The Spring Training schedule gets rolling at full speed this afternoon when the Royals head to Peoria, Ariz., to face the San Diego Padres at 2:05 p.m. (CST). Kansas City turns to right-hander Gil Meche, while lefty Shawn Estes is scheduled to take the mound for the Padres. Not sure if we’ll be able to get you the Royals lineup early for every game this Spring, but for today at least…
For the Royals
David DeJesus – CF
Alberto Callaspo – 2B
Alex Gordon – 3B
Mark Teahen – DH
Justin Huber – LF
Ross Gload – 1B
John Buck – C
Damon Hollins – RF
Tony Pena, Jr. – SS
RHP Gil Meche
RHP Hideo Nomo
RHP Joel Peralta
LHP Jimmy Gobble
RHP Joakim Soria
RHP Brandon Duckworth
As many of you know, Spring Training got underway for the Royals Wednesday when Kansas City faced the Texas Rangers to open Cactus League play. The Royals fell in the opener, 6-1, but it was nice to officially get a game under the belt. Check out the box score and game summary here. We thought you might enjoy some notes from the game as well as some other club-related news…
Six Up, Six Down: Right-hander Luke Hochevar tossed a pair of perfect innings in Wednesday’s exhibition contest. The Royals 2006 first-round draft selection pitched the third and fourth innings for Kansas City, retiring all six of the batters he saw as well as not letting a ball leave the infield. He then returned to the dugout where he ended up getting a little sick…you can read all about those details from **** Kaegel at royals.com. If Hochevar breaks camp with the Major League team, would you rather see him in the rotation or the bullpen?
Remembering NIU: Along with the Cactus League opener, the city of Surprise also hosted another special event Wednesday when they welcomed the men’s baseball team from Northern Illinois University to participate in the Sixth Annual Coca-Cola Baseball Classic at Surprise Stadium. The Royals teamed up with the Texas Rangers and the tournament sponsors to extend the invitation to NIU – the university that was the site of a tragic-shooting incident earlier this month. Prior to Wednesday’s game, the Royals and Rangers recognized the team the field and after the exhibition, manager Trey Hillman and Royals Hall of Famer Frank White met with the team. NIU also stepped onto a Surprise Complex field for practice Wednesday afternoon to prepare for the tournament that begins Thursday. We’ll put a complete photo gallery from the NIU visit up on royals.com soon.
Webcasts a Global Hit: The Royals first venture into webcasting proved pretty successful. During the webcast Wednesday, new broadcaster Steve Stewart received more than 100 emails – 106 to be exact – to the email@example.com email address. We heard from fans all over the Kansas City area along with some Royals faithful around the world in places such as South Africa, Brazil, United Kingdom and Australia. All the Royals 2008 games – Spring Training, regular season and post season – will be available via webcasts. If you haven’t set up a subscription yet, you can do so here.
Premium Tables = Sold Out: Ticket sales for the annual Welcome Home Luncheon – scheduled for April 9 at The Westin – we are sold out of the Premium tables (the ones with the players/coaches/alumni). Tables of 10 and individual seats are still available for the event. Thanks to all those who were quick to buy – this event is one of our favorite each year, so thanks for your support! If you haven’t bought a ticket or a regular table yet, you can purchase it here on royals.com. We hope to see you there!
Banny Chats: We know you have been wanting to pick Brian Bannister’s brain since he joined the team, so here is your chance! Banny is scheduled to be the next participant in the Royals Relay Chat Series on Tuesday, March 4 at 4 p.m (CST) from Spring Training camp. To join in on the chat, you have to register, which you can take care of right here, right now…if you haven’t already!
Images from Spring Training: And…we’ll wrap up this notes blog with some pictures from the Royals Spring opener. On Thursday, we have an intrasquad game and then Friday the team heads to Peoria, Ariz., to play the Padres, 2:05 p.m. (CST). Enjoy!
Miguel Olivo suited up to man the plate…
…and starter John Bale – who struck out the side in the first inning -tossing from the mound.
