You know how we think we’ ve got the craziest weather in the country? The truth is, lots of people think that. I have no idea who’s right.
But Kansas is in the running, and I suppose Missouri is, too, even though I rarely get more than five miles into Missouri on these trips to Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament. This is my 18th year to come to KC for conference basketball. I missed one season, and four times the tournament has gone south, to either OKC or Dallas.
I always enjoy Kansas City, you know that, but the weather can do some strange things. And Tuesday, we saw the strangest weather we’ve ever seen on these trips up the Kansas Turnpike.
Photographer Bryan Terry, videographer Damon Fontenot and I stopped at the service center near Matfield Green. And the wind was straight out of “The Wizard of Oz.” The clerk inside said it had been blowing 45 mph consistent, not gusts. And it seemed to be swirling. It was behind us leaving Oklahoma, out of the south, but who knows what direction it was going. The weather was changing.
The high in Kansas City on Tuesday was supposed to be 78 and maybe it made it. It certainly was that warm in Oklahoma. But we didn’t get to KC until about 6:30 p.m., and by the time we got there, it had cooled off considerably. Somewhere in the 50s. Later that night, we went to dinner and it was raining and in the 40s. When we left the restaurant at almost 11, temps were in the 30s, and it was some kind of wintry mix.
Glad I packed my overcoat.
The high temperature for Wednesday is supposed to be 51, which is well above the curve for Kansas City in mid-March. But it’s forecast to be in the 60s the next two days. We can live with that.
But that wind! Everything’s up to date in Kansas City, Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote. Including the wind.
FROM WIND TO THUNDER
The Thunder-Rockets game was a showdown of some import, so we wanted to watch. And the hotel sports bar had NBATV. So we holed up in a corner, along with Channel 4′s Dylan Buckingham and Bob Barry Jr., and watched the Thunder.
I was hoping the Sheraton Crown Center, which is where we’re staying and which has been the tournament headquarters for at least 30 years, would have NBATV. And I was fired up when I saw it had all kinds of channels. MLB Network. CBS Sports Network. NBC Sports Network. The Golf Channel. Fox Sports1. NHLTV.
But no NBATV. That’s right. We could get NHLTV but not NBATV. Maybe in Montreal. Maybe even in Detroit. But in Kansas City? That’s crazy.
So down to the sports bar we went. We watched through three quarters, and it was already past 9 p.m. Time for dinner. So I pulled out my old trick of calling the Sports Animal hotline, my pals back there put me on hold and patched me through to programming. I put it on speaker phone and we listened to the rest of the game.
Funny how addictive the NBA can be.
I’ve said it many times. I’ll keep saying it. Garozzo’s, in the old Columbus Park neighborhood just off downtown KC, is my favorite restaurant in the world. Garozzo’s was nearly cleared out when we arrived at 9:30. The OSU basketball team had been in earlier — it’s a Cowboy tradition — and the Kansas State Wildcats are scheduled to be in tonight.
It’s not a big place. I don’t know. Maybe seats 120-150. Something like that. But it’s fantastic. Dylan never had been, so he came and wasn’t disappointed. We got the three-way pasta as an appetizer, we each had steak modiga and salad, and it was superb. Steak modiga is a tenderloin bathed in some creamy mushroom sauce. I could eat just the sauce, as a soup. It was fantastic.
We’ve got night games the rest of the way, so this was our one big dinner splash. We’ll grab Mexican or chicken or barbeque the rest of the week, whenever we can. But give me a night in Kansas City, and you never have to wonder where I’ll be. Or what I’ll order when I get there.