Today’s lineup: Scary moment in the fifth. last night when Mitch Maier was hit in the face by a pitch (this is a link to the mlb.com story which also links to the video). Maier suffered three facial fractures. The team is expected to place Maier on the D.L. and activate Joey Gathright from his rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Today’s lineup: The Royals placed Luke Hochevar on the D.L. today with a bruised ribcage. Hochevar left last night’s game after just five innings. He was removed from the game after throwing a few warm-up pitches before starting the sixth inning. Left-hander Josh Newman was recalled immediately.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
In fact, this is a much different squad than the team we saw last on June 1. During that game, Alex Gordon belted a double and knocked in two, while Jose Guillen and Mark Grudzielanek added homers for a 6-1 win over Cleveland’s Paul Byrd.
To look at some the wheeling and dealing that the Royals and the Indians have done since they last met, let’s go Around the Horn…
Just under half of the season series was in the bag after the game on June 1. The other half will be played out quickly with 10 games (seven in Cleveland and three in K.C.) set to be in the books by September 14. One of those Cleveland games was scheduled during the Royals first trip to Progressive Field, but rain forced the May 2 game to be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on September 13.
The Indians look a lot different this time out. The Tribe starter on June 1 is with the Red Sox (Paul Byrd made his Sox debut last Saturday). Their reigning Cy Young winner has thrown five complete games in nine starts with a 1.60 ERA for Milwaukee (CC Sabathia won his 11th straight last night). And one of the leading Royal killers has four homers, 12 RBI and 23 hits in 22 games as a Dodger (Casey Blake has hit .329 with a .388 on-base percentage during his career at Kauffman Stadium).
The Indians have jettisoned a lot, but we’ll still see their 2008 Cy Young hopeful. Cliff Lee, with his 17-2 record and 2.43 ERA, is scheduled to start Thursday’s matinee. Lee has dominated teams all year and started the All-Star game as a reward for his performance.
Injuries have also struck the Indians who are missing slugger Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez. Both are on the mend and on schedule to return soon. Jake Westbrook (Tommy John surgery) and Scott Elarton are on the D.L. as well.
To combat their pitching losses, the Tribe acquired Anthony Reyes, among others, who we will see tonight. Reyes is making his third start for Cleveland and is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA (3-2, 3.67 ERA in 2008). He was a Cardinal before being traded and is 1-0 versus K.C., when he allowed four hits over 5.2 innings and no runs. Tomorrow the Indians have Zach Johnson who’s making just his second start of the year.
Cleveland has also found a hot bat with Kelly Shoppach. Filling in for injured catcher Victor Martinez, Shoppach hit .275 in June and .318 in July. He collected 14 RBI each month and homered four and six times, respectively. Most impressively, Shoppach became just the sixth player in the modern era to get five extra base hits in a game with three doubles and two homers. He ended the game on July 30 versus Detroit with 14 total bases and added a walk.
The newest Royal was the Opening Day pitcher for the Rockies. Today, the Royals signed Kip Wells, who had some trouble this season with a blood clot in his right hand which cost him two and a half months. He will wear No. 40.
Wells joins fellow former Rockie Ramon Ramirez in the bullpen and takes the place of lefty Josh Newman, another former Coloradan. Wells has been good in the bullpen during his career, which is where the Royals plan to have him pitch for now. In 41 games, he’s 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 73.2 innings, striking out 62 and walking 35 while allowing just three homers.
Wells will look to help shore up a pen which is missing dominant set-up man Ron Mahay, who pitched over the weekend but is still bothered by foot problems and has seen a lot of work recently.
Tonight’s starter Luke Hochevar picked up his first career road win at Progressive Field earlier this season…Miguel Olivo returns from his four-game suspension tonight…Kansas City pitchers are 40-46 with a 4.55 ERA…Paulo Orlando, the player the Royals received for Horacio Ramirez from the White Sox, is hitting .364 with High-A Wilmington over his first eight games.
