KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Baseball is back in Kansas City, Kansas. After missing a year with the pandemic, the team formerly known as the T-Bones took the diamond at Legends Field Tuesday night giving new birth to an historic Kansas City franchise.
Mark Brandmeyer purchased the team at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Little did he know the team’s debts at the time and dwindling attendance would be the least of his worries.
“There were times I wondered if we were ever going to get through this,” Brandmeyer said of the team missing the 2020 season and uncertainty that accompanied 2021.
But the pandemic gave him a chance to finalize a deal with the Negro League Baseball Museum to rebrand the club, the Kansas City Monarchs. President Bob Kendrick says at first he wasn’t sold on an independent league team in the American Association wearing Negro Leagues logos.
“It began to make a lot more sense to me. Because as a museum it’s all about relevancy, especially a history cultural museum like ours, how do we bring our history to life? When they put those uniforms on, they will be doing just that,” Kendrick said.
As they opened the gates to Legends Field, fans darted to pick up merchandise of those legends who’d help break baseball’s color barrier.
“First thing we did was went right into the store and bought our jerseys and hoodies,” Grady Manning said.
“Representation matters and the fact that all that history is now represented on the field with a new team, it’s heartening,” Christopher Adams said.
Before a Kansas City Monarchs team took the field for the first time in 56 years, Kendrick visited with them to make sure they knew the history they were representing.
“I think it’s going to be a little emotional when those young kids come out in those pinstripes and take the field and hear the p.a. announcer say ‘Welcome your 2021 Kansas City Monarchs,” he said.
As they, a rainbow formed over the stadium, almost as if Buck O’Neil himself were looking down on the team.
The game was pretty close, but the Monarchs ultimately lost to the Lincoln Saltdogs, 5-7.
Kansas City continue play against Lincoln on Wednesday. Tickets start at $5. The 7,000 seat stadium is operating at full capacity and masks are not required outdoors.