Nats relief pitcher Blake Trienen. He is originally from Kansas City and this was his homecoming (he was actually on the front cover of the KC sports section the next day).
The next day we took a last stroll through the Plaza after brekkie. We enjoyed a Brazilian lunch at Fogo de Chao before heading to the airport and arriving back in OC later that night. Dad and I thoroughly enjoyed our short stay in Kansas City.
The people were extremely friendly, the city was clean and inviting and we enjoyed excellent weather. The BBQ was the best I’d ever had! It was a great experience at the ballpark to take in a few games with such a passionate fanbase (the Royal’s DJ was the best I’ve heard at a sporting event). If you’re looking to go on a memorable baseball road trip, I highly recommend Kansas City, Missouri, the Country Club Plaza and the Intercontinental Hotel.