When the Royals hit one of their eight-game skids (hey, building a championship team is a process) and veteran announcer Denny Matthews starts sounding like he needs a hug, baseball fans in the area are lucky to have a killer independent team right across the state line. In Kansas City, Kansas, the T-Bones racked up their most successful season to date in 2010, entering the playoffs and finishing second overall while setting a Northern League record of 162 home runs. They welcome back all-star outfielder Brian Joynt and take on the Gary SouthShore RailCats at 7:05 p.m. for the regular season home opener at CommunityAmerica Ballpark (1800 Village West Parkway). The first 2,000 fans get a free T-Bones T-shirt. Tickets range in price from $6.50 to $16 and are available at tbonesbaseball.com or by calling 913-328-5618.