2013 was the best Royals season in 24 years. Many records were set. It was enjoyable from beginning to end. Fans are already hoping for even better than the 86-76 year just completed. But before we head into the offseason, here’s one more look at some images from 2013.
Teammates congratulate Justin Maxwell after his walkoff grand slam that ended the home schedule with a bang. Justin was a big acquisition by the Royals on July 31st. He was very productive and added much-needed pop. Kauffman Stadium was electric throughout the final homestand as the Royals made a bid for a playoff spot.
Back in April the Royals made an unforgettable 3 city trip to Atlanta, Boston and Detroit. The leg of the trip that made it unforgettable was Boston. The bombing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon happened two days before the Royals arrived. It happened about a block from our hotel. So our hotel was a command center, and every TV network and many local stations were set up right out our windows for the four days we spent there.
Remember May snow? Yes, MAY SNOW! Denny was not pleased, nor were any of us. On May the 2nd the Royals and Rays played three and a half innings. The Royals were leading 1-0, but snow (which came with terribly cold temperatures) ended the game before it became official. Finally in Late August, on a nice, hot summer day, the Royals took care of business and beat the Rays, 11-1.
One sad note from 2013, we lost our friend Fred White. He died in May. The Kansas City Star ran this photo of Fred, Denny and Don Free (above Fred) from a broadcast they did from the upper deck in the 90’s. We all miss you, Fred.
Another part of 2013 I won’t forget was the Yankees visit to Kauffman Stadium. Mariano Rivera pitched at Kauffman Stadium for the final time. At every stop this season, Mariano wanted to say goodbye and thanks to fans and employees of every team he visited. He met with Royals employees and several families who have endured hardship regarding their children. One family had lost a child. Other families had a child with a grave illness. He was, is, and always will be a class act.
One “trick” that the Comerica Park grounds crew figured out was that if you put tons of sand around first base, the league leader in basestealing, the Royals, had a much harder time running the Tigers out of the ballpark. The last two trips the Royals made to Detroit meant seeing members of the stadium crew making things much tougher on the Royals rabbits.
One of the fun aspects of the late season playoff run was seeing fans get so excited. It was obviously the case in KC. But on the road we saw a LOT of fans wearing their Royal Blue. After a four hour game in Seattle, late at night (even for the folks out there), there were a lot of Royals fans hanging out by the visitors dugout after a Royal victory.
By the time the Royals got to Chicago, after an all-night flight, they had already been eliminated from the postseason. But the Royals kept playing hard, taking 3 of 4 from the White Sox. One of the milestones reached in the final series, Greg Holland broke the Royals single season saves record, with his 46th. He broke the record which had been held by Dan Quisenberry and Jeff Montgomery. On the final day of the season, Greg closed out the Royals 86th win, and his 47th save.
The day after he broke the record, Steve Physioc had Greg sign his scorecard from the game the night before. Media are not normally allowed to get authographs from players, but this was a special case. Phys donates his framed, signed scorecards to charity after a big achievement, such as a player breaking a record. It was just one of many, many memorable moments from 2013.