May 2014

WEATHERING THE BASEBALL SEASON

As the calendar turned from April to May, we all hoped the weather would turn as well (for the better of course).  That wasn’t the case, at least for the Royals.  Here was the rule through the first quarter of the 2014 season: whenever the Royals ARRIVED in a city the weather IMMEDIATELY turned cold. The minute the Royals LEFT a city (or even were preparing to leave a city) it IMMEDIATELY became very pleasant.

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The Royals first West Coast trip of the year is a great example.  By the time the 4-game series wrapped up it had finally warmed into the 60’s…for the first time.  Of course in the days BEFORE the Royals arrived it was in the 80’s…but once we landed…low 50s.  Seattle is such a beautiful place to be and Safeco Field is one of the best.

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For the first three games in the Emerald City, it was cold!  Gloves, ski caps, long johns…the whole 9 yards.  The first night the roof was closed as it rained on and off throughout the day.  Having said that, I like the “open air” set up in Safeco.  When the roof is open it’s spectacular.

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The final game in Seattle included big homers by Johnny Giavotella and Alcides Escobar.  Gio hit a 3 run shot…Escy his first career grand slam.  They did it on Mother’s Day, ,which is a day when many players use pink bats, and wear pink spikes to raise awareness about Breast Cancer research.  As for Joel…Jeff Davenport set him up with some stylish pink sneakers.  The real question:  Is Joel brave enough to wear them on any of the other 364 days of the year?

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Another of the beautiful new age ball parks in the Big Leagues is Petco Park in San Diego.  The Royals won 2 of 3 there.  And OF COURSE it was quite a bit cooler and  breezier than usual.  Of all the “cold” games…it was the most comfortable…as you’d expect in San Diego.  It opened in 2004 and is a real jewel.  Our hotel was literally attached to the ballpark by a walkway.  What a nice commute!

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Before the finale of the San Diego series, a baby dinosaur threw out the ceremonial first pitch…using his mouth (I’m assuming it was a “him”…but that many not have been the case).  The pitch was delivered before I could whip out my camera phone…so I got him running off the field.

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And no jokes about Steve Garvey being a dinosaur!  He’s retired but looks great.  Believe it or not he’s 65…and looks at home in either Dodger Stadium or Petco Park.  He remembered Royals VP Mike Swanson from Swanee’s many years in baseball.  Swanee was also on the media relations staff with the Padres when they won their first-ever NL pennant in 1984.  Swanee’s the one with his back to you in this photo.

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Before the middle game in San Diego, Jeremy Guthrie preparing to take batting practice.  Rex Hudler was nearby for his usual dose of encouragement.  When I asked Jeremy before the game if he liked hitting he said “no not much.  I was never a very good hitter.”  Well an 0-for-2 night did include a sacrifice bunt.  Most importantly he pitched 8 very good innings, allowing just a run.  He gave the overworked bullpen a BIG break.

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Before heading west we` caught a break in the Detroit series at home after a frigid series with Toronto.  By the Saturday game of that series it had warmed up to 80!  Before that game Dayton Moore and members of his staff were there for the presentation of Gold Gloves to Salvador Perez, Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon (who received his THIRD)  Congrats to the whole organization!

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Before we froze on that home stand versus Toronto, we were in Baltimore, where (typically for the Royals this year) it was BEAUTIFUL when we arrived….but a much different story once we started actually playing a game.  This was the view from my hotel room when we first arrived in Charm City.  We felt humidity, but not too much of it.  It was baseball weather.   Perfect…

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But by the time the series got started the next evening it was 52 degrees and we waited out a 55 minute rain delay.  By the finale of the series it was pleasant…but apparently only because the Royals were about to leave town….

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