Seeing the Spring Training pictures from the Royals’ photo day in Suprise, Arizona populate into the Royals Review content management system is like experiencing a second Christmas. It is a signal that baseball, and warm weather, are on their way. It is a signal that hope always endures. It is the first time we see newly acquired Royals in a Royals uniform.
For a long time, it was also the bat signal for me to write my favorite piece of the year, the “Best Pictures from x year Spring Training photo day.” But there was no photo day in 2021 thanks to COVID-19, and photo day in 2022 continued the trend away from quirky photos towards a more buttoned-down series of photos.
Well, I’ve got great news: photo day is back, baby! We’ve got some good ones this year. So let’s go on a photography adventure. Your photo creds for today are:
- Carmen Mandato, Getty Images
- Joe Camporeale, USA Today
Let’s get started.
Zack has a baseball
Zack’s 2009 season was absolutely magical and it’s just wonderful to see him back for Kansas City, again, as he wraps up what is hopefully a Hall of Fame career. Anyway, nothing special here: just Zack holding a baseball.
Nate Eaton and the Expression That Makes No Sense
Most of the time, the expression on everyone’s face makes sense. Nate here is doing his Mona Lisa impression, in that it looks in equal parts bored, smug, smoldering, dead inside, and like he knows something about this photograph that you don’t.
Matt Duffy plays the flute?
One of Mozart’s “Big Four” operas is Die Zauberflöte, or The Magic Flute in English. The plot reads like a fever dream but does, indeed, involve a magic flute. Non-musicians will even recognize its most favorite piece, called the Queen of the Night aria, one of those pieces of classical music that transcends the genre.
In any case, it sure seems that Matt Duffy is channeling his inner Tamino here, because I have no idea what else is going on otherwise.
Dylan Coleman shines bright
The backgrounds used for Spring Training photo day pictures change every year, but usually there’s a white or grey one and a blue one, which can be seen here. Additionally, there’s often some other sparkly or otherwise busy background. This year’s is an out-of-focus gold and powder blue shiny background.
Anyway, there’s nothing funny about this picture. I just like it! Dylan Coleman looks cool, and you can see the ring light reflected in his brown eyes.
What is a baseball? Is this a baseball?
Josh Taylor seems confused here. I assume he has seen a baseball before, but it does not really look like it in this picture. I would imagine you have to know baseballs pretty well to get to the big leagues, but imagine for a second that Josh Taylor is the first person to get to the big leagues without ever seeing a baseball. I would pay to watch that player play baseball.
Samad Taylor, percussionist and hitter
Most of the pictures taken in this sitting position do not have a good view of what they are sitting on. This one does, and it looks curiously like Samad Taylor is sitting on a cajón, one of those percussion box things that’s played by whacking it with your hands. If there’s some behind the scenes tape of Taylor just going ham on one of those things along to whatever background music is happening, I would be pleased.
The Smile Judge
Salvador Perez probably helps other Royals hitters how to do baseball better, but I assume he also is the team’s Smile Judge who tries to get everyone to smile more and smile better. In this picture, we can see Perez helping out Edward Olivares, who like Lorenzo Cain and Bayan Pena before him does seem to be like a natural.
Keller, pitching backwards, literally?
In baseball, the term “pitching backwards” usually means that a pitcher is throwing offspeed or breaking pitches early in the count in traditional fastball settings. When I saw this, something seemed odd to me, and it is that Brad Keller here looks like he’s ready to throw but his arm and glove are on the wrong side. Like, yeah, I get that this is a scenario in which he’s checking the runner at second base, but everything else looks like he’s ready to throw the pitch towards the photographer.
Salvador Perez likes donuts and why shouldn’t he
Donuts are wonderful creations, but it’s a little odd that we think of them in a breakfast context because, well, they’re desserts. That, however, is why everyone likes them, and it looks like Salvy does too. He is happy about donuts. I am happy about donuts. You could say that Salvy and I are pretty similar.
MJ Melendez, winner of Royals Review’s “Is a Snack” award
A few years ago, I pointed out that Nicky Lopez’s very pretty eyes made him look like a snack, and he commented on that on Twitter, and it kicked off a tradition of me finding whoever wins the “looks like a snack” award. That is MJ Melendez this year, who had multiple pictures worthy of the award and also liked my comment about it on Twitter, so. Congrats, MJ.
More donut content and some sign content also
Richard Lovelady wants us all to remember his name I guess, and since he hasn’t pitched in the bigs for a few years I can’t really blame him. I also can’t blame him for liking donuts, because, as the 2009 Xbox Live Arcade game Splosion Man very wisely stated, everybody loves donuts.
Hunter Dozier, relaxed and prepared to hit dingers
Again, nothing simple here, just Hunter Dozier posing in a unique manner compared to most of the other sitting down pictures. It’s a good picture. I, for one, am rooting for Dozier to hit many dongs this year. It would help the team immensely, and when he’s on his swing is quite aesthetically pleasing.
Collin Snider understands coffee
I’ll be honest; I’m not a coffee drinker. I do not understand. But you know what? Collin understands. Or, at least he can flip up a tap to pour himself a nice cup of joe. I assume they start taking these pictures at like six in the morning, so this makes sense.
Brady Singer shows how he throws a baseball...
...and MJ Melendez shows how he throws a donut
This wouldn’t be nearly that funny except for the fact that there are all sorts of pictures of pitchers showing their fastball grip or whatever and MJ’s just like “look I can do this also.”
Greinke’s face when the Chipotle guac price goes up again
This is not the face of a pleased human being, but we can safely assume Greinke is probably just unhappy that his Chipotle order was .50 cents more expensive because the guacamole price just went up at the Surprise Chipotle the previous evening.
Brewer Hicklen’s vibes are immaculate
Baseball is silly. Long live silly baseball. Long live silly baseball players. Amen.