The Royals are in their 40th year. Major League Baseball first came to Kansas City in 1955 when the Athletics relocated from Philadelphia. We met a special lady who’s among those who have been a fan of all the teams, Marilyn Childs. Before the Big Leagues arrived, she was a fan of the Kansas City Blues, the old Yankee farm team that produced Mickey Mantle (among many others).
Marilyn is a life-long resident of Kansas City, and has rarely missed a radio broadcast since Opening Day in 1969. Here she meets Denny Matthews, after listening to him all these years. He was part of that original Opening Day broadcast, and was impressed by her knowledge of baseball and the Royals.
Marilyn’s favorite pitcher was Paul Splittorff. Favorite player, not surprisingly, was George Brett. It was great that her relatives were able to bring her by the press box on the last homestand. Without listeners like Marilyn, we broadcasters wouldn’t have these great jobs!! Thanks Marilyn! And to all the loyal listeners in our seven-state region!
The Royals won a series at US Cellular Field for the first time since 2003. Chicago is such a great city, ESPECIALLY in the summer. My theory is the city would be much, much larger if they didn’t have their harsh winters to scare some people away. Some of the things that got my attention on a walk through “The City of the Big Shoulders.”
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A statue of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, who at one time broadcast for both the Cubs and the White Sox…in those days he only broadcast home games, for both.
On the plaque it notes he “broadcasted” for the Cubs, which neither Bob Davis nor I believe is proper English, but it makes for a nice conversation starter. Nice that he’s honored this way, in front of the Tribune Building, home of WGN TV and radio, as well as the Tribune newspaper.
The Chicago River. Lots of tour boats full of sightseers on a summer Saturday. On St. Patrick’s Day, it turns green! (and so do many of the locals…)
A legendary broadcasting market, and among the legends, the ageless Paul Harvey. Good DAY!!
In one of the display windows on the first floor of the Tribune Building, the vintage Tribune headline trumpets the first Moon Landing which just happened to be 39 years ago, July 20, 1969. Wish I were old enough to really remember it. No I don’t, because that would make me even older than I am…..
This is a piece of the Moon. We take it for granted now, but with relatively primitive technology (by today’s standards), we sent men to the moon and brought them home alive, and with souvenirs! They say there’s more computer memory in the laptop I’m using to type this text than there was in all of Mission Control. More in your cell phone than their was in the Lunar Module that landed on the Moon.
This rock was collected by the crew of Apollo 15. All moon walkers who followed Neil Armstrong seemingly get lost in history’s shuffle. But among other things, this mission introduced the world to the Lunar Rover, which was a sort of battery-powered dune buggy, allowing astronauts to travel several miles in their quest to explore. OK, enough with the space stuff, but it is, after all, my blog…
This aircraft would not make it to the Moon, but it might take someone to the “top.” As the Royals were boarding their charter at Midway Airport, the campaign plane for Barack Obama was undergoing security checks. We see his plane every time we go to Chicago. Maybe he’s a Royals fan! Oh, that’s right, he lives there.
I had a lot of fun with four Royals players (one of them former…Royals Hall of Famer Frank White), as they helped show youngsters from the George Brett Baseball and Softball Program some baseball fundamentals. Also thanks to team photographer Chris Vleisides for taking these photos. A REMINDER ON THIS BLOG: YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTOGRAPH TO ENLARGE.
After Frank White was finished teaching the kids the finer points of playing defense, Luke Hochevar came out on the field and talked about, what else? Pitching. He said, among other things, that he didn’t start throwing breaking balls until he was 16, which drew a round of applause form the coaches, intent on protecting young arms. Luke also showed the grips he uses on the pitches he throws. The 108-foot crown vision board made it easy for the kids to see how a Major Leaguer holds the baseball.
Mark Teahen was fresh off a recent inside-the-park home run. He talked to the kids about baserunning, how big a lead to take, how to round the bases and much more. I didn’t make him run full-speed around the bases, figured I’d take it easy on him, since he had a game to play later in the day.
John put on a demonstration for the kids. Coach Rusty Kuntz threw batting practice to John and he took the kids through everything the big league guys do in BP each day, round-by-round. My thanks to Frank, Luke, Mark and John for showing these youngsters the right way to play.
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The Royals played four with the red-hot Rays in St. Petersburg, and salvaged the final game in 11 innings.
It was my first vist to Tropicana Field and I saw an excited fan base, with the Rays owning the best record in baseball when the Royals rolled into town.