The Royals have announced first round draft pick Eric Hosmer will be at Kauffman Stadium on Friday to meet with the media at 3:30 p.m. Hosmer will also take batting practice after the press conference. On Saturday, he will begin his professional career at Idaho Falls as a Chukar.
In other draft news, Michael Montgomery is 2-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 10 games and seven starts with the Surprise Royals, the rookie league team in Arizona.
Upcoming Promos: Banner Flags (man, they are big!) on Saturday and Soria T-shirts on Tuesday. Plus Saturday is Christian Family Night.
Make sure you don’t miss out on Around the Horn’s interview with Jerry Krause: ex-Bulls GM and Mets pro scout.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Touch 'em All: Jerry Krause on the drive for a ninth ring, catching batting practice as an intern for the Cubs and signing a one-eyed pitcher
Kauffman Stadium sees its fair share of celebrities – both sports related and a few non-sports stars – throughout the season. But you’d be a little surprised to see a guy with so much bling sitting out in the heat of an early August game against the White Sox.
Jerry Krause is a scout for the New York Mets and has been involved with baseball for most of the 47 years since he interned with the Cubs in 1961. But you probably recognize his name from his work in basketball. Krause was the mastermind behind the 1990s Chicago Bulls and their six championships. But since his retirement as General Manager of the Bulls in 2003, he’s back in baseball.
Around the Horn caught up with Krause and sat down with him for a Touch ’em All interview before one of the Boston games. We figured today’s off day was as good a time as any to post our interview with Krause, since he’s a current Mets’ scout and the Royals just finished their final series of the season in New York yesterday, plus we made our last trip to Chicago (he’s worked for three of the five franchises in the Windy City) last week and tomorrow we start a three game set with Cleveland (you guessed it, he spent time with the Indians too).
Around the Horn: Everybody knew who you were for so long and now you’re under the radar. So the first question is, what are you doing these days?
Jerry Krause: What am I doing? Scouting for the New York Mets. Got Major League Clubs, our farm system and whatever Omar Minaya wants me to do.
ATH: You did basketball for so long. What’s your baseball connection?
JK: Oh, I started baseball long before. I started baseball actually at the same time I started basketball. I started baseball in 1961, started in the NBA in 1963. Before I took the Bulls job, I had 16 years as a full-time Major League Baseball scout and 18 as a basketball scout.
JK: Well, I took a sabbatical. Yea, I obviously – I went to games, but I had a full-time situation for 18 years running a club.
ATH: So which one is better…
JK: I like to scout. I enjoy scouting. I scouted both sports for such a long time. I enjoyed running a club. I enjoyed building a club. That was fun. I like them both.
ATH: …actually the question was about which sport.
JK: It’s easier to scout basketball than it is to scout baseball because in baseball, you’re in a much different scenario. In basketball, everybody is running up and down in front of you all the time. You see offense, defense and everything that guy has to be able to do quite a bit during a game.
In baseball, you may go see a guy hit and he gets walked three or four times. Or you go see a pitcher and he may have an off day. There’s less time to judge in baseball than in basketball. In basketball, you’re going to see a guy all the time.
I like the challenge of both of them though, sure. That’s why I do it.
ATH: I read a bio that I found on you and it doesn’t give much information on your baseball career. Can you just talk about your baseball career.
JK: Was it in one of those wookie-uh, things on the net.
ATH: (slightly embarrassed) Yea.
JK: Oh geez. Some of those – I read a couple of those things. There’s so much wrong about those things its unreal. Nobody with any brains could have written any of that stuff.
I saw a couple of them that had me doing things that I’ve never did before and some of them with things I’m not doing that I did. You couldn’t get much from that.
ATH: (in defense) I just try to get a little background any way I can before an interview. (the New York Mets have Krause’s picture in their media guide, but no bio)
JK: No problem. Baseball. I started with the Cubs in ’61 as what would now be called an intern. I played at Bradley University.
