Monarchs’ owner fulfills ‘sports dream’ with new organization

Mark Rountree
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is Mark Brandmeyer, owner of the Kansas City Monarchs, with his dog, also named Monarch, prior to the Monarchs’ game Sunday against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks at Legends Field.

Yogi made an appearance at the ballpark Sunday afternoon.

No, not the former Hall of Fame catcher for the New York Yankees, but a 3-year-old golden doodle dog, one of dozens of canines who were at a Bark in the Park event at Legends Field, home of the Kansas City Monarchs.

Yogi the dog wasn’t as concerned about the players on the field as he was getting his next handout from one of the fans in attendance for the Monarchs’ game against the Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks.

“He loves being here,” said Tyler Stelter, Yogi’s owner. “He loves all the attention and I’m sure he’s going to get lots of treats.”

Sunday’s Bark in the Park event was the first of five by the Monarchs this season, one of a host of promotional events scheduled by team owner Mark Brandmeyer, who aims to revitalize the organization after being sidelined last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since then, the franchise was re-branded from the former Kansas City T-Bones to the Kansas City Monarchs, one of 12 teams in the American Association.

“I just hated for this area to lose a great asset like a minor league baseball team last year,” Brandmeyer said. “We re-named the team Monarchs because it’s such a historic Kansas City brand.”

The original Kansas City Monarchs were founded in 1920 and played in the Negro Baseball League until the mid-1960s.

“It’s been my sports dream to come in and bring the Monarchs back,” said Brandmeyer. “This is such a great experience.”

Brandmeyer said there are many factors that make minor league baseball appealing to people living in the Kansas City metro and Leavenworth County area, including low ticket prices, free parking and proximity to the ballpark. Legends Field is located at 1800 Village West Parkway in Kansas City, Kansas. Ticket prices start at $5.

Fans may not recognize the names of many of the players on the field, but they likely will know the first base coach. Former Kansas City Royals second baseman Frank White has returned to coach another year.

“Frank could be doing a lot of things with his time,” Brandmeyer said. “He’s here because he just loves it.”

He said the organization continues to reach out to the local area to promote the club.

“We are all about local,” he said. “We want to get the families here, get the military guys here, all the local sports teams. We have a great little gem here and we hope people come out and enjoy it.”

Cordell and Gretta Kelsey, who attended the Monarchs’ game Sunday, said they are happy baseball has returned to Legends Field.

Fans at Sunday’s game expressed pleasure that baseball has returned to Legends Field.

“I come from a big sports family, and it’s so nice to see all the (youth baseball) teams here today,” said Hope Adame, who attended the game with several friends.

“We are so glad that they opened back up again,” said Cordell Kelsey, who attended the game with his wife, Gretta. “It’s been over a year with nothing to do. I’m really glad they got this going again. It’s just a lot of fun.”

In addition to the Bark in the Park events, there are numerous promotions and theme nights scheduled this year, including the Falcon Skydiving Team every Friday night, Party at the Park every Saturday night and Sunday Funday in which children 10 and under eat for free.

Other promotions include Twister Night, Space Jam Night, Superhero Night, Star Wars Night, Disney Night, Beach Night and more.

The organization also will host Military Appreciation Night on June 13 and Aug. 27.

For more information, visit monarchsbaseball.com or call 913-328-5618.