Initially, Wednesday’s game against the Texas Rangers was slated to be just a charity, exhibition game that benefits the Surprise Sundancers and their efforts in supporting youth programs in the Phoenix West Valley area. The statistics wouldn’t count. The results weren’t going down in the books. The standings would not be in play.
Well…that has kind of changed now.
It’s still a charity game between the two teams that share Surprise Stadium, but it’s also going to count as an official Cactus League game, which means…
Spring Training is here and it’s time to play ball!
Posted in the clubhouse down in Surprise, Ariz., Tuesday, the Royals first lineup of the season:
David DeJesus – CF
Esteban German – 2B
Mark Teahen – LF
Ryan Shealy – DH
Alex Gordon – 3B
Billy Butler – 1B
Shane Costa – RF
John Buck – C
Tony Pena, Jr. – SS
John Bale – SP
Possible Relievers: Luke Hochevar, Brian Lawrence, Ron Mahay, Yasuhiko Yabuta and Carlos Rosa.
Some more details you might want to know…
First pitch for the exhibition game is at 2:05 p.m. (CST) with the Royals taking the field as the home team. The game is the first Cactus League game in the Phoenix area and puts the Royals exhibition schedule at 31 games with 14 as the home team. Following Wednesday’s exhibition, the club will then have a Spring Training "off day" on Thursday before heading to Peoria, Ariz., on Friday to play the San Diego Padres (the first 610 Sports radio broadcast of the season).
Also for Wednesday’s Spring opener…the Royals will venture into the world of webcasting. Basically, to listen to Royals games on the web, all you have to do is purchase a subscription (only $14.95) to Gameday Audio at royals.com. For this price, you will be able to listen to every Royals exhibition game this season as well as all 162 regular season games and all the post-season games. Not a bad deal, right? Sign up (here) now!
According to the Media Relations release on the webcasts, new Royals broadcaster Steve Stewart will be the front runner for the exhibition webcasts, but will be joined periodically throughout the spring by his fellow Royals broadcast partners, as well as "members of the Royals baseball operations department and various media in attendance on a given day." Fans will be able to interact with Steve in the booth by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org during the games. Here’s what Steve had to say about it…
“I was very fortunate to provide the webcasts last year for the Cincinnati Reds and the fans loved it,” said Stewart. “This is a fantastic chance for Royals fans, not only in the Midwest, but worldwide, to keep up with the club all spring, as well as webchat with me and my guests during the course of the game. I can assure our fans that it will be an enjoyable experience.”
So…log on to royals.com, subscribe to the Gameday Audio and start enjoying Royals baseball – after all, Spring Training starts now!
Resides: San Cristobal, Dominican Republic
Last Season: With the Seattle Mariners where he hit .290 with 28 doubles, 23 homers and 99 RBI. The right-handed batter, hit .362 against lefties, the second-best mark in the A.L.
Note: He hit .329 with eight home runs and 36 RBI in 39 games against A.L. Central opponents in 2007. In the homer category, with the exception of 2006 when he missed 93 games due to injuries, he has topped the 20-home run mark in every season since 2003.
Ron Mahay (MAY-hay)
Position: Left-handed Pitcher
Resides: Litchfield Park, Ariz.
Last Season: Split his time between the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves, combining for a 3-0 record with one save and equaling a career best with a 2.55 ERA in 58 appearances.
Note: In 2007, the southpaw held opponents to a .218 average and, specifically, limited lefties to just a .189 average. In his career, the 11-year veteran is 19-10 with four saves and a 3.87 ERA in 359 career appearances.
Resides: Oakdale, Calif.
In 2007: He hit .237 with 20 doubles, four triples, 16 homers and 60 RBI in 122 games as a member of the Florida Marlins.
Note: Defensively, he has thrown out 31.2 percent of attempted base stealers the past two seasons, good for fourth-best in the National League.
