As I sit here with my laptop looking at this open Microsoft screen, the place keeper is flashing at me.. Taunting me.. I feel writers block…. I’m somewhat lost on how to describe to you the events that happened at yesterdays Royals promotion Blog your way to the K…. ……. ……… ……..
I could tell you a play by play sequence of events, maybe a time line, or I could just do quick notes on questions asked… I am really frustrated with myself right now, I am at a loss for words, describing this once and a life time event is the Mount Everest of tasks.
There was once a blog on here that was posted on RR that described the different types of fans. This article described the "bandwagon fans", the "die-hards" with criteria describing each category. Such as knowing who is on the 40 Man Rosters, players in AAA, draft picks, how many games you watch and or attend, the length of time in which you were a fan or even how many articles of fan memorabilia, jerseys and/or hats one posses. I believe I commented on that thread a few times describing my Royals habits, my short time of following the Royals (2008-2009), ownership of said memorabilia and jerseys and boasting about my Saberhagen Booble Head that resides on my work desk.
I recall AverageGastsby telling me I was close to becoming a "die hard" and it was all due to the amount of time vested in our beloved boys in blue. I believe last night and my entire experience of being at the K truly opened my eyes to the first time of what it means to be a diehard fan. Last night I fell in love with baseball and the Kansas City Royals all over again. Last night I finally understood the meaning of appreciation.
I am going to describe to you my experience of being a part of the Blog your way to the K from my point of view. Some may get it some wont but there are pictures so that should make up for my lack of writing abilities. I am just a simple man, a guy whos been in the Army for almost 10 years, whom of which appreciates 2 things after work; A ice cold beer and the Kansas City Royals on my flat screen.
**********First note of this long account of my night; I am paraphrasing a lot of what was said if it was an actual quote from any member of the KC organization I will you quotations. Royals Man has a lot of the interviews on audio which I assuming by now is on his webcast. **********
I was nervous from the min I stood outside the doors of Gate C. I had no idea what to expect, what the sequence of events were going to be (other than what was described in a short paragraph) how the other bloggers were going to be/act/think. The one thing I knew for sure is that I was going to be the one blogger that knew least about sabermatics, any type of statistics, the wonderful world of twitter ( I don’t tweet ) and how it operates. I was correct. The other bloggers all seemed to be aspiring sports writers, some in college, most younger than I (and I was really starting to think almost 30 isn’t old).
We were greeted by a woman from Public Affairs, I forget her name, but she was very friendly and cordial. We were escorted via elevators to the 6th floor or as I call it "the fine dining and for your viewing pleasure floor". All 7 of us had gifts waiting for us on the desks in front of the window. A year book, score cards, notes from the Baltimore Orioles and the Kansas City Royals and a nice royals promotion T-shirt.
Enter Mike Swanson or Swani: this guy is awesome. If there was a draft for who you would want as a grandfather then Swani would be drafted number 1 overall. Swani was our host of hosts. He broke down the itinerary for us;
Ned Yost Questions in the dugout
Talk with the players
Then talk with General Manager Dayton Moore
Giving us a brief description of what happens, the rules of being down there on the field.. you know standard operating procedures.
Approx. 4:30 pm
Eagerly we all followed Swani and the PA lady, whose name I forget but she was a very cordial blonde, down the evaluator to the 3rd floor, walking through concrete corridors down a small decline of steps to the very base of the stairwell and then BAM!!!
The smell of Oriental food hits as the kitchen is to your immediate left and they are in full cooking mode. In front of you a rack of batting helmets and the American league logo. To your right; entry way to the indoor batting cages and the most exciting feature layed meer steps away.. the 4 step entry way to the hollowed playing grounds of Kaufman stadium. At this point I was excited, I was lingering behind the other bloggers carrinyg on idle chit chat with the PA lady and when I stopped to take a pitcher of the indoor batting cage I almost ran into a towering figure none other than Nate Adcock. Let me tell ya, Adcock is a very menacing tall figure. If I was in a bar sober or 3 sheets this is a guy that I would NOT want to be in a fight with. After being giddy for a split second, realizing that I was going to be amidst our KC Royals I turned with a stone cold face and walked outside.
The other bloggers were standing in the dugout waiting for the professional sports reporters to finish their ambush of Skipper Ned Yost. From my point of view, I can see why he doesn’t like interviews. (Invasion of personal bubble/space comes into mind). Swani told us to hang back and after they were finished we would have an opportunity to ask some questions. Then after the players finished the batting session he would bring up some over to interview.
** Note it was unbearably hot in the dugout. I recall telling swani as a side bar standing next to the cooler that this heat reminded me of being in Afghanistan.
I did forget to bring my printed questions for Yost with me from the press box suite but from what I asked the skipper this is what I got:
I asked Yost about playing time for Pina ( 1st mistake/stupid question; he was already announced as being in the lineup) after he told me that he was indeed in the lineup I then asked that if he would consider keeping Pina up and carrying 3 catchers after Treanor.
" I would consider that a possibility I don’t know"
After a few more questions from the others which ranged from the slow start Moose has to the 6 man rotation.
