July 2008

LONGTIME LISTENER

The Royals are in their 40th year.  Major League Baseball first came to Kansas City in 1955 when the Athletics relocated from Philadelphia.  We met a special lady who’s among those who have been a fan of all the teams, Marilyn Childs.  Before the Big Leagues arrived, she was a fan of the Kansas City Blues, the old Yankee farm team that produced Mickey Mantle (among many others).

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Marilyn is a life-long resident of Kansas City, and has rarely missed a radio broadcast since Opening Day in 1969.  Here she meets Denny Matthews, after listening to him all these years.  He was part of that original Opening Day broadcast, and was impressed by her knowledge of baseball and the Royals.Marilyn and Split.jpg

 

 

 

Marilyn’s favorite pitcher was Paul Splittorff.  Favorite player, not surprisingly, was George Brett.  It was great that her relatives were able to bring her by the press box on the last homestand.  Without listeners like Marilyn, we broadcasters wouldn’t have these great jobs!!  Thanks Marilyn!  And to all the loyal listeners in our seven-state region!

A WALK, BUT NOT IN THE PARK…

The Royals won a series at US Cellular Field for the first time since 2003.  Chicago is such a great city, ESPECIALLY in the summer.  My theory is the city would be much, much larger if they didn’t have their harsh winters to scare some people away.  Some of the things that got my attention on a walk through “The City of the Big Shoulders.”

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A statue of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, who at one time broadcast for both the Cubs and the White Sox…in those days he only broadcast home games, for both. 

 

 

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On the plaque it notes he “broadcasted” for the Cubs, which neither Bob Davis nor I believe is proper English, but it makes for a nice conversation starter.  Nice that he’s honored this way, in front of the Tribune Building, home of WGN TV and radio, as well as the Tribune newspaper.

 

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Not much else to say, a terrible disease.  Hopefully we can find a way to wipe it out ASAP.River.jpg 

 

The Chicago River.  Lots of tour boats full of sightseers on a summer Saturday.  On St. Patrick’s Day, it turns green! (and so do many of the locals…)Wedding In Chicago.jpg 

 

 

 

What, I wasn’t invited?  It started raining right after this picture was taken, but a beautiful setting.Harvey Drive.jpg 


 

 

A legendary broadcasting market, and among the legends, the ageless Paul Harvey.  Good DAY!!

 

 

 

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In one of the display windows on the first floor of the Tribune Building, the vintage Tribune headline trumpets the first Moon Landing which just happened to be 39 years ago, July 20, 1969.  Wish I were old enough to really remember it.  No I don’t, because that would make me even older than I am….. 

 

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This is a piece of the Moon.  We take it for granted now, but with relatively primitive technology (by today’s standards), we sent men to the moon and brought them home alive, and with souvenirs!  They say there’s more computer memory in the laptop I’m using to type this text than there was in all of Mission Control. More in your cell phone than their was in the Lunar Module that landed on the Moon. 

 

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This rock was collected by the crew of Apollo 15. All moon walkers who followed Neil Armstrong seemingly get lost in history’s shuffle.  But among other things, this mission introduced the world to the Lunar Rover, which was a sort of battery-powered dune buggy, allowing astronauts to travel several miles in their quest to explore.  OK, enough with the space stuff, but it is, after all, my blog…

 

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This aircraft would not make it to the Moon, but it might take someone to the “top.”  As the Royals were boarding their charter at Midway Airport, the campaign plane for Barack Obama was undergoing security checks.  We see his plane every time we go to Chicago.  Maybe he’s a Royals fan!  Oh, that’s right, he lives there.

CLASS IN SESSION

I had a lot of fun with four Royals players (one of them former…Royals Hall of Famer Frank White), as they helped show youngsters from the George Brett Baseball and Softball Program some baseball fundamentals.  Also thanks to team photographer Chris Vleisides for taking these photos. A REMINDER ON THIS BLOG: YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTOGRAPH TO ENLARGE.

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After Frank White was finished teaching the kids the finer points of playing defense, Luke Hochevar came out on the field and talked about, what else? Pitching.  He said, among other things, that he didn’t start throwing breaking balls until he was 16, which drew a round of applause form the coaches, intent on protecting young arms.  Luke also showed the grips he uses on the pitches he throws.  The 108-foot crown vision board made it easy for the kids to see how a Major Leaguer holds the baseball.

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Mark Teahen was fresh off a recent inside-the-park home run.  He talked to the kids about baserunning, how big a lead to take, how to round the bases and much more.  I didn’t make him run full-speed around the bases, figured I’d take it easy on him, since he had a game to play later in the day.D2X_8809.jpg

 

You can there were a lot of youngsters there eager to hear from the big league guys.  It was a gorgeous day, and they got to see a game after the instructional portion of the day was over.D2X_8814.jpg

 

 

 

John Buck was good enough to talk about hitting, his approach, his swing, etc.D2X_8872.jpg 

 

John put on a demonstration for the kids.  Coach Rusty Kuntz threw batting practice to John and he took the kids through everything the big league guys do in BP each day, round-by-round.  My thanks to Frank, Luke, Mark and John for showing these youngsters the right way to play.

 

A NEW DAY IN TAMPA BAY

A reminder: YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PICTURE TO ENLARGE ON THIS BLOG.

The Royals played four with the red-hot Rays in St. Petersburg, and salvaged the final game in 11 innings.

It was my first vist to Tropicana Field and I saw an excited fan base, with the Rays owning the best record in baseball when the Royals rolled into town. 

