Results tagged ‘ Royals ’

Discipline, Hard Work, Good Nutrition and Water?

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             September 2008                                                      March 2009                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       So Ryan and I were talking about this blog on the air recently and Ryan mentioned that a photograph of him and his bride Sarah last September served as an offseason motivator for him.  Ryan saw a “gut” on his normally-athletic frame in the photo on your left.  He says his end-of-season weigh was 196. 
 
Through discipline, hard work, good nutrition and the benefit of alkaline water, Ryan is down to a svelt 178!  Ryan raves about alkaline water.  He also says that we are a very dehydrated people.  He says we men should drink half our weight (in liquid ounces) of water each day.  For instance if you weigh 200, you should drink 100 ounces of water a day.  And he says he doesn’t feel waterlogged!

Ok…so he goes to all this trouble…why not show it off right?  I figure this is a good way to increase my page views on this blog!  It may be early, the season hasn’t even started, but it’s already GUT-CHECK TIME!
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Surprise Party

Well maybe not a party, but when a new baseball season beckons, we all have a reason to celebrate.  This is Year 2 of my blog, which will let you see the 2009 Royals season through my eyes (or my cameras lense anyway).
 
Of course it all begins with Spring Training.  This is the seventh year the Royals and Texas Rangers have shared the City of Surprise Sports Complex.  It’s really a beautiful facility…still looks brand new. 
 
The 2009 exhibition season includes a club-record 36 exhibition games. You can follow the Royals throughout the Cactus League season on the Royals Radio Network (20 games) and/or Royals.com (all the games).  Some of you reading this will make your way to Surprise in the coming weeks.  For you, a preview of what you’ll see.  For those of you who won’t make it this year, I’ll try to show you what you’re missing.
 
Of course all the work down here is geared toward getting the team  (and its minor league affiliates) ready for Opening Day.  The Royals open the season in Chicago April 6th.  The new “K” opens April 10th with the home opener versus the Yankees! (and before you ask, no, I don’t have any tickets!).

CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO ENLARGE

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This is the view of the big league stadium, Surprise Stadium, from the broadcast level.  To say “it’s a beautiful day for baseball” down here is pretty unoriginal.  But it’s almost always true.
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Royals fans commemorating their visit.  This is down the left field line, in front of the building that houses the Royals front office as well as the Major League and Minor League clubhouses.Batting Cages.jpg 

 

New this year adorning the side of the indoor batting cages, portraits of Royals Hall of Famers in alphabetical order.  The mural replaces the old sign that listed just the names.  A nice touch, designed by Dayton Moore to instill organizational pride in current and future Kansas City Royals.
 
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Speaking of Hall of Famers, George Brett is one of many Royals legends in uniform working with players every day down here.  He throws batting practice every day.
 
 
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Along with hitting drills in batting cages on the various practice fields, Royals hitters are doing a lot of work on their bunting.  Here, new coach Eddy Rodriguez works with Willie Bloomquist on his bunting technique.  It’s one area in which the Royals hope to see a big improvement.
 
Soria stretching.jpgBefore he left for the World Baseball Classic, to represent Mexico, All Star Joakim Soria stretches on the conditioning field at the Royals complex.  He does this before running wind sprints. The conditioning field looks like a shorter version of a football field, with yard lines to measure distances.  The good news is, no one’s trying to tackle you while you run!

Weekend at The K

There weren’t enough wins over the weekend at Kauffman Stadium.  We could have used some balmy weather (which of course we finally got Monday, one day too late).  But it was a fun weekend….so I thought I’d pass along some of the “off-the-field” activities (even though some of them happened “on-the-field”)…
 
Friday night David Cook, of Blue Springs and American Idol, was on hand.  I’ll admit, I’m one of the six people in America who don’t watch American Idol.  But I admire the talent and the determination of those who compete.  Maybe I don’t watch it because, as a broadcaster, I’ve spent my whole life auditioning for things…and I’m not that excited about watching other people “sing for their supper” since I’ve done it so often…On the other hand, I was a huge fan of “The Gong Show,” back in the 70′s…which gives you a pretty good indication of my appreciation for sophisticated entertainment.  Anyway….
 
