Results tagged ‘ Kansas City Royals ’

NEW JERSEY IN MISSOURI

The second Saturday home game was the third sellout at New Kauffman Stadium.  On last years jersey giveaway night,  Billy Butler was honored, it was 37 degrees at gametime.  This year, a much more tolerable 75.   It was a VERY popular promotion…How popular?
 
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Thousands were lined up hours before the game, hoping for the 40th Anniversary home white jersey (the Royals first season was 1969…)  This picture doesn’t do the pregame crowd justice…they were lined up all around the New K.  
 
Giveaway Entrance.jpgThe gates opened early…3:00 for the 6:10 start…and the masses were ready!   The number 40 adorned every jersey.  Although It marks the club’s 40th anniversary…just so you know…here’s a list of Royals who have worn 40 on their back:
 
Chris Zachary 1969
Dave Wickersham 1969
Jim York 1970-71
Steve Busby 1972-76, 1978-80
Mike Jones 1981
Bud Black 1982-88
Rick Luecken 1989
Daryl Smith 1990
Curt Young 1992
Kevin Koslofski 1992-94
Jose Mota 1995
Runelvys Hernandez 2002-06
Brian Bannister 2007
Kip Wells 2008
and currently…………Kyle Farnsworth

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The Royals have never had a “40/40″ guy (at least 40 homers and 40 steals in one season)…but with the first 20,000 fans picking up jerseys with “40″ on them…there were 10,000 “40/40′s” in the house!  It was great seeing the New “K” packed for batting practice a couple of hours before gametime!

 
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 Like mother, like daughter.  We know the little one is under 40…is the mom under 40?  She’ll never tell.  It doesn’t matter…this season EVERYBODY is 40!

 

JERRY WORLD

That’s what some in the Dallas/Fort Worth media call the new mega-stadium the Dallas Cowboys will soon call home.  Of course Jerry is Jerry Jones…the Cowboys’ owner.  It’s in Arlington, Texas…just blocks from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

When completed very soon…this retractable-roof stadium will hold up to 100,000.  Lots of events are planned for the new palace…including Super Bowl (February 2011), Cotton Bowl…the Big 12 Championship game…Final Four…NBA All-Star Game…concerts, etc.
 
It is so massive…it’s hard to capture it’s incredible size with one photograph.  Some have said it looks like an alien spacecraft…
 
It’s so big the old Cowboys home, Texas Stadium (which was already huge) could easily fit inside this place…

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AN ALL-NEW HOME SWEET HOME

The first homestand of 2009 was a hit!  Oh sure, we would have liked to have seen better than a 3-3 record against the Yankees and Indians, but the ballpark….WOW
 
Thought I’d share a few pictures of what I saw during the first homestand…this is by no means a complete picture of what 250 million dollars can do to an already beautiful ballpark…but it’ll give you a little taste anyway:  Among those things not pictured are the Rivals Sports Bar in rightfield….or the Bud Light Party Deck above it….
 
Perhaps the most popular new feature is the Pepsi Party Porch in rightfield.  I didn’t make it down there either…yet.  Every game it’s packed, as fans enjoy a view of the stadium they’ve never before experienced.  Also the DRI DUCK Fountain Seats are great!  Haven’t been to the New Stadium Club yet. Concourses and restrooms are all new.  The new Little K is great too!  Kids are loving that.  I could go and on….but I’ll shut up about what is NOT pictured and let you enjoy what I was able to shoot during the first homestand in the NEW K.
 
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ribbon cutting.jpgJackson County Executive Mike Sanders and Royals Chairman/Owner David Glass cut the ribbon on the new ballpark (ok, I was a split-second after the fact.  There were plenty of professional photographers there who got the ACTUAL ribbon being cut).  Mr. Glass said, “I’ve been to most of the new stadiums and I would rank this right at the top of any of the others that I’ve been to.”  I concur wholeheartedly…as did everyone I’ve talked to who’s been to the New Kauffman Stadium. 

