KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Artist and Kansas City Royals fan Jason Harrington will never forget that moment — a moment of redemption and “destiny.”
Game 1 of the 2015 World Series, Royals vs. Mets. The Royals are down 4-3 in the bottom of the ninth inning, and New York smells victory.
Then up steps Alex Gordon.
The first pitch by the Mets’ dominant closer, Jeurys Familia, speeds in for a ball. The second is fouled off.
The third pitch rockets in. Gordon swings. Royals fans everywhere rise to their feet, their hearts rising too, as they see his blast soar over the center field wall. Home run. Tied game. The Royals would eventually win 5-4 in 14 innings.
“I was talking to my wife,” Harrington said Wednesday, standing with a spray can in his hand at 17th and Oak streets. “You know, if a Royals mural ever came my way to capture a timeless moment, Gordo off Familia was the moment that I like believed, in Game 1, that we were going to take the series. It really felt like a team of destiny.”
That moment is now taking shape, on the verge of being finished, as a commissioned mural on the front wall of Construction & Interior Services, better known as CIS, at 1739 Oak St.
Co-owners Ryan Coffey and Kate Mead already had a mural with a regular blue Royals logo as 2014 American League champions, with interlocking KC and the gold crown.
“They were like, ‘We want to update this and this.’ I was like, ‘Screw that. Let me draw you out something I want,’” said Harrington, 36.
Instead of being cast in a photorealistic style, the players are depicted in caricaturist if not cartoonish form. To the left is Familia, his curved back in the follow-through of his pitch. To the right, Gordon is depicted with his bat in full swing. Taking a bit of artistic license, Harrington has Gordon blowing a giant bubble gum bubble, even though he didn’t do that at the plate.
Harrington laughed. “He was kind of known for that, though,” he said.
That millisecond between when the ball launches from the bat and it dawns on the crowd that it will sail over the wall — “I’m trying to capture that moment,” Harrington said.
In a nod to friends and other business owners in the Crossroads, the 1998 graduate of Shawnee Mission South and the Art Institute of Chicago has depicted more than 20 faces in the front row of the stadium as caricatures of actual people from the Crossroads.
The owners, Coffey (the bald guy toward the left) and Mead (with hoop earrings) are there, along with their employees, Eric Lancey and Jonathan Hill, with his hipster beard. Bo Nelson, who operates the Thou Mayest coffee shop along 18th Street, is up there along with business partners Dave Mullikin, Brendon Hildreth and Bill Holzheuter.
Their employees, Morgan Gillett (black hair cut in a bob) and Adri Guyer (blond character with the ponytail) are in the mural, as are a number of others.
Guyer is particularly happy.
“I was there,” Guyer said of the actual game. “I was there for all the home games, actually. This is my favorite World Series moment besides winning the whole thing. So I’m pretty stoked to be a part of it.”
On Wednesday, Harrington said he still had to paint in the Royals’ scoreboard. He will stencil in the names or logos of Crossroads businesses on the ballpark wall.
On Sunday, Gordon fractured a bone in his wrist when he collided with third baseman Mike Moustakas during a game against the Chicago White Sox.
“He did get injured, right after I started painting this,” Harrington said. “Hope it’s not a curse.”