Yasuhiko Yabuta (Yah-soo-HEE-co Yah-BOO-tuh)
Position: Right-handed Pitcher
Resides: Urayasu, Chiba, Japan
Last Season: Posted a 4-6 mark with four saves, 38 holds and a 2.73 ERA in 58 relief outings for the Chiba Lotte Marines (Japan’s Pacific League) in 2007. In 62.2 innings, he walked just 10 while striking out 45.
Note: Since the 2004 season, Yabuta, who has spent his entire 12-year professional career pitching for the Marines, has compiled a 2.80 ERA in 222 games as Chiba Lotte’s main setup reliever. He is 44-59 with nine saves and a 4.03 ERA in 343 career appearances, including 86 starts, in his career. Oh, and he did that thing in the World Baseball Classic where he struck out A-Rod, Derrek Lee and Johnny Damon in a brief 1.1-inning outing against the United States.
Resides: Liberty Hill, Texas
Last Season (and the four seasons before that): Managed the Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, where he took them to the postseason three times and the Japan Series in back-to-back seasons (2006-2007). Took home the Japan Series title in 2006 as well the 2006 Japan “Sportsman of the Year” title.
Note: Launched his career as a manager at the tender age of 27 in the Yankees organization, where he spent 11 consecutive years as the manager for various New York affiliates.
Team photographer Chris Vleisides stayed busy during Tuesday’s full squad workout, snapping photos of the team down in Surprise, Ariz. We are putting together some galleries for royals.com, but until those get up on the site, enjoy these first images of Royals baseball!
Jose Guillen is all smiles (did you hear about the wig?) at his first Royals camp…
…GM Moore and Manager Hillman – putting the pieces of the organization together!
In other news…
SEVEN MORE ROYALS INK DEALS: For a second straight day, we signed seven players to one-year Major League contracts good through 2008.
Wednesday morning, we agreed to terms with right-handed pitchers Ryan Braun, Kyle Davies, Leo Nunez, Joel Peralta, Carlos Rosa and Joakim Soria as well as shortstop Tony Pena, Jr. On Tuesday afternoon, the list included left-handed pitchers Tyler Lumsden and Neal Musser, right-handed pitcher Julio Pimentel, catcher Matt Tupman, infielders Justin Huber and Mario Lisson and outfielder Mitch Maier.
With the 14 signings in the past two days, the Royals currently have eight unsigned players for this season.
WELCOME HOME LUNCHEON SET: We just announced the plans for the 2008 Welcome Home Luncheon! The annual Luncheon is set for Wednesday, April 9 at The Westin Crown Center (yup, new location this season!) at 11:30 a.m. with the formal program set to begin at noon. As always, the entire team will be in attendance as well as GM Dayton Moore and Manager Hillman.
Just to note, if you check our home schedule, you’ll notice we don’t have an off day following our home opener (April 8) this year. Therefore, if you plan on attending the Luncheon, you might as well just make it a Royals day and head out to the ballpark after wards to catch the second game of the team’s three-game set with the Yankees. Sounds good, right?
Tickets for the Luncheon are available for purchase NOW – and there are a limited number available! So, click here to place your order.
ROYALS REPORT TICKET OPPORTUNITY: We are releasing the details of this presale opportunity later today, but here is what you can expect…If you haven’t already, sign up online for the Royals Report – the team’s official email newsletter – by Friday, Feb. 29 and you’ll have the opportunity to purchase tickets to every 2008 Royals home game, excluding Opening Day, in a special ticket presale. The presale, which you’ll receive an email about after you register, will be on Wednesday, March 5 and Thursday, March 6, allowing you to secure tickets early for games such as the Powder Blue Replica Jersey Night (April 12), the Boston Red Sox series (Aug. 4-6) or Alex Gordon Bobblehead Night (June 21). Register now!
FIELD DEDICATION AND REMEMBERING DONNA STEWART: This morning down in Surprise, the Royals held a ceremony to dedicate three Spring Training practice fields and the complex observation tower. The following is from Royals VP Toby Cook, who emceed the event:
Royals GM Dayton Moore has a knack for connecting the Royals great past with a hope for a winning future. On Wednesday morning, he asked manager Trey Hillman to gather his players around Field 7 at the Surprise Recreation Campus for a special ceremony.
