Results tagged ‘ Denny Matthews ’
After a great Spring, the Royals got the season off to a good start, with a 3-3 trip to Chicago and Philadelphia, followed by a 4-2 homestand. The early returns on the rebuilt starting rotation look promising, keeping the Royals in just about every game. Some early images from 2013:
One sad story occured during the first Friday home game, as Toronto superstar Jose Reyes suffered a severely sprained ankle, on an awkward slide at second base. Former Royals coach John Gibbons, now back for his second tour as the Blue Jays skipper, says Reyes is already the face of the franchise. Not having him until around the All-Star Break will be tough on the Jays. It was great seeing our old friend Gibby again.
The injury created an eerie flashback to early 2012, when Yankee closer Mariano Rivera tore a knee ligament on the warning track at Kauffman Stadium. That injury ended Rivera’s season. And, like New York’s Brian Cashman last season, this year it’s Toronto GM Alex Anthopoulos who has to piece things together for basically half the season without a major piece, his star shortstop. Anthopoulos met the Toronto media to talk about the injury the day after Reyes was injured.
The first homestand, of course, began with a fun home opener. Always much better with a victory, as Ervin Santana held the Twins to just 1 run over 8 outstanding innings. The weather was nice, 73 at game time. The Royals won 3-1, and wound up sweeping the Twins.
Before the Royals got home, they finished the road trip taking 2 out of 3 at Citizens Bank Park, facing a tough team and tough Philly crowds. This is year 10 for CBP, a beautiful ballpark that replaced the Vet back in 04. It’s about 2 miles south of downtown Philly. The skyline is visible over the wall in left center.
Across the street from our hotel is historic city hall in downtown Philadelphia. It remains the largest, the tallest and the most expensive of all city halls in the United States. The central tower reaches a height of 511 feet. It’s topped by a massive statue of William Penn, 37 feet tall. It has more than 700 rooms and is larger than the US Capitol (it’s the nation’s largest municipal building).
Of course Broad Street is perhaps the most famous street when it comes to Philly sports. The Flyers hockey teams in the 1970’s were known as the Broad Street Bullies. The street runs from downtown right to their sports complex, which includes not just Citizens Bank Park and the Eagles home, Lincoln Financial Field, but the Wells Fargo Center, home of the Flyers and the 76ers.
The first stop after we left spring training was Chicago, where we spent 6 days (and only played 3 games). Denny treated some of us to a Blackhawks hockey game at the United Center. The game was the evening of Opening Day…so we went right from one stadium to another.
It’s a big arena, the Blackhawks draw better than 21,000 per game. Of course the building is most famous for Michael Jordan’s exploits. Most of his Bulls exploits happened in this building, which replaced the old Chicago Stadium. On this night the Blackhawks and Nashville Predators were tied after regulation and it took not only an overtime period, but a shootout for the home team to come away victorious. Great night at “The Madhouse on Madison.”
While in Chicago we had to have some Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Don Free, Denny and I made a very cold walk about 6 blocks to the original Pizzeria Due. Former University of Texas football star Ike Sewell opened Pizzeria Uno being Italian for one) and one block away Pizzeria Due (Italian for two). He started his pizza empire in the 1940’s Sewell and his business partner franchised the deep dish idea nationwide and made lots of money…and lots of pizzas.
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.
The August West Coast trip was not a good one…except for the weather. Cool and crisp. Not enough wins…but there were items of interest as the Royals visited Oakland, Seattle and Anaheim…
Right next to our radio booth. With Don Free hard at work preparing for our broadcast, Oakland radio voice Ken Korach was pretending to broadcast a game from 2002! They were filming a movie based on the book “Moneyball“. Ken was playing himself…so he was perfect for the role.
Of course Moneyball chronicled the job Billy Beane and his baseball operation in Oakland did winning on a tight budget and doing it largely through studying statistics. Here in a normally empty back little area of the Oakland Coliseum press box, the audio engineers make sure everything sounds great for the movie.
……These are the “movie star” trailers just outside the stadium where they’re filming. And YES…Brad Pitt (playing Beane in the movie) and Angelina Jolie and family were in the house. And, no, I didn’t get either one of them for the pregame show…
We had a day off in Seattle, I did something I had never done on several previous trips to the Emerald City…visited the Space Needle. It provides great views on a beautiful day like this one.
… What street ran right by the Space Needle? Denny Way of course. Denny Matthews cannot confirm if he’s ever been on Denny Way in all his trips to Seattle over the years.
Near Denny Way is Stewart Street. Looked but did not find a Davis Avenue or a Free Way….wait a minute…the 5 Freeway (Interstate 5) runs right by the Space Needle …(lower part of photo).
As we flew out of Seattle on our way south to Anaheim we got a breathtaking close-up view of (we think) Mount Ranier sticking up through the cloud cover. What a beautiful view.
The best weather of the trip was in Southern California. The temperature at game time for the afternoon game was 76…..wow. No…not enough wins…but great weather…and great views on the West Coast.
If the game is moving slowly, there is one proven method to make it speed up: give George Brett a microphone! George recently joined Denny and Bob to promote Royals Fantasy Camp next February. The game had been played at a leisurely pace until the 4th. That’s when Number 5 sat down. Total pitches needed for a pair of 1-2-3 innings? 20. For six outs. Every time he stops by, it seems, his visit is cut short by quick innings. I couldn’t get Bob to smile, he was busy working.
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!