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Thursday, April 17, 2014

George Brett, Inspiration for the Song “Royals”, Meets Lorde

Last year [the New Zealand pop singer Lorde] told VHI that she saw a photo in National Geographic “of this dude just signing baseballs. He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals.’ It was just that word. It’s really cool.”

My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: April 17, 2014 at 11:00 AM | 29 comment(s)
  Beats: hall of fame, pop music, royals

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Hardball Times: Learning the Language of the Clubhouse

What I’d been looking for was some insight into the ideal ground-ball rate for a hitter. The Royals were hitting the most ground balls in the league, and I thought it might be affecting their power. Since I knew Eric Hosmer was the one behind me laughing at me, I thought I’d be the adult. I asked Butler about ground balls, but I motioned at Hosmer (I see you there): “I was asking Eric about this, but are ground balls and fly balls something you think about when you get up to the plate?”

“I think about putting the barrel on the ball.”

The peanut gallery exploded. “He gets paid to put the barrel on the ball, you guys get paid to think about fly balls and ground balls,” offers Hosmer clearly on the tape. Which wouldn’t be so bad, he’s right. But as I finished up the interview — Butler was great, he admitted that he looked for the low ball, since the pitcher was trying to throw it there anyway, something I found very interesting in terms of game theory — there was a hum behind me that threatened to take away my concentration.

I didn’t know who exactly was talking, but the tone of the stream and the intent was clear: “we get paid to put barrels on balls man, what the f— is this guy talking about, walk rates, ground-ball rates, barrels dude, barrels, what’s up with this hair, must be because he’s Greek, yeah or blind, these are some stupid questions, man, I’ve never heard anything like this, dude needs to shut up, bothering us about ground-ball rates man, barrels, dude, barrels, nut sacks more like.” The interview with Butler had been getting better, but there was one last emphatic statement from the trio behind me before they exited: “This guy’s the f—ing worst.”


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Royals mascot welcomes Mr. Met to Twitter by hitting on his wife

Statements about “the greatest mascot in sports” do not necessarily represent the opinion of this author.

Mascots playfully taunting one another — on the Internet and in real life — is hardly new. But in an effort to “welcome” the greatest mascot in sports to Twitter, Royals mascot Sluggerrr stepped way, way over the line.

Hey @MrMet welcome to Twitter! BTW, can you ask Mrs. Met why she won’t call me back? http://t.co/MnKEbagKLQ

  (@Sluggerrr) March 10, 2014

The District Attorney Posted: March 11, 2014 at 08:14 PM | 27 comment(s)
  Beats: mascots, mets, royals

Friday, March 07, 2014

Brad Penny released by Royals after punching wall

The 35-year-old pitcher saw his comeback attempt go awry when he was released by the Royals on Friday, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. And while performance certainly played a part in Kansas City’s decision — Penny gave up four runs and eight hits in two innings in a spring start against the White Sox on Thursday — apparently Penny’s temper did too.

“One reason Brad Penny was released: He injured his non-throwing hand punching a wall on Thursday, source says.”

— Andy McCullough (@McCulloughStar) March 7, 2014

Good cripple hitter Posted: March 07, 2014 at 06:04 PM | 23 comment(s)
  Beats: injuries, royals, spring training

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Royals’ ‘break-even’ claim is plausible, but front office can still do more

I think the man that ruthlessly cut costs at Wal-Mart and over his first decade of ownership of the Royals deserves the benefit of the doubt.

The first thing to talk about here is the new national television contracts that kick in this season. You hear a lot about this $25 million figure. That’s the number being thrown around locally and nationally — we’ve used it here — as the per-team increase from last year to this year. But some phone calls around baseball show the number to be misleading.

Most relevantly, there is no $25 million-per-team jump in revenues from 2013 to 2014. That figure (which doesn’t account for a share that MLB takes) comes from the average of the new contract compared to the average of the old contract. But the old deal increased every year, just like the new deal is scheduled to. The highest total of the old contract was last year, and the lowest total of the new contract is this year, so the raw increase from last year to this year is thought to be more like $5 million to $10 million, before MLB takes its share….

