You never know who might show up in our radio booth or on our air….
You might be surprised to learn that comedian Jeff Foxworthy is not only Ned Yost’s neighbor near Atlanta, but also one of his best friends. They spend much of the offseason hunting together. While the Braves are Jeff’s favorite team, the Royals have become his “other” favorite team, thanks to Ned. Jeff is a super nice guy, and he was good enough to come by the broadcast booth and spend an inning visiting with Bob and Denny. He also took batting practice before the game. Ned says his swing has improved over the years (of course so has his bank account). Foxworthy says Ned is one of the funniest people he’s ever met….high praise from a pro…
Othere celebrities were in our midst in June, including a graduate of Shawnee Mission West High School and KU, actor Paul Rudd. Here he takes batting practice prior to the Big Slick Celebrity Whiffle ball Game that also involved fellow KC native Rob Riggle, as well as actor Jon Hamm.
Paul was in Clueless, Anchorman, The 40-year-old Virgin, I Love You Man, How Do You Know, among many other films. He was also a regular on the TV show Friends, playing Mike Hannigan, Phoebe’s boyfriend and later husband. He’s a lifelong Royals fan. He was at Game 6 of the 1985 World Series. Was not able to be at Game 7. He’s also a diehard KU fan, where he went to school.
Here was the Big Slick Celebrity Whiffle Ball Game, played on the Little K at Kauffman Stadium. Great crowd turned out before the Royals-Cubs game that evening. The contest benefitted Children’s Mercy Hospital. Besides Rudd, Riggle, and Hamm, celebrities included former Royals George Brett, John Wathan and Al Fitzmorris. Chiefs QB Matt Cassel was in the game as well, along with several local media personalities. Cassel and Jon Hamm were named the games MVP’s. It ended, appropriately enough, in an 11-11 tie.
Another June highlight was the induction of former Royals pitcher Kevin Appier into the Royals Hall of Fame. He becomes the 24th person so honored. “Ape” is the all-time Royals strikeout leader and was one of the better starting pitchers of his era. Kevin is never really comfortable in a suit. But for this occasion he was happy to get dressed up. Denny was master of ceremonies for the onfield induction, and then invited Kevin up to the radio to booth for an inning to talk about his fine career and some of his favorite memories.
My son John made yet another couple of appearances at Kauffman Stadium for the Cubs series. His Aunt Maureen was kind enough to bring him to one of the games. John always seems to be around for wins….ever year. The Royals record with him in attendance this season is 5-4. Maybe we need him at the ballpark more often! If it weren’t for all those darned school nights…and summer trips…and little league games…
The Royals first three-city road trip of the year started successfully…with three wins in the first four games. It ended with a 4-5 mark…but the team never stopped fighting. This was the first of three trips this season that take us to three cities. The Royals played in Anaheim, Oakland and St. Louis..
The first game in Anaheim was also the Major League debut for “Mooooose!”…that would be Mike Moustakas. He played his first big league game not far from Chatsworth High School…where he was all-everything. He had upwards of 50 relatives and friends on hand for the three-game series. Moose did not disappoint. His first game produced his first hit. His second game produced his first home run. He actually had a hit, a walk and a run scored in each of his first four Major League games.
Here’s a performer that is particularly entertaining to ballplayers. Ladies and gentleman…I give you….Batting Stance Guy! His name is Gar Ryness (almost rhymes with Your Highness…but he’s not royalty). Who is Gar Ryness? As the New York Times wrote “Ryness has a singular talent: an ability to perform comically dead-on impressions of Major League hitters upon request.” He had the entire Royals team in stitches as they waited to start batting practice. Check him out at battingpracticeguy.com.
Angel Stadium, aka The Big A. Besides Batting Stance Guy, and the Angels, the ballpark has seen many other performers entertain here. A beautiful venue. While we were there, Taio Cruz performed a postgame concert. A few days later U2 was in concert. Royals Senior VP of Business Operations Kevin Uhlich helped oversee the renovation of this great ballpark, just as he did later with Kauffman Stadium.
A very good sign you’re in San Francisco: the cable car. The San Francisco cable car system is the last of its kind in the world. It’s the only transportation system you’ll find on the National Register of Historic Places.
Across the bay in Oakland, the A’s continue to play at the Coliseum. It’s had many names, but the current one is O.co (rebranding of Overstock.com. For a few months it was the Overstock.com Coliseum). The A’s are doing everything they can to get a new ballpark. Their hope is to move to San Jose. It’s a political football, because the San Francisco Giants consider San Jose part of their territory. While it’s outdated in many ways, I like to think about the history…all those great A’s teams and Raiders teams that played on that field.
The former voice of the Kansas City/Oakland Athletics stopped by our radio booth. Monte Moore. What a nice man. He moved west with the A’s when they left KC after the 1967 season. Frank and Bob are among those who listened to his calls over the years. From 1961 until 1977 he saw a lot of great ballplayers wear an A’s uniform. During his KC days he also spent time broadcasting KU basketball, including one season with a center named Wilt Chamberlain.
As the final series of the long road trip opened in St. Louis, the Royals stretch before taking batting practice before game one. It was a tight series, with each game ending with a 5-4 score. The Royals took the first game, but could not take the series as St. Louis came back to win the last two games of the trip.
One of the nice things about this series was the united effort to help those hit in Joplin by the tornado in May. Aaron Crow and Mike Moustakas both wear Joplin High School Eagles caps for batting practice. Both teams wore them during warmups….autographed them…then the caps were auctioned off to help those folks in Joplin.
Here are two guys who have seen a lot of baseball over the years, Mike Shannon and Jay Randolph. Mike played nine seasons for the Cardinals. Beginning in 1972 he entered their radio booth, where he still works today. For many years Mike also did televised games with Randolph…who’s had a long, distinguished career doing just about every sport you can think of and many of those sports at the network level. In the pre-cable days, they were Cardinals television.