What would now be called an intern, it was a flunkie. I did everything around the office. I ran for coffee, wound up catching batting practice, doing all kinds of stuff.
My first full-time job in baseball scouting-wise was with the Cleveland Indians in 1967. I had run the Portland club in 1966 for Cleveland. I was General Manager of the Portland club in ’66 in the Pacific Coast League for Cleveland. My first full-time scouting job was in ’67 with the Indians. I spent five years with Cleveland. Then Hank left and I left, Hank Peters. Then I went two years with Oakland, two years with Seattle. Then I had six years with the White Sox.
ATH: So you bounced around a lot?
JK: Not really. (editor’s note: apparently five – technically four because Portland was affiliated with Cleveland – clubs in the span of 11 years is not “bouncing around a lot” to Jerry) During that time I also worked basketball. Twelve of those years I did both sports back-to-back, so I worked year round. (pondering the question again) Uh… Bounced around? Cleveland, when somebody else left, I left for personal reasons. Went to Oakland for a couple of years and was fortunate enough to win a couple of championships. Took a couple of years off that I knew I needed. Seattle started up as an expansion team, joined them. I stayed there a couple of years and then Bill Veeck asked me to come to the White Sox. It was like my father calling me home, I couldn’t turn it down. So I went with Bill and was with him two years and then Jerry Reinsdorf bought the White Sox from Bill. I was with Jerry for the next four until he asked me to run the Bulls.
But during that time, I had scouted in basketball for Baltimore for five years and I was with the Bulls for four or five. And then with Phoenix, five I think, Jerry Colangelo. And then I was with the Lakers for two. When I joined Bill and I joined the White Sox, I was the head scout for the Lakers and the Midwestern Supervisor for Seattle. When I joined Bill, I gave up the basketball and stayed with him. I couldn’t go back to basketball until Jerry asked me to run the club. (editor’s note: if this isn’t “bouncing around a lot” ATH isn’t sure what would constitute bouncing around a lot to Jerry)
ATH: During your time in professional sports, both basketball and baseball, what would you say is your crowning achievement?
JK: (laughs) There’s an old saying about perseverance. I think when you scout, if you scout very long, you’ve made mistakes. To stick around you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to make positive things. You’ve got to persevere.
I’m proud of the individual players that I’ve been associated with and drafted. I’m proud of the time with the Bulls. We were able to win six world championships and took a team that was Michael (Jordan) and – at the end of Michael’s rookie year – 11 other guys that we didn’t want. And had to get rid of all those 11 other guys. And five years later, we were fortunate enough to win the first championship.
I’ve had a lot of fun through the years. To pinpoint me on individuals, certainly Earl Monroe, Jerry Sloan, Wes Unseld, guys like that, that you take personal satisfaction drafting those guys. Earl and Wes are in the Hall of Fame, Jerry should be and I think will be.
Baseball-wise, some of the deals we were able to help make, some of the guys you sign. I was able to help bring Ozzie Guillen to Chicago, was able to help bring (A.J.) Pierzynski there. Signing Eddie Farmer for what we signed him for was a lot of fun. Jackie Heidemann was another player that played in the big leagues for a while. The thing I think I’ve enjoyed the most is the individual players in the sense of kids, you see them as kids and in the end they become men. Some of them you have friendships with, some of them you don’t. Dealing with them is much different that it used to be.
I don’t think I can pinpoint one thing. I haven’t worked yet. I haven’t worked nine to five yet. I haven’t had to do the things that the average guy does in life. It’s life’s toy store in a lot of ways. I’ve been very, very fortunate. I’ve worked under great people. If I could pinpoint one thing, it’s probably the people I’ve been associated with. The Veecks, certainly Jerry and some of the great scouts I’ve been associated with.
ATH: So the people make the job?
JK: My wife tells a story on me. I once signed a little left-handed pitcher with one eye out of a small town in Southern Illinois. He never got past Double-A. He’s given me so much satisfaction. I signed him for $500. Today he tells me, “No, you gave me $750.” He’s a friend after 35-40 years now. He’s very successful in business. He’s been really successful. He’s grown up; he’s done just a heck of a job. I signed him off a farm and he never got past Double-A. But he’s given me great personal satisfaction.
