Gil Meche acknowledged that his retirement might have been a shock to the reporters on the other end of the conference call. And it was: The pitcher who prefers a low profile was trending worldwide on Twitter on Tuesday, at one point passing up Regis Philbin, who also made a major announcement.
Meche felt great during his first two and a half years in Kansas City. Recently, he was admitted to being worn down, both physically and mentally. He said that his injury in 2009 wasn’t career-threatening. He admits that he came back too early that year, though he felt comfortable in bullpen throwing sessions in September. He felt fine at the outset of 2010, then the injuries hit and he felt like he wasn’t earning the contract he signed in December of 2006, which wore on him mentally.
Best Kansas City memory: Meche leaves Kansas City with good memories, friendships and a large amount of respect for the Royals organization. His favorite memory of Kansas City (and one of the best moments in his baseball career) came in 2007. He started on Opening Day, holding the Red Sox to a run on six hits and a walk over 7.1 innings. Upon leaving the field, Meche received a standing ovation from the crowd (above). He has since seen the photo around Kansas City, which he appreciates.
Complete-game shutout: Was the 132-pitch complete game shutout in 2009 a factor in Meche’s shoulder problems? Meche stated once again that the outing had nothing to do with his status today. He knows his body and would not have pitched one extra inning if he felt that the inning would eventually put a halt to his career. He wanted to throw the complete game, he felt fine, and the whole thing was blown out of proportion.
Decision time: Meche didn’t think that he could be healthy for all of 2011, which led him to think about retirement. The pitcher took his time with this decision and received support from his family, friends and agents. He mentioned it to his dad in mid-December. His dad said “If your heart isn’t in it, then it’s an easy decision,” which surprised Gil a bit. Meche and his agency approached the Royals in January as he wanted to give the club enough time to sort through other pitching options (versus coming to spring training and not being able to throw). Since the Royals were notified, they have inked pitchers Jeff Francis and Bruce Chen for 2011. The right-handed Meche stated that a contract settlement was never an option that he considered. He spoke several times about his respect for the Royals and believes that they are headed toward great things.
Up next: Meche has never been one for crowds – he is looking to get back to a “normal life”. He doesn’t think that he’ll ever regret his decision to leave baseball or the contract. He’ll miss the friendships, though he plans to stay in touch with his network of baseball friends that stretches all over the world. When asked if he planned to travel, Meche explained that he had traveled nearly 15 years. He just wants to sleep in his own bed on a regular basis. While he’s looking forward to some time at home and a few rounds of golf, he knows that his competitive drive will take him in a new direction soon – he cited a baseball academy as a possible way to give back to youth in his native Louisiana.
We wish Gil well in this new stage of his life and thank him for the last four seasons in Royal blue!
Single-game tickets for the 2011 Kansas City Royals season will go on-sale to the general public on Saturday, February 26 at 10 a.m. Tickets will be available online at royals.com, by phone at 1-800-6ROYALS, the Kauffman Stadium Box Office and all Hy-Vee locations in Kansas City, Lawrence, Topeka and St. Joseph. A limited quantity of tickets for the 2011 home opener on Thursday, March 31 at 3:10 p.m. versus the Los Angeles Angels will be made available online, by phone and the Kauffman Stadium Box Office only.
The Royals are offering subscribers to the Royals Report – the club’s free email newsletter – an exclusive 2011 ticket presale opportunity. By registering for the newsletter at royals.com by Friday, February 18, fans have the opportunity to purchase tickets to every 2011 Royals home game, excluding Opening Day, three days in advance of the general public. All Royals Report subscribers can order tickets online at royals.com beginning on Wednesday, February 23 at 10 a.m. Newsletter subscribers will receive an email with further instructions on the February 23 presale opportunity.
Along with this presale opportunity, Royals Report subscribers also receive the latest news alerts including exclusive interviews, promotions, special ticket discounts and more right to their email throughout the year. To register for the Royals Report, visit royals.com/register.
OPENING DAY TICKETS – Royals fans have four separate opportunities to secure tickets to Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium – Thursday, March 31 at 3:10 p.m. against the Los Angeles Angels:
1. Royals Season Tickets: Starting at just $189 per seat, Royals Season Ticket plans are available to fit every budget. Plus, fans can guarantee Opening Day tickets with any Full Season, Half Season or 21-Game Season Ticket plan and enjoy all the benefits of becoming a Season Ticket Holder, including 2012 MLB All-Star Game opportunities, reserved parking, first priority to purchase additional tickets for all 2011 home games, special events and more! All season ticket packages are available online at royals.com/tickets and by calling (816) 504-4040.