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Here he comes…the girls are swooning.  Many brought signs saying “We love you,” or something similar.helicopter.jpg
 
 
 
 
 
A film crew getting shots of David from the air.DC's first pitch.jpg 
 
 
David used to be a Stadium Club employee.  Something tells me those days are behind him (that’s not to knock the Stadium Club…Hey a beautiful place…perfect weather…and you can watch the game while you work…can’t beat that!)
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Here he is singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  Maybe it’s just me, but it sure seemed like he got a lot more attention for it than I did….Family.jpg
 
 
 
 
A lot of relatives in town for the weekend.  My son John (more on him later), nephew Charlie, niece Jane, mother Marilyn, father Layton.Target Practice.jpg 
 
 
 
Bob Davis watching the proceedings…from his corner of the radio booth.  We like to think of his area as “target practice.”Duct Tape.jpg
 
 
 
 
Notice his monitor has been taped up.  A recent foul ball made a direct hit on the TV without knocking over his drink, which sat right in front of it…Hole.jpg
 
 
I’m no Abraham Zapruder (filmed Kennedy assassination).  But I would say that hole looks like the ball deflected off the TV, hit the wall, bounced over to Denny, who then threw it to a fan in the stands.  Another recent foul ball missed the TV, hit his drink…but Bob amazingly stayed dry.flags.jpg
 
 
 
 
Saturday night was very wet and very windy.  Long rain delay, then after we resumed play it got VERY windy…blowing not just the flags, but the flag POLES as well.John.jpg
 
 
Sunday was more fun…weather was better and the Royals WON…and my 9-year-old John got to be in the Hot Dog race at the end of the fifth inning.  There’s more to being a hot dog than meets the eye.  Here he puts on his “ketchup” costume pants…there’s also a shirt, with long sleeves.Mustard.jpg
 
 
 
Royals Sr. Vice President of Business Operations Kevin Uhlich had two “dogs” in the race.  Here he helps son Cody put on his “mustard” shoes.  They’re sort of like clown shoes, and make footing a little tricky.relish.jpg
 
 
 
 
Cody’s twin brother, Chase, getting his hot dog “trunk” on…He was relish. A member of the K Crew gives him a hand.teeny wienies.jpg
 
 
 
 
Here are all three dogs ready for a press conference.  Can you imagine how much they’d be “grilled” by reporters if they ever took questions?race.jpg
 
 
 
They’re off!  Chase is off to the lead, while John takes a tumble.  He was thrilled, though, that his favorite Royal, Joey Gathright, popped out of the dugout to help him back on his feet.
 

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Members of the KCrew making sure John stays on his feet.  An hour or so later, the Royals had a victory, and capped off a fun weekend at the K.

For those of you who follow such things, Relish won…Mustard came in second, and Ketchup finished third, but he did finish! (Thanks Joey!)

 
 
 
 

Everything’s Big in Texas!

When the Royals recently visited Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, it was my tenth (out of 14) American League ballpark. It’s a very nice “yard,” but one word you would never use to describe it is “intimate.” It is very large, totally enclosed (with offices used by various local businesses stacked in the outfield).

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This park opened the same year as “The Jake” (now Progressive Field) in Cleveland, 1994. Still looks new.

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They modeled parts of this ballpark after other classic stadiums, including Tiger Stadium. The right field porch with the posts holding up the overhang is very similar to the Tigers’ former home.Offices.jpg

 

 

Troy Aikman used to have an office here. Plenty of offices in center field. Nice view out your window if you can afford the square footage.Trey in Texas.jpg

 

 

Trey Hillman grew up in the area, and it was old home week for him in Texas.Trey with Joel and Split.jpg

 

 

Of course, these are new friends: Joel Goldberg and Paul Splittorff on the field before the game.Bob Gibson Suite.jpg

 

 

There are seemingly a million luxury suites on more than one level wrapping around Rangers Ballpark. They are named after baseball Hall of Famers. This is the Bob Gibson Suite.Catfish Hunter.jpg

 

I couldn’t find a George Brett suite, so the closest KC tie I found on my quick look around, was the late, great Catfish Hunter, who spent his first three seasons as a Kansas City Athletic, before winning championships in Oakland and New York.Titanic.jpg

 

 

When you look at the levels of suites stacked on top of one another, the word “Titanic” immediately came to mind. Fortunately the media level is up closer to the top. No leaks were apparent, fortunately.

