The Royals Caravan is a tradition that predates the team on the field…the first caravan was in 1968. This year’s caravan will travel to 34 communities in six states. Today, the Royals released the dates and participants for upcoming caravans in Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri. Caravans to Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma will take place the week after FanFest, which is scheduled for Jan. 17-18. Preliminary information for those caravans is now available on royals.com. Here is the information for next week’s stops:
North Caravan (Iowa and Nebraska):
Tuesday, Jan. 13 (Blue Springs, York and Kearney, Neb.)
11 a.m.-Noon School Visit and Royalty Fields Presentation at Southern Elementary – 315 West 2nd in Blue Springs (Hosted by KGMT) ***Private event
2:30-3:20 p.m. School Visit at York Elementary – 1501 Washington Ave. (Hosted by KAWL) ***Private event
6-7 p.m. Meet and Greet at Skeeter Barnes – 516 S. 2nd Ave. in Kearney (Hosted by KXPN)
Wednesday, Jan. 14 (Minden, Lincoln and Omaha, Neb.)
12:30-1:30 p.m. School Visit and Royalty Fields Presentation at C.L. Jones Middle School – 520 W. 3rd Street in Minden ***Private event
4-5:15 p.m. Meet and Greet at Sportscasters Bar & Grill – 3048 N. 70th St. in Lincoln (Hosted by KLMS)
7-8 p.m. Meet and Greet at Hy-Vee – 10808 Fort St. in Omaha (Hosted by KXSP)
Thursday, Jan. 15 (Omaha, Neb., and Des Moines, Iowa)
Participants: Mike Aviles, Luke Hochevar, Frank White, Joel Goldberg and Sluggerrr
10:30-11:15 a.m. School Visit at Castelar Elementary School – 2316 S. 18th St. in Omaha ***Private event
11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Luncheon with Omaha Royals – Livestock Exchange Building, 4920 S. 30th in Omaha
** Ticket Required. Call Omaha Royals for more information: (402) 738-5100
4-5 p.m. Meet and Greet at Hy-Vee – 1725 Jordan Creek Pkwy. in West Des Moines
Central Caravan (Missouri and Kansas City)
Wednesday, Jan. 14 (Warrensburg, Jefferson City and Columbia, Mo.)
Noon-1 p.m. School Visit at Martin-Warren Elementary – 105 S. Maguire St. in Warrensburg (Hosted by KOKO) ***Private event
3:30-4:30 p.m. Meet and Greet at Hy-Vee – 3721 West Truman Boulevard in Jefferson City (Hosted by KLIK)
5:30-6:30 p.m. Meet and Greet at Hy-Vee – 3100 West Broadway in Columbia
Thursday, Jan. 15 (Trenton, Maryville and St. Joseph, Mo.)
Participants: Joakim Soria, Billy Butler, Mike Jacobs, Willie Wilson, Kevin Seitzer, Mike Arbuckle, Denny Matthews and Sluggerrr
11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Meet and Greet at First Christian Church – 1700 Princeton Rd. in Trenton (Hosted by KTTN)
3:30-4:30 p.m. Meet and Greet at Hy-Vee – 1217 S. Main St. in Maryville (Hosted by KNIM)
6-7 p.m. Meet and Greet at Hy-Vee – 201 N. Belt Hwy. in St. Joseph (Hosted by KFEQ)
Friday, Jan. 16 (Kansas City)
Participants: Joakim Soria, Billy Butler, Mike Jacobs, Willie Wilson and Sluggerrr
10:30-11:30 a.m. Visit to Operation Breakthrough – 3039 Troost in Kansas City ***Private event
The rooftop of Rivals Sports Bar will be a major attraction in 2009. We snapped a few photos of the renovations from the roof. We start with a view of the batter’s box.
One view that will “rival” the view from above Rivals is the view from Kauffman Stadium’s fountain seats, which are taking shape in left and right field.
In left field, work continues on the Royals Hall of Fame building. We leave you with a wide shot of the outfield from the roof of Rivals.
The Royals have announced the remaining organizational award winners, who will be recognized at the 2009 Royals Awards Night on January 16 at the Sheraton Overland Park Hotel. This great event will be capped by the announcement of the Ewing Kauffman Mr. Baseball Award. Buy your tickets today! The honorees include:
Dan Ontiveros – Art Stewart Scout of the Year
Dan scouts the Southern California area for the Royals. He previously worked for the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago White Sox. In his first year with the Royals, Ontiveros signed left-handed pitcher Mike Montgomery, the club’s supplemental pick in 2008. Montgomery earned Pitcher of the Year honors for the Surprise Royals last season.
Brian (left) is now the manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks. In 2008, he guided the Burlington Bees to the Midwest League championship. Rupp played in the St. Louis organization for seven seasons before becoming a minor league coach with the Cardinals in 1999.
Everett, a left-handed pitcher, will receive the Mike Sweeney Award, which recognizes a player who best represents the organization on and off the field. Teaford went 8-6 with a 3.80 ERA for Wilmington in 2008. In addition, he took part in every Blue Rocks community event. The Carolina League named Teaford as the inaugural Matt Minker Community Service Award winner.
