Monday, July 11, 2005
KC by Bus
I had a rental car reserved for the weekend but cancelled it. I reasoned that Kansas City bus routes covered my two intended destinations, the zoo on Saturday and Kauffman Stadium on Sunday.
Unlike my visit to the St. Louis Zoo a few weeks ago, I didn't have another engagement or a rainstorm cutting into my time at the Kansas City Zoo. I covered most of it in about four hours. The featured exhibit of the summer is the white tiger on loan from the zoo in Omaha. The big cat cooperated by rising from a slumber and taking about a minute to reposition in a cooler spot, but I declined to take any photos due to the metal cage surrounding the animal. What's the point of shooting through obvious wiring or bars?
Two Saddle-Billed Storks from Africa were more interesting to me because of their colorful heads and more natural habitat. The birds' white saddle patch showed up as an overexposed white blotch on my JPG images. I also took some RAW images which should provide the opportunity to pull some detail out of the white.
For now the best photo I have from Saturday further demonstrates the macro capability of the Canon G6. It was taken at the zoo, but it's an ordinary Missouri bee on an ordinary Missouri flower.
At Sunday's baseball game, I got a cheap seat in the upper deck, and from there noticed Twins first baseman Jason Morneau drawing arcs with his toe after just about every pitch. Every three innings the grounds crew came out and wiped the slate clean, and he started over. This is one of those pointless things that gets noticed on a hot, lazy summer day. If Morneau's uniform looks sort of strange, the teams were wearing historical Negro Leagues uniforms of the 1909 St. Paul Gophers and 1948 Kansas City Monarchs. The 1909 uniforms were especially baggy.
The game was Royals DH Mike Sweeney taking on the Twins by himself, with the Twins pulling out a 3-2 victory in 12 innings. Sweeney had two solo home runs and barely missed a third, but his teammates provided no offensive assistance. The Twinkies scored the winning run when Torii Hunter sent a grounder and a broken bat barrel toward Royals third baseman Mark Teahan. Playing for a team 27 games out of first place, it's hard to criticize Teahan if a jagged piece of wood flying toward him interfered with his fielding.
There has been controversy lately over millions of dollars of deferred maintenance at Kauffman Stadium, but as a casual observer it wasn't obvious to me where the deficiencies are. Besides Dodger Stadium, I don't think there is another contender for best baseball stadium built between 1923 and 1989. Most of the rest of them have already been demolished, or should be. There were a lot of Twins fans in attendance, which I theorized is due to their desire to see their team playing in a real ballpark instead of a shopping mall.
Regarding the bus trips, I concluded that Kansas City is not one of those places where it would be possible to have a "normal" life without a car. The buses got me where I was going, eventually, but I would find it hard to live with the severe limitations. Taking the Royals Express to a baseball game from a downtown or Plaza hotel makes sense if the alternative is renting a car and paying $9 for parking, but "Express" is not an accurate title. The bus made at least a dozen turns to hit all the downtown stops before heading to the stadium, even cutting through a parking lot at one point.
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