The Rays have a talented team and didn’t have a crowd of less than 16,000 for any game in the series. It’s nice to see a team that has lost so much the last ten years create excitement (except for the fact that some of that excitement was generated by beating the Royals).
Just nice to see the seats filled. It used to be 8000 or 9000 was the norm. Of course when your team has only reached the 70 win mark one time since its inception, it makes it much more difficult to generate excitement. Hard not to cheer for these guys (except when playing the Royals, of course).
These are the “famous” Tropicana Field catwalks. No cats spotted during the four-game series. Many pop flies have deflected off of them over the years. Of course, if the ball hits the catwalk over fair territory, it’s in play…
This is Progress Energy Park aka Al Lang Field, which has been the spring training of several teams, most notably the Cardinals from 1937 until 1997. Now it’s losing the Rays, who are bolting for Port Charlotte next spring. There was talk of building a new ballpark for the Rays on this site, but that has apparently been tabled for now.
Finally, a win on the final day in St. Pete! As the plane is about to take off, a rainbow is visible. The pot of gold is not.
I used to live and work in Baltimore, so the Royals trip there on the recent road trip was a lot of fun for me. I had a chance to visit the gang at WBAL Radio, where I used to work, but I forgot to get pictures of “the gang.” Oh well…their website is www.wbal.com so you can read all about them there.
Outside my 8th floor hotel room window, the window washer was doing his job. Hanging from a suspension cable, and with a suction cup handle stuck to the window, he did his job. How much would they have to pay you to do that job? I’m not sure I could come up with a dollar figure that would get me out there. First floor, fine. Second floor, maybe. Then I’m done.
This is Baltimore’s signature Inner Harbor. It’s a beautiful area, always lots going on. I’d rent one of those little boats WAY before I’d repel down a building to wash windows.
Here are former Royal (and O’s TV analyst) Buck Martinez and Royals pitching coach Bob McClure. They were teammates in both KC and Milwaukee. Apparently they were reminiscing about some “nailbiters” they played in, back in the day.
On Eutaw (pronounced “Utah”) Street at the entrance to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, stands a large statue of a young Babe Ruth. Baltimoreans are very proud that the Babe was born and raised in Baltimore. But they’re a bit conflicted, since he starred for the HATED Yankees. This Statue has a flaw…behind his back, Babe is holding a righthanded glove (for his left hand). He was, of course, lefthanded.
The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is just blocks away from the ballpark. It’s worth the visit if you’re in the area. The Babe actually lived in the apartment over his father’s saloon, which was located in what is now right field at Camden Yards.
Although a hotel has been built behind left field, it’s still one of the most beautiful views in all of baseball. Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992, but still looks brand new. It was “the original” retropark, which changed all of sports, not just baseball. New ballparks (Major League and minor league), football stadiums and basketball and hockey arenas have sprouted in almost every town, large and small, in America. It all started here.
This is one of Baltimore’s major landmarks: the Bromo Seltzer Tower. Built in 1911, you used to see it from Oriole Park, but not anymore, thanks to the new hotel.
When your team is 6-1 on a homestand, you get a little greedy, but the Royals left town after going 6-3. Some images from the 10-day stay in KC:
After such a brutal winter, and bad weather in April and much of May, we finally had a great run of weather. The pool where I live re-opened after a renovation. They even had a party to celebrate. I had to say over and over again, when offered refreshments, “Thanks, but we’ve got a game tonight!” My will power won the day.
Saturday night the sellout crowd was there to see a great man honored before the game. Art Stewart (no relation) is now a member of the Royals Hall of Fame. Great to see so many Royals Hall of Famers, as well as Royals owner David Glass, there to honor a special man who has meant so much to the organization.
The recent road trip wound up being a great one for the Royals…5-1, including a first-ever sweep in St. Louis. A few pics from my hometown.
After a Royals win, rookie Mike Aviles gets the obligatory “shaving cream pie” in the face from a teammate after an 8th inning home run proved to be the game winner! FSN’s Joel Goldberg is enough of a veteran to know when to get out of the way.
That’s me with St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel. He’s known throughout baseball as “The Commish.” You may remember last summer he received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in Cooperstown the same day Denny received his Ford C. Frick Award.
These are more of my red-clad relatives. Melinda, Bill, Marjorie, Jeff, Melanie and Gary. All of them fulfulling a life-long dream of making it onto this blog…
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The Royals enjoyed their trip back to their “home base” of Arizona. Not Surprise, but Phoenix, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. They play under a retractable roof, which opens at times even in the heat of summer. Kudos to the man (person?) who invented air conditioning.
