A Royal Journey
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 While it’s outdated in many ways, I like to think about the history…all those great A’s teams and Raiders teams that played on that field.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.