The KC Strip is the sirloin of Kansas City media, a critical cut of surmisin' steak that each week weighs in on the issues of the day, dictating its column to Pitch managing editor Tony Ortega.

Dropping Trou 

Maybe we’ve been overestimating our sports executives all along.

The Strip takes it upon itself, from time to time, to point out the behind-the-scenes tribulations at this town's newspaper of record, The Kansas City Star. So naturally, folks with the big daily's juicy secrets tend to come to us.

But the latest dish about the Star really threw us for a loop. This was really flattering info about the Star, and we feel compelled to share it with our readers.

The skinny? A couple of weeks ago, Kansas City Chiefs executive Tom Steadman had a brain fart that enabled the Star to get its hands on a big story.

Steadman was supposedly meeting some other sports-development types at Coffee Girls, a Crossroads District coffee shop beloved by both journalists and business types, on Monday, May 23. The morning meeting was about top-secret plans that the Chiefs and the county have been cooking up to attract businesses to the Truman Sports Complex to make it a destination even when the Royals and Chiefs aren't playing there.

The teams had spoken publicly about this idea in the past, but what the masses didn't know was that the Chiefs had created detailed plans and drawings and were shopping those ideas around to retailers on the quiet.

Well, at some point in the meeting, all the excitement about discussing big-money plans got to Steadman, and he excused himself to go to the men's restroom at the coffee shop. Apparently, Tom planned to be in there for a while, so he took with him a sheaf of drawings and other documents.

And then, after finishing his business, he left the papers in there.

By chance, a Star photographer happened to step into the bathroom later and notice the documents. Three days later, the Thursday, May 26, issue of the Star played the discovery as its top story, publishing a photograph of one of the drawings on its front page, along with a detailed illustration showing where new businesses would be located at the sports complex.

Characteristically, the Star politely mentioned only that it had "obtained" the plans.

That's just like our uptight paper of record, keeping the best part of a story from its readers. We became determined to do the right thing and congratulate the paper for the scoop, since it was too shy to do so itself.

The first thing we did was get confirmation on the details of the story from a way, way deep source at the paper, whom we want to protect. (We'll just refer to him as Back Door Sluts 9.)

We were told by Back Door that our original tipster had all of the details correct.

When we called Tom Steadman and described the scenario, however, he responded with a blanket denial, immediately saying, "It's not true." But when we pressed him for details, he tried to foist us off on a Chiefs spokesman. We tried again: Wasn't it true that he'd left the top-secret plans at the coffee shop? "I'm not commenting," he responded.

Hmm. Sounds like a nondenial denial to this pound of protein.

For good measure, we talked to Coffee Girl Melissa Van Goethem, who sounded tickled when we told her what a journalistic coup had occurred at her Southwest Boulevard java joint. She didn't know it was Chiefs executives who had left something behind, but she remembers their concern when they discovered what they'd forgotten. "Tuesday [the day after the meeting], they called," she says. "They said it was something big and obvious, like plans, and did we see it. But we didn't know anything about it."

We want Steadman to know that it's really not such a terrible thing that he left top-secret documents in the crapper for a journalist to discover.

After all, the plans themselves are so worthless, he probably should have used them for toilet paper while he was in there.

We've said it before: The Truman Sports Complex is a monument to pure sports, two magnificent sports stadiums that are as lovely and useful today as the day they were completed in 1972. Sure, the teams are bellyaching for upgrades they've been promised, but don't be fooled -- the Chiefs and Royals won't settle for the measly improvements that will come from a proposed $80 million tax increase we may vote on later this year. They want hundreds of millions more, not to make the stadiums better places to watch games (they can't really be much better for that) but simply so the teams can make loads more cash.

The Chiefs hope that a lot of cheerleading about a magical transformation of the Truman Sports Complex into a happening part of town will convince people to fork over their hard-earned money.

Don't believe it for a second. The sports complex is a graveyard on nongame days, and it always will be. When Wyandotte County built Village West, which is a great place to go when there's not a NASCAR race, and when the city of Independence attracted a Bass Pro shop, which will anchor another major development site, any chance that Truman could also turn itself into a multiuse playland were sunk.

If the teams really can't be satisfied with the temples to sport that Kauffman and Arrowhead already are, they should stop shooting down smart alternatives like a downtown baseball stadium.

And if Clark Hunt wants to take his daddy's Chiefs to the Kansas side -- and can convince Johnson or Wyandotte County residents to raise him a hillock of cash -- then let him.

But this perspicacious porterhouse is starting to realize that maybe the sports executives in this town just aren't that smart.

Did you at least remember to flush, Tom?

Tony Ortega talks about this week's Pitch with KRBZ 96.5's Lazlo after 4 p.m. Wednesday.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Kansas City Strip

  • Fake That Moneymaker

    C'mon, Sprint — don't you act like you afraida.
    • Jan 25, 2007
  • A Cold Day In ...

    Yep, sure was a lot of hockey talk in Kansas City last week.
    • Jan 18, 2007
  • Identification, Please

    The company that screens KCI passengers experiences some turbulence.
    • Jan 11, 2007
  • More »

Facebook Activity

All contents ©2014 Kansas City Pitch LLC
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of Kansas City Pitch LLC,
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.

All contents © 2012 SouthComm, Inc. 210 12th Ave S. Ste. 100, Nashville, TN 37203. (615) 244-7989.
All rights reserved. No part of this service may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of SouthComm, Inc.
except that an individual may download and/or forward articles via email to a reasonable number of recipients for personal, non-commercial purposes.
Website powered by Foundation