We just announced our Minor League coaching staffs for next season, which is never a small announcement since we have eight minor league affiliates…
Mike Jirschele returns as manager for the Triple-A Omaha Royals – his sixth season in the role – while former Royals Third Base Coach Brian Poldberg puts back on the skipper hat as the manager for the club’s Double-A affiliate. Poldberg, who previously managed seven seasons in the Royals organization, heads to Springdale, Ark., to manage the Naturals in their inaugural season.
Darryl Kennedy, previously in Burlington, NC, moves up to Class-A Wilmington this season to manage the Blue Rocks and Tony Tijerina, who was in Wichita in 2007, heads to Burlington (NC) to lead the B-Royals in the Rookie league.
Taking over in Class A Burlington, Iowa, is Brian Rupp. Rupp has managed the Chukars in Idaho Falls since 2004, leading the Royals Rookie Advanced affiliate to the playoffs in three of his four seasons. Swapping with Rupp, Jim Gabella, who has been with the Bees since 2004, will now manage in Idaho Falls. And, to round out the manager-naming, Julio Bruno jumps from hitting coach to manager for the Royals rookie league squad in Surprise, Ariz.
Whew – a handful of moves and a few new faces. The full release from Media Relations, which lists the entire minor league personnel, can be found here.
A handful of Royals alumni are stepping out in the community to help celebrate the memory of Buck O’Neil during a special birthday fundraising weekend!
On Monday, Nov. 12, former Royals Jeff Montgomery, Al Fitzmorris, Kevin Seitzer, Brian McRae and Paul Splittorff will make early appearances at area First Watch restaurants to help raise funds for the Buck O’Neil Education and Research Center. All nine First Watch locations will donate their profits for the day to helping make Buck’s Center – and dream – a reality.
Here is a rundown of the First Watch appearances:
First Watch – Pinnacle Village at 119th Street
12040 Blue Valley Parkway, Overland Park, Kan.
8-9 a.m.: Jeff Montgomery and Al Fitzmorris
First Watch – The Shoppes at Corporate Woods
9916 College Blvd., Overland Park, Kan.
8-9 a.m.: Kevin Seitzer and Brian McRae
First Watch – Independence
19321 E. Highway 40, Independence, Mo.
8-9 a.m.: Paul Splittorff
NEGRO LEAGUE PLAYERS APPEARANCE
First Watch – Old Westport Shopping Center
1022 Westport Road, Kansas City, Mo.
8-9 a.m.: Former Negro Leagues players Jess Rogers, Ulysses Hollimon and DeMorris Smith; Former Negro Leagues umpire Bob Motley.
The First Watch Monday event follows the special birthday bash “Remembering Buck” at the Gem Theater on Saturday. The “Remembering Buck” event also benefits the Education and Research Center and will feature a musical tribute with performances by Bobby Watson, Brian Kennedy, the McFadden Brothers and others, plus a big performance by Morris Day and The Time. Tickets are still available for the fundraising party – call the NLBM at (816) 221-1920.
In related Buck news…the 2008 Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat nomination form is up on royals.com and we are accepting nominations all offseason. If you nominated someone last season and they were not chose, please resubmit that nomination for the upcoming season.
The votes are in for the Royals Player and Pitcher of the Year awards.
Media Relations just announced that pitcher Gil Meche and second baseman Mark Grudzielanek took home the club’s top awards. In addition, right-handed rookie pitcher Brian Bannister snagged the 2007 Joe Burke Special Achievement award. The awards were voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Here are the players’ stats from this season…
Meche, 29, was an American League All-Star in his first season with the Royals. He posted a 9-13 record, but set career highs in starts (34), innings pitched (216), ERA (3.67) and quality starts (23) while equaling his career high with 156 strikeouts. Meche tied for the A.L. lead in starts and finished eighth in innings pitched. His 3.67 ERA was the best by a Royals starting pitcher since Kevin Appier posted a 3.40 ERA in 1997 while his 23 quality starts were the most by a Kansas City hurler since 1993.
Grudzielanek, 37, hit .302 with 32 doubles, three triples, six home runs, 51 RBI and 70 runs scored in his second season with the Royals. His average led all Royals regulars; he finished second in doubles and third in hits and runs despite playing only 116 games due to injuries. His .302 average marked the fifth time in his career he topped the .300 mark (also 1996, 1999, 2003, 2004). On top of his solid offensive numbers, the 2006 Gold Glove winner remained amazingly consistent in the field, posting a .988 fielding percentage (six errors in 490 total chances) at second base. Grudzielanek was the Joe Burke Special Achievement winner following the 2006 season.
Bannister, 26, was one of the best rookies in the American League in 2007, his first in a Royals uniform. The right hander went 12-9 with a 3.87 ERA in 27 starts, ranking fourth in the A.L. in ERA and second in wins. Among Royals rookies, his ERA was seventh-best all-time and the lowest since Kevin Appier’s franchise-record 2.76 mark in 1990. Bannister was awarded the American League Rookie of the Month Award in June and August and picked up the Royals Pitcher of the Month Award three straight months from June through August.
It’ll be 5 a.m. in Japan, but Royals Manager Trey Hillman will be awake. And not just awake, but awake answering your questions.
On Tuesday, Nov. 6. Hillman will participate in the third installment of the Royals Relay Online Chat Series. The chat session is scheduled for 3 p.m. (CT), and will take place on royals.com. Hillman just wrapped up his fifth season managing the Nippon Ham Fighters, who played in their second straight Japan Series this season. The Texas native was formerly introduced as the Royals manager on Oct. 22 in a press conference at Kauffman Stadium.
To participate in Tuesday’s chat with Manager Hillman, register online at royals.com. In addition to gaining access to the chat sessions, you’ll also receive the latest Royals news alerts, promotions and ticket deals as a registered user. Plus, you can check out the transcripts from the first two Royals Relay chat sessions – GM Dayton Moore and former Manager Buddy Bell.
Jumbo Renovation News: On Friday afternoon, demolition on the Royals Sony JumboTron began. The 30 by 40 foot color video display board, which was installed in 1990, will be gone for good once it’s demolished this offseason. Did you ever get caught on it eating a hot dog, dancing in your seat or kissing your loved one? Here are some photos of the top half of the JumboTron coming down…
JUMBOTRON UPDATE: Plans to keep the "Royals" script from the JumboTron around Kauffman Stadium quickly fell apart when the actual "Royals" script fell apart. Moments after coming off the top of the JumboTron (and this blog entry getting posted), the structure broke apart.
Not only did a trio of coworkers get into the Halloween spirit by sporting costumes Wednesday, but they also showed their love for the Royals by reenacting a popular Kauffman Stadium event.
Royals fans Dion “Ketchup” Reihs, Penny “Mustard” Correa and Laurette “Relish” Rutter put together their own Hot Dog Derby racer costumes for their office’s Halloween party.
But, the fun didn’t stop with trick or treating around the cubicles or loading up on iced cupcakes. The three set up their own Hot Dog Derby down an office hallway during the office lunch party. Apparently, Ketchup won the Halloween edition of the race!