A lot of fans were disappointed Mother Nature got in the way of the final game of the Royals-Yankees series, postponing KC’s salute to future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter. The 39-year-old will be 40 by the time the Yanks return to Kauffman Stadium August 25th for the makeup game. The Royals took 2 of 3 in the shortened series, and finished 9-4 in a tough stretch against Toronto, St. Louis, New York and Cleveland.
Jeter played in 2 of the 3 games. He’s always been a player most fans admire, even if they HATE the Yankees. Prior to the rainout Denny went into the visitors clubhouse to visit with Number 2, having never been formally introduced. Denny told Jeter how much he admired the way Jeter processed the game mentally, a compliment that humbled Jeter (who’s accustomed to being praised for his offensive records and championships etc.)
The Royals won both games in St. Louis. Prior to Game 2 I made my first visit to the new Ballpark Village. I was blown away. It’s sort of a baseball-themed version of Kansas City’s Power and Light District. The same company designed both projects. This is just Phase 1…with more to follow in coming years. Many restaurants are included. Rooftop seating gives it a “Wrigleyville” feel as well. Only difference is no disputes with rooftop owners like the Cubs have with theirs…for one simple reason…they OWN the rooftop.
Trust me when I say you NEED to see it for yourself, and that photos can’t do the massive structure justice. This is “Fox Midwest Live!” with a gigantic TV over the bar. But several other restaurants within the complex are also quite large.
Also within Ballpark Village is the new Cardinals Hall of Fame. Even if you hate the Cardinals (and I know many of you do) it’s still very much worth seeing. Make sure to allot enough time to go through it. Here you see a display honoring Stan the Man. But there’s a lot more to see.
During our stay in Toronto, Royals VP of Communications and Broadcasting Mike Swanson turned the big 6-0. To give you an idea of the high esteem in which Swanee is held by media not just in his hometown of KC but all over the country, when we got to St. Louis, longtime acclaimed photographer Bill Greenblatt insisted he needed to get Mike a birthday cake. So he brought it onto the field and here you see him taking a pic with Swanee and Fox Sports Kansas City Royals producer Joe Loverro holding the cake (which was delicious). Swanee shared it with all the KC and STL media. Swanee’s only complaint? “Did you have to put the number on there?!” Happy Birthday Swanee!
In Toronto, the Royals split four with the Blue Jays. One cool aspect of where we stayed this year was the fact that our hotel was so close to the Rogers Centre. And right next store…that building to the right…is CBC Headquarters. CBC is the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, for more than 60 years the home of Hockey Night in Canada. Denny, Joel Goldberg and I are among those in the traveling party who are big hockey fans. That tall structure on the left is CN Tower, the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere and WAS the tallest in the world for 34 years. 1815 feet high. In between the tower and the CBC building you can see Rogers Centre.
The trip prior to Toronto-St. Louis was a brief, 3-game stay in Anaheim. Always good to see Royals Hall of Famer Mark Gubicza. He’s the TV analyst for the Angels (and his play-by-play guy is Victor Rojas, a Blue Valley High alum and the son of Royals HOF’er Cookie Rojas). Royals TV analyst and fellow Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery says he had lunch more often with Guby than with any other teammate. Two great guys and two great Royals.
Also in Anaheim, Ryan and I had the chance to meet Mike Morin, Angels pitcher. Mike is a graduate of Shawnee Mission South High School. He grew up a big Royals fan. Really nice young man. The Royals actually drafted him out of high school in the 40th round. But like a lot of high school draftees taken in the later rounds, he opted for college, and attended the University of North Carolina, where he was an All-American. The Angels took him in the 13th round in 2012. On April 27th he made his Major League debut.