Results tagged ‘ Billy Butler ’
The Royals got off to a fast start in 2015, winning their first seven games. Just before the Opener, the Royals awarded American League Championship rings to the players, coaches and baseball/clubhouse staff. Even the box was great…it lights up the ring when you open the lid!
The next day, the Royals hosted a luncheon for full time employees, many of whom also received rings (or in some cases pendants if that was their preference. The rings are big!) I was fortunate enough to be one of those to receive a ring. Royals President Dan Glass, Senior VP of Business Operations Kevin Uhlich and staff members did a great job designing these mementos. The iconic KC logo with the blue backing really stands out! The generosity shown by the Glass family as they share the memories of 2014 with those in the entire organization has been unbelievable.
On one side of the ring is the American League logo, with three diamonds, emblematic of the royals three American League titles (1980, 1985 and 2014).
On the other side everybody has their name emblazoned above the the crown logo (the KC is blue by the way). The banner above the crown reads “MLB Playoff Record 8-0.” Two more thoughts on that: 1) That’s the first time I’ve ever written or used the word “emblazoned,” as far as I can remember (and I spelled it correctly on the first try!). and 2) I’m thankful that Royals legend Art Stewart spells his name the same way I do (that way there was very little danger of it being misspelled. Ha.)
Opening Day, of course, meant Denny Matthews going back to work. The Royals 47th season opened with Denny broadcasting his 47th opener. Really amazing. Royals fans are lucky to have a guy who’s been there since Day 1. And Denny has signed on to keep on keeping on through at least the 50th season of Royals baseball in 2018!
The season-opening series sweep was punctuated by a Salvador Perez 2-run homer, his first long ball of the year. The next morning the press in Venezuela took note! Love this headline…
When Oakland came to town for the second homestand of 2015, it meant the return of Billy Butler. Billy will always be loved in KC for his great play on the field and all of his great charitable work off the field while he was here. Longtime teammate Alex Gordon was part of the pregame ceremony during which Billy received his 2014 ring. The crowd roared their approval as Alex playfully removed Billy’s Oakland cap and replaced it with Gordo’s Royals cap.
The first game of the Oakland series brought the Royals second sellout of 2015, as the crowd welcomed the club home from a winning road trip and welcomed Billy back to the K. Hopefully the crowds will be big all season long!
As the first homestand wound down, All-Star Fever was beginning to heat up! When you add the exhibition schedule to the regular season, the players’ journey is 194 games….so looking at it that way, we’re about a quarter of the way through! Here are some of the things we’ve encountered on our journey through 2012:
Number 5 came by the booth, in his role as the Ambassador of Kansas City’s All-Star Summer. George Brett was a 13-time All-Star as a player. Normally whenever he pays us a visit, the inning flies by and 3 outs are recorded in 7 or 8 pitches, leaving us very little time to talk with him. This was a rarity: six Royals batted, three got hits and one scored (Billy Butler on a Humberto Quintero double).
A great sight: Royals catcher Salvador Perez watching batting practice…walking without crutches. It’s still going to be awhile before we see him again crouching behind homeplate, but his rehab is going great and he should be good-as-new before too long. It was such deflating news we received in spring training that Sal would be lost for 3 months or so…but the Royals still expect him to be one of the best in baseball. And, oh by the way, he won’t turn 22 until May 10th.
A breathtaking sight: A fly-over by a Stealth bomber on Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium. The crowd that day was 40, 230…the largest crowd since the renovation in 2009.
The Royals opened the season in Anaheim. Here are your 3-4 hitters for the next several years in KC: Billy Butler and Eric Hosmer. Yes Cabrera/Fielder may be the most dangerous 3-4 in baseball right now, but there will come a time when these two will be feared by opponents in a similar way (at a price well south of the 400 million dollars those guys having coming their way).
Before we opened against the Angels, the Royals played an exhibition game at beautiful Petco Park in San Diego. And you probably know these Hall of Famers: Denny with Padres TV broadcaster Dick Enberg, who for years was the lead announcer for NBC Sports, before moving to CBS. When Denny started with the new Royals club in 1969, Enberg was the radio voice of the Angels.
Did I mention we were in San Diego? Having worked in both leagues and having travelled to every city in both leagues there are a lot of things to like. The American has Boston and Seattle among other great places to go. The National League has San Diego…ahhhhh. What a place. We were fortunate to visit two years in a row.
Here I am with Mark Stephen. The first baseball game I ever broadcast was in April of 1987 with this guy (he wasn’t much of a dresser back then either). That first game was the Calgary Cannons (our team) visiting the Las Vegas Stars, in Pacific Coast League play. Mark is a native Calgarian, and these days is the radio voice of the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL. Mark and his family visited AZ for spring break and took in a game between the Royals and Angels.
My son John was very lucky. He made TWO trips to spring training this year. Here he is with my (young) aunt, Melinda McGrath. Melinda has become a Royals fan. She’s a lifelong fan of Missouri’s “other” team (who knew Missouri had another Major League team?). She was one of about 20 of my relatives who visited Surprise in March.