My wife and I were sitting a few years ago at a game and he’s a Bulls’ season ticket holder. He drives 150 miles up and 150 miles back to see every game. He came in the room where we were sitting and eating and he left and I said “He’s a great kid.” She looked at me and said, “He’s a 40-year old man now. He’s not a kid. You still think he’s 17.” And I probably do.
But people like that, who you sign or have something to do with; they are special in your life. Billy Cartwright is another one. He’s very special in my life. We acquired Billy in a trade. Billy’s a friend, he’s a special human being. They don’t make people like Bill Cartwright. And many, many others like that.
ATH: How do you go about signing a one-eyed pitcher?
JK: At that time, there was one other scout that knew about him. And a friend of mine who was coaching the legion team in central Illinois, who I played with, called me. He said the Cubs were in on this guy – it was a scout who I knew very well. So I went and saw him. The other scout went and saw him. We set a date up at the house where we went in and made bids. I think he bid $250 and I bid $500.
The funny part of it was, I signed him twice. He got to High-A and I want to say Baltimore drafted him in the Minor League draft. We were about to release him. And Baltimore drafted him. They released him in spring training and I think the scout that drafted him got fired. I went to Hank Peters and said, “Hank, my boy is out there again.” And “He said, go sign him Jerry, what the hell.” And so I did.
But you do what you have to do. I’ve signed guys for $500 or $30 million a year or more than that. It’s part of what you do. The thing about it is that $30 million a year guy is just as human as the guy who you signed for $500. It’s good to keep that in mind. Professional sports are a people business. It’s just like General Motors or any other business in the world because if you can’t judge people, you’ll be a lousy scout and you won’t last very long. I’ve given motivational talks on that and I learn just as much from them as I hope they’ve learned from me.
ATH: How does your wife put up with you being on the road so often?
JK: That’s why we’ve stayed married so long (jokingly). I’ve been home about half the time. She’s raised the kids and done a heck of a job with it. We kid, we’ve been married 30, I’ve probably been home 15. But she’s special. When we got married, I was making nothing and she was making nothing. We were scrapping. I don’t think she ever thought that we’d be able to do what we’ve done in life.
Certainly I hoped I would, but who knew. I had some goals in life. I think there’s a certain part of me that was driven. People who know me say I was driven. I don’t know if I’m as driven now as I was then. I’m driven now in the sense that I’m still a perfectionist in scouting. I think there is a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it.
Both games, life has been good to me. I grew up in a tough neighborhood that you wouldn’t want to go back into right now. If you went into the neighborhood where I grew up – spent most of my childhood – you wouldn’t want to go in there at night. It’s a tough neighborhood. It’s in the middle of Chicago and it’s a tough neighborhood. I came out of there with very little natural ability and I’ve been very fortunate to the people that took a liking to me.
If it ended tomorrow, I’m fine with it.
JK: Well, it’s been very easy. I don’t have to deal with the media. I don’t have the pressure. My health got a lot better when I quit general managing. I don’t have that stress. That pounding – that only general managers can understand. I don’t think you can understand it unless you do it. And when young guys get general managers positions, I don’t think they understand it until one day it hits them and they’re like “Oh, God.”
I’m more at ease with myself than I was. I’m a grandfather now. That’s a big difference. I wasn’t a grandfather 10 years ago. I have two grandchildren who are the light of my life, both of them. I’ve had a long marriage. That woman has put up with me for over 30 years now, that’s pretty good.
