Keeping Up With Jones - The Missourian: Union

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Keeping Up With Jones

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Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2013 11:15 am

Saturday night I went to see a baseball game at Kaufmann Stadium, the home of the Kansas City Royals.

My sister was staying at my mom’s house in Lee’s Summit, and my wife and I stopped off for a visit.

My sister, who lives in Hartland, Mich., is an avid Detroit Tigers fan. The Royals hosted the Tigers over the weekend, so my sister scooped up some tickets and we caught the game live.

It was quite a confusing night for me.

I am a diehard Cardinals fan, but the Detroit Tigers were the first baseball team I loved. I still hope to see the Tigers play well, and I still check where the team is in the standings — but it doesn’t ruin my night when the Detroit club loses, like a Cardinals loss has done.

So Saturday night, I felt I was cheating on the Cardinals. I sincerely hoped that Allen Craig, Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina and the rest of the gang didn’t catch wind that I was in KC, cursing Justin Verlander’s subpar performance.

Kaufmann Stadium had its share of Tigers fans that night, but there were even more royal blue and light blue jerseys with the names of Hosmer, Brett and even Quisenberry on the back.

Sorry if I lost some of you with that list. Those are either current or former Cardinals. I probably should have used Bruce Sutter and Carlos Beltran as examples.

The sea of blue was nothing like the ocean of red at Busch Stadium.

It was odd to me to clap for baseball players in another uniform. I hadn’t done that in years.

In fact, I think the last time that happened was when I visited my sister and we saw a game at the Tigers’ home park of Comerica Park.

That was probably five years ago. I even wore a Curtis Granderson shirt, when he was playing outfield for the Tigers.

Which leads me to a confession. I actually wore Detroit Tigers colors and even donned a Tigers cap that had belonged to my father.

He was a lifelong Tigers fan, but eventually saw the light and cheered for the St. Louis Cardinals, and even wore the team’s red shirts and caps.

But there is another element to the baseball love triangle. I lived in the Kansas City area for two years while I was in high school.

After I graduated from college, I moved back to the area, this time in Lexington, Mo., where I worked for a newspaper.

The Royals were not playing well the year I worked for the Lexington News. The club handed out media passes like they were going out of style.

I went to several games during one season. While I did clap for the team, I never liked the Royals enough to buy any merchandise. I was cheering more for the free tickets than I was for the squad.

That royal blue history didn’t trump the team of my youth — the team I watched win the 1984 World Series from a television about a 45-minute drive from the old Tigers Stadium.

That stadium was not far from where my mom grew up and where she saw her favorite all time player Mickey Lolich.

I don’t feel quite as bad trading my Cardinals cap for Tigers gear — not only did the Tigers attire help me remember my roots and stand in solidarity with my sister, but also it was a tribute to my father.

But I certainly didn’t look as good in orange and dark blue, and I know that I didn’t cheer as loud as I do when I wear Cardinals red.

That was evident in 2006 when I saw the St. Louis Cardinals dismantle the Detroit Tigers in the final game of the World Series.

It never crossed my mind that day to wear anything but red.

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