“Ninety million is a very big number for a franchise like the Royals,” Badenhausen says. “They’re spending money. They’re out of their days of the $30 million payroll. If you told Royals fans four years ago they’d be closing in on a $100 million payroll, I think they would’ve taken it.”...

Glass may very well lose money this year, but an owner more focused on taking advantage of this opportunity and less on a potential one-year loss would be willing to extend further beyond break-even. Then again, an owner solely focused on profit would keep the payroll below that break-even point.

Glass is operating, in other words, like a C student.

 

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: February 16, 2014 at 01:28 PM | 6 comment(s)
  Beats: david glass, new tv contract, royals

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Royals Re-Sign Bruce Chen

The Royals will bring back free agent swingman Bruce Chen after agreeing to terms on a one-year, $4.25MM deal that includes a $5.5MM mutual option for 2015. The 36-year-old lefty, a client of the Boras Corporation, will earn $3.25MM in 2014 and is also promised a $1MM buyout on the option. He can also make an additional $1.25MM in performance bonuses.

Rafael Bellylard: A failure of the waist. Posted: February 01, 2014 at 06:17 PM | 38 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Monday, January 27, 2014

“Horsehide Q&A” with Pitcher and Songwriter Al Fitzmorris

Nice to see a Fitzmorris article after all the Morris fits ones…

Q: What do you remember most about twice being selected in expansion drafts?

A: The first draft in the winter of ’68 winter I had no idea it was going on. I didn’t think about it at all. I was consumed with playing baseball and after the season I would go home and work. I was working at WT Grants in the stockroom and my brother told me I had been drafted by the Royals. I had no idea who they were. I went to camp and it was great opportunity. The White Sox had great pitching depth and awesome arms. It was a brand new opportunity and my chances turned out to be as good as anybody’s.

In ’76 being drafted by Toronto was a nightmare. I had grown up to be an adult as a major league pitcher in Kansas City and I was not happy when I was drafted. I never adjusted well. The same day I was drafted by Toronto I was traded to Cleveland and that was the last place I wanted to be. I never really found myself as anything other than a Kansas City Royal. I was disappointed in not being protected and then being drafted and then traded. Some of the excitement I had for the game left.

...Fitzmorris lost a little of his passion for the game after leaving Kansas City, but his passion for the city and the game never completely left. He still lives in the metro area working with young ball players and continuing to work on his second passion, his music.

“My son has an organization called Players Edge. I work with 14-, 10- and 8-year-old teams. I teach hitting and pitching and I do private lessons at a facility in Olathe,” Fitzmorris said. “I do a lot of musical writing, and am not your typical former baseball player. I always played in bands. I play at guitar and keyboards, but am mostly a vocalist.”

Repoz Posted: January 27, 2014 at 10:19 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: history, royals

Thursday, January 23, 2014

For Ned Yost, only two seasons count: baseball season and deer season

Fox worthy, indeed.

Royals manager Ned Yost laughs when he says that he could be the punch line of a joke told by one of his best buddies, comedian Jeff Foxworthy.

It would go something like this: “When you name the deer you are hunting, you just might be a redneck.”

When Yost and Foxworthy hunt deer together in western Georgia, they are so familiar with the big bucks that roam their land, they do give them names.

“We don’t name them all,” Yost said. “Only the very special bucks get names.”

For example, there was Will Smith, the trophy buck that Foxworthy recently shot with his bow.

“Jeff named him that because it had hair that reminded him of Will Smith’s,” Yost said.

Then there was Bo Jr., named after Bo Jackson. And Butkus, a brute that reminds them of former Bears linebacker Dick Butkus. And Bullwinkle, named after ... well, you know. And Chief. And Wil Myers.

Wil Myers?

“I named him that because I thought that buck had a lot of potential to grow into something special, just like Wil,” Yost said of Myers, a former Royal who was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays.

...When Yost and Foxworthy get together with other major-league ballplayers, such as Jon Lester, J.D. Drew and Kevin Millwood, who also live in their neighborhood, it’s good ol’ boy humor at its best.