10 years ago, we probably won our last championship 10 years ago. The rebuilding of that club was a tough thing to do. I’m probably a little more content in life. I’m older. I’m 10 years older. I’m not the crazy kid I used to be. And when I say crazy kid, I mean I never asked anyone to do anything I never did, so I did it all myself. The guys who worked for me, hopefully learned something. I learned at the feet of the great scouts and the older people in the game. And the game – both of them, when I say “the game” – you have to treat the game with reverence. I still get a tremendous kick out of talking with the old-timers. I sit here with Art Stewart here in Kansas City, and really enjoy Art. I’ve know Art since I was 14-years old. I got to Pittsburgh and spent time with Chuck Tanner. You go places around the country and see old friends. That’s a fun part of my life right now.
ATH: Is that part of what keeps you going? The other day for one of the White Sox-Royals games, it was 114 outside at first pitch and you were still sitting out there, working.
JK: I think the competitiveness of it probably keeps me going. I enjoy the competition. I really enjoy working with Omar Minaya and John Ricco and the Mets’ staff. It’s my fourth year over there. I like the people I work with, I enjoy the atmosphere. I work with some young kids over there and I enjoy being able to teach them the things which were taught to me.
The competitor in me, there’s still a drive. I want to get another ring. I’ve got eight and I’m not satisfied with them. I want another one.
Yea, I want this one bad with the Mets because I know what Omar’s gone through and what he’s had to battle. I really want it for him and for our younger guys so they can understand that.
I want it for myself, selfishly, I want another one. And it isn’t the ring itself. It’s the fun in winning it. Every fall now, since I’ve been with the Mets, I’ve had the opportunity to advance scout – prepare for the World Series. That’s fun. That really gets down to the nitty-gritty of scouting. That’s where you can help a team win a championship. The good ones have that effect and you like to put yourself in a position where you’re one of the good ones and you can have an effect. So that’s fun. Every year you’re competing to win a championship, that’s important.
Somebody asked me the other day what I did and I said I was a private in Omar’s army. The lady looked at me like I was nuts. I said “I’m a private in Omar Minaya’s Army.” I like being a private now. I enjoy it. My days of being a general are over.
ATH: As a general you can do a lot. But in your current role, you’re on the front lines. If a guy tips a pitch or something like that, you can catch it and help the team in a very specific way.
JK: Well those things, I like the scouting part of it. Omar’s sent me around the world. I’ve been to Japan and I’ve done projects for him. I like that idea that I can be versatile enough to help him.
I enjoy the competition. My health is better than it has been in a long time. Towards the end with the Bulls, it got rough. It got mentally and physically tough at the end because you battle your head off for 18 years. You just fight the battle and you’re the face of the franchise for so long. I don’t have to deal with agents. I don’t have to deal with media people and you reach a certain point of your life that you don’t want to deal with that stuff.
The thing that, as you’ve been sitting here talking to me, the thing that probably strikes me more than anything else, it’s a “we thing” in this game, it’s not an “I thing.” People who use the word I, we try not to use it too much. You’ve got to keep reminding yourself sometimes. It’s a “we” game. Both of them are “we” games. Both of them are team games. Sports should be a “we” thing, unless you’re a golfer, or a tennis player. Competitive team sports are “we” things.
Today’s lineup: The Royals were proud to announce the signing of Tim Melville, our fourth round choice out of Wentzville, Mo. The 6’5″ righty was the 2007 Aflac National Player of the Year and compiled a 10-1 mark with a 0.89 ERA at Holt High School as a junior, helping the team reach the Missouri Class 4-A Finals. As a senior, Melville went 8-1 with a 2.56 ERA and 89 K’s in 52 innings.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Today’s lineup: First pitch at Chicago’s U.S. Cellular Field is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. You can catch all the action on 610 Sports or any other Royals Radio network affiliate.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Don’t miss Around the Horn’s stadium renovation update from yesterday.
If your looking for today’s lineup, its in the entry directly below this one.
On Monday the Royals Media Relations department along with Vice President of Ballpark Operations & Development Bob Rice and Owner’s Representative John Loyd took some of K.C.’s media on a hard-hat tour of the K. The renovations have kicked into almost full swing with the competition of the last home stand and the removal of seats.
