March 2008

Royals Win!

Pretty exciting way to start the season, right?

In case you didn’t hear…Royals post 5-4 victory in 11 innings against the Detroit Tigers. Click here for the Opening Day box score.

Thoughts on the big win?

2008 Opening Day!

It’s here! The start to the 2008 season for your Kansas City Royals!

2008_Plaza Banners.JPGIt’s been a long, cold winter for those of us in Kansas City, but – even though the temps in Detroit today still aren’t the warmest – the offseason is finished and we are ready to play ball! The Royals launch the 2008 season at 12:05 (CST) Monday against the Detroit Tigers. It’s the first of a three-game set in Detroit that will see some great pitching match ups. But, before we get into that…

ROSTER SET: The Royals set the 2008 Opening Day roster Sunday. Here’s the breakdown:

  • PITCHERS (11) – John Bale (L), Brian Bannister, Jimmy Gobble (L), Zack Greinke, Ron Mahay (L), Gil Meche, Leo Nunez, Ramon Ramirez, Joakim Soria, Brett Tomko and Yasuhiko Yabuta.
  • CATCHERS (3) – John Buck, Miguel Olivo and Matt Tupman.
  • INFIELDERS (7) – Billy Butler, Alberto Callaspo, Esteban German, Ross Gload, Alex Gordon, Mark Grudzielanek and Tony Pena, Jr.
  • OUTFIELDERS (4) – David DeJesus, Joey Gathright, Jose Guillen and Mark Teahen.
  • DISABLED LIST (1) – Luke Hudson

AND…THE PROJECTED LINEUP: Manager Trey Hillman’s first official lineup as the Royals skipper…

DeJesus – CF
Grud – 2B
Gordon – 3B
Guillen – RF
Butler – DH
Teahen – LF
Gload – 1B
Buck – C
Pena – SS

The Royals turn to right-hander Gil Meche on the mound. Detroit is also going with a right-hander, turning to Justin Verlander.

OPENING SERIES PITCHING PROBABLES: Here are the rest of your probables for the Royals time in the Motor City…
               Wednesday, April 2 – Brian Bannister vs. Kenny Rogers
               Thursday, April 3 – Zack Greinke vs. Jeremy Bonderman.

SOME OPENING DAY CLIPS: Lots of great news to get you ready for Monday’s season opener. In fact, MLB’s Kaegel covers almost every angle leading into today’s game. He talks about the cold temperatures in Detroit, compares the veterans and the rookies and, also, touches on Manager Hillman’s tough intro to the Major Leagues. The KC Star’s Bob Dutton talks with today’s starting pitcher and breaks down Hillman’s first official lineup. The Star also has some video posted courtesy of NBC Action News. And, if you didn’t check it out in the Sunday Star, the 2008 Baseball Section is out and online. You can pretty much spend your entire Monday morning checking it out…just in time for the game!


 
Thumbnail image for Stadium_offseason.JPGBACK AT THE K:
Kauffman Stadium is getting polished up for next week’s home opener, April 8. We know you’ve heard it a lot this season, but one more time: the renovations will be ongoing throughout the 2008 season, but despite some minor construction here and there, catching a Royals game at The K will still be great in ’08!

PREGAME: FOX Sports Net Kansas City is starting their coverage of the Royals season opener early with a special pre-season pregame show at 11 a.m. Then, they’ll move into what will become their standard pregame coverage at 11:30 p.m. with Joel Goldberg before the Royals and Tigers take the field. Speaking of…

PLAY BALL: So, game time is 12:05 p.m. (CST). You can (a) listen on 610 Sports, (b) watch on FSN Kansas City or (c) listen/watch on MLB.com Gameday.

Enjoy…and Happy Opening Day, Royals fans!

