April 2010

Nanook of the North

The Royals first road trip took them to three northern cities: Detroit, Minneapolis and Toronto.  In the past I’ve shown all three ballparks from our vantage point: Comerica Park, the Twins former home, the Metrodome, and Rogers Centre.  

But in Minnestoa, it’s a whole new world….Target field on beautiful day.jpg

 

 

This is our view of new Target Field.  First outdoor baseball since 1981 in the Twin Cities.  Amazing what $545 million will buy these days.  Beautiful ballpark. 

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 You see the skyline of Minneapolis down the right field line.  The Twins were blessed with perfect weather on their first homestand.
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This is Craig Edwards. He’s the meteorologist for Target Field. Haven’t needed one of those in a generation up here.

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Royals manager Trey Hillman likes the new digs. He gives reporters his own report on the tour he took of the place.

 

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The stands filling up before the game. They should easily surpass 3 million in the first year of Target Field. 

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One of many statues honoring the Twins history. In their 50th year….And Target Field salutes…among others…the great Rod Carew.

 

 

 

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Here’s Bob with Harmon Killebrew (briefly with the Royals, but a Twins legend and Hall of Famer.) Notice Don Free up top. For 28 years Don could never see a game in the Metrodome. He was blocked by the announcers. That problem has been resolved. He’s been producing/engineering our games since 1986 and now can finally watch the game in Minnesota!!

 
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 Anoher Twins legend makes his mark on Target Field….Kent Hrbek…

 

 

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In their 50th year and in their new ballpark, the Twins break out the old logo and sign. It’s 60 feet high in centerfield. Minnie and Paul shake hands in the Twin Cities once again.

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We also traveled to Toronto…where the Hockey Hall of Fame is located just a few blocks from our hotel. It’s tremendous. I mentioned previously, but I “Rip Van Winkled” on hockey for more than 20 years…but I’m back as a fan. It’s a tremendous sport…and no one treasures it more than those in Canada, where the sport was invented.

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This is me with Lord Stanley’s “other” Cup. The most famous trophy in sports is the Stanley Cup. There are two of them. This one is on permanent display at the HHOF. The other is on permanent tour and goes to the winning team at the end of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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This is the original Stanley Cup. The whole playoff thing got too big so they needed a bigger, more ornate one.

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So many displays of the sports history….including one of many to the great Wayne Gretzky.

Mask.jpgThis is a mask worn 50 years ago by Montreal goaltender Jacque Plante. He, in 1959, became (believe it or not!!) the first goalie to EVER wear a mask during a hockey game! Coaches thought these things would obstruct the goalies’ view of the puck down at their feet. One night Plante had his lip split open. Between periods they stitched it up….and when he came out for the next period…he wore the same mask he had been wearing in practice. Over his coach’s objections. Fortunately he won the game…and the next 9. And a goalie wouldn’t think about playing without headgear.

 

 

 

 

SPRING HAS SPRUNG

The opening week of baseball at Kauffman Stadium did not produce as many wins as the fans would have liked…but the fans were happy to welcome the Royals home for Season 42…and Year 2 of the New K.

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Opening Day started out a little gloomy….but the skies would clear and the sun would shine!Bob, Whitey and Denny.jpg
 
 
Before the game a real treat.  Former Royals Manager Whitey Herzog stops by the booth for a visit.  Whitey, already in the Royals Hall of Fame, will be inducted in Cooperstown in July.   The former skipper threw out the ceremonial first pitch.  Here he visits with Bob and Denny.
 
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The crowd lets out an extra cheer on Opening Day as last years player of the year, Billy Butler, is introduced.  Billy had a two-run single on Opening Day.  Unfortunately it was not enough, as Detroit came from behind to win.Zack's Cy Young Ceremony.jpg
 

 

On the first Friday night game of 2010, the Royals honored Zack Greinke for his 2009 Cy Young Award.  His teammates, Royals alumni and his family all took part in the pregame celebration.  Ryan was the emcee.Soria on Opening Day.jpg
 

 

Later that Friday night, Joakim Soria took the mound in the 9th against the Red Sox.  He recorded a scoreless frame and his first save of the season.son John pitching.jpg
 

My first sign of spring was seeing my 11-year-old son John’s baseball practice. The Smash Burger Heat play in the Blue Valley Recreation League.  John’s always been a strike thrower.  My favorite player.  At any level.
 
 

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