Now that the Major League Baseball lockout has ended, it has officially entered the most wonderful time of the year for sports in the country. From March through mid-April, there is a Vegas-casino level of sports on the buffet.
Hope springs eternal, obviously, this time of year with the return of the smell of grass and beers and hot dogs as our boys return to the field for baseball season. With this week’s signing of former Royal and Cy Young award winner Zack Greinke, there will also be a reason to watch the Royals every fifth day, at least.
During the lockout, people online started to espouse the joys of college and high school baseball. And those are still very much options. The Missouri Tigers are due to be tough in a rough and tumble SEC. And there are PLENTY of amazing high school baseball teams to go out and watch including Platte County, Park Hill, Park Hill South, and North Platte – all teams with great pedigrees in the county not to mention the Clay County schools like Liberty, Liberty North, and Staley and the sleeper pick of the year, Oak Park, returning to prominence.
The other major player in this time of the year are the March Madness basketball games. While my bracket was busted mid-way through the first day of the tournament (not a record for me), still plenty of storylines to follow if you’re not a Missouri fan. Kansas looks to make a deep, DEEP run this season. Plenty of Big 12 teams in the mix as well.
But there are also plenty of stories to follow in the women’s bracket as well. Former North Kansas City Hornet Chandler Prater is helping her Jayhawks make a run and without a predominant favorite like in years past (looking at you, UConn) it’s anybody’s tournament.
This past week also concluded playoff basketball for local high schools. Smithville’s girls made a deep run as did Staley’s boys.
But look even deeper and you’ll find even more sports just a bit off the beaten path. Up in Parkville, Park University’s men’s volleyball team is ranked in the top 15 in the country and has a senior-laden field. They are POWERFUL this season with some real hitters poised to make a deep run in their NAIA national tournament next month.
Just a bit outside of KC, I’m helping to launch a new Arena Football team in Topeka called the Topeka Tropics. It has all the fun of outdoor football, but beer is cheaper and it’s indoors. Kansas City just announced a new team in the PBR league. Which is bull riding, I guess? Sounds like another place to drink beer indoors soon.
And if that STILL weren’t enough sports for you, the NFL has simply turned into a year-around league stealing the headlines most days with free agent signings including former Steeler JuJu Smith-Schuster signing with the Chiefs. Something to rival even the headlines of Patrick and Brittany Mahomes’ wedding.
Both Sporting KC and the KC Current started their seasons this week as well. The Current is coming off of a terrible year, but new investors hope to bring in some renewed talent and Sporting is coming off of a deep playoff run last season.
There is literally a sport in these six weeks for anyone and everyone. And it’s at nearly every price point. And by price point, I mean that you can find sporting events for $3 beers and $12 beers and all prices in between. Or, you can start carving out the post-football dent in your couch and just start to watch anything and everything all spring.
Quite literally, this six-week stretch is the time to say PLAY BALL! Hope to see you out there!
(Play ball with Chris Kamler on Twitter, where you’ll find him swinging away as @TheFakeNed)