I when can we expect playing time for Navrro ( 2nd mistake/stupid question asked as he was already penciled in the lineup) At this point I felt embarrassed. To the skippers credit he didn’t look down on me as he had just announced this to the professional reporters.
I stopped asking questions and just listened to Yost answer questions for a few min and the conversation came up about hitting, from Kevin Seitzer helping Billy’s swing, that it’s a process and it doesn’t happen overnight to Escobar and his 180 degree turn around.. and some somehow I managed to jump in and ask him Is that why you stuck to your guns leaving Escobar in the game when he wasn’t hitting. Yost confirmed what we all knew and should agree with.
These young kids and rookies need to learn how to hit in pressure situations, they have to learn it now and not when it’s a playoff game.
After Yost left, Swani got Ryan Lefebvre to sit in the dugout and answer questions. The other bloggers were asking about how prepares for a game, a typical day for him. I know the Royals Man has audio on all the interviews on his podcast. As Ryan was talking I stepped away from him and moved the rail of the dugout. I took some pictures of batting practice.
Once again that ungodly heat ray started to get to me so I preceded back to standing next to Swani and the water cooler.
The conversation came up about the people being critical of Ryan and his commentary. He told us that they get a lot of emails from fans and people watching saying they don’t like his commentary. He even said I know I’m not the most liked guy, does it bother me.. it did when I first came up. He began to tell us when he first started broadcasting all he did was baseball, research stats, game prep. He continued saying as he got older he got a thicker skin to what they fans think and him getting married and having a 19 month old baby that his priorities changed and who’s opinions matter the most. As much as I personally have been critical of Ryan as a commentator I felt overcome with guilt with the Ryan bashing I have done. After all he’s just a guy like you and I, doing an awesome job (covering baseball). I asked him how they come up with the Sprint you call it questions: is that it was really dependent on whom the opponent was and/or what time of the season it was.
As others continued to ask Ryan questions I turned to Swani remembering one question I had for DMGM that was suggested to be asked to Swani.
I asked Swani about the upcoming All Star Game in KC next year. I told him about my personal accounts as a Recruiter who has to be in St Louis a lot and described how they had Mini Archers all of the city of St Louis, positioned at points of interest such as " The Hill " which is the Italian district of St Louis or a Mini Arch at Forrest Park. I then proceeded to ask if Kansas City would highlight other features of Kansas City other than the Sports complex such as the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum or the WWI museum. He told me that both the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and WWI Museum are on the advertising council as are others and it’s the focus to show case Kansas City in its entirety not just the fountains of Kaufmann stadium.
After Ryan left Swani brought in none other than The Hos.
Eric Hosmer himself fresh from batting practice hell he didn’t even looked phased by the heat. (Probably a testament to his super natural God Like strength and powers.. but who knows these things). The other bloggers began asking some question about his experiences in the majors, his friendship with Moose and his slump. Royals man even went to ask about Hosmer’s mini slump and the leadership of Frenchy and the other vets and their presence. I have a video of part of the interview I will post on the blog later. I asked 2 questions of the Wizard of Hos. The first very cheese ball and corny of me: I asked how it felt having knocked out both of those Homeruns in historical ballparks and getting that under his belt… I know I know. Very cheese ball question.. Moving on. When given a second chance I asked him: if he was ready to give Cano competition next year? He looked at me for the slightest of a millisecond and I continued: This is our house you have home court advantage for next year’s Home Run Derby. He gave the slightest of smiles and very humbly replied: I have to get their first.
I thanked him for the picture from St Louis while showing it to him and told him he was a classy player and then stood and listened to the other questions. Hosmer is a class act. He is a very humble kid. One of the questions asked of him in the end dealt with the arrogance of Bryce Harper and his thoughts. Hosmer didn’t pounce on the opportunity to say what we all know and think : (IMHO) Harper is an arrogant and immature kid. He has a lot to learn about being a professional and definitely needs to learn his place and not think to highly of himself. Instead Hosmer commented professionally.
Immediately the questions came upon him about his historically slow starts, if he gets discouraged, his friendship with Hosmer and his reaction when Hosmer passed him up on being called up. WE all know the answers, he was very happy for him, he admitted he cried in happiness for his friend, they both are real good if not the best of friends and support each other. The only question I asked Moose dealt with his experience in the jump from AAA to the Majors. I worded it kind of weirdly and had to repeat it. I asked from his point of view what is the biggest difference from AAA pitchers to the Majors, given that he has faced some good pitchers like the Justin Verlanders and that the pitchers he was facing in the AAA were not Major League quality. He definitely repeated me with ; you don’t face the Justin Verlander’s in the AAA his velocity stays the same in the 90s no matter if it’s the 1st inning to the 9th and its been a good learning experience you don’t see that type of pitching in the minors and Velanders got a nasty curve.
After the Moose interview we reluctantly left the dugout to go to the suite. I say reluctantly speaking only on my behalf. It was a surreal feeling to sit in the dugout and watch the players just come by you and get water, carry on their normal conversations and small inside jokes with players and members of the Royals organization. We made the trek back to the suite to cool off for a bit.
