Results tagged ‘ Steve Stewart ’


The Royals had a recent off day in the Bay Area (ever notice that for everybody else in the world an off day is a bad day?  But in baseball an off day means a day off…meaning a good day?…In the rest of the world an off day is a bad day…and a day off is a good day…but I digress….as usual…..)
So after many trips to San Francisco, I finally made it to…and escaped from….ALCATRAZ!!




The boat ride over from Fisherman’s Wharf is a nice little excursion…although it was a bit chilly.  The official place to make reservations fyi is


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Alcatraz was a lighthouse..then a longtime military base, before it became a maximum security penitentiary in 1933.  Al Capone was among the infamous who did time here.  This is the “block house” at “The Rock” as Alcatraz was known.Prison Cell.jpg



Pretty spartan accomodations.  The famous “escape” from alcatraz happened when prisoners apparently used spoons stolen from the dining hall to methodically chip away at the concrete heating duct under the sink.  No one is known to have successfully escaped from “The Rock.”




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OK…I escaped…but I had a lot of help! 

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I doubt the games were broadcast on the radio…but this was the recreation yard…and that area farthest away in this photograph served as the infield for the prison baseball league.  Inmate/spectators would sit on those steps and cheer…or boo.  Talk about a tough crowd!!


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This is the dining hall at Alcatraz.  The knives in the kitchen were all different shapes that hung in specific “slots” which allowed guards in the kitchen to know that all cutlery was accounted for each day.  Even using this logical system, knives did occasionally “walk away” from the kitchen.
View from Alcatraz.jpgJust a mile or so away from this formerly dark, depressing prison is beautiful San Francisco.  Beauty so close and yet so far.  One other note about Alcatraz…many of the prison employees and their families…and yes, their children, lived there.  Kids would ride a boat to their school on the mainland each day and return home in the evening.  Sounds strange, but those who lived there said it was like living in a small, friendly town….


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.

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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.


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!


The Royals won a series at US Cellular Field for the first time since 2003.  Chicago is such a great city, ESPECIALLY in the summer.  My theory is the city would be much, much larger if they didn’t have their harsh winters to scare some people away.  Some of the things that got my attention on a walk through “The City of the Big Shoulders.”






A statue of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, who at one time broadcast for both the Cubs and the White Sox…in those days he only broadcast home games, for both. 






On the plaque it notes he “broadcasted” for the Cubs, which neither Bob Davis nor I believe is proper English, but it makes for a nice conversation starter.  Nice that he’s honored this way, in front of the Tribune Building, home of WGN TV and radio, as well as the Tribune newspaper.







Not much else to say, a terrible disease.  Hopefully we can find a way to wipe it out ASAP.River.jpg 


The Chicago River.  Lots of tour boats full of sightseers on a summer Saturday.  On St. Patrick’s Day, it turns green! (and so do many of the locals…)Wedding In Chicago.jpg 




What, I wasn’t invited?  It started raining right after this picture was taken, but a beautiful setting.Harvey Drive.jpg 



A legendary broadcasting market, and among the legends, the ageless Paul Harvey.  Good DAY!!




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In one of the display windows on the first floor of the Tribune Building, the vintage Tribune headline trumpets the first Moon Landing which just happened to be 39 years ago, July 20, 1969.  Wish I were old enough to really remember it.  No I don’t, because that would make me even older than I am….. 


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This is a piece of the Moon.  We take it for granted now, but with relatively primitive technology (by today’s standards), we sent men to the moon and brought them home alive, and with souvenirs!  They say there’s more computer memory in the laptop I’m using to type this text than there was in all of Mission Control. More in your cell phone than their was in the Lunar Module that landed on the Moon. 


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This rock was collected by the crew of Apollo 15. All moon walkers who followed Neil Armstrong seemingly get lost in history’s shuffle.  But among other things, this mission introduced the world to the Lunar Rover, which was a sort of battery-powered dune buggy, allowing astronauts to travel several miles in their quest to explore.  OK, enough with the space stuff, but it is, after all, my blog…


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This aircraft would not make it to the Moon, but it might take someone to the “top.”  As the Royals were boarding their charter at Midway Airport, the campaign plane for Barack Obama was undergoing security checks.  We see his plane every time we go to Chicago.  Maybe he’s a Royals fan!  Oh, that’s right, he lives there.

