A Fan's Notes from Royals Fan Fest (2014 Edition)

In a way, this feels like it was taken at FanFest. - David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Well, I did not take notes as extensively as I did my first year on Royals Review when I was really self-conscious about posting for the first time and wanted to be sure I got everything so you guys wouldn't think I was stupid. I did, however, take some notes.

Infielder's Panel on Friday Afternoon

Participants included Hosmer, Perez, Giovatella, Colon, and I feel like one more but can't think who. It wasn't Moustakas. Anyway, James Shields crashed it and took over moderating this panel and my only note is, "Is James Shields drunk?" My mother feels very strongly that he was not, and was just being silly. I'm sure she's right.

Ned Yost Q&A, Friday Afternoon

Like a dork, I took no notes on this. I did get to ask a question! But as I said in the other thread, I tend to get anxiety attacks when speaking in public, so didn't hear much of the answer because at that point I was coming down from my adrenaline high and just trying to get my legs to stop shaking. I will paraphrase as best I can what he said then and a little more today in a different panel.

I asked him what he thought of the new instant replay/challenge rules and particularly if he was planning on managing the challenges differently when CB Bucknor's crew was umpiring versus a crew that is more consistently accurate. As I mentioned in the other thread, this made my husband laugh, so I consider it a win. Ryan said he wouldn't make him answer the part about Bucknor but just what he thought of the new rule. Ned talked about how the specifics keep changing so he's not really sure how it will work, but right now they're saying MLB wants the playback in the video room who would then have like 10 seconds to contact the bench coach to tell Ned if he should challenge or not. He said he was glad for the idea of the rule, because the main thing is to get the calls right, but wasn't yet really sure how it would play out. He also said he thought it would cut down on arguments with the umpires, which he is happy for because he doesn't like it and doesn't think he's good at it. And mostly he's happy that now he has a chance to be right, whereas before he could go out there and yell until he was red in the face (my phrase-ology) but it's not like it would matter except for giving the fans a chance to boo the umpire, because the umpire was never going to change his call based on Ned going out there and yelling at him.

He also talked about how you never know how things will come out of Spring Training, but with the way things stand now, he envisions the line-up being: Aoki, Infante, Hosmer, Butler, Gordon, Perez, and I forget the rest. Maybe Moose 7th? Or was it Cain? Either way, Escobar 9th. I know it was alternating righties and lefties until the end. And he was happy to be able to put Gordon lower in the order and get the alternating going.

Huh. Guess I remember a little more from that Q&A than I thought I did.

Pitchers Q&A, Friday evening

There were a lot of pitchers. I didn't take any notes. It was Shields, Holland, Vargas, Ventura, Guthrie (who translated for Ventura who was too nervous to speak any English), Coleman, Crow, Joseph, Hochevar, Collins, and Davis.

The only things I remember are that Collins and Coleman got married in the off-season (but not to each other) and Donnie Joseph is apparently very shy but a good and enthusiastic singer. (Apparently part of rookie hazing is making them sing on the plane or something - everyone was very vague - but said Donnie had barely said two words to any of them but when it was his turn to sing he really got into it and put on a good show.) Oh! And Donnie also said that his mom pretends to be annoyed about the way the broadcast crew stalked her during the Cleveland game but really she loves it. So, whatever. I still thought it was creepy as hell.

Bruce Chen, surprise guest, sat in on the broadcasters panel, Saturday morning

Bruce Chen also got married in the off-season, to a woman he met here in Kansas City and I think he said the wedding was here. Anyway, he was thrilled to sign here again. He also joked that he knew as soon as Tanaka signed all the teams would be on him (Chen) because he was the next-best Asian pitcher who was a free-agent this winter after Tanaka.

Only other thing I remember from this panel is that Mike Swanson says he got Denny Matthews an iPad in the off-season and would be giving him lessons on it.

Dayton Moore Q&A - these are all in response to questions from the audience

I tried to take better notes for this one, and I can mostly read my handwriting, so here goes:

DM said they were very deep into negotiations with Beltran when the Cano signing happened and that changed the game because the Yankees then did full-press on Beltran. Also said there were two camps in the Royals front office, those that really wanted to sign Beltran and those that really didn't, it was not a decision there was consensus on.