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Right next to the Ballpark is Six Flags over Texas…the amusement park predates the stadium by many years. And, yes, a baseball season is a roller coaster.

New Stadium.jpgA few blocks from the Rangers stadium, is another amusement park of sorts. Some of the locals call it “Jerry World.” That would be Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys. This incredibly large structure dwarfs the Cowboys’ current home, Texas Stadium. The Cowboys move into their new home in time for the 2009 season. They’ve already booked a Super Bowl. It will have a retractable roof, and hold more than 100,000 for events such as the Super Bowl and the Cotton Bowl, which will move from, well, the Cotton Bowl.

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I lived in Dallas for six years, including my years at Southern Methodist University. Great city. You can see the skyline from the Ballpark. The growth in the area since I left is truly unbelievable.horse head.jpg

This is the Rangers’ mascot…Ranger Captain. Ranger Captain was born in 2003. The name comes from the Texas Rangers Law Enforcement Agency. Captains were the leaders for that group. When Ranger Captain was born, he (?) was sworn in by the mayor of Arlington (“Put your hoof on the bible and repeat after me…..”). When I had laryngitis I was a little hoarse…but nothing like this…sorry…night game.jpg

 

 

A shot of the Rangers Ballpark at night. Although it was incredibly windy (see picture below of the umbrella going through the car windshield), we at least came to Texas before the 99 degrees and high humidity hits! (any day now…)

How Windy?

And you thought the “wind comes sweepin’ down the plain” in Oklahoma? Check out this unbelievable picture taken by the Royals Senior Director of Team Travel/Clubhouse Operations, Jeff Davenport. Wednesday was an incredibly windy day in Arlington, Texas.

How windy? This is an actual photograph of a Starbucks umbrella that was blown out of its table base…and right through the windshield of this parked car. Davy’s booked a lot of flights in his day, but never has he seen an “unscheduled landing” quite like this one.

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I hope the owner of the car had umbrella coverage. Seriously, it’s very lucky no one was in the passenger seat when this flying spear came through the windshield. Thanks for the pic, Davy…

I Lived to Tell About It!

Tuesday night I was a little nervous…well, more than a little nervous…I was asked (no, I didn’t volunteer) to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th inning stretch of the series opener versus the Cleveland Indians. 
 
(Quick aside…Paul Splittorff asked me “who asked you to do that?”  He wanted to avoid whoever that person was, or at least be on the look-out for her.  Turned out it was Kasey Schweitzer, who is the Coordinator of Game Entertainment.  I, of course, was quick to put Kasey on Paul’s trail.  He says he’s too busy during his telecasts to get on the roof of the Royals’ dugout and sing.  Another quick aside:  How does having ME sing qualify as entertainment??  But I digress.)
 
I was nervous, yes, but it had more to do with being shown on the world’s largest HD TV screen…108 feet high…than it had to do with singing (not that I do a lot of singing in public…I’m not the type that normally jumps to the front of the line on Karaoke Night…or even the back of the line.)  But I’ve certainly gotten up in front of large audiences before.  The picture is so sharp on that screen…YIKES! 
 
During the early stages of the game, I was thinking “do I know all the words to this song?  I’ve only sung it/heard it a couple of thousand times…”  So I “gargled it” as we like to say in the radio booth..and found two or three versions.  “For it’s root, root, root.”  “And it’s root, root, root,”  “let’s all…” etc..
 
