Remember when you could show up late for a Royals game, park close and stretch your legs out into the seats in front of you? Those were the days. Nobody believed, and the promotions department at Kauffman Stadium had to lure spectators with promises of fireworks, discounted food and free stuff for the kids. Kansas Citians may have found faith in their team, but the good people at the K still have plenty of stuff to give away and/or blow up. The Royals give back to believers during three home games against last year's big winners, the Anaheim Angels. Fans at Friday's 7:05 p.m. game should stick around after the last pitch for a fireworks display. Tailgating before Saturday's 6:05 p.m. game won't be necessary because hot dogs, small soft drinks and peanuts cost only $1 each. And don't bother feeding the kids before Sunday's 1:05 p.m. game; everyone fourteen and younger gets a coupon for a free hot dog and a Pepsi. For tickets and information, call1-800-676-9257.-- Michael Vennard
Get league action.
Sure, the Royals are inspiring actual hope in Kansas Citians, and the T-Bones are still new enough to be compelling, but far beneath them is softball, still underhanding its way through another summer. Most people's exposure is limited to company picnics or includes the word keg, but this week is your chance to catch ten games in five nights of the best league play Jackson County has to offer. Although it's too late to join up, the games -- one set taking place at the Frank White Jr. Softball Complex (3901 Longview Road in Lee's Summit), the other at the 140th and Holmes Softball Complex -- offer spectators and fans one last taste of summer. Admission is free, concessions are plentiful and the players mean business, governed by national rules and often engaging in bitter league rivalries. Games start this Sunday at 4 p.m.; weekday games start at 6:30 p.m. Call 816-795-8200 for information. -- Christopher Sebela
Because the float-trip thing is so popular, we asked Brian Nold -- whose book Voyage of the Maxed Out! was based on his experience sailing a rough river path from Warrensburg, Missouri, to somewhere in Florida -- where he would go if he were setting out on a Missouri float trip for Labor Day weekend. "The Niangua River, south of the Lake of the Ozarks, is a pretty nice float, and fairly nearby," he says. "However, this time of year, you'd most likely be walking or dragging the canoe over shoals." That leaves the Missouri River, he says. "I'd head out on the ol' Big Muddy with a stocked cooler, some good company and a trustworthy canoe ... and a cell phone, too, in case you feel like ordering a pizza."-- Gina Kaufmann