June 2008

I-70 SERIES: Act One

The recent road trip wound up being a great one for the Royals…5-1, including a first-ever sweep in St. Louis.  A few pics from my hometown. 

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The new Busch Stadium, now in its third year.  Very nice new park.  The locals resisted the idea of a new stadium, but they seem to be enjoying their new home.Aviles.jpg 


After a Royals win, rookie Mike Aviles gets the obligatory “shaving cream pie” in the face from a teammate after an 8th inning home run proved to be the game winner!  FSN’s Joel Goldberg is enough of a veteran to know when to get out of the way.Rick Hummel.jpg 


That’s me with St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel.  He’s known throughout baseball as “The Commish.”  You may remember last summer he received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in Cooperstown the same day Denny received his  Ford C. Frick Award.Don Free.jpg



Here is our producer/engineer for the Royals Radio Network, Don Free.  Don’s in his 22nd year.  He keeps the broadcast running smoothly, all while performing about six jobs at once!Splitt & Ryan.jpg 






Next door to our radio booth, we spy Paul Splittorff and Ryan Lefebvre.  Ryan is apparently deep in thought.Three Generations.jpg 




A couple of days after Father’s Day, a three-generation lunch.  My dad, Layton, and my son, John,  with me.  I trust you can tell which is which.John and Cousin.jpg 






My son John teaching his 2-year-old cousin, Margaret, the proper technique for swinging a bat.Relatives.jpg 



These are more of my red-clad relatives.  Melinda, Bill, Marjorie, Jeff, Melanie and Gary.  All of them fulfulling a life-long dream of making it onto this blog…




The Royals enjoyed their trip back to their “home base” of Arizona.  Not Surprise, but Phoenix, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  They play under a retractable roof, which opens at times even in the heat of summer.  Kudos to the man (person?) who invented air conditioning.






If I were to put only one picture on this particular post, this would be it.  Pretty much says it all.  Bob Davis advised me to write “but it’s a dry heat!”  under the photo…haha.Joel.jpg
Here is the legendary Joe Garagiola, Sr., with FSN’s Joel Goldberg.  I took this picture to commemorate the fact that Joel’s mother was a contestant on the early-1970’s game show “Sale of the Century,” for which Garagiola was the host.  Joel believes his mom, Nancy, was pregnant with him while she was a contestant on the show, so, in effect, he was on the show as well.  Upon his birth, Joel was lavished with many “lovely parting gifts.”steve2.jpg

Here’s a picture with Joe and me.  I don’t need a reason…it’s my blog.  I will say he’s one of the most enjoyable people I’ve ever interviewed.  He’s the most amazing story teller I’ve ever met (or heard).  Joe’s son, Joe Jr.is the former general manager of the D-Backs.  He currently works for Major League baseball.chase field.jpg



Chase Field (formerly the BOB), is in its 11th year as the home of the Dbacks.  On this day, the roof was closed during the late afternoon, during batting practice, while the air conditioners did their thing.roof slightly open.jpg


Then as the game is a few minutes from beginning, they open the roof.  So the fans can enjoy an “open-air” ballgame in the evening (they don’t do this for day games), the cooling system keeps it pleasant for the game.roof opening2.jpg  



Of course they leave it open as long as possible each day so the grass can get plenty of sunlight.roof open.jpg  


Now the ballpark is ready for baseball.  It’s 106 degrees outside, but the cooling system is cranked up, and the roof is open and it’s time to “Play Ball!”pool.jpg  



The swimming pool in right centerfield rents for $6,500 per game.  A great view of the field….full pool shot.jpg

As I was taking this picture, one of the kids in the pool noticed my camera/phone and said,”cool, that’s an IPhone!”  Of course I’m thinking “cool, your parents just spent $6,500 dollars so you could go swimming during a baseball game!”sleeping.jpg





And last, but not least, this is FSN pregame producer Bobby Reed, asleep as the plane lands in St. Louis after winning the series in Arizona.  You can write your own caption. 


The House that Ruth Built

The Royals split their four-game series at Yankee Stadium, the first of two visits they’ll make in the final year of “The House that Ruth Built” (re-built in the mid-70’s)…
It was very hot for the three day games…temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90’s.  I took the liberty (not to be confused with the statue…) of taking a few pics.  No photos from Monument Park…I’ll try to get out that way when we go back in August.  I should probably get in line now….it’s a popular attraction.

