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News » Royals and Greinke fanning fan interest in KC


Royals and Greinke fanning fan interest in KC


Royals and Greinke fanning fan interest in KC
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - With a spiffy, spruced-up stadium and Zack Greinke's array of nearly unhittable pitches, the Kansas City Royals are helping Rick Adams beat the recession blues.

A year ago, Adams operated two frozen custard stands in Kauffman Stadium and business, reflecting the long-woeful Royals themselves, was south of .500. Now, in the renovated New K he's expanded to four stands and hired additional workers. Business is booming and profits are up.

"I'd say it's up about 20 percent," said Adams, stepping out of the way on the widened concourse while a busy worker poured cups of the rich, creamy treat.

"Last year, my business was down about 9 percent," he said. "But more people are coming out because of a lot of factors. For one thing, everybody loves the renovated stadium. And the team is fighting for first place. And nights when Greinke pitches, it's out of sight!"

Long a sleepy backwater in Bud Selig's baseball empire, Kansas City shows signs of springing to life.

The Royals haven't played a postseason game since winning the World Series in 1985. But they went into the weekend in a virtual tie with Detroit for the lead in the AL Central despite a six-game losing streak - which followed a six-game winning streak.

More than $250 million in additions and renovations have given 36-year-old Kauffman Stadium the look, feel and smell of a brand new ballpark.

And for the first time since 1994 when KC native David Cone won the Cy Young Award, Royals fans are bragging about having the best pitcher in baseball.

So excited are fans over the right-hander who just three years ago gave up baseball because he was struggling with social anxiety, one local bar has instituted "Greinke Drinkie Nights."

On nights when the right-hander pithes, a beer costs the same as his ERA. That meant that going into Friday's game against Baltimore, a brew was only $0.51.

After going seven innings and giving up one run in an 8-1 victory, he'll force his fans to cough up $0.60 when he returns to the mound next week.

"We drove all the way down from Omaha just to see Greinke," said Paul Herbst, eating a hot dog with three buddies during a long rain delay before Greinke took the field against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday night. "He's amazing. I saw him a couple of years ago and you could tell he was going to be a good one because even then he had great stuff."

Greinke (7-1) was also what drew Laurie Davenport and two friends to the New K from their apartment at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan.

"I mean, how often do you get to watch somebody who's the best in the world at what he does?" Davenport said. "Plus, I just love what they've done to the stadium. I think the Royals are going all the way this year. I wasn't even born when they beat Philadelphia in the World Series."

Since she hadn't been born, she can probably be excused for thinking it was the Phillies whom the Royals bested back in '85. Actually, it was the St. Louis Cardinals.

Heavy rains that caused local flooding forced a delay of more than 2 hours to the start of Friday night's game and cost the Royals a huge crowd. Almost every ticket had been sold, something that in recent years occurred only on opening day and when the cross-state rival St. Louis Cardinals were in town for their annual interleague series.

Now, if the Royals can stay in contention and Greinke can keep up his amazing start, all that is going to change.

"I wouldn't be surprised at all if the Royals are in the World Series this year," said Paul Wolfe of Olathe, Kan., patently waiting out the rain delay behind third base. "Look at the Cardinals a couple of years ago when they won it all after winning just 80-some games in the regular season. We could do it."

That'd be good news for Adams.

"If they stay in contention, the attendance will keep going up and business will get even better for everybody," he said. "And why shouldn't it? Kansas City has waited a long time for this."


Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: May 16, 2009

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