Here’s how bad things are for our Kansas City Royals. A guy from the Royals ticket office called me one day last week. As soon as he identified himself and his company, I tried to help him save his sales pitch by immediately saying “I plan to take my grandson to a game soon but I don’t have any interest in buying any sort of ticket package.”
To my surprise, the polite sales guy then said no worries about a ticket package. “I can help you with tickets to an individual game and you’ll be able to avoid the added fees you’ll pay if you’re ordering them through us online,” he said.
Well, hello. Now you have my attention, Mr. Ticket Agent. When the ticket office is willing to cold call fans and help them with individual game tickets, it says a lot about the state of the Royals right now.
Of course I felt it my civic duty to explain to Daniel in the ticket office that I wouldn’t be going to a game involving the last place Royals if it weren’t for wanting to take my five-year-old grandson to his first Major League game. I didn’t want Daniel to think he had found a sucker willing to pay to go to watch a team that’s about to post one of the worst season records in the history of the sport.
Anyway, Daniel ended the phone call by giving me his direct line number and telling me to call him when I was ready to nail down a date for those tickets/parking pass without any internet fees. A few days later I made the call, and boom, I must now confess we’ll be attending a Royals game in mid-September.
So if for any reason you want Royals tickets–like for example you’re being held hostage and must buy Royals tickets as ransom–shoot me a message and I’ll pass along the phone number of my new best friend in the ticket office.
In May of 1996 I took my then five-year-old son to his first Major League game. Got the tickets from a friend who had season tickets several rows behind the Royals dugout. Kurt’s first question after we got settled in our seats? “Dad, where are the cheerleaders?” Proud Dad moment right there. I mean of course there aren’t cheerleaders at a baseball game, but still. Proud Dad moment.
My mention last week of an upcoming trip to Sharon Springs, Kan. brought reactions from a couple of readers who surprisingly are already familiar with the extreme western Kansas town of 751 people. Thank you, Art Brown and Bill Hankins, for dropping some Sharon Springs knowledge on me. If I get any interesting information or interactions during my short time in Sharon Springs I will of course pass it along.
The reason I want to do a drop-in? My dad worked at the newspaper in Sharon Springs for a time in the late 1950s, which was before my time, of course. Wikipedia says in the 1950s the town’s population was 994, which is still small but roughly 30 percent more than today. Not far from the Kansas-Colorado border, Sharon Springs has an elevation of nearly 3,500 feet above sea level, making it one of the highest cities in Kansas, though I’m not going there to get high. I’m planning to stop in at the Sharon Springs newspaper known as The Western Times, which is still cranking out the news. Their posted office hours are 1-6 Monday through Friday, which I found interesting and in fact made me a little jealous.
I had an exchange with the mayor of Parkville this week and I still can’t believe how polite our conversations are. Sure, Dean Katerndahl has been in office over a year now but all this pleasantness still catches me off guard. My, how times have changed. In a weird way I kinda miss the mental meltdowns, the temper tantrums, the unethical acts and the profanity the former mayor would spew my direction.
Those were the days, my friends, we thought they’d never end.
A new term I learned this week is vodcast. Our Landmark Live production is a vodcast. Not a podcast. Vodcast is a cooler name for videocast, and a videocast is a podcast that is broadcast in video.
So from now on if I refer to Landmark Live as a podcast or a videocast, someone please remind me that it is a vodcast.
I like it.
Truly sad news over the weekend when it was learned that comedian Ron Sexton has passed away at the age of 52. Who was Ron Sexton. you might ask? Ron Sexton was the real name of the man whose stage name was Donnie Baker, a simple yet in many ways lovable hick, for lack of a better term. Donnie Baker’s tag lines included phrases such as “State Law!” “I’ll say it right to your face!” and “Swear to God!” When he was Donnie Baker, Sexton wore Zubaz pants and a fake mullet under a ball cap that he wore backward. He had a band he called Donnie Baker and the Pork Pistols.
I don’t want to give the impression that we were tight but Sexton and I had communicated multiple times by phone and email over the past five years. Sexton’s career took off when he would call in as his Donnie Baker character on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom radio show. In recent years with the popularity of the character gaining nationwide appeal, Sexton–as Donnie Baker–performed in many parts of the country, including multiple trips to the Kansas City Improv at Zona Rosa. The interesting thing, he told me in a phone conversation we had in October of 2018 on the day of one of his performances at Zona, is that many of his fans thought Donnie Baker was a real person and some even expressed sadness when they found out Donnie was actually Ron Sexton using a hick voice while wearing Zubaz and a mullet. Like a kid learning the truth about Santa Claus.
Sexton told me he based much of Donnie’s personality on a childhood friend of his. In the summer of 2018 I tried to book Donnie Baker on our Landmark Live vodcast and Sexton requested links to a couple of our past shows so he could check it out. “Looks like a killer show and I wish I could come on, however, I’m under contract with Bob and Tom for all broadcast media appearances. So I won’t be able to appear as a guest at this time. Maybe in my next contract the language will permit me to do such things. Swear to God! Thanks so much for thinking of me,” he told me in a July 5, 2018 email that Ron Sexton wrote in true Donnie Baker style.
Fun fact? Sexton was an accomplished high school baseball coach, with his teams reaching state championship level multiple times. He told me he had moved his family from Indiana to Florida so his son could participate in high school baseball at a higher level of competition.
Sexton’s family posted on social media that he died “from a massive heart attack” last Friday, July 21 while on his comedy tour in Ohio.
(Look for Ivan Foley on the beaches of Sharon Springs, Kan. Or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org)