Off Day Notes from Kauffman Stadium
Let’s all agree that this weekend, on the field, we didn’t really see the results we were looking for, right? Getting swept at home by the Detroit Tigers – even if they are being labeled the best team in the A.L. – is hard to swallow. The Tigers are now 14-1 at Kauffman Stadium since the start of last season and the Royals only have one more chance to improve that record this season with a three-game set at home against Detroit at the end of August. Since today’s a much-needed off day, we’re catching up in the office. Here’s some briefs from the homestand, both on and off the field.
APRIL SHOWERS BRING…MORE SHOWERS IN MAY: It was on-again, off-again rain all week at Kauffman Stadium. Even with the showers…and the lightning…and the thunder, we managed to still get every game in. But, keep the rain gear handy for the final three games of the homestand against Oakland – the weather is not supposed to be much better.
STREAKS ARE GROWING: As a whole, the team is batting just .250 this season. But, we should look at that stat as one that is on the verge of rising. Three every-day players have compiled notable hitting streaks recently and then there is the recent offensive surge of Ross Gload. Through the first seven games of this homestand, Ross is batting .455 (10-for-22). Tony Pena and Mark Teahen each have seven-game hit streaks going with Pena batting .333 (8-for-24) during his career-best streak and Teahen producing a .333 average (9-for-27) in his. Mark Grudzielanek has hit in a season-high eight straight games, batting .353 and going 12-for-34 in those games.
CUDDLE CRAZY: Many young Royals fans took advantage of our second Build-A-Bear Workshop Day, collecting a cuddly Koala when they entered the stadium Sunday afternoon. The third and final Build-A-Bear Workshop Day is July 8 – the “Hot Dog Derby Racer.” So, you have some time to decide if you are a mustard, ketchup or relish.
BUCK BUZZES AT BEE: Before stepping in as a Celebrity Speller for the Sunday performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” Royals catcher John Buck showed some signs of nervousness in the clubhouse Sunday afternoon and did not hesitate in pumping Senior Director of Publicity Lora Grosshans, who went to the Saturday matinee performance, for some information. Lora came through with a little “cheat sheet” of words for Buck. Well, even though the words were different, Buck did pretty well, outlasting the other Celebrity Spellers during the performance. Good thing, too, since teammate Ryan Shealy was in the audience and an early first-round exit would have been brutal to deal with Tuesday in the clubhouse.
INDOOR SIGNINGS…AGAIN: Another Autograph Afternoon at the ballpark was altered because of weather Sunday. As the rain came down outside, we had to move the players – Ryan Shealy, Neal Musser, Joakim Soria and Jimmy Gobble – inside to the Level Two concourse. It’s the third time already this season that poor weather has interfered with the fan-favorite event. Thanks to all the patient fans that showed up despite the conditions. Let’s start knocking on wood now that the sun cooperates for the next Autograph Afternoon on June 10.
STARTERS GALORE: The starting rotation is about to get pretty crowded. Both Scott Elarton and Luke Hudson are expected to return from their rehab assignments this week. Any opinions on how the pitching staff should shape up?
BRING IN THE BAND: Nothing says Happy Cinco de Mayo at The K better than a roving Mariachi band in matching blue uniforms on the home dugout. Did you get a chance to join in on the Royals’ fiesta?
TEAHEN THE SPEECHWRITER: Even though he finished writing the speech just moments before heading into the banquet hall, Royals outfielder Mark Teahen had little trouble keeping the crowd entertained as the guest speaker at the 2007 Kansas City Star’s Scholar-Athlete Awards Program. When asked if he ever second-guessed a career as a Major League Baseball player, Teahen jokingly admitted he had some doubts as recently as last season…when he got sent to the minors for a month. We’re all glad the 2006 Player of the Year put those minor doubts behind him.