Old Home Week

I used to live and work in Baltimore, so the Royals trip there on the recent road trip was a lot of fun for me.  I had a chance to visit the gang at WBAL Radio, where I used to work, but I forgot to get pictures of  “the gang.”  Oh well…their website is  so you can read all about them there. 

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Outside my 8th floor hotel room window, the window washer was doing his job.  Hanging from a suspension cable, and with a suction cup handle stuck to the window, he did his job.  How much would they have to pay you to do that job?  I’m not sure I could come up with a dollar figure that would get me out there.  First floor, fine.  Second floor, maybe.  Then I’m done.Inner Harbor.jpg



This is Baltimore’s signature Inner Harbor. It’s a beautiful area, always lots going on.  I’d rent one of those little boats WAY before I’d repel down a building to wash windows.

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Here are former Royal (and O’s TV analyst) Buck Martinez and Royals pitching coach Bob McClure.  They were teammates in both KC and Milwaukee.  Apparently they were reminiscing about some “nailbiters” they played in, back in the day.Boys & Steve.jpg



These are my stepsons, Enrique and Emilio.  Enrique will be 14 September 28th.  Emilio turns 12 July 16th.  Wonderful boys, and I’m very proud of them.  Great to see them in Baltimore!Babe Statue.jpg



On Eutaw (pronounced “Utah”) Street at the entrance to Oriole Park at Camden Yards, stands a large statue of a young Babe Ruth. Baltimoreans are very proud that the Babe was born and raised in Baltimore.  But they’re a bit conflicted, since he starred for the HATED Yankees.  This Statue has a flaw…behind his back, Babe is holding a righthanded glove (for his left hand).  He was, of course, lefthanded.Babe plaque.jpg



The Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum is just blocks away from the ballpark.  It’s worth the visit if you’re in the area.  The Babe actually lived in the apartment over his father’s saloon, which was located in what is now right field at Camden Yards.




Although a hotel has been built Oriole Park.jpgbehind left field, it’s still one of the most beautiful views in all of baseball.  Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened in 1992, but still looks brand new.  It was “the original” retropark, which changed all of sports, not just baseball.  New ballparks (Major League and minor league), football stadiums and basketball and hockey arenas have sprouted in almost every town, large and small, in America.  It all started here.Bromo Seltzer Tower.jpg





This is one of Baltimore’s major landmarks:  the Bromo Seltzer Tower.  Built in 1911, you used to see it from Oriole Park, but not anymore, thanks to the new hotel.




I-70 SERIES: Act One

The recent road trip wound up being a great one for the Royals…5-1, including a first-ever sweep in St. Louis.  A few pics from my hometown. 

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The new Busch Stadium, now in its third year.  Very nice new park.  The locals resisted the idea of a new stadium, but they seem to be enjoying their new home.Aviles.jpg 


After a Royals win, rookie Mike Aviles gets the obligatory “shaving cream pie” in the face from a teammate after an 8th inning home run proved to be the game winner!  FSN’s Joel Goldberg is enough of a veteran to know when to get out of the way.Rick Hummel.jpg 


That’s me with St. Louis Post-Dispatch baseball writer Rick Hummel.  He’s known throughout baseball as “The Commish.”  You may remember last summer he received the J. G. Taylor Spink Award in Cooperstown the same day Denny received his  Ford C. Frick Award.Don Free.jpg



Here is our producer/engineer for the Royals Radio Network, Don Free.  Don’s in his 22nd year.  He keeps the broadcast running smoothly, all while performing about six jobs at once!Splitt & Ryan.jpg 






Next door to our radio booth, we spy Paul Splittorff and Ryan Lefebvre.  Ryan is apparently deep in thought.Three Generations.jpg 




A couple of days after Father’s Day, a three-generation lunch.  My dad, Layton, and my son, John,  with me.  I trust you can tell which is which.John and Cousin.jpg 






My son John teaching his 2-year-old cousin, Margaret, the proper technique for swinging a bat.Relatives.jpg 



These are more of my red-clad relatives.  Melinda, Bill, Marjorie, Jeff, Melanie and Gary.  All of them fulfulling a life-long dream of making it onto this blog…




The Royals enjoyed their trip back to their “home base” of Arizona.  Not Surprise, but Phoenix, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.  They play under a retractable roof, which opens at times even in the heat of summer.  Kudos to the man (person?) who invented air conditioning.






