July 2007

RSTN Heads to Omaha

The Kansas City Royals are back in action Friday, launching a three-game set in Cleveland before heading to Boston (gulp) and Detroit (double gulp). However, if you can’t wait for the team’s 6:05 p.m. start to the second half of the season, then switch on RSTN Thursday, July 12 and watch the Omaha Royals battle the Iowa Cubs at 7 p.m. at Rosenblatt Stadium. The game will be carried on all participating cable and satellite partners throughout the Royals television territory. Dave Armstrong and Royals Hall of Famer and eight-time Gold Glove winner Frank White will step in as announcers.

The Triple-A match up is one of two O-Royals game broadcast by RSTN this season with the other on Aug. 2 when Omaha hosts the Las Vegas 51s, the Dodgers Triple-A Affiliate.

Royals All-Star Review

Royals All-Star Gil Meche will be looking to help the American League team pick up their 10th straight win over the National League in the 78th Midsummer Classic in San Francisco tonight, 7 p.m. (CT) on FOX.

Did you happen to catch the home run derby last night? How many of you were dreaming of the day when Billy Butler and Alex Gordon will be the stars of that show? All accounts say that day is closer than we think. Meanwhile, here are some Royals All-Star facts to get you ready for tonight…

The Summer of ’69: Catcher Ellie Rodriguez was the club’s first All-Star in 1969. That year, E-Rod batted .236 (63-for-267) with 10 doubles, two homers and 20 RBI in 95 games. It marked his first of only two seasons in a Royals uniform…in 1971 he jumped on with Milwaukee.

All-Star Pitchers: Including Gil Meche, the Royals have had 20 pitchers represent the club at the All-Star game, but only 13 of those pitchers ever taking the mound during the game. Dan Quisenberry and Jeff Montgomery – with three All-Star games each – lead the Royals All-Star pitching staff with the most appearances.

Repeat Performance: No big surprise here, but George Brett is the definite overall leader for repeat All-Star appearances in a Royals uniform. The Hall of Famer went to the Midsummer Classic 13 straight times from 1976-1988. Amos Otis, Mike Sweeney and Frank White are next on the list of Royals to earn multiple All-Star game selections with five each.

DNP for Meche?: The last two Royals pitchers – Mark Redman, 2006, and Mike MacDougal, 2003 – to go to the All-Star game didn’t get to show off their All-Star skills, but, hopefully that streak doesn’t get extended tonight. Meche seems to be more than ready to take the mound for an inning or two.

K.C. Hosts: The Royals have hosted only one All-Star Game at Kauffman Stadium and that was way back in 1973 when Buddy Bell was an All-Star third baseman for Cleveland who had a full-head of blonde, blonde hair. With all the renovations and upgrades to take place in the next few years here at The K, sounds like another All-Star Game – which is now really an All-Star Week – will be coming our way again. What year would you like to see the All-Stars back in K.C.?

Royals Report Trivia: Which two former Royals players received the highest number of votes in the American League when voted onto their respective All-Star teams? 

Of course, that’s George Brett (3B) in 1981 and Bo Jackson (OF) in 1989. FYI…This trivia question is provided courtesy of the Royals Report email newsletter. If you haven’t checked out the Royals Report, sign up to receive the weekly newsletter here.

Through the First 88 Games…

“The break comes at a good time.” – Buddy Bell, KC Star, July 9, 2007.

As much as we all love baseball, this year’s four-day All-Star Break comes – as Buddy put it yesterday for the Star’s Bob Dutton – at a good time. It not only gives the guys (and the front office folks!) time to rest and regroup, but, and especially after winning our second straight homestand with Sunday’s 12-4 win over the Devil Rays, it’s a great time to evaluate. Here are just a handful of figures to start looking at…

Record at the All-Star Break: We enter the ASB with a 38-50 mark, which is seven wins more than last year. It’s also the most wins we’ve posted at the “unofficial” halfway mark since posting a 51-41 record in 2003 and also only the second highest win total in seven years.

Splitting the First Half: After starting the season with a 16-28 mark, we’ve evened out a little more, posting a straight-up 22-22 record in the final 44 games of the “unofficial” first half.

Royals Rookies: Unfortunately, Tony Pena, Jr., is NOT a rookie this year. TJ, who went 3-for-5 with three doubles and four RBI in Sunday’s game and has a .281 average this year, misses out on rookie status since he recorded 85 days of service with Atlanta in 2006. (More than 45 days of service at the Major League level or at least 130 at-bats marks a rookie year.) Meanwhile, to date, Billy Butler has accumulated 37 days of M.L. service and with Sweeney’s return to the lineup postponed, B. Butler should be reaching rookie status soon. In just 25 games this season, Butler is already batting .286 (24-for-84) with five doubles, three homers and 14 RBI…in the last homestand, Butler collected 11 hits in 31 at-bats to post a .355 average. Oh yeah, he had nine RBI including that six-RBI game vs. Seattle. His buddy in the rookie field, Alex Gordon, got off to a slow start, but in his last 30 games, he’s batting .316 (37-117) with 20 RBI and five stolen bases.