That’s “The House that 1.3 billion dollars built.”  The New Yankee Stadium right next door.  It will open next season. If you want to sit in the front row behind home plate, you may need to sell your car.  A cool $2,500 a seat (and, no, you don’t get to take the seat home with you…)  The current version cost “just” 2.5 million.  It opened in 1923.menu.jpg


A deli across the street from our hotel in Midtown Manhattan.  Notice that if you order the Chicken Salad Club, it comes with bacon, lettuce and “TOMATOE.”  Notice the “e” at the end of “tomatoe.”  Dan Quayle would be proud…friends.jpg

Two friends invading from “Cubs Country,”  (and apparently Rockies Country too) Gary Cantwell (the program director from my college radio station at SMU) and his son David.  Gary is the man responsible for making me the broadcaster that I am today.  Other than that, he’s had a very successful life and career…years.jpg


The wall of the press box at Yankee Stadium indicating the 26 World Series Championships.  They were in all the papers…back of the radio booth.jpg


Shot from the back of the visiting radio booth…at least we were in the shade, with temps soaring near 100 degrees…traditional view.jpg

The more traditional view.  A lot of sports/entertainment seen here over the years.  Joe Louis defeated German Max Schmeling in 1938.  Several Popes celebrated Mass here.  38 World Series have been played here.  And George Brett got a little mad at an umpire here in 1983.

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The famous “short porch” in right field.  Lefthanded hitters love it.  Only 310 down the line.camera bay.jpg


My view in the 3rd base camera/grounds crew well.  Joakim Soria closing out a 2-1 Royals victory over the Yanks. This is my spot, as I get ready to “pounce” onto the field for a postgame interview.


I type during the bumpy bus ride up Madison Avenue on our way to Yankee Stadium.  The road has been unkind to the Royals in recent weeks.  The trend continued in Chicago.  It was my 12th American League ballpark from which I’ve broadcast.  Yankee Stadium will be “lucky” 13.
A few Chi-town shots of interest:

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This monstrosity is a pickup truck  apparently belonging to White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.  It is, to say the least, large.  Two separate 60-gallon gas tanks, one on either side, means it’s about 500 bucks to fill up.  Yikes!

A security guard stands alongside the truck for perspective. He stands 5 feet 10 inches.View from the Booth.jpg

Shot from our radio booth, as Denny and Bob are hoping to see a Royals victory.  Wednesday night was close, but no cigar.  15 innings, but another road loss.  As you can see, our view from the booth is a good one.Writers.jpg
Not as good for the writers.  Bob Dutton, from the KC Star (left) and Dave Holtzman (below him) watch from the press box (writers, etc. who aren’t actually broadcasting the game).  When the Sox redid their press box in 2007, the “regular press” got moved down the right field line.Plane.jpg  




While it’s impossible to make out based on this photo,  I thought it was worth putting on here.  That flashing light is a police/secret service escort for a plane that had just brought Barack Obama home to Chicago.  His plane had just landed as we were getting on our chartered flight headed for New York. 

The Surface of Mars?

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I noted that when NASA recently placed the Phoenix Mars Lander on Mars, that the machine sent back amazing pictures.  Take a look at the two pictures above…reddish soil, lots of rocks.  No sign of life (as far as we know).

Actually, when I saw the amazing pictures, and heard about the perfect pinpoint landing that NASA achieved on Sunday, May 25th, it made me think of what an amazing age we live in.  To think we can build a machine that can fly hundreds of millions of miles for nine months, go through the fiery entry into the Martian atmosphere, have its parachutes open up, then land via retro-rockets to a perfectly timed and placed landing, it amazes me what our men and women of science can achieve.

As an aside, I’m trying to take care of my health (knock on wood), largely because, like you (I hope) I love life.  But I also hope to live until at least 2037 (I said at LEAST).  That’s the year that NASA has targeted as the year an earthling will walk around on the Martian surface.  I’ll be 74.  But, as usual, I digress. But it is, after all, my blog.

Anyway, I was enjoying the nice weather on the last homestand at Kauffman Stadium and was walking out on the field to talk to somebody, or perhaps interview someone, and I looked down.  What I saw made me think.  And that doesn’t happen very often!

Sure enough, take a look at the pictures down below, as we’ve “zoomed” out a little bit.  Amazing “coincidence,” eh?

So, am I becoming one of those conspiracy theorists, who doesn’t believe that the Apollo Program actually sent men to the moon?  That we don’t really have earthling-made machinery operating on Mars at this very moment?????

Perhaps we didn’t land on Mars….perhaps we sent a machine to…..a ballpark….and placed it on……the WARNING TRACK!!!

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