On November 3rd, 2015, the Kansas City Royals celebrated their World Series victory over the New York Mets with a parade in downtown Kansas City, Missouri that was attended by over 800,000 people, according to official estimates. I was fortunate to be one of the official photographers of the event that day.
It was really an incredible experience, not only because of the magnitude of the achievement—a “small market” team like the Royals not only being able to compete with “big markets” like New York by getting to the post season, but actually making it to the World Series two years in a row and finally winning it in an era when this just isn’t supposed to happen—but because of the overwhelming response of the community, and really, the entire region. City officials anticipated a turnout of about 200,000 people for the parade and rally, but in the end it turned out to be about 800,000. You’ve no doubt already seen the ubiquitous image online of the overhead shot. Imagine being down there in the middle of all of that.
I left my place at what I thought was an “early” time, around 7:30am, naively thinking that was early enough to beat the throngs that were expected for the noon start time of the parade. Well, that was a mistake, heh. I arrive downtown by about 7:45am hoping that was sufficient to get a good parking space in a timely fashion, and…no. I didn’t finally park until about 9am, over an hour later. And in retrospect that was still pretty lucky, because I ended up parking not too far from the parade route. Add to that another hour or so of navigating the crowds, and at some points actually carrying my 35 pound rolling camera bag over my head to get through everyone, before finally getting my credentials at Union Station at 10am.
So finally being able to move freely and get my cameras out, it really did become a fantastic experience, and to look out at almost literally a sea of people as far as the eye can see, nearly all dressed in blue, it was mind boggling. That overhead shot I linked above is one thing, but to see the crowd at ground level, literally over the horizon, was almost overwhelming. And incredibly there was very little agitation among the people being so tightly packed together. I heard stories of some near-fights, which quite honestly would be understandable, especially if you don’t like crowds, but overall it seemed that the prevailing mood was to “do this right” and put the city’s best foot forward, especially when so many other cities devolve into rioting after their teams win a championship. I got access to the street where the parade went along, so I had complete freedom of movement, and everywhere I looked people were happy and excited…and couldn’t get enough of me taking photos of them.
So finally the parade starts, and it goes about how you’d expect. Nothing in particular to write about there, except to convey my frustration when I lost track of how many players went by, and after pitcher Greg Holland went by, I followed them back to Union Station, mistakenly assuming the marching band immediately behind him that meant the players part was over, when it merely split up the players, so I ended up missing World Series MVP Salvador Perez and manager Ned Yost, who was hoisting the trophy as he rode along. That was the most frustrating (self-inflicted, I know) part of the day, although I got both of them later during the rally.
Not much more to actually talk about regarding the parade and the rally itself, although I heard I was spotted on TV when I snuck up on stage to get a over the players shoulders view of the crowd. I haven’t seen that clip, although if I did I’d probably hate the way I looked, like I normally do when I see a photo or video of myself, heh. I later got home—and getting out of downtown was just as challenging as getting into downtown, so I ended up walking to the Power and Light district to catch a band I’m friends with who were performing the rally after party—and realized I had taken over 1800 photos that day, and ultimately selected over 600 photos to post. The above slideshow, which I originally intended to just be a few highlights turned out to be over 80 pics, which I subsequently “paired down” to a mere 60 or so. If you have some time—because over 600 photos is lot to look at!—you can view the full gallery here.
One of the images was also selected for the Thank You ad in the Kansas City Star two days later:
And I want to thank everyone for the incredible response to the photos I have posted so far. For those of you who’ve read this far, please share this article/post with your friends on social media (at the bottom of this page). If I could indulge myself, I want to remind everyone that I’m not limited to just event photography, but family portraits, senior portraits, and weddings (among other genres). If you book me for a session by the end of November (the session must take place before the end of the year), I’ll discount 20% if you mention this blog post.
Thanks and Go Royals!
EDIT: Due to some technical difficulties, I can’t turn on the comments, so if anybody would like to comment and is on FB, feel free to comment on the link to this blog there, or via sharing this article.