Spring Training Moves…

Up here in Kansas City, things (aka home opener planning) are moving at full speed as we inch closer to April 8 and the Yankees. But, as fast as we are chugging along in the front office, down in Surprise, Ariz., on Wednesday, things (aka setting the roster) seem to be moving at an even faster pace…

With the deadline to have the regular-season roster set by Sunday, the Royals made some moves Wednesday that lowered their in-camp roster to 38. Here’s a brief rundown of the news from Surprise:

  • Acquired right-handed pitcher Ramon Ramirez from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named.
  • Designated lefty Jorge De La Rosa for assignment to make room for Ramirez.
  • Traded first baseman/outfielder Justin Huber to San Diego for a player to be named later.
  • Optioned pitcher Kyle Davies to AAA.
  • Reassigned pitchers Roman Colon and Chin-Hui Tsao to minor league camp.
  • Reassigned catcher Ken Huckaby to minor league camp (Tuesday night, actually)

Opening Series Pitching Probables: The club also officially announced the probables for the opening series with Detroit:

  • Monday, March 31 – Gil Meche vs. Justin Verlander
  • Wednesday, April 2 – Brian Bannister vs. Kenny Rogers
  • Thursday, April 3 – Zack Greinke vs. Jeremy Bonderman.

Royals Charities News: One last note before closing out Wednesday…we wanted to send our congrats to local Truman High School in Independence, Mo., which defeated William Chrisman High School Tuesday, 13-2 (5 innings), all on a new baseball field.

Here’s the whole story for you: two years ago, Truman H.S. won an area contest sponsored by 610 Sports that helped them fund a new field. Once being named the contest winners, the high school turned to Activity Director Eric Holm, who worked tirelessly to put all the pieces of the puzzle into place by securing sponsors and collecting $10,000 from Royals Charities. Meanwhile, the team played all its games on the road…until Tuesday, of course. Congrats again, Truman High School, and good luck this season!

Gathright Leaps…

For any of you who missed Monday night’s game, you have to check out Joey Gathright’s RBI leap over the pitcher. In fact, even those of you who caught the Royals 10-9 victory over the Dodgers should check out this video of Gath hurdling down the baseline again. Enjoy!

New look for royals.com…

It’s a new season…and soon-to-be a new look to royals.com!

In the next few days, you may notice royals.com getting a bit of a face lift. At the start of each season, the folks at MLB.com like to spice things up a bit with each team’s website and this season they are launching a new look for the clubs’ homepages. The MLB.com crew has already made the change on its own site. The new look is based on a lot of research and fan feedback…and new technology, of course!

Don’t panic…you’ll still have all the great familiar features you love about royals.com. But, like our own Kauffman Stadium, new videoboard, etc., everything will be even more modernized and up-to-date on both royals.com and MLB.com. In addition, on the MLB.com, our "Around the Horn" blog might get some added love, as the MLB.com homepage has a new feature which will highlight "different/interesting MLBlogs every day." So…don’t forget to check out all the new features and let us know what you think of the new look!

FSN KC Broadcasts…

On Wednesday, the team had an off day down in Surprise, Ariz., giving them all the more time to get ready for the Royals TV debut on FSN Kansas City on Thursday night…

The Royals face the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday in Cactus League Play with first pitch slated for 8:05 p.m. It marks the first game that new TV partner FSN Kansas City will broadcast and since it’s during prime time, you won’t have to skip out on work to get your first looks of FSN Kansas City broadcasting our Boys in Blue. Brett Tomko is scheduled to take the mound at Surprise Stadium on Thursday, making another bid for one of the remaining starting spots in the rotation. Would you like to see Tomko make the rotation cut?

Back to FSN…here’s some more exciting news: FSN Kansas City will broadcast 88 games (88 games!) in HD this season…for the FIRST time in Royals history. Yup, not just the CrownVision videoboard will be showing your Royals in HD – provided, of course, that you have HD television service. The HD telecasts’ schedule was just released today and can be found here. The HD schedule starts Opening Day, Monday, March 31, when the Royals visit the Detroit Tigers. And, on the home front, the April 8 opener at Kauffman will be produced in an HD telecast as well. Actually, both the entire season-opening series against the Tigers and the home-opening series against the Yankees will be televised in HD. Royals fans wanting to take advantage of watching the team in HD this season should contact their cable or satellite provider to find out if FSN Kansas City HD telecasts are available in their area…and get any of your other HD-related questions answered.

