We appreciate you

It’s fan appreciation night/weekend and we can’t express enough gratitude that the Royals have for all of you out there. We’ve got a lot going on this weekend to show you how much we appreciate you.

Unfortunately last night the team couldn’t keep the roll going, but with the beauty of baseball, they’re back at it tonight. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so let’s get to it and go Around the Horn…

Shirts off their backs” Night should be huge. Around the Horn is in fact a little disappointed that we aren’t allowed to win a jersey. They only cost a buck. And you thought Buck Night last night was good deal because you could get a soda, peanuts or a hot dog for a dollar?

Dollar scratch tickets will be on sale throughout the stadium – each one is a chance to win a jersey which will be worn for tonight’s 6:10 game versus Chicago. Just over 40 jerseys will be up for grabs. Each one will be handed out on the field after the game to the lucky winner complete with the autograph of the coach or player who wore the jersey.

All of the proceeds will go to Operation Breakthrough, which helps children who are living in poverty receive a safe, loving and educational environment. The organization has been around since 1972, serving Kansas City faithfully.

If that wasn’t enough, the Royals are also giving out FSN-KC stocking hats to the first 20,000 fans. It’s at this point we’d like to say thanks to the crew here at the Stadium for the wonderful work they’ve done all season long bringing you the games at home. Last night was the last 2008 home telecast, which also signaled the end to Frank White’s FSN season. Around the Horn heard nothing but good things all season long about the Royals Hall of Famer. His work ethic and dedication to his new craft could be seen all summer long.

David DeJesus has the chance to accomplish two milestones in his career that we’ve not seen a lot of around here. Currently he’s hitting .300 and .408 with runners in scoring position. DeJesus hasn’t accomplished either of these achievements during his career. But where he sits at the moment, DeJesus would be one of 10 Royals to hit .300 since 2000 and one of four not named Mike Sweeney (four times) or Carlos Beltran (twice).

His RISP statistics are much more impressive. He went 1-for-1 last night with runners at second or third and raised his average to .408. He’s second in the Majors behind only Ian Kinsler, who’s stuck at .413 because of a season-ending injury. But more importantly, he would be one of three Royals in franchise history to end the season over .400. George Brett hit an amazing .469 in 1980 (the year he challenged a .400 overall average for the season) and Mike Sweeney hit .402 in 2002. For DeJesus to be lumped into such rarified air would be a huge boost to his career.

We’ve talked a bunch about his breakthrough season, in which he’s set career highs in homers, RBI and stolen bases. He’s just six hits shy of another career high (a virtual lock if he ends the season hitting .300). His runs production is down from 101 last year to 66 this season, but that load has been spread out some as his role has changed (Mike Aviles has picked up where DeJesus left off, having scored 64 runs which is three behind Alex Gordon, the team leader).

How’s he do it? Work is what hitting coach Mike Barnett will tell you. But DeJesus says he has changed his thinking at the plate. He doesn’t look at the scoreboard. He just tries to put together one at-bat at a time. Runners on base? No problem. The pressure is on the pitcher not the hitter.

Jose Guillen combined with Alberto Callaspo to nail Alexei Ramirez at the plate last night in the third. It was the 100th outfield assist of Guillen’s career and his 10th this season, his third double-digit season…Mark Teahen went 2-for-2 with a walk against Mark Buehrle, belting his first homer off the Sox starter. Teahen is getting the better end of this lefty-lefty matchup, hitting .419 against Buehrle during his career…Robinson Tejeda exited last night’s game with a left hip flexor strain and will be re-evaluated in the next few days…Callaspo, who again extended his career-high hitting streak, now at 13 straight games, has scored eight runs over his last six games.

The dates for Royals FanFest have been announced. The second annual event will be held Jan. 17-18 at the Overland Park Convention Center.

This is the first of many plugs for the Alumni Fantasy Camp. It’s a great time and a chance to live out those dreams of being a ball player.  Royals Alumni serve as the coaches and managers for the teams. For a week, you will be treated like you are in the Majors. It’ll be at the Royals facility in Surprise, Arizona from February 2-7. Expenses include five days and nights in Surprise, as well as the experience of a lifetime.

We’d also like to mention that the Royals Charities are having a car auction on September 26. And VOTE VOTE VOTE…Mark Teahen for the Roberto Clemente Award and Buddy Blattner among other KC broadcasters like Fred White and Ryan Lefebvre for the Ford C. Frick Award

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen LF
Olivo C
Gordon 3B
Ka’aihue DH
Callaspo 2B

Davies P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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