I figured I’d just sing whatever came to mind…I should know it by now…I knew the words would be on the other new video board in left center field…(the fancy name is LED Left-Field Video Display…nickname: Lefty…Who knew that video boards had nicknames?) but that I wouldn’t be able to turn around and read it.  Had to face the masses…
 
Kasey introduced me to Kauffman Stadium organist Sam Beckett.  He’s in his tenth year at the ballpark, so this wasn’t his first rodeo.  He talked me through how it would go…what I would hear, etc.  He made it much easier…
 
hallway.jpgSo in the 6th inning, Kasey came to escort me down to the first row behind the first base dugout.  It was sort of like the executioner arriving at dawn.
  
I look really happy, don’t I?  Sort of like I was on my way to get a root canal.   “Quick, get this man a blindfold!” It’s the sixth inning, time to head downstairs…kids.jpg
 
 
These kids happened to be sitting in the seats next to me during the top of the 7th inning.  9-year-old Dawson and 4-year-old Drew.  Two thoughts:  these kids are very lucky…great seats AND a school night.  Also, kids and animals always make for a picture better.  And no animals were seated nearby…dugout.jpg
 
 
I was told “as soon as the third out is made in the 7th…climb into the saddle.”  You can see how excited I am…Kasey took the picture.  So I was grimmacing at her and at you…haha.  I kept thinking “if I fall off the dugout roof, I’ll be on YouTube within minutes.”organist.jpg
 
 
 
Sam Beckett was the man in control.  I sang to what he played.  I had the headphones on…heard his introduction…and his key…and started belting it out…close up.jpg
 
 
 
 
 I’m singing the song and thinking “I can’t hear anybody else, only myself.  Please, Lord, let these fans drown me out!”video board.jpg
 
 
As I mentioned, I was nervous about being displayed on the big board (even though I spent many years on television…it was never waaaaaaay larger than life).  It was nice to see in this picture that they showed others on the board during the song as wellfinale.jpg.
 
“at the OLD….BALL….GAME!!!”…It’s over!!! Hurray!! I didn’t fall off the dugout…and I didn’t forget the words!  And there I am on that big board.  Of course in this picture it looks like a very small board.  Soon thereafter, my boss, Mike Swanson, asked me “hey, can you host Royals Weekly?  It’ll be on cable TV…and we’ll be showing it on the big board here at the ballpark too.”  Gulp…oh well, better get used to it…
 
 

Siberian Express

As the West Coast trip started for the Royals, things changed.  Time zone, city, division, etc.  One thing that didn’t change….WEATHER!  45-ish degrees for both games at Safeco Field in Seattle.  Beautiful city, beautiful ballpark, freezing weather.  So the Siberian Express (aka the Royals’ season so far) went from Milwaukee to Detroit, to Minneapolis (where it really wasn’t THAT cold), to KC and on to Seattle. 

It’s a pretty park, but with raw, cold, rainy weather, the roof had to be closed.  It’s an open-air park, so the good news is you don’t have rain delays.  The bad news is you can be very cold.  The Royals split the two games, winning Monday, losing Tuesday.  The only stop in Seattle all year, unfortunately…because it’s a great place.  So in my limited, chilled day-and-a-half in Seattle, here are a few images:

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Down the street from our hotel…Puget Sound…

 

 

 

 

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Just to prove the sun was shining very briefly in our all-too-brief stay in Seattle…

 

 

 

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Starbucks…..What a shock!  A Starbucks!  We had one right across the street from the hotel….that’s true at every hotel here, by the way.

 

 

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Roof closing…..Hey…that roof saves a lot of games.  Here it was closing prior to Tuesday afternoon’s series finale…

 

 

 

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Ballpark shot….Looking forward to seeing a sunny open-roof day here next season….but nice to know you’ll always start on-time.  Beautiful park.

 

 

 

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April 15th was the 61st anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s Major League debut.  They etched his number on the infield dirt.  Trey Hillman, Luis Silverio, Jose Guillen and Joey Gathright all donned the number “42″ in Jackie’s honor.

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