Sunday, April 12, 2015

sunday september 27th: a day that needs to happen ...

“Why not think about things to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done?
If your life was bad to you?
Well just think what tomorrow will do!

So don’t stop thinking about tomorrow!
Don’t stop – it’ll soon be here!
It’ll be here!  Better than before!
Yesterday’s gone!  Yesterday’s gone!!! …”

-- “Don’t Stop” by Fleetwood Mac, which given the (predictable yet) game-changing, at least four bleeping years overdue, declaration of a Presidential campaign announced this afternoon?

Seems perfectly appropriate for today’s theme ...

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So, the preseason opponents – and the week we will face them – have been released for the Chiefs.

Week One, the Chiefs will play at the Arizona “Super” Cardinals, most probably on Saturday, August 15th.  The preseason home opener* is set for Week Two against the Seattle Seahawks, most probably on Saturday, August 22nd.  Week Three the Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans, most probably on Saturday, August 29th.  And the preseason mercifully closes (after four vomit-inducing glorified scrimmages that constitute 2/9th of my season ticket payment this year) with a trip for quite probably the final time across the state, to face the Rams, most likely on Thursday, September 3rd.

So the Chiefs are home for preseason weeks two and three.  Woo.  Freaking.  Hoo.

Why, you ask, do I care so much about when the Chiefs host a preseason game?  For three reasons:

(1) So I can b*tch once again that I either have to eat the cost of my ticket, or miss my favorite NASCAR race of the season (the night race at Bristol).  Thanks again, NFL scheduling gurus, for forcing me to make that choice.

(2) Because you never, ever, ever, want to host the last preseason home game.  It’s always on a Thursday night (occasionally a Friday).  Nobody guaranteed to make the final roster will even be dressed.  It’s a blatant, pathetic cash grab by the NFL against us, it’s loyal paying customers, and it enrages me every year.

But most importantly, because

(3) Is a Double Header Day a possibility?

For the 2015 preseason, the answer once again is “no”.  The Royals are out of town both weekends the Chiefs will host a game.

And that truly disgusts me.  Because Double Header Day should be the best day of the summer.  Quite frankly, it’s usually my favorite day of the year, those exceedingly rare times it occurs.

It used to happen every year.  It hasn’t been scheduled to occur in August since 2003 (the results of which can be read here).  It hasn’t happened at all since September 13, 2010, when the Royals hosted the A’s, and the Chiefs gave us Tuesday Morning Football against the San Diego “Blooper” Chargers – a 9pm start for the Monday Nighter that jump-started an amazing 2010 season.

So once again, we have to rely on the NFL regular season schedule gurus, to grant us this day.

Here’s my proposal, on how to make it happen**.

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(*: if you’re laying odds on a float trip weekend?  Lay heavily on the last two weekends in August.  Where would you rather spend a 102 degree sunny Saturday – watching a glorified scrimmage, or getting buzzed and baked on a river?  Yeah, me too.)

(**: the 2015 season is also the first season since 2009, that the Chiefs could play at home on my birthday.  That’s my primary scheduling wish – oakland at Kansas City, January 3, 2016.  But anytime I can lobby for a Double Header Day?  I’m going to do it.)

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First, before unveiling this proposal, let me point out, that Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride is also openly lobbying the NFL scheduling gods, to make this day happen.  I mean, I may be deserving of a room in the nuthouse, but when the best Chiefs blogger of all time is not only agreeing with me on how awesome Double Header Day is, but is using his SB Nation site to argue for it to happen?

Well, I guess if we weren’t all crazy, we’d all go insane, as the great Jimmy Buffett would note.

Having gotten that out of the way, the next question that has to be asked: is a Double Header Day even possible in September?  Is there any day the Chiefs could host a game, when the Royals are also scheduled to play at Kauffman?  (Because let’s be honest – the Royals schedule is what determines if this is possible, not the Chiefs.)

The answer?  Yes.  There are two possibilities.

Both are intriguing.

One far, far, far more so than the other …

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Thursday, September 24th, and Sunday, September 27th.  Those are the two days on the Royals schedule, where they’re slated to be at home, that the Chiefs could also be scheduled to play at home.  (There are two Mondays – the 21st and the 28th – that are scheduled off days for the Royals.  So a rain-out make-up date could also be in play … but for this post, I’m looking only at guaranteed Royals home games.)

The Chiefs could host the Thursday Nighter in Week Three.  The Royals host the Mariners that day, in what could be a gigantic game for both squads, ten days before the end of the regular season.  The Chiefs have been on the road for both of their now annual Thursday nighters so far, traveling to Philly and “The Ass Crack of America” (aka oakland), the last two years.  It would make sense to allow the Chiefs to host the Thursday nighter this year, and I’d expect that to happen.

But is this really the best option for a Double Header Day?  I mean, would you rather it occur on a Thursday, have to burn through two PTO days, and start the weekend hung over and lethargic, needing a day or two to recover***?  Yeah, me neither.

That’s why Sunday, September 27th, is the day this thing needs to occur.  The Royals host the Indians that day – another potentially gigantic game for both squads, on the next to last Sunday of the season.  That is also the Royals home finale for the regular season, barring rain-outs and/or other needed make-up games.

A game of potentially significance for the defending AL Champions.  Against the Indians.

Move that up an hour to noon, throw the Chiefs and a meaningful opponent (say, the Steelers, or broncos) into that Sunday night slot, and done and done, Double Header Day solved.  That's the obvious choice, right?  (penny voice) Right!

But what if the NFL chose to think ... OUTSIDE the box?