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Opening Day ceremonies were spectacular…after a rainy morning the skies cleared by afternoon.Opener Flyover.jpg
 

 

Right on cue during the National Anthem, the A-10 flyover came zooming by overhead (at least I got this shot, even if I missed the giant scissors in actual mid-cut!).
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Denny was the emcee for the unveiling of the Dick Howser statue in centerfield, between the George Brett and Frank White statues.  The late Dick Howser, who managed the Royals to the 1985 World Championship, is fondly remembered by all who knew him.Howser & Wife.jpg

Howser’s widow, Nancy, did a wonderful job paying tribute to Dick and talking about how much he would have enjoyed being there.  Howser, a former Florida State Seminole,  is remembered in many ways…the baseball stadium at FSU is named for him…as is the “Dick Howser Trophy,” which honors college baseball’s best player each year.
 

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On Opening Day…in the Outfield Experience…a young lady gets her face painted.  Don’t worry, mom and dad, it’s not permanent!Playground & Merry go round.jpg
 

 

The new carousel and playground keep the youngsters happy.  The carousel has Royals-themed characters on it….including Sluggerrr.The Golf Stop Mini Golf.jpg
 

 

 

 

Yes, the new putt-putt golf course was very popular.  Here a mom and daughter enjoy one of the new amenities.MLB 2K9.jpg
 

 

It would be easier to list what ISN’T in the Outfield Experience than what is.  If it’s going to be kid-oriented, it’s going to have to have video games, right?Fountain Bar.jpg
 

 

One of many features for adults is the new Miller Lite Fountain Bar in leftcenter field.  A great vantage point to watch the game…Fountain Bar View.jpg
 

 

Fans on the rail at the Miller Lite Fountain Bar watch batting practice from a perspective never before seen at Kauffman Stadium.Diamond Club View.jpg
Here’s an area that is sure to be VERY popular…the brand new Diamond Club.  It offers the indoor/outdoor opportunity…with a great view from inside…but also a nice padded seat just below.  The prices are very reasonable compared with other premium seats in other ballparks.  It’s cheaper than the beautiful Royals Crown Club, for instance…although it’s not all-inclusive in terms of food and drink.  But on the cold days, or hot, humid days, it’s a great haven for baseball fans.

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The Diamond Club is at the bottom through the glass there….above that is the new broadcast level…the middle booths with the short windows are for television.  The booth to the immediate right of the TV booths is our new home, the Royals Radio Network booth.  
 
Above the broadcast level are the exquisite new Triple Crown Suites.  And above that…those top windows…are the new press box.  It’s slightly higher than the old one..but SOOOO much nicer.  It’s also where the new press dining room is located (perhaps the most important room in the ballpark for us media folks….).
 
Royals Radio Network Affiliate.jpgSome friends from an original Royals Radio Network affiliate in Shenandoah, Iowa.  They’ve been with the club since 1969.  Pictured along with Bob, Don and me are KMA sports director Chris Williams, account executive Mike Wetzel and a friend of theirs, Mike Dreyer.  The Royals Radio Network is 96 stations strong, largest in the American League.  Atlanta’s is the largest in all of baseball.  Only Atlanta and St. Louis have more affiliates than do the Royals.

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Here’s a shot from the View Level of the new ballpark.  Just beautiful.Welcome Home Luncheon 2009.jpg
 
 

 

The lights were out as Ryan introduced various members of the team at the Welcome Home Luncheon at the Hyatt Crown Center.  The  annual event sold out, and offerred fans a chance to meet their favorite Royals.

VICTORY ON THE SOUTH SIDE

After rain, snow, wind and cold…the season got underway a day late in Chicago.  After a heartbreaking loss in the opener, Game 2 had a better ending.

CLICK ON ANY PIC TO ENLARGETarp at Cellular.jpg
 

 

Sunday and Monday were washouts.  Sundays workout was cancelled…so was Monday’s game.Opening Game 4.8.jpg
 

 

By Tuesday they were ready to “play ball.”  Navy personnel unfurled a giant flag on Tuesday during ceremonies before the opener.Teahen at Cellular.jpg

 

 

Before Wednesdays game, infield coach Dave Owen (left) is playing the part of a shortstop/third baseman, making throws to 2B Mark Teahen…who’s working on making the pivot at second base.Soria at Cellular.jpg
 

 

After a tough loss Tuesday, great to see Joakim Soria come on and mow down the White Sox 1-2-3.  A combined shutout!  Greinke-Cruz-Soria.  A 2-nothing win!