On the mound…MLB recognized Brian Bannister’s rookie success, awarding him the AL Rookie of the Month award for June. Bannister is 5-5 with a 3.71 ERA in 13 starts this year. In the pen, Joakim Soria, a Rule 5 pick, has been lights out with a 2.21 ERA in 36.2 innings pitched (33 games). He completed 10 of 13 save opps while Dotel was sidelined to start the season, and has not allowed a run since May 20 at Colorado – a span of 13 appearances. Basically, there has not been this much good “Rookie talk” around the Royals for a few years (maybe 2003…Berroa). Looking at the stats through Sunday, who is your pick for Royals Rookie this year? Should any of them be getting league consideration for Rookie of the Year?

Calming Down: Through the “unofficial” first half of the 2006 season, the Royals pitching staff had 51 wild pitches (87 games). This year, the staff has kept it under control a tad more, collecting just 33 wild pitches through the first 88 games.Hotdog But, on the flip side, instead of our guys struggling with control on the mound this year, they are actually dealing with the lack of control by the rest of the league. The Royals have been hit by 55 pitches this year, making them league leaders in the bruise category.

Dogs at The K: The team photographer sent some photos from yesterday’s LIVE hot dog race over and we thought we’d share. Can you tell that Ketchup won from this shot?

So…there are a lot more mid-season reports floating around right now, but let’s here what you have to say. Do you have a take on how the Royals have done…or better yet, how they will compete for the remainder of the season? Here’s a chance to share your opinion on the Royals play through the first 88 games of 2007…

Lineups: DLR vs. Kazmir

Lineups for Sunday’s afternoon game – and final game of the first-half – are up. Looks like Billy Butler got the nod to move up in the lineup a little…maybe it is his .357 (10-for-28) average, two home runs, two doubles, nine RBI and six runs scored on this homestand. Enjoy your Sunday!

For the Royals:
DeJesus – CF
Grudzielanek – 2B
Butler – DH
Brown – LF
Teahen – RF
German – 3B
Gordon – 1B
LaRue – C
Pena – SS
DLR – P

For the Devil Rays:
Iwamura – 3B
Harris – SS
Young – CF
Pena – 1B
Wigginton – DH
Gomes – RF
Wilson – 2B
Navarro – C
Mohr – LF
Kazmir – P

Lineups: All-Star Meche on Mound

Here are today’s lineups…

For the Royals:
DeJesus – CF
German – 2B
Teahen – RF
Gload – 1B
Gordon – 3B
Butler – DH
Buck – C
Gathright – LF
Pena – SS
Meche – P

For the Devil Rays:
Iwamura – 3B
Crawford – LF
Harris – SS
Pena – 1B
Wigginton – 2B
Norton – DH
Young – CF
Gomes – RF
Navarro – C
Sonnanstine – P

Lineups: Grud Back

Sorry for the late lineup today. We were down in the clubhouse getting the Monarchs jerseys that the guys wore for Sunday’s Salute to the Negro Leagues Day signed. The autographed jerseys are going to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and will be auctioned to benefit the museum and the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center.

Today we reinstated Grud from the 15-day disabled list and said goodbye to Shane Costa, who was optioned back to Omaha to make room for Mark on the 25-man roster. As you’ll see, Grud’s wasting no time getting back into the mix, playing second and batting second in the lineup today. Tonight’s game features Odalis (4-7, 5.56 ERA) against Tampa Bay’s James Shields (6-4, 3.76 ERA). Here are those lineups…

For the Royals:
DeJesus – CF
Grudzielanek – 2B
Teahen – RF
Gload – 1B
Gordon – 3B
Butler – DH
Buck – C
Gathright – LF
Pena – SS
Perez – P

For the Devil Rays:
Iwamura – 3B
Crawford – LF
Harris – SS
Wigginton – 2B
Young – CF
Pena – 1B
Gomes – RF
Cantu – DH
Casanova – C
Shields – P

Fireworks at The K

As you probably have already heard, we had to cancel our Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular Show on Wednesday. During the rain storm, one of the computer modules that sends electrical charges to the shells was dampened. Our fireworks provider, J & M Displays, did cover all 450 feet of pyro-technic equipment and shells during the storm, but the moisture in the air got to one of the more than 50 modules. When the show started, the dampened module caused the computer system to short out making it impossible for the show to go off.  We know the fans in attendance were disappointed…and so were we.

Yesterday, our Marketing department arranged for a couple of things to happen to replace the cancelled show and thank our dedicated fans for understanding that these things happen.

