As the Royals made their long, cold trek through Cleveland, Minnesota and Detroit, the rough opening homestand moved into the rear-view mirror. April weather in the Upper Midwest can be a little dicey, but the Royals made the most of it with a winning trip. They went 4-3 (two games got rained out…)
The losing streak ended in Cleveland…with an 8-2 victory…and 12 hours later the Royals beat the Tribe again. So a 12-game losing streak turned into a series win and a win streak in less than 24 hours. Oh yeah, it was cold….and foggy. Much of downtown Cleveland disappeared (let’s see David Copperfield do that!)
On to Minneapolis, and (as we saw in Cleveland and Detroit as well) out came the tarp. Cold, lots of rain…but (because of a Saturday rainout) a 1-1 split in what became a 2-game series. Dinner at Murray’s, a great steakhouse, helped warm us up (and fill us up…)
Detroit also featured a first-day rainout. But with if the Royals could at least split the two remaining games in the Motor City, they could achieve a winning road trip. They made their job tougher by losing the first game, knowing they were going to face Justin Verlander the next day. This statue btw, honors the late, great Ernie Harwell, a wonderful man who broadcast Tiger baseball from 1960 until 2002.
As we know from the renovated Kauffman Stadium and all the wonderful features in the Outfield Experience, the modern ballparks have many, many creature comforts that they didn’t have 20 or 30 years ago. Comerica Park not only features a merry-go-round, as we have at the K (theirs of course features only Tigers to ride…does MU have one of those?). They’ve also got a baseball-themed ferris wheel.
On the final day of the road tip we FINALLY felt warmth! It was around 80 (every day prior had been 40’s or 50s)….And guess who was on the mound that day? And guess which game the Ro
yals won in Detroit? No they didn’t beat Verlander (technically)….but they beat the Tigers on the day he pitched…and a 4-3 trip was in the books.
The Tigers have a long, storied history. The most famous Tiger of all was this guy. From what we read and hear, he didn’t have many friends, on or off the field. Not sure how much he smiled, or even what made him smile. But Tyrus Raymond Cobb, who dominated the game (especially in the pre-Babe Ruth home run era), had a 367 lifetime batting average. That’s the highest in Major League History. The Georgia Peach.
After a winning road trip the Royals were happy to get home. Upon our arrival for the Yankee series, we met Reggie Deal (as did several players, including Jeff Francoeur) , a Texas native who’s been blind since birth, and a huge baseball fan. Kauffman Stadium was his fifth stop in an amazing 30-ballparks-in-30-days tour around North America. Even more amazing, Reggie travels alone (getting special assistance in airports). He gets you pumped up about baseball just by listening to him talk about his love of the game. His advice to us “sighted” fans: when you’re in your seat next time you attend a game, close your eyes for 30 seconds or a minute….and enjoy the sounds, the smells, atmosphere you can gather using your other senses. That’s how Reggie sees the game.
Maybe Reggie brought good luck. The Royals won for the first time at home that night, thanks in large part to Mike Moustakas, who had a huge game, with a homer, 3 rbi’s and a game-saving barehand play at third to record the 27th out and secure the victory. Joel Goldberg (who celebrated birthday number 40 a few days later) interviewed Moose on TV right before I got him on radio.
The sad news from the homestand was Mariano Rivera’s knee injury, suffered before the first game. By the next day it seemed like every media outlet in the country was at Kauffman Stadium to cover the news that the Yankee closer was lost for the season. Mariano vows to come back as a 43 year old next year. No one doubts he can do it.