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The Rays have a talented team and didn’t have a crowd of less than 16,000 for any game in the series.  It’s nice to see a team that has lost so much the last ten years create excitement (except for the fact that some of that excitement was generated by beating the Royals).Left Crowd.jpg 

 

 

The Rays have gone 13-1 with crowds of 30,000-plus.  Loverboy was in concert after the Saturday game.  The Devil Rays are no more.  A new color scheme, new nickname, a “new attitude” in Tampa Bay.Right Crowd.jpg

 

Just nice to see the seats filled.  It used to be 8000 or 9000 was the norm.  Of course when your team has only reached the 70 win mark one time since its inception, it makes it much more difficult to generate excitement.  Hard not to cheer for these guys (except when playing the Royals, of course).

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These are the “famous” Tropicana Field catwalks.  No cats spotted during the four-game series.  Many pop flies have deflected off of them over the years.  Of course, if the ball hits the catwalk over fair territory, it’s in play…Fireworks in Tampa.jpg

 

 

On the Fourth of July, the Royals played an early-evening game at the Trop…then we were able to catch the fireworks display over the St. Pete waterfront form the balcony of our hotel.Progress Energy Park.jpg

 

This is Progress Energy Park aka Al Lang Field, which has been the spring training of several teams, most notably the Cardinals from 1937 until 1997.  Now it’s losing the Rays, who are bolting for Port Charlotte next spring.  There was talk of building a new ballpark for the Rays on this site, but that has apparently been tabled for now.Waterfront.jpg

 

 

Downtown St. Pete has a very nice waterfront.  The marina by Progress Energy Park and the Royals hotel is home to the St. Petersburg Yacht Club.   St. Pete Beach, a few miles away, is also very nice.Rainbow.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, a win on the final day in St. Pete!  As the plane is about to take off, a rainbow is visible.  The pot of gold is not.

Old Home Week

I used to live and work in Baltimore, so the Royals trip there on the recent road trip was a lot of fun for me.  I had a chance to visit the gang at WBAL Radio, where I used to work, but I forgot to get pictures of  “the gang.”  Oh well…their website is www.wbal.com  so you can read all about them there. 

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Outside my 8th floor hotel room window, the window washer was doing his job.  Hanging from a suspension cable, and with a suction cup handle stuck to the window, he did his job.  How much would they have to pay you to do that job?  I’m not sure I could come up with a dollar figure that would get me out there.  First floor, fine.  Second floor, maybe.  Then I’m done.Inner Harbor.jpg

 

 

This is Baltimore’s signature Inner Harbor. It’s a beautiful area, always lots going on.  I’d rent one of those little boats WAY before I’d repel down a building to wash windows.

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Here are former Royal (and O’s TV analyst) Buck Martinez and Royals pitching coach Bob McClure.  They were teammates in both KC and Milwaukee.  Apparently they were reminiscing about some “nailbiters” they played in, back in the day.Boys & Steve.jpg

 

 

These are my stepsons, Enrique and Emilio.  Enrique will be 14 September 28th.  Emilio turns 12 July 16th.  Wonderful boys, and I’m very proud of them.  Great to see them in Baltimore!Babe Statue.jpg

 

 

On Eutaw (pronounced “Utah”) Street at the entrance to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, stands a large statue of a young Babe Ruth. Baltimoreans are very proud that the Babe was born and raised in Baltimore.  But they’re a bit conflicted, since he starred for the HATED Yankees.  This Statue has a flaw…behind his back, Babe is holding a righthanded glove (for his left hand).  He was, of course, lefthanded.Babe plaque.jpg

 

 

The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is just blocks away from the ballpark.  It’s worth the visit if you’re in the area.  The Babe actually lived in the apartment over his father’s saloon, which was located in what is now right field at Camden Yards.

 

 

 

Although a hotel has been built Oriole Park.jpgbehind left field, it’s still one of the most beautiful views in all of baseball.  Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992, but still looks brand new.  It was “the original” retropark, which changed all of sports, not just baseball.  New ballparks (Major League and minor league), football stadiums and basketball and hockey arenas have sprouted in almost every town, large and small, in America.  It all started here.Bromo Seltzer Tower.jpg

 

 

 

 

This is one of Baltimore’s major landmarks:  the Bromo Seltzer Tower.  Built in 1911, you used to see it from Oriole Park, but not anymore, thanks to the new hotel.

 

 
 

 

WHAT A HOMESTAND!

When your team is 6-1 on a homestand, you get a little greedy, but the Royals left town after going 6-3.  Some images from the 10-day stay in KC:

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After losing to the Giants a couple of Fridays ago, the sellout crowd “oood” and “ahhhd” at the largest fireworks display in the history of Kansas City.  It was an amazing show.Pool Time.jpg

After such a brutal winter, and bad weather in April and much of May, we finally had a great run of weather.  The pool where I live re-opened after a renovation.  They even had a party to celebrate.  I had to say over and over again, when offered refreshments, “Thanks, but we’ve got a game tonight!”  My will power won the day.Photog.jpg

 

 

The Royals won the first game versus St. Louis.  KC Star photographer, John Sleezer,  gets a shot late in the game, as the Royals close out a 7-2 win, an I-70 Series-clinching victory!Art Stewart.jpg

 

Saturday night the sellout crowd was there to see a great man honored before the game.  Art Stewart (no relation) is now a member of the Royals Hall of Fame.  Great to see so many Royals Hall of Famers, as well as Royals owner David Glass, there to honor a special man who has meant so much to the organization.
 

 

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