The comeback kids did it again. The Kansas City Royals won the World Series in five games and broke multiple records along the way, making this series one to remember.
It was a nice Sunday night in New York. The New York Mets opened Game 5 with a 2-0 lead until the 9th, when the Royals tied up the game with two runs. Moments later, they would go on to record their 8th comeback of the season with a five-run streak in the 12th inning, winning Game 5 7-2, bringing the World Series Championship trophy back to Kansas City after 30 years.
When Royals pitcher Wade Davis delivered the third strike that would crown the Royals champions, hundreds of fans flocked to Westport, Country Club Plaza and the Power and Light District to celebrate well into Monday morning. Later that morning, several metro area schools and community colleges announced they cancelled classes for Tuesday to allow faculty and students to enjoy this special day. Some workplaces allowed half-days so employees could also participate in the parade’s activities.
More than 800,000 Royals fans filled the streets of downtown Kansas City to get a glimpse of their favorite World Series champions and to relive the celebration from 1985.
This historical parade began promptly at noon with a rally following at 2 p.m. KCATA provided free shuttles around the metro to the parade and back to their designated areas from 9 a.m. to two hours after the rally ended. Spectators were able to catch the free shuttles at Kemper Arena, Country Club Plaza, Metro North, 47th & State, Red Bridge, Swope Park and Strang Line Park and ride. For those who drove, parking was available at the National WWI Museum in Liberty Memorial for $15 and at Crown Center for $10.
Starting on Grand Avenue at the Sprint Center, the parade began its journey to Oak St., turning on Truman Rd., to later return on Grand Ave., following it to the end at Union Station were a stage and thousands of fans anticipated their beloved players. The parade featured all Royals players and Ned Yost with the World Series Trophy. Also included: front-office staff, local high school bands, the infamous Budweiser wagon, and other well-known locals mostly from TV and radio stations.
Although patrons began to arrive as early as 8:30 a.m. to ensure an excellent view for the parade and the rally, several thousand arrived throughout the rest of the morning, in hopes of getting a great view as well. Hundreds lined the streets, abandoning cars on highways and suburban streets, hiking to downtown from the plaza and other metro areas. Spectators who rode the buses were dropped off on Main Street near Liberty Memorial where they began their journey to Union Station. Due to the large crowd, some spectators became instant rock climbers. They began scaling the steep slopes of Liberty Memorial to get on the front lawn or sit in the trees that lined the street next to the Weston Hotel to get a glimpse of the action. Hundreds of young children and preteens who got lost in the crowd during the celebration sought refuge inside Union Station, where some lucky fans had the opportunity to see the Royals players gathered together inside.
The rally featured Royals players and special-guest speakers like Ned Yost, Governor Nixon, Mayor Sly James, etc. However, the one speaker who stole the show with an amazing speech with a mic drop was former Royals Outfielder Jonny Gomes.
“Its unbelievable what they did! Cy Young winner. Not on our team. Beat him. Rookie of the year. Not on our team. We beat him. MVP of the whole league? Sorry guys, not on our team. But we beat that guy too!” cheered Gomes to the thousands of fans holding an American flag. “Y’all wanna be politically correct? I’m an un-politically correct person. We whooped their a–!”
Even if you were just there to see the parade and rally or to have bragging rights, it was surely a memorable experience. As well, great practice for next year’s parade.