Robinson could be playing in tonight’s national championship football game, but he turned down a scholarship to the University of Florida to sign with Kansas City. Robinson’s future on the baseball diamond is very bright. The speedster set the pace with an individual franchise record 62 stolen bases as the Wilmington Blue Rocks established a team franchise mark with 258 thefts. His total of 62 led the Carolina League and placed him fourth among all minor league players.
Jeff Bianchi – Frank White Defensive Player of the Year
Bianchi, a former shortstop, made a smooth transition to second base, the position held down by the awards’ namesake and eight-time Gold Glove winner. Jeff made just 2 errors in 75 games at second base and 7 errors overall.
The highly-touted righty went 10-4 with a 3.78 ERA as he helped the Northwest Arkansas Naturals reach the playoffs in their inaugural season. Cortes earned team Pitcher of the Year honors and Postseason Texas League All-Star status. He was drafted by the White Sox in 2005 and signed by fellow honoree Dan Ontiveros.
Kila had a breakout season in 2008, as he led Kansas City’s minor league system with 37 home runs and 100 RBI. He earned Texas League Player of the Year honors after slamming 26 home runs for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals. Ka’aihue finished the year with the big league club and collected his first home run on September 20.
The Royals will also honor Patti Lewis with the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award, which recognizes an outstanding member of the community. Lewis is founder and director of Alexandra’s House, a non-profit perinatel hospice that reaches out to families who have an anticipated infant loss.
The club previously announced that Chris Kemple will be recognized as The Matt Minker Award winner. The award is presented to an outstanding minor league affiliate employee. Chris is the general manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks.
The Major League award winners, Pitcher of the Year Joakim Soria, Player of the Year Mike Aviles, and Special Achievement winner Zack Greinke will also be honored.
Today ATH went on a tour of Kauffman Stadium. It was chilly but the conditions were right for a walk through the new outfield experience. After the renovations are complete, fans will be able to get a 360 degree feel for the stadium by visiting this area.
We start our tour on the third base side. You’ve parked your car, and now you’re walking towards our camera on the new concrete path (left). Once inside, you take a few minutes to check out the Royals Hall of Fame (right).
After visiting the Hall of Fame, you take a few minutes to watch batting practice from this angle. Then, you proceed on to the outside bar which sits atop the old JumboTron pad.
Next, it’s on to the new Little K, which is much larger than its predecessor. After the kids hit a few home runs, you move on to right center and pause for another look at the field from a view that’s new to you.
Your walk takes you to the new restaurant and sports bar in right field. Once inside, you can take a look at the field or watch some of the Royals pregame show on Fox Sports Kansas City, all while dining on great food.
The Kauffman Stadium renovations have been one of our most popular features on Around the Horn. On Wednesday, we’ll bring you new pictures as we count down to April 10. Look for a late afternoon post. Until then, check out the galleries at royals.com or our earlier ATH photos (October and December).
Also on Wednesday, be sure to watch the local television news and sports in Kansas City. We’ve invited them out for a look at the stadium.
Mark Teahen, the versatile outfielder/third baseman/first baseman, will chat today at 3 p.m. CT on royals.com. Mark has a fashion show coming up this weekend in Kansas City. Be sure to ask him about the event, which benefits YMCA Challenger, or his interest in the Arizona Cardinals (Mark lives in nearby Peoria and is an avid fan of the playoff team).
You must be registered on royals.com to participate. Registration is free, so sign up!
Happy New Year! Baseball is just around the corner! Individual game tickets for Spring Training will go on sale tomorrow, Jan. 3 at 9 a.m. Central Time. Tickets will be available through the Royals website, in person at the Surprise Box Office or by phone at 480-784-4444 or 520-321-1000. Spring season ticket packages are available now by calling 623-222-2222.
Kansas City’s 36-game Spring Training schedule, the largest in the history of the franchise, features 17 home games at Surprise Stadium in Surprise, Ariz. The club will also face the Texas Rangers as the visiting team in three additional games at the facility, including the Feb. 25 charity game, which kicks off the 2009 slate.
A variety of season ticket packages are available, including a 17-game Royals package, a 7-game Royals package or a 34-game Surprise Stadium package for all Royals/Rangers home games. Royals season ticket packages (7 and 17-game) range from $84 to $289 while the 34-game packages are available from $374 to $578. If you want to simplify your vacation planning, several Spring Training travel packages are available through the Royals website.
Ticket prices for the 2009 Spring Training season are: $23 for lower dugout seats, $20 for upper dugout seats, $17 for infield seats, $13 for plaza seats and $7 for lawn seating. Parking for all Surprise Stadium Spring Training games will be free.
If you’re in Arizona and would like to buy tickets in person the box office is located at:
15960 N. Bullard Avenue
Surprise, AZ 85374.
Pitchers and catchers will report to Surprise on Friday, Feb. 13. Workouts for pitchers begin the following day, Saturday, Feb. 14. The remainder of the squad will report on Tuesday, Feb. 17 and begin workouts for the 2009 campaign on Wednesday, Feb. 18.