If I were to put only one picture on this particular post, this would be it. Pretty much says it all. Bob Davis advised me to write “but it’s a dry heat!” under the photo…haha.
Here is the legendary Joe Garagiola, Sr., with FSN’s Joel Goldberg. I took this picture to commemorate the fact that Joel’s mother was a contestant on the early-1970’s game show “Sale of the Century,” for which Garagiola was the host. Joel believes his mom, Nancy, was pregnant with him while she was a contestant on the show, so, in effect, he was on the show as well. Upon his birth, Joel was lavished with many “lovely parting gifts.”
Here’s a picture with Joe and me. I don’t need a reason…it’s my blog. I will say he’s one of the most enjoyable people I’ve ever interviewed. He’s the most amazing story teller I’ve ever met (or heard). Joe’s son, Joe Jr.is the former general manager of the D-Backs. He currently works for Major League baseball.
Chase Field (formerly the BOB), is in its 11th year as the home of the Dbacks. On this day, the roof was closed during the late afternoon, during batting practice, while the air conditioners did their thing.
Then as the game is a few minutes from beginning, they open the roof. So the fans can enjoy an “open-air” ballgame in the evening (they don’t do this for day games), the cooling system keeps it pleasant for the game.
As I was taking this picture, one of the kids in the pool noticed my camera/phone and said,”cool, that’s an IPhone!” Of course I’m thinking “cool, your parents just spent $6,500 dollars so you could go swimming during a baseball game!”
And last, but not least, this is FSN pregame producer Bobby Reed, asleep as the plane lands in St. Louis after winning the series in Arizona. You can write your own caption.
The Royals split their four-game series at Yankee Stadium, the first of two visits they’ll make in the final year of “The House that Ruth Built” (re-built in the mid-70’s)…
It was very hot for the three day games…temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90’s. I took the liberty (not to be confused with the statue…) of taking a few pics. No photos from Monument Park…I’ll try to get out that way when we go back in August. I should probably get in line now….it’s a popular attraction.
That’s “The House that 1.3 billion dollars built.” The New Yankee Stadium right next door. It will open next season. If you want to sit in the front row behind home plate, you may need to sell your car. A cool $2,500 a seat (and, no, you don’t get to take the seat home with you…) The current version cost “just” 2.5 million. It opened in 1923.
A deli across the street from our hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Notice that if you order the Chicken Salad Club, it comes with bacon, lettuce and “TOMATOE.” Notice the “e” at the end of “tomatoe.” Dan Quayle would be proud…
Two friends invading from “Cubs Country,” (and apparently Rockies Country too) Gary Cantwell (the program director from my college radio station at SMU) and his son David. Gary is the man responsible for making me the broadcaster that I am today. Other than that, he’s had a very successful life and career…
The more traditional view. A lot of sports/entertainment seen here over the years. Joe Louis defeated German Max Schmeling in 1938. Several Popes celebrated Mass here. 38 World Series have been played here. And George Brett got a little mad at an umpire here in 1983.
My view in the 3rd base camera/grounds crew well. Joakim Soria closing out a 2-1 Royals victory over the Yanks. This is my spot, as I get ready to “pounce” onto the field for a postgame interview.
I type during the bumpy bus ride up Madison Avenue on our way to Yankee Stadium. The road has been unkind to the Royals in recent weeks. The trend continued in Chicago. It was my 12th American League ballpark from which I’ve broadcast. Yankee Stadium will be “lucky” 13.
A few Chi-town shots of interest:
This monstrosity is a pickup truck apparently belonging to White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle. It is, to say the least, large. Two separate 60-gallon gas tanks, one on either side, means it’s about 500 bucks to fill up. Yikes!
Shot from our radio booth, as Denny and Bob are hoping to see a Royals victory. Wednesday night was close, but no cigar. 15 innings, but another road loss. As you can see, our view from the booth is a good one.
Not as good for the writers. Bob Dutton, from the KC Star (left) and Dave Holtzman (below him) watch from the press box (writers, etc. who aren’t actually broadcasting the game). When the Sox redid their press box in 2007, the “regular press” got moved down the right field line.
While it’s impossible to make out based on this photo, I thought it was worth putting on here. That flashing light is a police/secret service escort for a plane that had just brought Barack Obama home to Chicago. His plane had just landed as we were getting on our chartered flight headed for New York.