By Jacki Wood for the Nodaway News Leader
Editor’s note: this is the fourth in the series
Albert Theodore Powers said: “Baseball is sunshine, green grass, fathers and sons, our rural past.”
That’s what Maryville resident Jeff Lyle loves about the game.
“It brings me back to my roots,” he said.
The 42-year-old has been a fan of the game all of his life and a fan of the Kansas City Royals ever since going to Kauffman Stadium as a little boy with his grandpa.
“This is where my love of the game comes from,” he said. “I love baseball because it’s a wholesome sport that brings me back to my childhood, simpler times and just good old fashion fun.”
And now he’s passing that love onto his son, Trystan, who attends all of the Royals’ games with him.
Lyle also coaches Trystan’s team during the summer.
“Watching my soon-to-be 15-year-old son play short stop is one of my favorite things to do in the world,” he said. “I’ve given up Royals front-row seats to watch my son play a pick-up game on a Saturday afternoon.”
In addition to watching his son and the Royals play, Lyle also enjoys learning about the history of his favorite team. He and Trystan frequently tour the Royals Hall of Fame at Kauffman Stadium.
“Kauffman is good about keeping the Hall of Fame fresh by adding new things,” he said.
He’s also been to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield and would love to see more of those types of venues, he said.
Last year, he had the opportunity of taking in the All-Star Fan Fest when the All-Star game was in Kansas City.
“It was amazing,” he said. “I felt like a little kid in a candy store.”
Over the years, he’s also compiled quite a baseball collection.
“My wife calls it my addition, not collection,” he said. “I own all the Kauffman Stadium giveaway Bobbleheads, which are also on display in the Hall of Fame.”
He has also renovated an entire room in his home just for his Royals collection which includes both vintage and new items, jerseys, toys, coolers, All-Star merchandise, broken game bats and “too much more to mention,” he said.
“It’s quite overwhelming and very impressive,” he continued. “I’ve spent a lot of time and money collecting it and finding just that right item here and there.”
Other fun baseball fan facts about Lyle include his favorite ballpark is Kauffman Stadium since that’s where the Royals play, his favorite ballpark food is a stadium hot dog and “The Bad News Bears” with Walter Matthau is his favorite baseball movie.
For Lyle, what baseball really means is wholesome fun with family and friends, he said, especially with Trystan.
“I’m so glad I’ve been given the opportunity to share my love of baseball with my son,” he said.
“Keeping the sport alive is up to the fans. I’ve got my part covered.”
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