“The great thing is that we’re not on stage,” Yost said. “We can just be ourselves.

“We have a great little deer-hunting community down here, and it’s a lot of fun.”

Repoz Posted: January 23, 2014 at 06:48 AM | 7 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Royals acquire Valencia from Orioles for Lough - Third baseman to back up Moustakas, possibly play first base

Lough’s status with the Royals was in jeopardy after right fielder Norichika Aoki was obtained from the Brewers. Lough had spent his entire career in the KC organization, so the trade to Baltimore was unsettling.

“It was kind of a shock to me,” Lough said.


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Royals Acquire Danny Valencia for David Lough

O Valencia!

The Orioles announced today they have acquired Royals outfielder David Lough in exchange for third baseman Danny Valencia.

Valencia is a 29 year old right-handed hitting third baseman who hit .304/.335/.553 in 170 plate appearances with Baltimore, splitting some time in AAA. The once promising Twins prospect had a good rookie season in 2010, hitting .311./351/.448 with 7 HR 40 RBI and finishing third in Rookie of the Year balloting. He floundered in his sophomore season hitting just .246/.294/.383 although with 15 HR 72 RBI, and by his third season he had lost his starting job and was dealt to Boston. In 1261 career MLB plate appearances, Valencia is a .263/.302/.412 hitter.

Valencia appears to be a below average fielder. He can mash lefties, hitting .329/.367/.513 in his career against southpaws, providing the Royals with an excellent platoon opportunity with the left-handed hitting Mike Moustakas.

David Lough had a breakout season with the Royals at age 27, hitting .286/.311/.413 with excellent defense and posting 2.7 WAR. The 2007 draft pick and longtime organizational soldier was probably caught in a numbers crunch when the club acquired Justin Maxwell and then Norichika Aoki, and with him out of options, the Royals had to deal him to get value for him.

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O Valencia!

The Orioles announced today they have acquired Royals outfielder David Lough in exchange for third baseman Danny Valencia.

Valencia is a 29 year old right-handed hitting third baseman who hit .304/.335/.553 in 170 plate appearances with Baltimore, splitting some time in AAA. The once promising Twins prospect had a good rookie season in 2010, hitting .311./351/.448 with 7 HR 40 RBI and finishing third in Rookie of the Year balloting. He floundered in his sophomore season hitting just .246/.294/.383 although with 15 HR 72 RBI, and by his third season he had lost his starting job and was dealt to Boston. In 1261 career MLB plate appearances, Valencia is a .263/.302/.412 hitter.

Valencia appears to be a below average fielder. He can mash lefties, hitting .329/.367/.513 in his career against southpaws, providing the Royals with an excellent platoon opportunity with the left-handed hitting Mike Moustakas.

David Lough had a breakout season with the Royals at age 27, hitting .286/.311/.413 with excellent defense and posting 2.7 WAR. The 2007 draft pick and longtime organizational soldier was probably caught in a numbers crunch when the club acquired Justin Maxwell and then Norichika Aoki, and with him out of options, the Royals had to deal him to get value for him.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 18, 2013 at 11:56 PM | 0 comment(s)
  Beats: danny valencia, david lough, orioles, royals

Juan Gonzalez MVP Trophy, other memorabilia, on the auction block

Gonzalez has put a number of items up for auction through Lelands.com, an auction house that specializes in sports and entertainment memorabilia. The “Juan Gonzalez Collection” includes seven items and is highlighted by Gonzalez’s 1996 AL MVP Trophy.

The catalog also notes that Gonzalez has signed the trophy and states it is his original MVP trophy.  The bidding for the MVP trophy started at $10,000 on Wednesday. It had received two bids and was up to $11,000 by Wednesday evening. The auction runs through January 10.