Regardless, if you watch the team in HD or not, you can definitely look forward to catching more of your Royals on TV since FSN Kansas City is broadcasting 140 regular season games and two spring training contests. The first is Thursday at 8:05 p.m., and the other is next Monday night, March 24. Welcome, FSN, to the Royals family!

A Rainy St. Paddy's Day…

As of late Sunday night, Sluggerrr and members of the Royals K-Crew were still set on hitting the parade route for the 35th Annual Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade…although the weather forecast had them a little nervous.

ShamrockThen, they woke up this morning to pouring rain and the realization that a wet mascot is not really ideal. So instead they come up with a new INDOOR plan…and brought the parade to the kids at Children’s Mercy Hospital.

Joining a few other mascots – and a Leprechaun – from the parade, Sluggerrr and the crew surprised about 15 or so kids at Children’s Mercy with some fun, Irish-inspired “shenanigans” Monday morning. They passed out Royals promotional items and entertained the youngsters who – like our furry mascot – couldn’t be out in the rain either. It’s a new St. Patrick’s Day tradition we look forward to adding – along with the parade! – next year!

Thanks to the Parade Committee for inviting us along…and Happy St. Paddy’s Day!

Getting Ready for the Home Opener…

There are not a lot of dull, twiddling-our-thumbs type of moments lately around the front office. In fact, there aren’t any!

As the team plugs away down in Arizona – working through the heart of the Cactus League schedule – we are busy plugging away in Kansas City, getting everything ready for the season home opener on April 8. With the offseason quickly coming to a close, we thought we would share a few odds and ends about what’s been going on around here…

Welcome Home Luncheon: We haven’t sold out yet for this year’s Welcome Home Luncheon – April 9 – but we are getting close! There are no more Premium tables (the ones with the players/coaches/alumni) available, but regular tables of 10 as well as individual seats are still available. You can purchase tickets online here. This year, we are holding the event at The Westin Crown Center and are currently working to pick out center pieces and write the script for the program. We go for our menu tasting (yum!) on Monday, March 24!

Video Taping: Did you guys get a chance to check out these season-ticket and powder blue commercials on royals.com? Well, along with these, the marketing and game entertainment departments have been busy not only filming other commercials for the 2008 season, but also putting together the in-stadium videos that will play during pregame and in-between innings. Looks like we’ll have some old and new with the in-stadium features this year. But, regardless of which games, songs, challenges, etc, the game entertainment crew chooses to go with for home games, we can all be sure everything will be great and bigger than life! After all, the new HD scoreboard is the largest in baseball…

Honorary Lineup: We finally nailed down a shade of powder blue we like for the honorary lineup T-shirts this season. For those who don’t know, the honorary lineup takes place before every Sunday home game when a handful of kids get introduced along with their favorite Royals starters! It’s one of our favorite activities each homestand – we love hearing a young Royals fan describe meeting Alex Gordon at third base and then exclaiming, “This is the best day of my life!”

Media Guides Pouring In: Not only did boxes of our media guide arrive in the office, but so did nearly 29 other teams. Okay, not that many yet, but enough that the Media Relations department is getting a little bogged down with boxes and will begin making sets of the guides for the media to have on Opening Day.

Sluggerrr Gears Up: Sluggerrr never really has an offseason. The popular Royals mascot does school visits all year long, FanFest, Caravans, holiday appearances, etc. However, getting in game-ready mode does require a little more “public interaction” than a smaller “Christmas with a Cop” event. So, look for him to break out some crazy antics Monday in the 35th Annual Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Check out the parade route and details here.

Renovation Cleanup: The crews are busy with ongoing renovations (including work on the new scoreboard) and getting some of the construction tidied up a little for the sold-out Opening Day craziness. Check out any renovation updates on royals.com.