What if the prime time game ... is hosted by the Royals?

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(***: believe it or not, I still do not get hangovers.  I’m a solid two decade plus grizzled veteran of the drinking process, and I still do not get hangovers.  I can drink all day until well after midnight, and I’m wide awake and ready to go by 8am.  Anyone who has ever been on a float trip with me, or seen me the morning after a Chiefs prime time game, knows that what I just said, is 100% factually true.  Most people would say that’s a blessing.  I’m beginning to think it’s a curse.)

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What if, instead of a Royals early game and a Chiefs prime time game, the Chiefs instead host the game at noon, and the Royals get moved into the ESPN Sunday Night Baseball slot instead?  (ESPN pulls the Sunday Nighter from early June on, a week or so in advance – “flex scheduling”, if you will.)

For those of you who argue a Sunday night Royals game against the Indians late in the season isn’t important?  I’d remind you of last year, when the Royals / Indians were flexed into the Sunday night slot on the last day of August … and the game was suspended in extra innings when the skies opened up.

If the Royals had won the conclusion of that game a few weeks later?  (They lost 3-4, to open the final week of the regular season.)

They’d have tied for the AL Central championship.

Oh, and that late season Sunday nighter?

Was scheduled for a 1pm first pitch, less than two weeks, before getting moved to prime time.

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A few other added benefits of the Chiefs playing the early game:

* with the Royals first up, the gates open at the earliest, at 9am.  With the Chiefs first up?  Gates open at 7:30 … and us folks who get the early-in pass every week, can get the fun started at 6:30.  I mean, holy crap, what a day this could be!  It’d last just as long as a typical Double Header Day (until at least 11pm-ish, at least), but it’d start three hours earlier!  What’s not to love!

* with the Chiefs first up?  The parking nazis have no true incentive to clear everybody out, since far, far, far more people will be showing up for the Chiefs game, than the Royals.  Also, it’d be far easier to sell an “all day” pass, with the larger crowd in the first slot.

* and with the Chiefs first up?  You aren’t limiting who the opponent can be.

And you’re creating one potentially epic, epic day, for two cities – only one of which, is epic.

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What made that 2003 Double Header Day so awesome, is that the Royals hosted the Twins, and the Chiefs hosted the Vikings.  It made for a spectacular afternoon for two different cities, two different fandoms.

Twelve years, one month, and a few odd days later, it’s time to replicate that incredible afternoon.  The Royals host the Indians.

Why not have the Chiefs, host the Browns, on September 27th?

I love this idea for so many reasons, such as:

* it’s Dwayne Bowe’s return … and there’s at least a 50/50 shot he’ll be only the fourth visiting player, I’ve ever cheered for during introductions**** / *****. 

* it’s a very, very winnable game for the Chiefs, and could be a nice springboard into our longest month of the season (four games, plus traveling across the pond the last week, to play Detroit in London on November 1st). 

* it creates a two-city day-long celebration of sports. 

* it lets the Royals close out the home schedule in prime time – and with a little luck, might be a playoff clinching night to boot.

* and it sets up one helluva finish to the summer, one last epic day, before fall arrives, and the weather changes for the worse.  A last awesome summer day, spent with great friends that are more like family, great fans that have spent thirty years waiting for greatness to return to this city ... and that there's at least a puncher's chance, will see 2015 finally be the first year ever both the Royals and Chiefs reach the postseason in the same year.  A day long party to end the summer right.  What could possibly be better?

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(****: the four?  Neil Smith (and I still feel dirty for cheering for a donkey), Emmitt Smith (no apologies), and my favorite player of all time, Chadwick Pennington (I should offer them, but again, no apologies).  I also have cheered one visiting coach – Herman Edwards.

And I suppose, if you want to get technical, I did cheer john elway once ... as he was being carted around the lower bowl, lost with an injury, and that brave cart driver took him the long way to the tunnel, to give Arrowhead Nation a chance, to express our feelings about mr. elway, directly to his helmet.  I will go to my grave arguing whoever drove the cart that day, should be in the Ring of Honor, and a special honor designation should be in the team Hall of Fame over there in section 123, in honor of his brave, heroic service that miserable December day in 1994.)

(*****: my only complaint about the Chiefs offseason so far, is releasing D Bowe.  I think this was a mistake that is going to bite us in the ass.  I know I'm in the minority, but I believe this is a mistake that is going to bite us in the ass.) 

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One final note on this proposal, which I freely admit is probably a crack-pipe dream, but whatever.

For those of you who will argue “there’s no way this could happen – the Chiefs would have to be the prime time game, Stevo!”?

I give you the greatest day of sports this fine metropolitan area has ever seen occur.

Sunday, October 27, 1985.

The Chiefs got pole-axed by satan’s squad 10-30 that afternoon.

By 10:15pm that evening?  All anyone cared about, all that mattered?

Was that the Royals had outscored the Chiefs by one, winning Game Seven of the World Series 11-0.

The greatest sports day in this city, in my living existence, and I turn 39 the day of the Chiefs regular season finale this upcoming season.

Thirty years later, gang?  I want history to repeat itself.

Chiefs / Browns at noon.  Royals / Indians at 7.  Hell, my friend Cooksey (she's a huge Cleveland fan) might even have to make the trip in, for a day like that!

Two games.  Two cities.  Two sports.  One sports complex.


And one helluva day, from sunrise, to long after sunset.

As this site's Voice of Reason has noted before, for the cameras of Channel 9 for Double Header Day 1999: "it's a long day, but it's definitely worth it! ..."

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