A FOND FAREWELL TO SUNNY SURPRISE

The Royals played a club-record 34 Spring Training games in Arizona (a record 36 total, with two final exhibitions in Texas.
 
Spring Training is a great time of year…and a great place for fans to see their team coming together…
 
Some final images from Year Seven for the Royals in Sunny Surprise:

Fans at Surprise Ballpark.jpg

 

Of course watching the Royals play in Spring Training means getting a head start on all the ballpark “eats,” and of course the weather is always perfect!  Having seen all ten Cactus League ballparks, I can tell you that Surprise Stadium is the best there is!Ali.jpg
The biggest thrill of Royals Spring Training ’09 was the arrival, by golf cart, of former heavyweight boxing champ Muhammad Ali when the Dodgers visited the Royals on March 20th.  The largest crowd of the spring assembled that evening, 10,929.  And as a bonus, not only was “The Greatest,” Ali, sitting in the front row by the Royals dugout, but “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky, was sitting right behind him.  Gretzky coaches the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes.

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Ballpark delicacies.  Always an important part of enjoying baseball, whether it’s Spring Training or regular season…
 

 

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ATTENTION MOMS AND DADS…I didn’t fact-check this sign….but thought it was interesting.  Hmmm…I wonder if they have sugar-free cotton candy?  (or if anyone cares?)
 
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My son, John, on the grass berm in the outfield at Tucson Electric Park.  It’s the spring home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, a 2 and a half hour drive from Surprise (and the rampant rumors are…they’re moving to the Phoenix area, along with Colorado, by 2011!   That means 15 Major League teams ALL within about an hour of each other!!)  For the record, he wound up with 3 baseballs during batting practice that day. 

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I had somewhere between 17 and 20 relatives visit during Spring Training (I keep trying to count and the number comes up different every time…) Seen here: my dad Layton, mother Marilyn, Aunt Maureen (of Mission, KS), Aunt Marjorie and my son John.  I couldn’t fit them all in our radio booth!Margaret and John.jpg
 

 

 

 

This picture had to make the cut…my niece Margaret (soon-to-be-3) and John.  She always steals the show.
 

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Here are Denny and Ryan in a “production meeting.”  Actually it was dinnertime at the Royals offices and the pizza was free of charge!
 

 

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When Bob Davis and I travel to (and from) Tucson this is THE place to stop.  The “world famous” Picacho Peak Dairy Queen.  It’s about the only place to stop on the 2-hour drive between Phoenix and Tucson.  Unfortunately (or fortunately if you’re a KU fan), Bob missed both trips to Tucson this spring (basketball season lasted well into Spring Training), which meant no Picacho Peak DQ for Bob…oh well…there’s always next year!
 
 


Metro Sports.jpg

Here are Chris Gough and Brad Porter of Metro Sports in Kansas City.  Metro was in Surprise from beginning-to-end in Surprise.  After this picture, these two “stars” had the “opportunity” to drive this satellite truck and an SUV all the way back to KC!  That’s AZ, NM, TX, OK, KS and MO….22 hours!!Loading the Truck.jpg
 

 

 

Sad sight, happy sight.  You hate to leave 83-degree weather, BUT…the season is finally here!
 

 

 

 Until next year…so long Surprise!Truck and Complex.jpg

THAT’S A WRAP

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A super September left all of us who follow the Royals with a good feeling.  An 18-8 finish brought the final record to 75-87, a 6-game improvement over 2007 (which was a 7-game improvement over 2006).  Hopefully this young club can take another step forward in 2009!  So after 192 broadcasts, beginning back on February 27th, time for your humble radio crew to say THANK YOU for listening throughout season number 40 of Royals baseball.
 
'Team' Photo3.jpgI thought, since the Royals handed out team pictures during the last homestand, we should provide a Royals Radio Network “team picture.”  Denny, yours truly, Producer/Engineer Don Free, Bob and Ryan.  They made my transition to the Royals/Surprise, AZ/the American League/and yes, Denny, the DH, MUCH, MUCH easier.  Thanks to them for all their help.