If I were to put only one picture on this particular post, this would be it.  Pretty much says it all.  Bob Davis advised me to write “but it’s a dry heat!”  under the photo…haha.Joel.jpg
Here is the legendary Joe Garagiola, Sr., with FSN’s Joel Goldberg.  I took this picture to commemorate the fact that Joel’s mother was a contestant on the early-1970’s game show “Sale of the Century,” for which Garagiola was the host.  Joel believes his mom, Nancy, was pregnant with him while she was a contestant on the show, so, in effect, he was on the show as well.  Upon his birth, Joel was lavished with many “lovely parting gifts.”steve2.jpg

Here’s a picture with Joe and me.  I don’t need a reason…it’s my blog.  I will say he’s one of the most enjoyable people I’ve ever interviewed.  He’s the most amazing story teller I’ve ever met (or heard).  Joe’s son, Joe the former general manager of the D-Backs.  He currently works for Major League field.jpg



Chase Field (formerly the BOB), is in its 11th year as the home of the Dbacks.  On this day, the roof was closed during the late afternoon, during batting practice, while the air conditioners did their thing.roof slightly open.jpg


Then as the game is a few minutes from beginning, they open the roof.  So the fans can enjoy an “open-air” ballgame in the evening (they don’t do this for day games), the cooling system keeps it pleasant for the game.roof opening2.jpg  



Of course they leave it open as long as possible each day so the grass can get plenty of sunlight.roof open.jpg  


Now the ballpark is ready for baseball.  It’s 106 degrees outside, but the cooling system is cranked up, and the roof is open and it’s time to “Play Ball!”pool.jpg  



The swimming pool in right centerfield rents for $6,500 per game.  A great view of the field….full pool shot.jpg

As I was taking this picture, one of the kids in the pool noticed my camera/phone and said,”cool, that’s an IPhone!”  Of course I’m thinking “cool, your parents just spent $6,500 dollars so you could go swimming during a baseball game!”sleeping.jpg





And last, but not least, this is FSN pregame producer Bobby Reed, asleep as the plane lands in St. Louis after winning the series in Arizona.  You can write your own caption. 


The House that Ruth Built

The Royals split their four-game series at Yankee Stadium, the first of two visits they’ll make in the final year of “The House that Ruth Built” (re-built in the mid-70’s)…
It was very hot for the three day games…temperatures in the mid-to-upper 90’s.  I took the liberty (not to be confused with the statue…) of taking a few pics.  No photos from Monument Park…I’ll try to get out that way when we go back in August.  I should probably get in line now….it’s a popular attraction.

That’s “The House that 1.3 billion dollars built.”  The New Yankee Stadium right next door.  It will open next season. If you want to sit in the front row behind home plate, you may need to sell your car.  A cool $2,500 a seat (and, no, you don’t get to take the seat home with you…)  The current version cost “just” 2.5 million.  It opened in


A deli across the street from our hotel in Midtown Manhattan.  Notice that if you order the Chicken Salad Club, it comes with bacon, lettuce and “TOMATOE.”  Notice the “e” at the end of “tomatoe.”  Dan Quayle would be proud…friends.jpg

Two friends invading from “Cubs Country,”  (and apparently Rockies Country too) Gary Cantwell (the program director from my college radio station at SMU) and his son David.  Gary is the man responsible for making me the broadcaster that I am today.  Other than that, he’s had a very successful life and career…years.jpg


The wall of the press box at Yankee Stadium indicating the 26 World Series Championships.  They were in all the papers…back of the radio booth.jpg


Shot from the back of the visiting radio booth…at least we were in the shade, with temps soaring near 100 degrees…traditional view.jpg

The more traditional view.  A lot of sports/entertainment seen here over the years.  Joe Louis defeated German Max Schmeling in 1938.  Several Popes celebrated Mass here.  38 World Series have been played here.  And George Brett got a little mad at an umpire here in 1983.