2. Online royals.com Opening Day Ticket Opportunity: To be eligible fans must register online at royals.com/openingday by Monday, February 14 at 5 p.m. Those applicants whose names are selected in a random drawing will have the opportunity to purchase up to two (2) tickets to Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium.
3. Royals 13-Game Pack: Save big with a 13-Game Pack starting at just $65. A limited number of Opening Day tickets will be available for 13-Game Pack holders. Royals 13-Game Packs are available online at royals.com/13 and by calling (816) 504-4040.
4. Single-Game Ticket On-Sale Date – February 26: A limited quantity of Opening Day tickets will be available through royals.com, by phone at 1-800-6ROYALS and at the Kauffman Stadium Ticket Office beginning Saturday, February 26 at 10 a.m.
The complete 2011 schedule can be found at royals.com. All dates and times are subject to change.
The Kansas City Royals have announced that several of the club’s top prospects will participate in the upcoming 2011 Royals FanFest presented by Sprint and Teva Neuroscience. The club’s marquee offseason event is set for Friday, January 21 and Saturday, January 22 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan.
The group, which includes George Brett Hitter of the Year Mike Moustakas, Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year John Lamb, Frank White Defensive Player of the Year Eric Hosmer, Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year Derrick Robinson and Mike Sweeney Award winner Buddy Baumann, will join several current and former Royals at the event.
Below is a list of prospects scheduled to participate in Royals FanFest. Please note that this list is subject to change, and fans are encouraged to visit www.royals.com/fanfest for an updated list of all Royals scheduled to attend.
Please note that participants are subject to change.
# Saturday only
Royals FanFest, which is supported in 2011 by WDAF-TV Fox 4, will also feature new interactive games for all ages, main stage programs and more.
Tickets for Royals FanFest may be secured by visiting www.royals.com/fanfest. Tickets may also be purchased by calling (816) 504-4040 or visiting the Kauffman Stadium Box Office during business hours (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.). Online and phone orders are subject to applicable service fees.
Tickets purchased in advance are available at discounted prices. Advance two-day passes are $18 for adults and $9 for youth (ages 6-17), while advance single-day tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for youth. All kids age five and under will be admitted free. Tickets will also be available at the Overland Park Convention Center on the days of the event. New to the 2011 FanFest, Royals 2011 season ticket holders are invited to an exclusive complimentary preview event on Thursday, January 20.
A complete listing of prices and purchase options is available at www.royals.com/fanfest.
“After a lot of thinking and prioritizing of issues in my life I have decided to retire from baseball. As a competitor my entire life this is the hardest decision that I’ve ever faced, but it’s not fair to me, my family or the Kansas City Royals that I attempt to pitch anymore. I came into this game as a starting pitcher and unfortunately my health, more accurately, my shoulder, has deteriorated to the point where surgery would be the only option and at this stage of my life I would prefer to call it a career rather than to attempt to pitch in relief for the final year of my contract. I can’t thank the Kansas City Royals and their fans enough for my four seasons there and if I have any regret, it’s that we weren’t able to accomplish on the field what the goal was when I signed there.”
The 32-year-old Meche was 84-83 with a 4.49 ERA in 10 Major League seasons for the Seattle Mariners (1999-2000, 2003-06) and Royals (2007-10). Meche signed a five-year contract with the Royals on December 8, 2006 and served as the club’s Opening Day starter in 2007, 2008 and 2009. He posted a 29-39 record for Kansas City, compiling a 4.27 ERA in 111 games, including 100 starts. Meche tied for second in the Majors with 68 starts combined in 2007 and 2008 and also ranked tied for sixth with 44 quality starts over that span. The native of Lafayette, La., struggled with right shoulder injuries in 2009 and 2010, making 43 appearances (32 starts).
The Royals have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Kyle Davies on a one-year contract for 2011, avoiding arbitration. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. The deal leaves first baseman Billy Butler as the Royals only unsigned arbitration-eligible player.
Davies, 27, was 8-12 with a 5.34 ERA in a career-high 32 starts for the Royals in 2010. The right-hander, acquired from the Atlanta Braves on July 31, 2007, is 42-56 with a 5.49 ERA in 138 career Major League games (131 starts), including a 28-35 record with a 5.15 ERA in 86 starts for Kansas City.
The Royals have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Robinson Tejeda on a one-year contract for 2011, avoiding arbitration. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. The deal leaves first baseman Billy Butler and right-handed pitcher Kyle Davies as the Royals only unsigned arbitration-eligible players.