Among other items from Gonzalez’s collection that are up for auction:

• The “Babe Ruth Crown” he received from the Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association in 1992 (starting bid was $3,000)

• Silver Slugger bats he received in 1996 and 2001. The bats are being sold separately. (starting bid was $1,000)

• A trophy presented to him for being the Rangers nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award in 1997 (starting bid was $1,000)

• An AL Player of the Month trophy for September, 1997 (starting bid was $300)

• The “Ultimate Juan Gonzalez Game Equipment Collection,” which features game-used gloves, bats, jerseys and hats, along with some signed baseball cards (starting bid was $600)

Gonzalez is not the only player offering memorabilia for auction. Former St. Louis manager Red Schoendienst, 90, has put up a number of items including his miniature Hall of Fame induction plaque and a number of World Series rings.

Egad, Igor!


Friday, December 13, 2013

Omar Infante, Kansas City Royals reach four-year deal - ESPN

Yankees get outmaneuvered again.

Free agent infielder Omar Infante has agreed to a four-year deal worth about $30 million with the Kansas City Royals, sources told ESPN’s Buster Olney.

Jim Furtado Posted: December 13, 2013 at 10:32 PM | 53 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, omar infante, royals, yankees

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Royals get outfielder Aoki from Brewers for Will Smith

Dayton just don’t understand.

Aoki, 31, is a left-handed hitter who spent the last two years with the Brewers after eight seasons at Yakult in Japan’s Central League. He batted .286 last season with a .356 on-base percentage in 155 games.

Smith, 24, blossomed last season after shifting to the bullpen and emerged in the closing weeks as one of the club’s primary setup relievers for All-Star closer Greg Holland.

Aoki spent most of the last two seasons as the Brewers’ leadoff hitter and appears likely to fill that role for the Royals, who could then shift Alex Gordon to a lower spot in the lineup.

The trade isn’t expected to affect the Royals’ pursuit of Beltran.

Aoki is under contract next season for $1.95 million. He ranked second in the majors last season with 40 infield hits and led the National League with 140 singles while striking out just 40 times in 674 plate appearances.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 05, 2013 at 12:32 PM | 59 comment(s)
  Beats: brewers, norichika aoki, royals, trade, will smith

Friday, November 29, 2013

Royals, GM Dayton Moore Agree to Two Year Contract Extension

Imaginary World Series- completed. Real World Series…?

Since taking over KC, the Royals have had a total record of 552-685 and have yet to make the playoffs or place higher than third in the AL Central.

The elusive Robert Denby Posted: November 29, 2013 at 04:22 PM | 58 comment(s)
  Beats: grit, just like a world series, royals

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Royals sign left-hander Jason Vargas to four-year deal

Meh.

The Kansas City Royals signed left-handed starter Jason Vargas to a four-year, $32 million contract Thursday, committing a significant number of years to a pitcher with a career 4.30 earned-run average but the ability to eat significant innings, sources close to the negotiations told Yahoo Sports.

The 30-year-old Vargas went 9-8 with a 4.02 ERA with the Los Angeles Angels last season after coming over from Seattle, where he threw 611 innings from 2010-12.

The signing cements the loss of right-hander Ervin Santana, who had come to Kansas City in a trade and excelled. A free agent, Santana is seeking a deal in excess of $100 million.

Vargas, whose fastball averages about 88 mph, should benefit from the Royals’ strong defense as well as Kauffman Stadium, which, like Angels Stadium and Safeco Field, plays as a pitcher’s park.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 21, 2013 at 05:21 PM | 88 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, jason vargas, royals

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Our Kansas City Royals inspired Lorde’s monster hit ‘Royals’

OK, we’re the last to know this, right? Turns out that 17-year-old Lorde’s megahit song, “Royals” – the one that’s topped the Billboard Hot 100 for seven straight weeks now – was inspired by our own boys in blue in Kansas City.

Zach Posted: November 20, 2013 at 03:31 PM | 20 comment(s)
  Beats: general, music, royals

Friday, November 08, 2013

Ervin Santana seeking five years, $100 million in free agency

I want five minutes with Kate Upton.

Right-hander Ervin Santana, who entered free agency after a bounce-back year with the Royals, is seeking a five-year deal for $100 million, according to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports.
    