Approx. 6 PM
We were all sitting in our seats carrying on our own conversation reveling in being down there on the field and then Dayton Moore came in. He shook everyone’s hand and we all sat down and began asking questions. This time I had my notes. I’ll save you the suspense; Dayton Moore is a filibuster King and as far as my ice breaking question…..I didn’t ask it.
(1) I didn’t have the balls to ask the question of bikini nights/ hot chicks swimming in the fountain for the ASG.
(2) there was a female blogger among us and didn’t want to push the "what’s appropriate and professional question and what’s not threshold"
On the list of questions I had posted to ask Dayton I asked the following:
Mas Cervezas: As far as the 2012 pitching staff is concerned do you foresee brining up AAA pitchers
Mike Montgomery Kelvin Herrera Or Luis Mendoza To fill open spots in the rotation maybe using a 6 man rotation?
" It would have to be unique circumstances for that… ( 6 Man rotation) .. I’m hoping for Monty to maintain his progress and make me force my hand…"
A Blogger inquired about the logjam before I asked but in essence 2 questions were answered in 1
What are your plans with the logjam you have with Hosmer/Kila/Clint, Getz/Gia/Navarro and Melky/Frenchy/Cain/Lough/Dyson?
Do you plan on using any of one of these players to attempt to acquire a weak SP? Or do plan on paying top dollar for a starting pitcher?
" Not enough positions ( Cain and Gia logjam) … concern about the amount of playing time, if they don’t get a chance to play .. doesn’t make sense to bring them up"
Mas Cervezas : When do you expect to make a push to bring up Noel Arguelles given the amount of time left on his contract?
DMGM: " When he’s ready.. right now he’s in the Carolina league.. velocity has dropped a bit.. regardless of options or time left on his contract .. he will be up when he’s ready…… pending progress 2014-2015 .."
Then the trade deadline questions came. The other bloggers asking were trying to inquire on Melky’s price and Frenchy’s price and the reason they were not traded.
[ in regards to no trade on Melky/ Frenchy or any other player in the log jam]
DMGM: "Deals weren’t good enough, we would be getting the same type of players we already have in our system" DMGM continued " If there was a deal thade our 25 man roster better we’d do it"
DMGM asked us a question
DMGM " Do you know how many teams made trade offer’s were made on David DeJesus?"
DMGM " Do you know how many teams made offers were made on Grienke"
DMGM " TWO"
Mas Cervezas : " Out of curiosity, who was the other team?"
DMGM : Texas (Rangers)
He continued to to talk to us about how Kansas City is a small market team. We won’t spend 100 million dollars on a roster when the market can’t support it. He continued to explain that KC has a sustainable 5-60 million dollar range. Finally the Bubba question came. It was simple and elegant how it was asked:
A Blogger asked: What’s up with bubba?
The way DMGM spoke about Bubba starling, his demeanor and laid back attitude in regards to the subject (IMHO) I believe DMGM will sign bubba, the money is too good to pass up.
DMGM smiled and laughed alil bit, Swani laughed out loud exclaiming " I was waiting for that question"
DMGM: "August 15th"
(Out of context)
".. bubba’s going to get a lot of money.. negotiations normally don’t start until 48 hours prior to the signing deadline… "
After DMGM left we were invited to watch the game, blog, eat the food that was there, drink all you want (no alcohol) . We all watched the game so I added some pics from our seats. 1 note from the game: During the Kiss Me Cam; a kid, probably around the ages 17-23 was sitting with his girl and when they came on crown vision he pushed her head to his lap.. Needless to say the camera turned real quick like...
6:30pm – 845 pm
Around the 9th inning a new PA rep came to the booth. This was the petite Latina I had mentioned before.
She ushered us down to the Post game interview room. ..
Notes From Skipper Ned Yost:
".. I was really impressed with how well Pina caught for hoch tonight.."
" ..Pina got his beer shower after the game in the dugout for getting his first major league hit.."
" ..generally on a 3-0 count Ill usually give a green light if opportunity for runs are there.. (Butlers 3-0 HR)"
Alex Gordon is going to lead off for the rest of the season.
Mas Cervezas : going back to a question I asked you earlier.. given Pinas play tonight, would you consider keeping Pina up or even make a 3 catcher rotation?
Yost:Its something Ill definitely have to consider.. Something Ill need to sleep on
Mas Cervezas: Given how Navrro played tonight do you intend to use as a sub ?
Yost: Navarro is a sub guy for 2B, SS and 3B.. For right now… I’m not sold that he’s JUST a utility player
Overall this was an awesome night. The Royal’s definitely treated us right. This was a once in a lifetime experiences in which you cherish and truly appreciate. Being down on that field, sitting on the dugout and watching players warm up was a sight to behold. I do believe they are going to continue this promotion. I apologize if this went on like a War and Peace novel but I wanted to give a personal account of the game and the night that was Blog your way to the K.
PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENT BADGE EARNED:
Attended first game and watched it completely sober