In the dark, long off-season, there are few bright spots but mostly a longing for baseball of any kind. Thankfully, there are a few events coming up at the end of January to help ward away the baseball starvation should you live in Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, or Arkansas.
The first of these two events is the Royals Caravan, as explained by the Royals website:
This January, the Kansas City Royals embark on their annual Royals Caravan, presented by Academy Sports + Outdoor, traveling to communities throughout the Midwest. Royals players from past and present, as well as members of the Royals broadcast team, join Royals mascot Sluggerrr on this year's event. At each stop, be sure to enter for a chance to win Royals tickets and a weekend getaway to Kansas City from VisitKC and Missouri Tourism. We look forward to seeing you on this year's Caravan!
There are three caravans this year, aptly titled Gold, White, and Blue. Each features a different arrangement of Royals figures and each will stop by a different set of cities.
Attendees: Brandon Finnegan, Lane Adams, Jeff Montgomery, Joel Goldberg, Slugerrr (Sluggerrr will not appear in Salina or Topeka due to 'scheduling conflicts,' whatever that means for a mascot)
|Jan 28||11:00-2:00||Ottawa, KS||Sears, 220 S Main Street|
|1:30-2:30||Emporia, KS||Bruff's Sports Bar and Grill, 2640 W 18th Street|
|5:00-6:00||Witchita, KS||Academy Sports + Outdoors 2710 N Maize Road|
|Jan 29||12:30-1:30||Hutchinson, KS||Hutchinson Community College (Parker Student Union)
1300 N Plum Street
|3:30-4:30||Salina, KS||Central Salina Mall, 2259 S 9th Street|
|7:00-8:00||Topeka, KS||Academy Sports + Outdoors, 1133 SW Wanamaker Road
Attendees: Christian Colon, Louis Coleman, John Mayberry, Steve Physioc
|Jan 28||3:00-4:00||Jefferson City, MO||YMCA, 525 Ellis Boulevard|
|7:00-8:00||Springfield, MO||Academy Sports + Outdoors, 610 W El Camino Alto Drive
|Jan 29||11:30-12:30||Fayetteville, AR||Academy Sports + Outdoors, 3864 N Steele Boulevard
|3:00-4:00||Joplin, MO||Academy Sports + Outdoors, 1717 Range Line Road
|7:00-8:00||Overland Park, KS||Academy Sports + Outdoors, 9781 Quivira Road
Attendees: Terrance Gore, Erik Kratz, Willie Wilson, Rex Hudler (Wilson and Hudler will be absent from the Olathe appearance)
|Jan 28||7:00-8:00||Olathe, KS||Academy Sports + Outdoors, 14405 W 135th Street
|Jan 29||12:00-1:00||Shenandoah, IA||Hy-Vee, 500 S Fremont Street|
|3:30-4:30||Lincoln, NE||Longwells Bar & Grill, 350 Canopy Street|
|6:30-7:30||Omaha, NE||Papillon-La Vista Sough High School (Titan Arena)
10799 Nebraska 370
|Jan 30||3:30-4:30||Maryville, MO||Hy-Vee, 1217 S Main Street|
|6:00-7:00||St. Joesph, MO||Hy-Vee, 201 N Belt Highway|
The Royals website lists that, due to time constraints, autographs may be limited to the first 150 people in line, with one autograph per player/alumni/broadcaster.
If you don't want to go to one of these events but still want some offseason fun, the 2015 Royals FanFest is for you. It will be held at Bartle Hall in the Kansas City Convention Center in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The dates for this year's event are Friday, January 30 from 2-9 and Saturday, January 31 from 11-7. For those of you with season tickets, you will be able to get in to Bartle Hall two hours early both days. Tickets for the FanFest are on sale right now and adult advance tickets are $14 for one day and $20 for two days.
Information for the FanFest can be found here. Among the Royals scheduled to appear are Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, Yordano Ventura, and the comedy duo of Salvador Perez and Lorenzo Cain as well as new Royals Kendrys Morales, Kris Medlen, and Edinson Volquez. Royals legends like George Brett, Willie Wilson, and John Mayberry will also appear, as well as manager Ned Yost, General Manager Dayton Moore, and announcers Rex Hudler, Ryan Lefebvre, and Joel Goldberg. A full list of attendees can be found on the Royals website.
Fan Fest is geared towards kids, although there are so many activities any diehard Royals fan will find a lot to see and do. There will be autograph sessions, memorabilia vendors, interactive games, clinics on baseball fundamentals (LEARN TO BUNT THE NED YOST WAY!), and there has typically been a Q&A session with fans (where they announced the Billy Butler contract extension a few years back).