The philosophical sports question around Kansas City today after the Kansas City Royals traded for Cincinnati Reds ace, Johnny Cueto, on Sunday is: If an NFL training camp opens in the forest and no one is paying attention, does it make a sound?
The Kansas City Chiefs are going to find out Tuesday when they open up training camp at Missouri Western University in St. Joseph, Missouri.
For the last 30 years, the Chiefs owned Kansas City sports headlines from mid-summer through winter because the Royals, their neighbors across the Truman Sports Complex parking lot, have been the sports version of Moses – wandering the wilderness searching for a winning season and some decent headlines.
But my how things have changed. Since the Chiefs opened up their 2014 training camp, they unbelievably lost two regular season games they should have rolled to a win (Tennessee and the Raiders game in Oakland) … missed the playoffs by one game … and had a fairly quiet off-season with the exception of the day they signed free agent wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Even their draft got a collective, “Meh …” around the city as their #1 pick was a talented, but troubled, cornerback. You know … what’s his name? Unless the cornerback is named Leon Sandcastle, most KC fans will shrug. (The player’s name is Marcus Peters, in case you forgot. Admit it … you did!)
Across the parking lot, the Royals squeaked into the wild card playoff game and then went on a historical run to the brink of a World Series championship that captured Kansas City’s heart – and the imagination of a nation.
Now, the American League Champion Royals, who finished Game 7 of the World Series 90 feet away from home plate with the game-tying run in the bottom of the 9th inning, have the best record in the American League this season, the second-best record in the Major Leagues, a mind-numbing 7.5 game lead in the division, and just traded three pitching prospects for arguably the best available pitcher in baseball in Cueto.
The Cueto deal was so big that it elbowed news time from the annual Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies.
Go literally anywhere in the city and all you see is Royal Blue. Even non-sports fans realize the Royals are a big deal right now. Go to a sports bar and ALL talk is about the Royals and nothing about the Chiefs.
But fear not, Chiefs officials, once the local news stations start airing daily training camp reports on the nightly news and quarterback Alex Smith is shown hitting Maclin with sweet passes downfield (and maybe … the end zone?!?) then Chiefs Red will start popping up in town.
So for you NFL faithful that don’t like baseball, your time is coming Tuesday. Starting this Saturday, you can make the drive up to camp and see your beloved Chiefs. (The Kansas City Star published a terrific Training Camp Guide in Sunday’s edition. Check it out here.)
And here is a quick reminder of the Chiefs training camp schedule if you need it:
CHIEFS TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE
(Note: Parking at Missouri Western is $5. Admission is free except where noted. Practice schedule is subject to change and practices moved indoors are closed to public.)
Tuesday, July 28: Rookies and quarterbacks report to Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph
Wednesday, July 29: Practice, closed to public
Thursday, July 30: Practice, closed to public
Friday, July 31: Practice, closed to public; veterans report to camp
Saturday, Aug. 1: Open practice, 3:30 p.m. ($5 admission; team autograph session)
Sunday, Aug. 2: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free; team autograph session, Alumni Day)
Monday, Aug. 3: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free)
Tuesday, Aug. 4: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free)
Wednesday, Aug. 5: Open practice, 9:15 a.m. (free)
Friday, Aug. 7: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free)
Saturday, Aug. 8: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (“American Family” Fun Day, $5 admission; team autograph session)
Sunday, Aug. 9: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free)
Monday, Aug. 10: Open practice, 9:15 a.m. (free)
Tuesday, Aug. 11: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free)
Wednesday, Aug. 12: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free; Season Ticket Member Appreciation Day; team autograph session)
Saturday, Aug. 15: Preseason game No. 1, Chiefs at Arizona, 8 p.m.
Monday, Aug. 17: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free)
Tuesday, Aug. 18: Open practice, 8:15 a.m. (free)
Wednesday, Aug. 19: Open practice, 9:15 a.m. (free; Military Appreciation Day)
Thursday, Aug. 20: Camp breaks; no practice
Friday, Aug. 21: Preseason game No. 2, Seattle at Chiefs, 7 p.m.