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The famous “short porch” in right field.  Lefthanded hitters love it.  Only 310 down the bay.jpg


My view in the 3rd base camera/grounds crew well.  Joakim Soria closing out a 2-1 Royals victory over the Yanks. This is my spot, as I get ready to “pounce” onto the field for a postgame interview.


I type during the bumpy bus ride up Madison Avenue on our way to Yankee Stadium.  The road has been unkind to the Royals in recent weeks.  The trend continued in Chicago.  It was my 12th American League ballpark from which I’ve broadcast.  Yankee Stadium will be “lucky” 13.
A few Chi-town shots of interest:

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This monstrosity is a pickup truck  apparently belonging to White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.  It is, to say the least, large.  Two separate 60-gallon gas tanks, one on either side, means it’s about 500 bucks to fill up.  Yikes!

A security guard stands alongside the truck for perspective. He stands 5 feet 10 inches.View from the Booth.jpg

Shot from our radio booth, as Denny and Bob are hoping to see a Royals victory.  Wednesday night was close, but no cigar.  15 innings, but another road loss.  As you can see, our view from the booth is a good one.Writers.jpg
Not as good for the writers.  Bob Dutton, from the KC Star (left) and Dave Holtzman (below him) watch from the press box (writers, etc. who aren’t actually broadcasting the game).  When the Sox redid their press box in 2007, the “regular press” got moved down the right field line.Plane.jpg  




While it’s impossible to make out based on this photo,  I thought it was worth putting on here.  That flashing light is a police/secret service escort for a plane that had just brought Barack Obama home to Chicago.  His plane had just landed as we were getting on our chartered flight headed for New York. 


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Yawkey Way is a great place for fans to enjoy themselves before the game…bands, food, etc.  Named for Thomas Yawkey, who owned the Red Sox for many decades.View.jpg


Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912…five days after the Titanic sank.  At that time, sitting behind poles that supported ballpark roofs was fairly common.  I think it’s called an “obstructed view seat.”  I’m sure there have been more colorful descriptions from patrons over the years.

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This is the left field foul pole from on top of the Green Monster. This pole became famous during the 1975 World Series when  Boston’s Carlton Fisk was “waving” his home run fair to win Game Six.  The 12th inning, game-winning homer actually struck the pole.  Of course the Reds still won the series.  Fisk once jokingly told me “we won that series, 3 games to 4!”  The right field foul pole is, of course, named for Johnny Pesky .

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Fans sit in the “Monster Seats,”  during batting practice.  I was there when they opened at the beginning of the 2003 season.  I have the distinction of having broadcast as a visiting announcer for three different teams at Fenway:  Baltimore, Cincinnati and now the Royals.  I still don’t think I’ve been on the winning side yet.Monster Food Stand.jpg 




They’ve got “Monster” food on top of the the Green Monster.  Dogs, peanuts, whatever monsters eat.Monster Stands.jpg


There’s the Green Monster, 37 feet high.  You get the feeling they could add anything they’d like to this ballpark, as long as they painted it that same shade of green.Gathright Stretching.jpg


On the field, Joey Gathright was just a couple of days removed from colliding with teammate David DeJesus in the outfield down in Florida.  Joey stretching the shoulder that popped out of its booth.jpg



Here is a shot of the field from the visiting radio booth at Fenway Park.Casey.jpg


Sean Casey may be the nicest player in all of baseball, surely one of the nicest.  Here posing with some fans who were lucky enough to be on the field at Fenway before the game.





If these walls could talk!  The tunnel from the visitors cramped clubhouse down to the dugout.  Just think of all the great players who have made their way down this tunnel over the decades.









The stairs then take you up to a small dugout.Dugout Pole.jpg 


Fans aren’t the only ones sitting behind poles..sometimes a player has to try to peer around pole in the dugout.Royals in Dugout.jpg



Miguel Olivo and Zach Greinke waiting to do some pregame work at Fenway Park.Trey & Billy.jpg





Manager Trey Hillman and Billy Butler chatting hours before the game.




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Here a security guard helps me show you just how tight it is down the foul lines in the outfield at Fenway Park.Standings.jpg


The standings on the outfield wall making Red Sox fans happy on this day.  Especially with New York in last place.