Well, as you all saw during the interview with Joel...very cool gentleman.
I think that if there was a book on how to be a good father of a sport athlete, he's read it cover to cover. I only realized who he was when Joel scooted by me to sit next to him for the interview and addressed him as "Mr. Duffy". I put 2 and 2 together, and figured I was Onto Something.
His manner was excellent. I have to imagine it is extremely tough to not yell things at your son while on the mound -- there would be, of course, things he would know inherently about his kid that perhaps even the Royals don't -- but he kept his composure, even through Danny's couple of rough innings. He was extremely personable, and showed a couple of pics of him and Danny from his flip phone.
He also told a very interesting story about his son.
He was telling me about when Danny was a junior in high school, and apparently the field for his high school wasn't very good. At some point in his junior year, Danny ran afoul of a gopher hole on the mound and injured his back. Now, before the injury, his dad said, Danny was throwing about 84-88 tops, and the only teams coming around to scout him were the Cincinnati Reds. The doctor's told Danny he'd be 6-8 weeks in coming back.
Well, that didn't sit well with Danny, and he threw himself into rehabbing as soon as he was able, aiming to be back in only 4 weeks. I can't remember if his dad told me if he actually made it back in the 4 weeks or not, but the main point of the story is that when Danny came back, all of a sudden his fastball was getting into the 90's, and also all of a sudden a bunch more teams started scouting him. Things eventually got to the point where Danny's mom quit her job in order to handle all of the scouts, etc. coming to their house to talk about Danny.
Danny's dad (and as his name also seems to be Dan, I feel a bit bad I never told him my name was Daniel, too) was interviewed by another gentleman besides Joel, and he also mentioned that there was a ton of media from the Santa Barbara area, along with a bunch family, friends of the family, etc. that made the trip to the Bay Area from Southern California.
After Danny exited, going 6 strong, his mom came down from several rows back to exchange a heartfelt hug with his dad -- very touching. Danny's dad left for a time, but came back to the section near the end of the game. And in an extremely classy move, shook the hand of pretty much every Royals fan in that section. While I thought the initial picture I took of him and Joel talking during the interview was going to be the only one I took, his sincerity in thanking everyone for rooting his son on prompted me to want to take a picture with him.
- Not sure what's up with Eric Hosmer and the "scoop" on balls thrown in the dirt at first, but I'm thinking he'll want to break what seems to be a habit of doing that scoop on so many throws. I'm specifically speaking of the throw from Escobar -- firstly, Escobar had plenty of time to set his feet and didn't, but secondly, that wasn't a ball that Hosmer needed to scoop in that fashion. The bounce was pretty normal. If he attempts a normal type of catch instead of that scoop, I'm thinking that even if he doesn't catch it, the ball doesn't fly over his head into the dugout to give the A's extra bases.
- Jeff Francoeur is very hard to not like. In addition to having a solid game last night, several times he baited three boys that were in the front row just behind the visitor's dugout. Melky Cabrera was also pretty personable on a few different occasions with the same group of boys, although not to Frenchy's level.
- Mike Moustakas just does not look comfortable at 3rd base. In addition to the bobble and stumble he had last night that led to rushed throws, one of which was errant, he displayed a few mannerisms that indicate to me he's nervous out there. What a surprise, huh? First time in the majors and he's nervous? Go figure.
- What, exactly, was up with the National League type of baseball Ned Yost was rolling out there last night? Was Yost just playing for one run on a couple of different occasions as a result of the A's recent scoring woes? I cannot remember the last time I saw two sacrifice bunts in an all American League baseball game.
In any case, this post is quite long enough -- I'll be back out there tomorrow, so hopefully the good mojo continues. Well, good mojo for Royals fans, anyway...I definitely empathize with Oakland A's fans at the moment, seeing as how us as Royals fans have been down that road oh, so many times.