 

The celebrity photographer for our radio “team photo” was Mrs. Ryan Lefebvre, Congratulations, Sarah, you made it through your first season as a baseball wife! 

 

 

Son John.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
My son, John, became a Royals fan this season.  The Royals had a winning record when he was on hand, so he’ll have to attend even more games next year!
 
 
 
 
Special thanks to Erin Koncak, who is the online marketing whiz for the Royals. She made my photos and ramblings look presentable in this forum throughout the season.  And thanks, Erin, for making me feel old.  When I asked if former Center High School basketball star Jon Koncak (who was in my class at SMU and went on to play 11 years in the NBA) was her brother, she informed me “no, he’s my UNCLE.”   And congratulations to Erin and her fiance, Tim, who will wed this offseason!
 
New additions to the ballclub during the offseason, as well as the continued improvement of the young returning core, are reasons for optimism.  And the “new” Kauffman Stadium, which will open April 10th promises to be a world-class venue that will usher in a new era of baseball in Kansas City.  Have a great offseason, and we’ll be back on the air in February!

 

LARGE AND IN-CHARGE

Olathe resident and former NBA player Manute Bol is big.  As Rodney Dangerfield once described Jimmy Carter (played by Dan Akroyd) in a 70′s Saturday Night Live skit, in which the President had become a giant after being exposed to radiation at the leaking 3 Mile Island plant, “He’s so big, he could sit on the Brooklyn Bridge and dangle his feet in the water!”  OK, that’s one of my all-time reaches, but it is, afterall, my blog.
 
Manute is 7 feet 7, and he’s got a heart to match.  At a recent Royals game he sat in the Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat (he deserves a medal for being able to squeeze into a normal-sized ballpark chair!).  The Royals recognized him for all the work he does to help raise money and awareness about the plight of his native country, Sudan.  He’s actively involved in Sudan Sunrise, a non-profit, non-denominational organization that helps facilitate the efforts in South Sudan in education, health, community development and church planting.  He plans to return to Sudan in the next few weeks…as he’s heading an effort to build a school in his home village.

Manute Bol.jpg  
  

Manute can call anybody “Shorty.”  I’m 5′ 11″ by the way.  Manute played for Washington back when they were the “Bullets.”  He also played for Golden State, Philadelphia and Miami.  As you might guess, he was an all-world shot-blocker in his day.   He twice blocked EIGHT shots in a single quarter!  He played in the NBA from 1985 through 1994.

 

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 Trey Hillman has a chat with Manute Bol.  Too bad the Royals aren’t in need of a first baseman.  It would be almost impossible to “sail” a throw over his head!  7 feet 7 inches, but just 220 pounds.  That’s lean.  At one point he was a teammate of five-foot-three-inch Muggsy Bogues.  They were the tallest and shortest NBA players in history, and on the same team!  Besides his athleticism and his big heart, he’s also known for having a great sense of humor.
 

GOODBYE YANKEE STADIUM…

REMINDER: YOU CAN CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE
 
The way thing are going for the New York Yankees, it appears this may be the first year since 1993 that they don’t qualify for the postseason.
 
During the Royals final appearance in “The House that Ruth Built,” I recorded some images from “The Stadium,” which opened in 1923 and was renovated in the mid-1970′s: 
 Times Square.jpg

 

 

 

Thought I’d throw a Times Square picture on here, as it’s just so photogenic.  Very very busy on a Saturday night.  My cousin, John William and I found long lines just about everywhere.

