The fountains throughout Kansas City are just days away from water flowing through them again. The weather is beginning to warm, and hot, humid days that Kansas City summers are known for are right around the corner.
Opening Day in Kansas City is also known as "Greater Kansas City Day," and there's nothing quite like it.
It signals the un-official start of spring around the midwest. It means fans are filing through the gates at Kauffman Stadium, an oasis for baseball, where the grass seems to get greener every trip to the ballpark, and the Royals' uniforms are always a brighter shade of white in early April.
This season, the Royals don't only open the season with the largest payroll in franchise history, but when they return to Kansas City on April 10, they'll have a new background.
After two seasons of renovations and construction, the new Kauffman Stadium is ready for the summer of 2009, and what a summer it could be.
Third-year general manager Dayton Moore hopes he has given second-year manager the missing pieces both offensively and defensively. Top to bottom, the Royals' lineup looks to be improved, and could complement an improving pitching staff.
Of course, there are still questions to be answered going into 2009:
-How does Mark Teahen adjust to second base, and does any shaky confidence on defense equate to a decline in numbers offensively?
-Who has a bigger breakout season, Alex Gordon or Billy Butler? If both have a breakout season, could it make the Royals very dangerous?
-Just how good is pitcher Zach Greinke, and have we seen him reach his full potential yet?
-Who plays first base on a regular basis?
-How does Mike Jacobs complement Jose Guillen in the lineup?
I believe Opening Day is one of the most patriotic days of the year. Next to the Fourth of July and Memorial Day Weekend, there is no better way to spend a spring day than to go to the ballpark for touching tributes, fly-overs, introductions, championship banner revealings, and the smell of fresh cut grass.
What would be better than Opening Day in Kansas City? A day that hosts a championship parade, that's what.