An asking price is just that — an asking price — but, if true, the Royals are likely to escalate their efforts to find a replacement rather than work to retain Santana, who was 9-10 with a 3.24 ERA in 32 starts.

Santana, who turns 31 in December, made $13 million last season in completing a five-year deal for $43 million signed with the Los Angeles Angels prior to the 2009 season.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: November 08, 2013 at 12:23 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: drugs in sports, ervin santana, free agents, royals

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Bill James Mailbag - 10/31/13 - 11/3/13

Bill, are there any teams that don’t make use of the newaadvanced metrics. Ifn not, which teams were the last holdout?

I think the Royals are the last holdout.

I am wondering if you are aware of a review written by Dorothy Rabinowitz in today’s Wall Street Journal of a TV docudrama called “JFK: The Smoking Gun”. The film is somewhat based on the book “Mortal Error”, which you describe in “Popular Crime” as one of the two best books on the assassination. Check out what Rabinowitz has to say: “That’s not to say that the theory (that Kennedy was accidentally shot by a Secret Service agent in addition to being shot deliberately by Oswald) hasn’t convinced some people, including Malcolm Gladwell . . . (who) had reported in a 2012 online exchange how he came to see the convincing wisdom of the Secret Service agent explanation by reading Lebron James, baskerball star. Mr. James had praised the theory in his own book.” This is a pretty embarrassing error, don’t you think? I wonder if the Wall Street Journal employs copy editors.

It’s more funny than embarrassing.    I’ve worked with the Wall Street Journal, and I’ll tell you that their standards of double-checking/fact checking are the highest in the industry.   But that’s a good one.

Congratulations, Bill. Don’t have a question, but thought your readers might enjoy an updating of your “Dynasties” accounting system. When that article was written in July of 2012, the current Cardinals had accumulated 15 points, and were tied for the designation of 21st Greatest Team of All Time. Since then they’ve picked up 4 more points, and are now tied for 14th with the 1900-12 Pirates and 1927-32 Athletics, vaulting past such celebrated teams as the 1976-86 Yankees and the 1926-35 Cardinals. Perhaps that’s cold comfort for St. Louis fans, but their club is advancing into very elite territory. The Red Sox’s improvement is less dramatic: They had 13 points after the 2009 season, and now have 14. This moves them up from a tie for 24th place with 5 other teams, to 24th place all by themselves. That’s right, 1885-89 St. Louis Browns; you’re now in Boston’s rearview mirror.

Thanks for doing that.   I thought I was going to have to do it myself. .. .

In what area will the biggest jump be made in sabermetrics in the next few years? As a casual observer, it looks like defensive shifting and pitch framing by catchers analysis will take a big jump forward soon.

1)  I don’t have any idea what to make of the pitch framing stuff.

2)  The breakthroughs in shifting have already occurred, although that is not to say they are finished.   But the next movement there, one would think, would be the comeback of the bunt, which should—one would think—be able to defeat the shifts for ordinary hitters (not David Ortiz), and thus drive the shifts into remission.   I would guess.


Friday, November 01, 2013

AP: FAN INJURED BY HOT DOG SUING ROYALS

Baseball, apple pie & oh, my eye!

If it had been a foul ball or broken bat that struck John Coomer in the eye as he watched a Kansas City Royals game, the courts likely wouldn’t force the team to pay for his surgeries and suffering. But because it was a hot dog thrown by the team mascot - behind the back, no less - he just may have a case. The Missouri Supreme Court is weighing whether the “baseball rule” - a legal standard that protects teams from being sued over fan injuries caused by events on the field, court or rink - should also apply to injuries caused by mascots or the other personnel that teams employ to engage fans.
. . .
The Jackson County jurors who first heard the case two years ago sided with the Royals, saying Coomer was completely at fault for his injury because he wasn’t aware of what was going on around him. An appeals court overturned that decision in January, however, ruling that while being struck by a baseball is an inherent risk fans assume at games, being hit with a hot dog isn’t. The state Supreme Court heard oral arguments in September, but didn’t indicate when it might issue its ruling.

