A Tale Of Two Cities: World Series Fever Takes Hold In SF, KC

October 21, 2014

Millions of baseball fans and two cities 1,500 miles apart are getting ready for tonight’s big game in Kansas City, Mo. The Royals are in their first World Series in nearly three decades. They face the San Francisco Giants, who are back again after missing their chance at the series last year.

Die-hard Royals fan Lee Sung-woo of South Korea, who threw out the ceremonial first pitch before a Royals-Athletics game in August, is returning to watch Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium.

It’s a good thing he decided to get there early. The Kansas City Star reports: “Traffic around the Truman Sports Complex, particularly along Interstate 70 and Interstate 435, is expected to become congested beginning at midday Tuesday.” The newspaper advises: “Consider this your excuse to leave work.”

Game 1 starts at 8 p.m. ET; it’s being televised by Fox. MLB.com has a full schedule of games.

Twenty-nine years is a long time for a sports-hungry town like Kansas City, the Star notes, quoting Curt Nelson, the director of the Royals Hall of Fame.

“You’re stretching peoples’ loyalties going 29 years between playoffs, but in this city that bond with baseball never broke,” said Nelson. “It never broke.”

Meanwhile, in the Bay Area there is confidence but also a bit of dismay. The San Francisco Chronicle laments: “Going into the World Series, the Giants find themselves in an unfamiliar position. They can no longer claim the role of lovable upstarts. That designation goes to the Kansas City Royals, America’s heartland heroes who haven’t sniffed a championship in almost 30 years.”

As we reported before, Lorde’s hit song “Royals” has been banned by San Francisco radio stations.

And Giants fans are finding creative ways to show their team spirit — even the smallest of them:

The match-up is inviting the inevitable comparisons not only between the rival teams, but also the rival cities. Money magazine offers up this side-by-side:

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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