(1)   Fans in attendance for the July 4th game can exchange their ticket for a ticket of the same value (subject to availability) to any one of the remaining 2007 home games, including the six remaining “Fireworks Friday” games…and, in case you haven’t looked at the schedule, today’s Friday and tonight’s show promises to be a bigger fireworks display than most Fridays. Exchange your July 4th ticket at the Kauffman Stadium ticket windows.

(2)   Then, we also decided to add one more gigantic fireworks show to the events calendar on the Sept. 11 “Salute to Uniformed Heroes Day” when the Royals host the Minnesota Twins at 7:10 p.m. It’ll be just as big as the Fourth of July show was scheduled to be, giving all Royals fans a chance to see what we’ve been planning since February. In addition, on Sept. 11, all firefighters, police, emergency personnel and military will be given a free best available ticket to the game that night. Complimentary “Uniformed Hero” tickets will be available at Kauffman Stadium starting July 16th. Local heroes may pick up their free ticket by showing a valid ID at the Advance Ticket Windows. 

Visit royals.com to get your tickets for the Sept. 11 game or get out to Kauffman Stadium to exchange those July 4 tickets.

SURGERY ON SWEENEY'S RIGHT KNEE SUCCESSFUL

Straight from Media Relations: Kansas City Royals designated hitter Mike Sweeney underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Thursday morning. The surgery was performed by Dr. Steve Joyce. Sweeney will meet with Dr. Joyce tomorrow at Kauffman Stadium and at that time, the scope of the surgery will be discussed. At the present time, no timetable has been set for Sweeney’s return.

Celebrating Lucky Sevens at The K

Img_0332_5Lately, it’s lucky sevens for Caleb Todd.

The young Blue Springs, Mo., resident got an early birthday present when he came out to Kauffman Stadium Wednesday, July 4, to see the Royals face Seattle. The reason behind the trip – besides, of course, catching his favorite team in action – rested all on a persistent Grandpa and the extra-special birthday Caleb is celebrating this Saturday.

That’s when Caleb turns 7…on July 7, 2007…the seventh day of the seventh month…7-7-07. No matter which way you say it, it’s pretty cool – especially if it means an invitation to chill in the Royals home dugout.Img_0333_1

Thanks to a one-man PR effort and some good word of mouth by Caleb’s Grandpa Billy Barnes, Caleb, his Grandpa, his Grandma, Janet Barnes, and his parents, Justin and Nicky Todd, came out to The K a little early on the Fourth of July as one of many small celebrations of Caleb’s big day. On Saturday, Caleb will join other 7-year-olds in the state to receive a special proclamation from Governor Matt Blunt and he will be mentioned in a special national story on “Lucky 7’s” across the country.

Unfortunately, his visit to Kauffman on July 4, Img_0334wasn’t as lucky for the fans (or the team) as the local Lucky-Seven kid would hope. Batting practice on the field was cancelled due to rain, the Royals missed on completing the sweep with a 4-0 loss and the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular was cancelled. But, that didn’t stop Caleb, who was sporting an orange 7-7-7-7 shirt, from showing off a toothy-grin and proudly proclaiming to every baseball player and coach he met: “I’ll be 7 on 7-7-7!”

Lineups: Red, White and Royal Blue

UPDATE ON THE RAIN: We will have a delay, but just 10-15 minutes probably. The storm seems to be passing through.

Plain and simple, Billy Butler was the story last night, dominating at the plate in the Royals 17-3 win over Seattle. The rookie drove in six runs in the first two innings to become the first Royal to do so since Matt Stairs collected six RBI on July 14, 2005. He’s also the youngest player in the Majors to have a six-RBI game since A-Rod did so on May 17, 1996, at Baltimore as a member of the Mariners. He also raised his batting average 24 points to a .286. Now, the question that is on everyone’s mind: when Sweeney is back from the D.L., will B. Butler pack up those six RBIs and head back to Omaha?

Regardless of what’s to come, Butler’s back in the lineup as DH batting sixth. Tonight, A.L. Rookie of the Month Brian Bannister (5-4, 3.58 ERA) takes the mound against Seattle’s Jarrod Washburn (7-6, 4.03 ERA).

The rain is coming down hard right now at Kauffman Stadium – although, it isn’t stopping too many of the Fourth of July tailgaters from having fun in the parking lots! We are being told there might be a window for play…just no exact time yet. So, until we are told different, Happy Independence Day, play ball and here are today’s lineups…

For the Royals:
DeJesus – CF
German – 2B
Teahen – RF
Brown – LF
Gordon – 3B
Butler – DH
Buck – C
Gload – 1B
Pena – SS
Bannister – P

For the Mariners:
Suzuki – CF
Vidro – DH
Ibanez – LF
Guillen – RF
Broussard – 1B
Beltre – 3B
Betancourt – SS
Lopez – 2B
Burke – C
Washburn – P

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