I was humbled he asked me to emcee.
Humility is a pretty good word for the workman-like way four men contributed to the Royals postseason runs from the mid-1970s to the mid-1980s. George Brett at third, Frank White at second, **** Howser in the dugout and Art Stewart in the stands scouting. The first three had their numbers retired. The latter has been with the Club from the beginning and will be inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame this year.
The Royals named three of the complex’s practice fields after Brett, White and Howser (now formerly Field 7). They named the observation tower in another part of the complex after Stewart. It’s a fitting and sad tribute for Art’s family. Just Tuesday, his wife, Donna, died of cancer in Kansas City. Dayton accepted the award in his honor. Former Royals catcher and manager John Wathan accepted on behalf of Howser, who also died of cancer in 1987. We held a moment of silence during the dedication ceremony in the memory of Donna Stewart and Richard Davenport, who died this past weekend and was the father of the team’s traveling secretary Jeff Davenport.
Through heavy hearts and a sense of hope, Spring Training is in full swing in Surprise. And for the players who are preparing for the 2008 season as locks or just candidates to make the team, they get to practice on fields named after guys who proved hard work and dedication are keys to success in any era.
Blog Note – Royals Vice President of Community Affairs and Publicity Toby Cook is in Surprise, Ariz., this week and will be providing Spring Training updates for the Around the Horn blog.
Okay, so it’s too easy to fall back on weather comparisons when you fly from Kansas City to Surprise, Ariz. It doesn’t matter that it’s been cold and snowy back home. And that it’s, well, not here.
This is my second season to visit the Surprise Recreation Campus and the first for Joy Sedlacek in her role as senior director of Royals Charities. (Joy worked for the organization before and made the trip with another department). We’re spending this week getting to know many of the 2008 Royals who will be fully involved in community and charitable efforts for the team. Prior to the first full-squad workout Tuesday, we addressed the guys in the clubhouse, along with several other staff members, reminding them of the premium the team puts on community involvement.
We came away from our short meeting with the team with no worries about their commitment. In fact, several of our players have shown that desire to serve for years. And, as the Royals organization as a whole strives to be a model organization — if not "the" model organization — in Major League Baseball, we look forward to many great programs supporting Royals Charities and our community relations and outreach efforts.
Okay, more Wednesday…gotta go now. It’s too nice to stay inside, although I won’t go into any details.
With a little more than seven weeks left until the Royals home opener, things here in Kansas City and Surprise, Ariz., are kicking into warp speed.
At Kauffman Stadium, the renovations are progressing on schedule. We posted two new photo galleries highlighting some of the construction and the rapid installation of the CrownVision scoreboard (Do you like the name?). You can check them out online here on the renovations pages.
Down in Spring Training, the full squad is reporting today and workouts begin Tuesday. Team photographer, Chris Vleisides, is heading down to Surprise, which means those of us soaking in the last bits of winter (hopefully!) up here in Kansas City will get to peek in on the action. As soon as we get our hands on some photos, we’ll get them posted. Let the countdown to the 2008 season begin!
Handing out Valentine’s Day wishes and hearty handshakes, some Royals alumni went room-to-room at the Kansas City VA Medical Center Thursday as part of the hospital’s annual National Salute to Hospitalized Veterans.
Each year during the month of February, the Department of Veterans Affairs takes time to pay tribute to the hospitalized veterans. This year, former Royals players "Big John" Mayberry, Al Fitzmorris, Shawn Sedlacek, Brian McRae and Joe Randa as well as former team trainer Mickey Cobb participated in the salute, passing out autographed baseball caps and swapping stories with the veterans they met.
On behalf of the Royals and the Royals Alumni, we’d like to say a big Valentine’s Day thanks to the VA Hospital for hosting the event!