Rice said the key to a 90-95 percent completion by Opening Day 2009 (tentatively April 10) is to turn over as much of the stadium as early as possible. So your Kauffman Stadium won’t ever look quite like this again. Changes are afoot and construction is happening fast (Around the Horn sat through an entire game without noticing another level of steel had been added to the top of the new Hall of Fame building in left field).
As we go through the tour keep in mind you can click on any photo to see a larger version. And you can click here for a computer animated tour which premiered a few weeks ago.
The tour started on the first base side of the stadium near the George Brett statue. This building which is going up directly in front of where the front doors to Kauffman used to is will house the Royals’ offices.
When it’s all finished, it should look like this computer generated mock-up. The sweeping lines of the roof are mimicked by the sweeping atrium of the building. The atrium by the way, will serve as a food court for the upper deck level.
Underneath the building, a new grand entrance will be created. And the Legacy Bricks which are for sale here, will be placed for all to see. These Bricks are tentatively planned for the grand entrance and the entrances on either side of the ballpark.
Around the Horn has heard some of the concerns about the constricted concourses, which have been made worse this season by the construction. If the figures are still true from what we heard earlier this season, that space will be expanded by 40 percent.
In this picture, you can see the plywood wall which marks the current end to the concourse. You can see the expansion of that space being built.
As you can see, the new concourses jut out from the stadium, but follow the contours of the original building. That has been a big push during this project. The developers wanted to preserve the original lines and look of the stadium but update the 1973 model to fit in the 21st century.
Again, in this picture, you can see the original pillars which mark the end of the current concourse and then you see the significant expansion.
On the ground level, this area is being prepped for new concession stands, which are being built directly behind the current concessions. When the season is over, the old concessions will be demolished and the space they occupy now will serve as the new expansion. You can see some of that toward the bottom.
There will also be new restrooms constructed behind the old ones.
The biggest portions of seats removed are these which seat above the crosswalk behind home plate. Six sections are being removed this season to allow construction workers to begin the Diamond Club.
The undertaking for building a new restaurant behind home plate is huge. The construction also means the Hall of Fame and all areas behind sections 105 to 106 will be offline for the remainder of the season.
These areas will be walled off so the Diamond Club can be completed in time for ’09. It will be a step above the Stadium Club and will be not quite as high as the Crown Club.
Here’s a picture of Bob Rice talking to some of the media who came out. In the left corner of the picture, you can see the steel framework of the new Royals Hall of Fame which is directly behind the visitor’s bullpen.
The two-story structure will house meeting rooms and offices in the bottom floor. The top floor will have a complete history of baseball in Kansas City with special tributes to the Kauffmans, George Brett and the 1985 team.
The Hall of Fame is just the first portion of the left field side of the outfield experience. On the left field side will also be a full-sized Little K, a carousel, video pitching and batting tunnels and much more.
The outfield experience will wrap completely around the stadium. Because of this, some seats in the last few sections left field have been removed to allow for the extension of the crosswalk into the outfield and Gate C has been closed until 2009.
In right field, the construction has been just as vigorous, but not as visible. The original field access tunnel wrapped around behind the scoreboard. That wouldn’t flow with the plans, so a new one needed to be excavated and the built.
With it complete now, skeletons of buildings are bound to start popping up in right field.
And for those chowing down in right field, a hi-def video board will keep them in tune with the action on the field.
The outfield experience is a major part of what’s changing, but Bob Rice insists each Royals fan will notice the differences. And Around the Horn is sure you will… if you haven’t already.
Luke Hochevar looks to break out of a four game winless streak, making his 21st big league start this season…The Royals lost the opener last time they were in Chicago and rebounded to win the series 2-1…Mark Teahen carries a season-long eight-game hitting streak into tonight’s game…Alex Gordon hit his first triple in over a year last night during the second inning…Gordon has 11 hits and 12 walks in 48 plate appearances since July 30, which is good for a .489 on-base percentage.
Today’s Official Game Notes.