Is Kansas City the Best Sports City in America


Bold statement, I know. Stay with me here.

I went to college at Truman State University in Kirksville. Just like MU, Truman was equidistant from Kansas City and St. Louis, so we had a good mix of sports fans from both cities. My freshman year was 2000-2001, and I distinctly remember getting into a rather one-sided discussion with a kid commonly referred to as Angry St. Louis Sports Guy.

He loudly proclaimed that STL was the ‘best sports town in America’. At that point, it was hard to argue. The Cardinals were in the playoffs, The Rams had just won the Super Bowl and The Blues were a perennial playoff contender. At that moment, at that party, I had to begrudgingly admit that the short, loud kid in the hockey jersey had a good point.

The vibe of St. Louis sports fans at that time was predictably arrogant. You know what I mean. Most of the students that went to Truman from the east side of the state were well-to-do private school kids who weren’t sure Kansas City was even a city in Missouri. Hell, I once overheard an argument between a girl from KC and a guy from STL that got heated because the guy refused to believe that Cow Town was the largest city in Missouri.

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Couldn’t be possible, the man argued. A common, though misguided view. So, of course, that was a factor in Angry Sports Guy’s opinion, but he did have a point.

KC fans like me where a marginalized people, but for good reason. The Royals were promising but mediocre, The Chiefs were on the downward slope following the departure of Marty. We were just another maligned Midwest sports town.

Fast forward to 2014. I’ve barely noticed that our beloved Chiefs are more than halfway through their season because I was completely enthralled by the Royals’ meteoric and magical run through the playoffs. I took frequent breaks from World Series coverage to check the Sporting KC score, gleefully rooting on the only Kansas City sports team to deliver a championship in quite a long time.

Sandwiched between Royals wins, Chiefs victories and Sporting triumphs was MU’s run at another SEC East title, Kansas State’s return to national prominence, and Kansas basketball reloading for another try at the National Championship.

Recently stepping back and realizing all that, I posed a question to my best friend and fellow Kansas Citian, Jake. Is KC the best sports town in America? After attempting to put my homer-ism aside we both had to say ‘yes’.

Think of the cities traditionally considered the best, or the other cities with successful teams right now. Did they even compare? Boston? The Red Sox and Celtics drag them down. New York? There aren’t a whole lot of good teams being fielded in the Big Apple right now. L.A.? Both big-payroll baseball teams got bounced early from the playoffs and the Lakers are kinda sad. San Francisco?

Don’t you dare. Denver has…The Broncos…and that’s it.

Think about it. Really think about it. Every team in Kansas City or in the surrounding area is in the national conversation. Sports culture on the west side of the state has changed. Dramatically. For the first time we aren’t the punchline in a monologue or absent from prime-time Sportscenter coverage. We’re relevant. We matter. Chiefs players are rooting on the Royals, Royals players are rooting on Sporting, dogs and cats living together…mass hysteria!

So maybe I’m Angry Sports Guy now. Maybe I’m bias. That’s fine. The one thing we can’t deny is that when we desperately wedged ourselves into the crowd in Power and Light during the World Series, pounded on the seats in front of us at Arrowhead during a defensive stand or got misty when we saw Sporting proudly hoist that trophy over their collective heads.

We all thought the same thing: Kansas City is the best sports town in America.