 

 

 

 

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Down in the bowels of Yankee stadium.  I think I’ll go left.  The security guard saw me taking a photo of the sign and said “take it.”  I think he was kidding.  I think that might have gotten me in trouble, but I’m sure plenty of fans would like it as a memento.Splitt at Yankee Stadium.jpg 
 

 

 

Paul Splittorff pitched in this ballpark many times.  Split makes his way back toward the Royals dugout after one last visit to the monuments.All the Numbers.jpg
 

Of course the retired numbers and monuments will all be moved next door to the new $1.3 billion ballpark, but I thought I’d capture them in their original location before they’re uprooted.  A lot of numbers.  The only single digits that are not retired will be retired some day: 2 (Jeter) and 6 (Torre).Four Numbers.jpg
 

 

 

Hard to find four better players in the history of any franchise. Perhaps you’ve heard of Gehrig, Ruth, Dimaggio and Mantle?Two Numbers.jpg
 

 

Two former Kansas City Athletics have their numbers retired by the Yankees:  Billy Martin and Reggie Jackson.  Of course several of the others played minor league ball in KC prior to 1955.Photog Shots.jpg
 

 

A television photographer getting shots of the monuments…These used to be in play!  The playing dimensions were HUGE before the renovations.

 

 

 

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 George Herman Ruth.  Nuff said.

 

 

 

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Lou Gehrig and longtime Yankee Manager Miller Huggins.  Of the three men honored with the three most prominent plaques, Gehrig died at 37 Huggins at 50 and Ruth at 53.  But what greatness they achieved.

 

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Two great Yankee voices, Mel Allen, who broadcast their games for many years, and later was the narrator of “This Week in Baseball.”  And 97 year-old Bob Sheppard, “The Voice of Yankee Stadium” since 1951.  Sadly, Bob has been unable to attend games this year. 

 
 

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They honor 9/11 victims, playing “God Bless America,” during the 7th inning stretch of every game, not just on Sunday.  Those victims are memorialized in Monument Park too.

 

 

 
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Here’s something the media won’t miss.  The two elevators from the basement are separated by a five-foot thick brick wall.  In order to watch both elevators at once, you have to stand across the hall.  I have a feeling there won’t be a similar wall at the new place.  (Can I get a “Mr. Gorbachev, TEAR DOWN THIS WALL!”?)
 
PR Office.jpg

 

This is one of the PR offices right behind the press area, with a view of the field.  It looks like it could be George Costanza’s office.  No sleeping under the desk, people!  I smell calzones!  (Seinfeld references)Yankee Stadium Radio Booth.jpg
 

 

The 3-tiered, somewhat crampt, visiting radio booth.  Don Free is on Tier 2.Field at Yankee Stadium.jpg  
 

One final postcard image of Yankee Stadium.  Royals had some great memories there, some not-so-great memories there.  You may hate the Yankees.  But one thing with which you can’t argue:  much of the history of this game happened on that field.  As Mel Allen would have said “How about that!”
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

IMAGES FROM THE K

With about a quarter of the season left to go, some snapshots from Kauffman Stadium:
 
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We’re not sure what kind of bug this is, but from this view, it looks like it could eat half the infield.  Fortunately no one was injured in the process of capturing this insect on film.  Just thought it was an interesting photo, as the bug crawled up one of the windows in the radio booth.Larry Gura.jpg
On Larry Gura Bobblehead Night, Larry admires his likeness with Nick Wright of 610 Sports.  Larry was good enough to come by the radio booth for a visit as well.  He was a pioneer in baseball, a fanatic about nutrition and weight training, years before it became commonplace for all ballplayers to pay attention to such matters.  He, of course, credits his wife with helping with the nutrition part.  Larry has a ranch near the Royals’ Spring Training home in Surprise, AZ.Marty.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
On 610 Saturday, our flagship radio station has a party for the fans, here post-game host Marty Wall is on stage with his band, showing he doesn’t just talk a good game, he can sing one too.  And he could play a guitar just-like-a-ringin-a-bell….Sorry, dated referrence, lost on younger blog readers…Steve Stone & Jerry Krause.jpg
 
Here’s former Cy Young Award winner and White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone, with New York Mets scout Jerry Krause, who’s better known for his days when he was Michael Jordan’s boss, as GM of the Chicago Bulls.  Just finishing up dinner in the press dining room before a game.  Wish we would have had tape rolling, because it was an entertaining conversation, to say the least.Trey Throwing.jpg
 
 
 
Before the Royals faced Red Sox knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, Manager Trey Hillman warms up his own knuckleball before throwing batting practice.   

LONGTIME LISTENER

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).

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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 and Split.jpg

 

 

 

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!

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