Says in the past two off-seasons seeing more players wanting to come to Royals, both young players in LA and the draft and free agents. Said Infante said at beginning of off-season that we were his first choice and after the Beltran deal fell through for Royals, that's where they turned their attention and were on him quick to seal the deal. Also talked about Vargas wanting to come here (as did Vargas during a different Q&A, although really, the players always say that). He also talked, in response to a fan question, about Alex and Bruce taking less money to stay here. Basically his point was the Royals reputation among players has changed.

Re: Kyle Zimmer, Moore says don't freak out when you see that he's not pitching much in Spring Training, that this is all part of a long-term plan for Zimmer. He ended the year with some tendonitis in his shoulder and they are going to take it slow with him because they don't want to have to shut him down in August and because they want to make sure he is ok before they start really relying on him. He says they seem him as a long-term workhorse for the organization, and if things go according to plan this year with Zimmer's recovery, he would be a potential August call-up once they are sure he is 100% healthy.

Re: How they evaluate players when considering whether to sign them (both major league ready and draft). There are 5 criteria in this order:

  1. Statistical analysis
  2. Scouting analysis
  3. Player develop potential (i.e. character, work ethic)
  4. Medical analysis
  5. Financial

Re: Billy Butler Trade Rumors - said not once did they exchange names with another team for a potential trade. He said teams are always talking and as a courtesy you always listen, but that there was nothing there (meaning, nothing to those rumors).

Re: That "felt like we won a championship" quote that, as he said, got him into so much trouble. He said he answered it for how he personally felt, saying that his first few years here, the only time the ballpark was packed was when the visiting team drew a lot of fans, and you'd come to the K and it was filled with Jeter jerseys, and this year, the last two months of the season the stadium was alive and filled with kids in Perez and Hosmer jerseys and the team was in the race until the last week of the season and it felt great seeing that change happen. He also added that he was part of an organization that actually won a World Series, and this felt personally better to him than that. He then said while it was personally satisfying, it was professionally very disappointing because of course the goal and the reason we go out there and play is to win a World Series, and also because he really wanted to see what this team could do in the playoffs.

Said that he's never been denied one time when he has gone to Glass and said "We really need to get this player and here's why."

Outfielders Q&A with Gordon, Dyson and Lane Adams

I had no idea how much people freaking love Dyson. I mean, I kind of love Dyson, certainly more than his skill set warrants, but I expected this panel to be all about Gordon and I think Dyson got more questions and shout-outs from the audience.

My other observation is that Gordon seems SOOOOOOOOOOO much more relaxed and like he is having a blast compared to years past. He never seemed rude to me (although I've heard other people say that), but did seem really tense and unsure what to say or do unless he was one-on-one with a kid, but this year he seemed totally relaxed, was smiling and laughing the whole time, just really seems to have come into his own.

I know "team chemistry" is very controversial in certain circles in terms of whether or not it has an effect on a team's performance, and I don't want to get that argument started. I'm not saying that this has anything to do with performance outcomes. I'm just saying as an audience member, the vibe of the whole team that was present was really different than previous Fan Fests in a positive way, and that made the Fan Fest Q&A panels more fun than in previous years.

Ok, my notes from this panel:

A fan asked Dyson when he and Jamaal Charles were going to race, to which Jarrod answered, "What is we both blow-out?" I immediately turned to my mother and we agreed this would be the most KC sports outcome possible, so I support Dyson's stance to not pursue this.

Then Dyson proceeded to do a back flip on stage, which scared the crap out of me but was really cool. Way better than jumping over a car (Gaithright) and moonwalking (Bannister), although I did love the moonwalking!

EVERYONE (in this Q&A and others) said the hand signals thing was George Kottaras' doing. That if you got on base and didn't salute your teammates, then he would lead the way throwing gum and seeds at you and yelling at you. They also said he was the DJ in the clubhouse and that he did a good job. (....the more you know.)

Dyson was wearing a KU stocking hat much to the delight of half the crowd and disgust of the other half. He swore it was just because his head was cold, an alibi supported when he couldn't name a single player ("I don't watch the games. Really, I'm just trying to stay warm.") when a kid asked him who his favorite Jayhawk was.

And.....that's all I got. Anyone else attend? Have more to share?

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.