The Yankee Clapper Posted: November 01, 2013 at 08:29 PM | 26 comment(s)
  Beats: fans, hot dogs, justice, lawsuits, mascots, royals, throwing

Monday, October 21, 2013

Posnanski: Beltran

 

[Carlos Beltran’s] 2000 season was a nightmare. He couldn’t hit. He looked disinterested in the field. He got hurt. When the Royals tried to send him to Florida for rehab, he refused to go. Nobody was entirely sure why — it seemed like a language clash — but it seemed that Beltran was worried that once he went to Florida the Royals wouldn’t bring him back. His confidence was crushed. The language barrier still overwhelmed him. Teammates would talk about how miserable he seemed… A lingering image: Somebody once brought one of those toy remote control cars to the clubhouse — Beltran played with it for what seemed like hours. He just moved that car all over the clubhouse, running over discarded clothes, bumping it into teammates and sportswriters, he never took his eye off of it. He really was a kid in so many ways; you probably know that not long after that he got a pet monkey because he had dreamed that he got a pet monkey… He was a young man who, in many ways, seemed resentful of his own great talent. That talent led people to expect things from him. He didn’t like expectations. He would rather be playing.

That, I think, is when people started to wonder in Beltran even liked baseball.

All of that passed pretty quickly though. Beltran was a quietly great baseball player for Kansas City the next three years. From 2001-2004, Beltran hit 295/.365/.512 with 79 homers, 107 stolen bases, 12 caught stealing, he scored 100 runs and drove in 100 all three years. He made amazing plays in the outfield. Nobody outside of Kansas City seemed to notice — he didn’t make a single All-Star Team, did not get a Gold Glove award.

And few people inside Kansas City seemed to appreciate it… Beltran as so graceful, so smooth, so natural that people always thought he wasn’t trying hard enough. When he hit 29 home runs, people felt sure he should have hit 40. When he stole 41 bases in 45 attempts, people thought he easily could steal 60 if he was willing to take more chances. When he made absurd, preposterous, amazing catches look easy, people thought those catches WERE easy.

At some point toward the end of his Kansas City time, I went to see Beltran in Puerto Rico… Now Beltran was a star, and he was confident, and he comfortable speaking English, and he told me that his time in Kansas City was running out. The team was just not going in the right direction. He needed to move on and play in big games. “I don’t want to be a good player,” he said. “I want to be the best.”

It was the first time I had ever heard him talk like that. I asked him that question that had long haunted him: “Is baseball fun for you?” He was no longer that unsure kid. He looked out in the field where 16-year-old kids waited for him to hit. He explained that this was the GAME of baseball, this, hitting on a field in his hometown with his parents in the stands and the happy chatter of kids echoing through the park.

“Major League baseball,” he said. “That is business.” ...

In truth, Beltran has been good, but not legendary, in his postseasons since 2004… this offseason, when he’s being constantly compared with Ruth and Gehrig, he’s hitting .207… It seems to me a “Color of Money” overcompensation. For years and years, Paul Newman was one of Hollywood’s greatest actors. And, for bizarre reasons, he could not win an Oscar. He got beat out for “The Hustler,” for “Hud,” for “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” for “Cool Hand Luke,” for “The Verdict,” for “Absence of Malice.” That doesn’t even include “Butch Cassidy” or “The Sting” or, of course, “Slap Shot.”

At some point, everyone realized this was kind of ridiculous and so they gave Newman the Oscar for “The Color of Money” even though it was a pretty bad movie and Newman’s performance in it was generally uninspiring. The idea, I suppose, was to retroactively acknowledge the man’s greatness. I get that same feeling with Beltran. He will get some big hits in the postseason because he’s still a good hitter, and people will overstate the moment and call him a clutch conquerer. That’s OK, I think. He spent a lot of amazing years getting overlooked.

The District Attorney Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:41 PM | 14 comment(s)
  Beats: astros, cardinals, carlos beltran, joe posnanski, mets, royals

Sunday, January 15, 2012

MLB Trade Rumors: Bartolo Colon Agrees to Sign With Unknown Team

Bartolo Colon has agreed to a deal with an unknown club reports Bob Nightengale of USA Today (on Twitter). The right-hander wouldn’t divulge the team because he has not yet passed his physical.

