Results tagged ‘ Spring Training ’

A FEW SURPRISES IN SURPRISE

Spring Training is always a time of hope, a time to be optimistic.  How will this year go for the Royals?  Hard to say.  It will be an adventure we’ll all experience together.  But 2010 began with another solid spring of hard work by the players and staff. 
 
Here’s a taste of some of the things that were happening on the field and off the field (and largely off the field) as the Royals prepared for the regular season.

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Arizona was a great host as always.  I had the pleasure of having a total of 15 relatives visit Surprise and the surrounding area.  Some made the trip to the Grand Canyon.  Here I am with my cousin John McGinty.  My son John is on the lower left, my nephew Charlie is lower right.Suprise Stadium.jpgBrett & Frank 2010.jpg
 
I think you know these guys.  George Brett and Frank White play catch as each will throw a round of batting practice as they do so often during Spring Training.  Once again the Royals utilized alumni on the field.  John Mayberry, Dennis Leonard, John Wathan and Willie Wilson are among those who also sported Royal Blue this Spring.Rain Tarp.jpg
 

Over my first three years with the Royals, I’ve spent a total of more than three months in the Valley of the Sun.  On the first Sunday of Cactus League games I saw a tarp on a baseball field…and rain…for the first time.  The game originally scheduled for March 7th with the Giants was made up a few weeks later.Trey with Reporter in Surprise.jpg
Rain may be an unfamiliar site, but this is not.  Manager Trey Hillman meets with the media at least twice each day.  Here he answers questions from Bob Fescoe, Dick Kaegel, Robert Ford and Bob Dutton.  This was before the Royals last game at historic Hi Corbett Field, the spring home of the Colorado Rockies (and before that the Cleveland Indians.  Spring Training for the film “Major League” was filmed here).  The Rockies and Diamondbacks are vacating Tucson and will henceforth train in the Phoenix area.

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Here’s the Royals Rookie of the Year!  Micah James Lefebvre.  Born only weeks before, he made his first visit to Spring Training in late March.  Hey Micah…baseball’s an exciting sport!!  Really…you’ll see!!Micah's parents.jpg  
 

 

Proud papa and mama Ryan and Sarah.  Mom reports Micah was a great traveller on his maiden voyage, from KCI to Phoenix. 

 

 

 
 
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As Royals team photographer Chris Vleisides and receptionist Lisa Hemly check on a computer issue, you see the new addition to the wall in the lobby of the Royals Surprise offices.  A giant version of the Kansas City Star salute to the 2009 Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke.  Lisa, by the way, did an amazing job singing the National Anthem before one of the Royals games.

 
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Eat your heart out cold hockey cities!  Hockey may not be the first thing you think of when you see palm trees, but inside this building it’s very cold!  And very loud!Coyotes Rink.jpg
 
The Phoenix Coyotes have had a great season after almost moving out of town last summer.  I was a huge hockey fan growing up…before I “Rip Van Winkled” on it for oh….about 28 years…but I’ve rediscovered it the last couple of seasons.  This was a sellout and a shootout victory in March. 

  
 
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My son the Coyote. John saw his first NHL game…along with several Royals games…on his Spring Break.

 

 

 

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 The Royals prepare for their final game in Tucson.  As previously noted, the D-backs and Rockies will leave Tucson behind (no more 2 and a half hour drives.  I’ve made the trip 7 times the past three springs).  They’ll be in a more convenient spot.  But Tucson is a good town with a long history as a spring training city.  
 
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We drive by Picacho Peak State Park one last time.  When you go to Tucson for a game from Surprise it makes for about a 12 hour day.  Our boss, Mike Swanson, spent 14 Springs in Tucson, in his days with the Diamondbacks, and before that, the Rockies.  That’s a lot of long drives…
 
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Don Free drives us home from Tucson one final time.  Beginning next year no “road” trip should last more than an hour or so.  Most are 30 minutes or less.  The convenience of the Cactus League is amazing. 

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:

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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!
 
 


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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

Royals Fan

One of the fun things about our spring training webcasts is that we get to interact with fans from all over the world listening in.  One such fan…a big fan…is Sergeant Nathan Cosby, USMC.  Nathan emailed us and told us he had a Royals tattoo on one arm…and a Marine Corps tattoo on the other.  I said “Send me a pic I’ll put it on the blog…”  Well…here it is…and here’s Nathan’s explanation in his own words…THANKS NATHAN!  And thanks for serving your country so proudly!

Tattoo.jpgTo be honest there really isn’t much to say about either one of those tattoos except that I love the Marine Corps and I love the Royals. They’ve both had a fantastic impact on my life, so I thought I would do a little free advertising for them.

I’ve been in the Marine Corps for about 6 years, and I got the USMC tattoo in 29 Palms, California within my first year of service. Me and a buddy of mine both went in and got the same tattoo. It’s a pride thing you know. I’m not going to lie, it was a little bit for the girls. It worked before I got married.

As far as the Royals tattoo goes… It’s like this. Since I’ve been stationed in Jacksonville, Florida I’ve noticed something. Floridians are CRAZY when it comes to stickers on cars, t-shirts, ball caps, jackets, and anything else you can possibly imagine to put the logo of a team on. They are SOOOO proud of their Gators and their Rays and their Bucs and so on and so forth. They’re absolutely relentless, and there is nothing wrong with that. There should be more sports fans like them. Long story short, about a year ago I finally had enough and thought to myself… No one can possibly be more proud of their team than I am of the Royals!!!! So, in the spirit of one-upsmanship, I decided that I would go the distance and tattoo my favorite team of all time on me. That ought to show them.

Not only did I do that, I threw down a couple hundred dollars down for one of those fancy legacy bricks that they’re putting down at the K. I didn’t really have anything poetic to say, so in true annoying fan fashion it simply says…. “THE GREATEST TEAM OF ALL TIME!! WOOOOO!! -NATHAN COSBY-

I went ahead and took the liberty of sending a picture of that Legacy brick to you fine folks in the Royals radio booth, along with a picture of me sporting my Royals attire and being cocky at a Royals vs Rays game at Tropicana Field last season. Thanks for your time guys.

Sgt Nathan Cosby (USMC)

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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!

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