Tejeda, 28, shook off a slow start to his 2010 season to go 3-5 with a 3.54 ERA in 54 relief appearances. The right-hander was claimed by the Royals on Outright Waivers from the Texas Rangers on June 24, 2008.
Jeff Francis is looking forward to getting back to his old self – the lefty is now nearly 23 months removed from shoulder surgery that sidelined him for the 2009 season. He says his shoulder feels fine and that he is approaching 2011 like any other season.
Francis, who won 17 games with a Colorado club that reached the World Series in 2007, is ready to prove that he can get batters out (or “oot”, as the native of British Columbia says).
He will be reunited with Bob McClure. The current Kansas City pitching coach mentored Francis at Triple-A Colorado Springs in 2004. McClure described Francis as a hurler who knows how to pitch, keep the ball down and hit spots. Francis is comfortable working with McClure, whom he believes had a similar approach to pitching.
Francis was one of the youngest players on the Rockies throughout his early years with the club. Now, though he just turned 30, he will be the third-oldest player on Kansas City’s spring training roster. He has heard good things about the developing talent that the Royals have and sees an organization that is on a path similar as the Rockies of five or six years ago.
Thank you to everyone who signed up for Digital Digest! We had many high-quality applicants from a variety of social media outlets. Eight social media enthusiasts will have the opportunity to cover the season-ticket holder event at FanFest next Thursday. Their day will include interviews with G.M. Dayton Moore, manager Ned Yost, infielder Billy Butler and outfielder Jeff Francoeur. Here’s the list, with first names, social media outlets and Twitter accounts.
|kcmetromoms.com & mommypalooza.com||@kcmetromoms & @mommypalooza|
|Matthew||Contributor at royalsreview.com|
A busy news day continues…the Royals have agreed to terms with outfielder Alex Gordon (at left, hitting a walk-off home run on July 30) on a one-year contract for 2011, avoiding arbitration. Consistent with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed. The deal leaves first baseman Billy Butler and right-handed pitchers Kyle Davies and Robinson Tejeda as the club’s only unsigned arbitration-eligible players.
The 26-year-old Gordon made a successful conversion from third base to the outfield in 2010. He split his campaign between Omaha and Kansas City, batting .217 with eight home runs and 20 RBI in 74 games with the Royals. Gordon was the Royals’ first-round selection (second overall) in the 2005 Draft.
The Royals will visit fans in Warrensburg, Jefferson City and Springfield, Mo.; Fayetteville and Springdale, Ark.; and Pittsburg, Kan., on the annual Royals Caravan presented by Fox Sports Kansas City. A number of current Royals players and front office officials, as well as Royals legends, will take part in the annual Caravan event with trips to Midwestern towns throughout January.
This Caravan trip will include 2010 Royals Player of the Year, infielder Billy Butler, infielder Kila Ka’aihue, and Royals Hall of Fame pitcher Jeff Montgomery. A tentative schedule of Caravan events is listed below and at royals.com/caravan.
Prior to the trip, the club will host the marquee off-season event, Royals FanFest, taking place on January 21-22 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan. The best place for fans to meet their favorite Royals, FanFest features appearances from more than 40 current, former and future players, interactive games for fans of all ages, main stage programming and much more. Additional details can be found at royals.com/fanfest.
2011 Royals Caravan presented by Fox Sports Kansas City
South Caravan Trip, Day #1: Sunday, January 23 (Warrensburg, Jefferson City, Springfield, Mo.)
11:30-12:30 p.m.: Meet & Greet at Fitters Pizza and Pub – 131 W Pine St. in Warrensburg (Hosted by KOKO Radio)
3-4 p.m.: Meet & Greet at Hy-Vee – 3721 W Truman Blvd in Jefferson City (Hosted by KLIK Radio)
7-8 p.m.: Meet & Greet at Coyote’s Adobe Café – 1742 South Glenstone in Springfield
South Caravan Trip, Day #2: Monday, January 24 (Fayetteville, Springdale, Ark., Pittsburg, Kan.)
10:15 a.m.: School Assembly at Asbell Elementary School – 1500 North Sang Ave. in Fayetteville
11:30-1:30 p.m.: Luncheon at Holiday Inn – 1500 South 48th St. in Springdale (Hosted by NW Arkansas Naturals and Springdale Rotary Club)
Luncheon tickets are $15, which includes a buffet lunch.
For tickets, contact the NWA Naturals at 479-927-4900.
4-5 p.m.: Meet & Greet at Meadowbrook Mall – 202 E Centennial Dr. in Pittsburg (Hosted by KKOW Radio and Cox Communications)