Pretty sure it’s either the All-Stars or the Champs.


George Brett says young Royals remind him of his playing days

Sans Zdebonair, of course.

Sans Zdebonair

The words are flowing quickly from George Brett’s mouth. The greatest player in Royals history can’t stop talking about winning baseball in Kansas City.

He’s saying the same names and phrases you’ve heard before.

Eric Hosmer can be a star. And the young left-handed pitchers can turn into studs. And guys like Johnny Giavotella and Mike Moustakas and Salvador Perez can win with talent AND chemistry.

“What were they doing in Double-A two years ago?” Brett says. “They were voted the best (darn) team in all of minor-league baseball.”

Repoz Posted: January 15, 2012 at 09:51 AM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: history, royals

Monday, January 09, 2012

BTF Flashback: David Brazeal’s “The Peña”

Once upon a spring so dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious contest of forgotten score.
While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my office door.
“‘Tis just Mr. Glass,” I muttered, “tapping at my office door—
Only him and nothing more.”

How distinctly I remembers how it’s been in past Decembers,
As each season’s dying embers wrought their ghosts across the plain.
Eagerly I wished the morrow; vainly I had tried to borrow
From Herk’s legacy of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Jermaine.
For the rare and radiant player whom the angels name Jermaine—
I got Neifi - oh, such pain.

And the silken sad uncertain promise of each high school pitcher
Thrilled me—-filled me with fantastic fervor never felt before;
So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating,
“‘Tis some young phenom entreating entrance at my chamber door,
Affeldt or Runelvys entreating entrance at my chamber door.
This it is, and nothing more.”

Our young arms I thought were stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sirs,” said I, “for those high pitch counts, your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is, I was napping, while Old Muser did his yapping,
Now the doctors, elbows zapping, zapping like Rosado’s sore,
Promise me that they will fix you.” Here I opened wide the door—-
Darkness there, and nothing more.

Deep into the outfield peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing
Doubting, dreaming dreams no GM ever dreamed with such élan;
Half Dos Carlos still has impact, and I want a long-term contract,
He’s the biggest prospect intact.  Faintly came the word, “Beltran,”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Beltran!”
Sign or trade him fore he’s gone.

Back into my office turning, for that long-term deal still yearning,
Soon again I heard a tapping, something louder than before,
“Surely,” said I, “surely, that’s a closer at my window lattice.
Let me see, then, who thereat is, and this bullpen depth explore.
Mike McDougal, Ryan Bukvich, Hill and others do implore.
All will have some saves in store.

Open here I flung the shutter, when, with many a flirt and flutter,
In there stepped a stately Peña, of the Pirates’ days of yore.
Not much of OPS knew he; loss of veteran pride did rue he;
Grounding to the right side knew he, was the perfect way to score.
Perched upon a bust of Dave Glass, just inside my office door,
Perched, and sat, and nothing more.

Then this manager beguiling my sad fancy into smiling,
By his bright and warm decorum made me want to scale a wall,
“Though thy attitude is sunny, we,” I said, “don’t have no money,
Optimistic silly Peña, Michael Tucker can’t play ball.
Tell me what the lordly plan is ‘ere this team impact the wall.”
Quoth the Peña, “Little ball.”

Much I marveled this ungainly man to hear discourse so plainly,
This the answer I’d been searching, all to end the Royals’ fall,
For we cannot help agreeing that no living human being
Should be always cursed with seeing such a bad display of ball,
Randa, Quinn or Mayne may slug .350 but at least they all,
Might make runs with “Little ball.”

But the Peña, sitting lonely on that placid bust, spoke only
Those two words, as if the world with those two words he did enthrall.
I was struck with inspiration—“Hitters: heed the situation!”
Called Ibanez: “Raul, come quickly! Even if your swing is sickly,
Make your outs always productive, lest the ump a third strike call.
Chirped the skipper, “Little ball.”

