Welcome to my blog ”From the Booth," another reminder that some people are born to blog, some people achieve blogging and some have blogging thrust upon them….not sure which category describes me…but…Hey!….I’ve completed my first run-on sentence! So we’re underway!
I am very excited about the chance to broadcast Royals baseball and work with outstanding broadcasters like Denny, Bob and Ryan. They’ve made me feel right at home. The Royals may not have as long a history as some other teams, but it’s a history rich with tradition and the broadcasters over the years have been some of the best in baseball.
"Hey, Steve, how’d you like to do a blog?" I’ve heard that line before….with the Reds a couple of years ago….and here again with the Royals…I guess I must look like a blogger, or maybe it’s my accent, or how I walk….or the fact that I never shut up…so they figure I’m perfect for the job.
I’m not sure where exactly this blog will take us as we meander through the 2008 season, but I hope it conveys some of the flavor of Royals baseball. Being new to the American League (previously did Orioles games, but with limited travel), I’ll get to see several ballparks for the first time. I’m certainly visiting new parks here in Arizona, seeing "how the other half lives." I’ve been to spring training seven times in Florida, but never in Arizona until this year. I enjoyed the past four years in Sarasota with the Reds, but I really like the weather, the beautiful ballparks and the close proximity afforded by the Cactus League, which is mostly Phoenix-centric. Next year the Dodgers and Indians move out here, very close to Surprise. Two more easy trips.
The facility the Royals share with the Rangers is spectacular, with both teams completely separate, and yet sharing the ballpark. On the Royals side, you’d never even know the Rangers are in the vicinity, and vice versa, except when the teams play each other. And from what they tell me, Surprise has exploded with growth in the five years since the Royals began training here.
It’s been my busiest spring training, doing virtually every game (other than Sunday vs. the Cubs…a good one to miss if I had to miss one, a 13-1 loss). Every game is being broadcast, at least 20 on radio and the rest here on Royals.com. It’s giving me the chance to get up to speed on the Royals that much more quickly.
We’ve seen Jose Guillen and Mark Grudzielanek (did I spell that right? Broadcasters don’t usually have to worry about spelling…) get into games, two important pieces of this ball club. Manager Trey Hillman allowed them to set their own timetable. Their delayed debuts benefited some of the younger players, who had some extra opportunities. Still pretty early to make to many judgments, but a few of those who have impressed down here: Luke Hochevar, David DeJesus, Damon Hollins, Gil Meche, Joakim Soria, Alberto Callaspo (playing different positions, same story with Esteban German). OK…now I’m in trouble, many others have performed well…those were just a few names that immediately came to mind.
This blog will be interactive, so if you want to ask a question, I’ll try to answer it or find someone who can. If you want to chime in, you’re welcome to do so. Just remember, my mother reads this, so watch your manners and be kind…
I’ll also be posting some photos as we travel around the country. Here are a couple to get things started:
This is my view out of the broadcast booth. Not bad, eh? Weather’s been perfect since I got here February 25, and it’s a great park. Of course, since the Royals and Rangers share it, there’s a game here every day in March. Those grass berms in the outfield are very popular.
This is "the other" Brian Williams, producer/engineer for 610 Sports, assisting Don Free down here. At Dillon’s Restaurant the other night, he ordered the "Brontosaurus Ribs." For the record, Brian could not slay the giant beast. He got through about half, with Ryan Lefebvre helping him out. The staff gave Brian the biggest take-home box they could find, we strapped it to the top of the car, and headed for home (ok, it did fit inside the car).