Some renovation news…
For those who receive the Royals Report (and if you don’t, you can sign up for it here), you might already be familiar with this new renovation video we just put on royals.com. This video is a 3D animation that helps to illustrate what Kauffman Stadium will look like when the renovations are completed in 2009. If you haven’t yet, check it out!
Meanwhile, in related Renovation news…
Webcams: The two webcams out at Kauffman Stadium are still going strong and now that the sun seems to be coming out a little more (maybe…), there’s a lot of construction taking place.
Thanks!: We’d like to thank the Gladstone Chamber of Commerce for inviting us to their annual Business Forum, where VP of Community Affairs and Publicity Toby Cook spoke about the renovations.
Bricks: We announced this right around FanFest time, but we wanted to make sure you knew that you can still be a part of the Royals Legacy Brick Program. The personalized bricks are easy to order – online, by phone or by fax – and all the proceeds from the program benefit Royals Charities. Don’t miss out on leaving your legacy at Kauffman Stadium!
T-Shirt Tuesdays…Royals Bobbleheads…Dodge Buck Nights…Hy-Vee Fireworks Fridays…Hats Off Weekends…No one can deny that we’ve had some good promotions at Kauffman Stadium in the past. And, after this year, the story gets even better!
The 2008 Promotions and Special Events calendar has been announced and features several old Kauffman Stadium favorites as well as some new perks we hope will become fast favorites!
The full calendar is on royals.com, but here are some dates you are definitely going to want to mark on your calendar (and get to The K early for!):
April 8 – Opening Day Magnetic Schedule/Sprint Wireless (First 40,000)
April 11 – FIRST Dodge Buck Night and Hy-Vee Fireworks Friday
April 12 – POWDER BLUES WORN FOR FIRST TIME and Billy Butler Powder Blue Replica Jersey (First 20,000)
April 22 – T-Shirt Tuesday – New Blue Tradition T-Shirt (First 20,000)
April 27 – Autograph Afternoon
May 10 – Golf Umbrella/Budweiser (First 15,000 21 & over)
May 11 – Mother’s Day – Pink T-Shirt (First 10,000 Moms)
May 15 – School Day at “The K”
May 27 – Hot Dog Derby T-Shirt Tuesday/Hy-Vee (First 20,000)
May 30 – Royals Wives Food Drive
May 31 – John Mayberry HOF Bobblehead/Dodge (First 20,000)
June 1 – Build-A-Bear Workshop Beary Limited Edition “Otter”/Kansas City Zoo (First 10,000 14 & under)
June 11 – “Weekday Edition” Dodge Buck Night AND College Night
June 21 – Alex Gordon Bobblehead/Dodge (First 20,000)
June 24 – T-Shirt Tuesday (First 20,000)
July 11 – Cowboy Hat/AT&T (First 20,000)
July 12 – "Christmas in July" Santa Hats/MLB 2K8 (First 20,000)
July 13 – Golf Visor (First 20,000)
July 22 – T-Shirt Tuesday – Frank White Powder Blue T-Shirt (First 20,000)
July 24 – Girls’ Night Out – Pink & White Rhinestone Cap (First 20,000 females)
July 25 – Dan Quisenberry HOF Bobblehead/Dodge (First 20,000)
Aug. 2 – Military Appreciation Day – Camo Caps (First 20,000)
Aug. 9 – Larry Gura HOF Bobblehead/Dodge (First 20,000)
Aug. 10 – Sluggerrr T-Shirt (First 10,000 14 & under) AND Autograph Afternoon Aug. 26 – T-Shirt Tuesday (First 20,000)
Sept. 6 – Viva Los Royals – Hispanic Heritage Night AND Tony Pena Jr. Bobblehead/Dodge (First 20,000)
Sept. 16 – T-Shirt Tuesday – Long-Sleeve T-Shirt (First 20,000)
Sept. 20 – Fan Appreciation Night – Stocking Cap (First 20,000)
All events subject to change. To confirm events, visit royals.com.