June 2010

A ROYAL VISIT TO WASHINGTON

For the first time since Richard Nixon was president, the Royals played a series in Washington D.C, The highlight, of course, was handing pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg his first loss as a Major Leaguer. The last time the Royals had played in D.C. was during the 1971 season, before the second Senators franchise relocated to Arlington, Texas and became the Rangers. (The original Senators had relocated to Minnesota after the 1960 season.) 

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Nationals Park opened in 2008. A beautiful new ballpark in Southeast D.C., it replaced antiquated, multi-purpose RFK Stadium, where the Nationals played their first three seasons after moving from Montreal in 2005. Note the Caoitol dome over the left field wall in the distance. 

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A closer look at the dome. Due to some buildings that have gone up beyond left field, you have to be up high to see the Capitol building. A beautiful site! Several Royals players and staff members took a field trip to the Capitol and had the chance to visit with Missouri Senator Kit Bond. Bob Davis also had the chance to catch up with Kansas Senator Sam Brownback.  

 

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The beautiful Presidents Club serves those with the seats right behind homeplate. Along the wall of the entrance hall are photos of presidential first pitches through the years. Here President Truman does the honors.

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An entire wall of the Presidents Club displays a photo of Dwight Eisenhower’s Abiline (KS) High School baseball team. Ike is shown here in uniform along the top row on the right. 

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One of the fun traditions the Nationals started when they came to D.C. is the Racing Presidents. Every game it’s a competition among the likenesses of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON!

Even though it’s two years away, you get the feeling it will be here before we know it. The 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City will be huge for this region and this franchise.

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Commissioner Bud Selig officially announcing the All-Star Game, Home Run Derby, etc all coming to Kansas City in July of 2012! Denny was the emcee of the big announcement. Royals Chairman David Glass is to the right of Denny.

2-2.jpgAfter the announcement, the skies opened up and we got quite a bit of rain, delaying the start of the game with Houston. During the rain delay, Denny had the chance to interview the Commissioner. Mr. Selig talked about his friendship with the man who founded the Royals franchise, Ewing Kauffman. The Commissioner reminisced about his earliest memories as a young baseball fan. And, no, Denny did not convince Mr. Selig to ban the DH. But he gave it another try!

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 After an 85 minute rain delay, out came a couple of rainbows! At the end of the rainbow? The 2012 All-Star Game! The first for Kansas City since 1973. And the third such event in Kansas City history.

Tour of First Place Cities

Anytime you can visit two teams that are in first place at the time you’re playing them, and split six games, you’ll take it. The Royals did just that on their trip to Minnesota and Cincinnati. 1 of 3 visiting the Twins, 2 of 3 visiting the Reds. In April I gave you a look at the Twin’s new ballpark, Target Field . Here are some images from this trip: 

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Other than visiting the new baseball park and the new college football stadium at the University of Minnesota, you can do almost anything in this city without going outdoors. There are “skyways” connecting almost every major building throughout downtown Minneapolis.

 

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The hearty Minnesotans have beaten Mother Nature. When the Royals are in Minneapolis and it’s rainy or cool…we can walk from our hotel over several blocks into any number of stores or other business without bringing a jacket or an umbrella. A maze of skyways makes people into human hamsters…but when the weather is not inviting…everyone is grateful!

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This is Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati…on the banks of the Ohio River. It opened in 2003. I worked here from 2004-2007 and made many great friends. 
 

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My son John lived in Cincinnati from kindergarten through third grade. He had the chance to see old friends and see his two favorite teams do battle. We had lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants in Northern Kentucky, right on the Ohio River, across from downtown Cincinnati.

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John and I joined here by Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman. Marty is a one-of-a-kind broadcaster and person. Like Denny, Marty is a Ford Frick Award winner…I’ve learned a lot from both Marty and Denny. Some of it even about broadcasting! Seriously they’re two of the best announcers in the game.

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I worked with, and “replaced” the most beloved person in the history of Cincinnati. The late Joe Nuxhall is most famous for having played in the big leagues at the age of 15, youngest to ever do it. But the Hamilton, Ohio native (who spent one season with the Kansas City A’s) was a Reds pitcher and broadcaster for more than 60 years. A statue of Joe stands outside the ballpark. The street the stadium sits on was renamed “Joe Nuxhall Way” after his death. The signature on-air sign-off used after every game by “The Old Lefthander” adorns the side of the ballpark. “Rounding third and heading for home.” We miss you Joe.

 


 

Royals Gain Split Before They Split











Boston is always a travel highlight on the Royals schedule, especially since we went in late May after the weather had warmed up. Win a couple, lose a couple. Winning a series would have been great, but a split at Fenway is solid. Now that the Metrodome no longer houses the Minnesota Twins, Fenway is MLB’s most formidable home-field advantage…for my money.

Two years ago, I gave you a tour of Fenway Park. A few images from our 2010 visit.

 

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…..Fenway will always be cozy. Don Free’s perch high above the field, and the broadcasters. 

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 When you broadcast here you are right on top of home plate. Notice Frank White and Joel Goldberg making a cameo blog appearance on the monitor, inbetween Denny and Bob. Frank coached for the Red Sox for three years.

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One perk of my job is going down to the field to do a postgame interview. On this night, with the Royals ahead, I find an empty seat to watch the final three outs before heading onto the field.

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This is Copley Square in the Back Bay neighborhood of Boston. It’s a park that’s close to our hotel and is in full bloom with the Farmers’ Market open for the summer and fall. History surrounds you in Boston.

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The obligatory photo of the Green Monster before a game. 37 feet high. Looks so innocent but it can wreak havoc on a baseball game.

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 This is Wally the Green Monster. Fortunately he didn’t wreak havoc with me.

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 …..Before every game Manager Ned Yost meets with reporters (after games also). Answering questions from the media is a huge part of the job of manager. Dick Kaegel, Bob Dutton, Ryan Lefebvre, Joel Goldberg and Royals V.P. Mike Swanson get the latest from the skipper.

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This is Yawkee Way, within the gates of the ballpark, but right outside the stadium itself. It has much of the flavor of the what the Royals have in their Outfield Experience.

 

photo 11.jpgOne of the reasons the Red Sox and Yankees have such a financial advantage over the rest of the clubs is the highly profitable networks they own. for the Red Sox it’s the New England Sports Network (NESN). They televise the games (as well as the Boston Bruins hockey games, among other events). If you wondered where Peter Gammons went, since he’s not with ESPN anymore, he’s working for NESN, among others. They do their pregame shows from Yawkey Way.

 

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These are some of the the Duck Boats for the “Duck Tours” around the city of Boston. They’re good on land and in the water. As Yogi Berra once said “He hits from both sides of the plate. He’s amphibious.”

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 Once the Royals arrived back home, it was time for the pitchers to do some hitting. Interleague play means pitchers batting in nine upcoming road games. Here a guy who loves to hit, Zack Greinke, takes his hacks.

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