Startled at the stillness broken by reply so aptly spoken,
“Doubtless,” said I, “what he utters is the offense to install,
But with slugger Michael Sweeney, surely Peña’s not a meanie.
If our slugger bats with man on second and no outs at all—-
Surely then a mighty swing will not this Peña’s ire recall.
Still spoke Peña, “Little ball.”

This new manager beguiling all my sad soul into smiling,
Straight I wheeled a cushioned seat in front of him, to heed his call;
Then, upon the velvet sinking, I betook myself to thinking
What about the shortstop stinking?  What if Angel’s bat should fall
Like it did for all last season, Though his glove did not appall?
Came the answer, “Little ball.”

Thus I sat engaged in guessing, Desi Relaford assessing,
While the Peña’s eyes cried tears of loss for Royal Byrd named Paul;
Thoughts on Mark D. Quinn alighting, hopes for no more Kung Fu fighting—
That his hamstring he’ll be righting, and can finally heed the call,
Even if his leather glove he leaves upon the bench till fall,
DH, too, plays Little Ball!

I had praised payroll taxation, contemplating my rotation.
Yankee seraphim whose money trickling, to KC would fall.
“Cash,” I cried, “Steinbrenner spent thee—by these dollars he hath
Pent the talent up in Gotham, leaving little for us all.
Leaving only Darrell May, Asencio to throw the ball.”
Quoth the Peña, “Little Ball!”

“Peña!” said I, “dugout leader!  Ask a Baseball Primer Reader!
Little Ball, they say, is not conducive to Mike Sweeney’s call.
What of Harvey’s blooming power, just last Fall his finest hour—
Arizona’s budding flower, whacking line drives off the wall?
Is there room for sluggers herewith, shall we his sweet swing forestall?”
Quoth the Peña, “Little Ball.”

“Peña!” said I, “clubhouse leader, we don’t have a Derek Jeter!
On the grave of Ewing Kauffman—by the Game we heard us call—
Tell this soul if there’s a reason, to believe sometime this season,
We shall be our fans a-pleasin’, by a fine display of ball—
Pass the Tigers?  E’en the Twinkies! Pass them in the standings all!
Quoth the Peña, “Little Ball.”

“Be those words our sign of parting, Muser clone!” I shrieked, upstarting—
“Get thee back into the dugout.  Let thine quips the press enthrall!
When our bullpen lost Hernandez, what I came to understand is,
There’s a hundred cheap Joe Randas waiting to receive a call.
Woe to Mr. Glass for nixing Randa to the Cubs et al.
Quoth the Peña, “Little Ball.”

And the Peña, offense stunting, still is bunting, still is bunting
On the green expanse of Kauffman though my head hurts from it all;
And the team has kept on losing, while the fans in seats are snoozing.
And a record of .500 teases as the seasons crawl
And the team from out that cellar where it’s buried every Fall

Wins renown for Little Ball.

David Brazeal Posted: January 09, 2012 at 12:49 PM | 3 comment(s)
  Beats: royals

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Andy Carey, helped preserve Larsen’s perfecto, dies

RIP,

Andy Carey, a former Yankees third baseman who helped preserve Don Larsen’s 1956 perfect game, passed away on Dec. 15 in Costa Mesa, Calif., his family announced. He was 80.

A career .260 hitter, Carey played in 11 Major League seasons from 1952-62, beginning with the Yankees at age 20 in ‘52 and spending nine seasons wearing pinstripes.

Born on Oct. 18, 1931, in Oakland, Calif., Carey signed with the Yankees after spending a summer playing semi-pro ball in Weiser, Idaho. As New York’s everyday third baseman in ‘55, Carey led the league with 11 triples and was known as a solid defender and clutch hitter.

Carey played on four Yankees World Series teams, winning rings with the 1956 and ‘58 squads. He is remembered as playing a key role in Larsen’s Oct. 8, 1956, perfecto against the Dodgers at Yankee Stadium.

Repoz Posted: January 04, 2012 at 03:58 PM | 10 comment(s)
  Beats: dodgers, obituaries, royals, white sox, yankees

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