And…finally Buck: We’re ready to receive your nominations for the 2008 Buck O’Neil Legacy Seat! We had a ton of success – and met a ton of great Kansas Citians – last season through the Buck Seat and we hope to mirror that success this season. So, fill out your nomination form here on royals.com.

Local Community Blood Center Celebrates 50 Years

Img_1311 In the program, we were listed as the "2007 Partner of the Year," but at our table in the front of the banquet hall, we were the least important people dining.

Thursday afternoon, a couple of us from the front office attended the Community Blood Center’s annual "Celebration of Giving" luncheon. We were just two people in a room of 500 giving Kansas Citians, gathering to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Community Blood Center. The luncheon as a whole was quite moving as several "New Century Society Members" – area blood donors who have donated at least 100 times in their lives – were recognized as well as area organizations, churches, high schools, colleges and communities for their parts in giving and collecting blood.

The Royals were named "Partner of the Year" (check out our "blood drop" award) as a follow up to the tremendous success of our 15th Annual Royals Hall of Fame Blood Drive. Last season – with your help – the week-long drive in July had more than 1,800 registered donors, which translates into approximately 3,111 units of red blood cells produced. The numbers collected at the fixed sites, which spanned from the Greater Kansas City area to Topeka and Lawrence, Kan., and St. Joseph and Jefferson City, Mo., and the mobile drives during the five-day drive easily topped the goals set for 2007.

But, easily trumping all those numbers and figures and the recognition given to the Royals, were the stories of the other people sitting at our table – Table No. 4 – during Thursday’s luncheon.

We had the honor of sitting across from Jim Schumm. Jim – who has donated more than 13 gallons of blood in his lifetime – was recently part of a pretty-inspiring story that ran in the Kansas City Star on Feb. 17 (read it here). Seated next to us at the table was the other half of the story, the recipient of Jim’s blood: 9-month-old Emaline Schwagerman. As Baby Em’s mom, Cindy, held her, her dad, Bill, moved the luncheon guests with his testimony of his daughter’s road to recovery and ended his speech with a heartfelt request that we all continue to give blood…continue to save lives.

So, keeping that message in mind, we can’t help but look forward to working with the Community Blood Centers this summer for the 16th annual Royals Hall of Fame Blood Drive!

Spring Training Lineups: New Blogs and Chats

For those of you looking for even more insider info on the Royals, we’ve got a couple of new outlets for you to explore…

From the Booth: The newest member of the Royals broadcasting team is wasting no time in getting to know the fans. Steve Stewart, who joins Denny and Bob Davis in the radio booth this season, will be blogging about his first year following the Royals. Steve’s “From the Booth” blog launched today, so drop in and extend a Kansas City welcome: http://stevestewart.mlblogs.com/.

In Focus with Brian Bannister: Banny is taking a different approach to interacting with you all by doing a mailbag-style chat twice a month throughout the season on royals.com. Fans can visit royals.com/infocus or email a question directly to infocus@royals.com. Banny mentioned this in the latest Royals Relay Chat. By the way, if you missed the chat, check out the full transcript here.

For those of you wondering about the “In Focus” reference…along with his outstanding work on the mound during his rookie season, Brian is also pretty well known for his outstanding work behind the camera. Although, he’s taking a breather from photography to focus on pitching, “In Focus” is a shout out to the right-hander’s other passion. Credit for the clever name goes to Royals marketing guru Curt Nelson. Not bad, right?

More on Banny: The right-hander got in some extra innings today in AAA game down in Surprise, Ariz. Although he didn’t face too many Major Leaguers, the extended throwing session is all part of the process for being up to par when the season starts.

Onto the Big League Field: Today’s 3:05 p.m (CST) game is against the Los Angeles Angels. Luke Hochevar takes the mound for the Royals, still looking to make a strong bid to crack the rotation. Here’s the rest of the Royals lineup…

DeJesus – CF
Callaspo – 2B
Gordon – 3B
Guillen – RF
Gload – DH
Shealy – 1B
Maier – LF
Olivo – C
Pena, Jr. – SS

Hochevar – P

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