January 2012

Royals, KCP&L announce solar energy partnership

The sun peaked through the clouds at Kauffman Stadium today just as the Royals and KCP&L announced a new solar energy partnership that will result in the largest in-stadium solar array in Major League Baseball.

KCP&L installed a 28.8 kilowatt solar array in Kauffman Stadium’s Outfield Experience that will produce approximately 36,000 kWh of renewable energy each year.  This marks the first step in a long-term commitment between the Royals and KCP&L to maximize renewable energy resources at the ballpark.

“The Royals are committed to making Kauffman Stadium one of the most environmentally-friendly facilities in sports,” said Kevin Uhlich, Royals Senior Vice President-Business Operations.  “We are excited to partner with KCP&L to bring the latest technologies in sustainable energy to the ballpark, especially as we prepare for the 2012 All-Star Summer.”  Uhlich thanked the Royals associates who worked closely on the project, including Bob Rice (Vice President – Ballpark Operations & Development), Todd Burrow (Director – Ballpark Engineering & Maintenance), Wes Engram (Sr. Director – Corporate Sponsorships & Broadcast Sales) and David Hayob (Sr. Manager – Corporate Sponsorships).

The partnership also ties into the renewable energy initiatives of Major League Baseball, which will be highlighted during the 2012 MLB All-Star Game and related festivities in Kansas City this summer. 

The solar array is comprised of 120, 240-watt solar panels on the roof of Kauffman Stadium’s Outfield Experience canopy.  The panels face south and are mounted in two groups of 60 panels each – one on each side of CrownVision. 

“KCP&L is proud to partner with the Kansas City Royals on their first renewable energy endeavor,” said Chuck Caisley, KCP&L vice president of Marketing and Public Affairs. “KCP&L has a long standing history of supporting renewable energy projects because it brings a significant benefit to our customers.”

In addition to the solar energy at Kauffman Stadium, KCP&L will have approximately 600 MW of renewable resource capacity by 2014. This includes wind generation, hydropower and landfill-gas-to-energy projects.

By Opening Day, KCP&L will also install an educational kiosk in the Outfield Experience to educate Royals fans about the solar energy system. Fans can learn how to monitor the production of solar energy and how solar energy benefits Kauffman Stadium and the greater Kansas City region.

KC Close Up: Danny Duffy

On Saturday, we’ll be 23 days away the official Spring Training report date for Royals pitchers and catchers!  Number 23 for the Royals is Danny Duffy, an easy-going lefty from Lompoc, Calif.  Danny made a lot of new fans on Royals Caravan and we had a chance to talk with him about his rookie year, the upcoming season, his favorite TV show and more.  Be sure to follow Danny on Twitter (https://twitter.com/dduffkc23)!

Around the Horn:  What have the past few days been like on Caravan? 

Danny Duffy:  It’s been a lot of fun.  I knew how much support we had – it has been nice to see first hand.  There are a lot of neat people who have been supporting us for a long time – it’s really appreciated by all of us.

ATH:  You were taking some pictures as we rolled across the Flint Hills toward Wichita.

DD:  Yeah, I’ve never seen anything like this from the ground.

ATH:  What do you like about Kansas City?

DD:  Everything.  The barbeque…the people are friendly, the hospitality is second to none.

ATH:  Talk about your offseason and preparation going into 2012.

DD:  Almost everything outside of hanging out with my family has been baseball related.  I’ve been trying to run as much as I can, do core work and put on some good weight.  I’m just doing everything I can to be here Opening Day and help this team.

ATH:  Did you travel at all?

DD:  I went up to my family’s cabin in the Sierras and hiked around a little bit.  I don’t get to go there in the summers anymore so it was nice to take advantage of a dry winter.  Most of the time is spent hanging out with my family.

ATH:  What are your goals for 2012?

DD:  As a team, we want to make the playoffs.  That’s first and foremost.  Personally, I want to be more pitch efficient.  That will keep me at the level that I want to be at.  I feel like I’ve done everything that I can this offseason to assure that my hard work is going to pay off.  I’m excited to get out there and prove to everyone that I’ve been working really hard, as I’m sure the whole team has.

ATH:  Talk about some of the highlights of last year.

DD:  Getting to the big leagues is obviously a frontrunner…(along with) getting to know everyone on the team…I’ve always looked up to Gordo since I was drafted.  We had never really talked too much before I came up.  It’s been cool to get to know him and his family…same with Hoch (Luke Hochevar), I’ve always really looked up to Hoch.  I think my favorite part of the year was becoming good friends with people on this team.  It’s cool to be able to play on the same squad as them.

ATH:  Who are some of your closest friends on the team? 

DD:  I can’t really single one person out.  Blake Wood…we’re good buddies.  Eric Hosmer is one of the realest people that I’ve ever met.  Moustakas (a fellow Californian) – we go way back. 

ATH:  We’ve seen the Broncos tweets…what are some of your favorite teams? 

DD:  I think the Lakers are my favorite team, outside of the Royals.  I had the opportunity to sit behind the bench this offseason.  As corny as it may sound – I think watching Kobe and how hard he works has driven me.  I’ve gone out running after Lakers games because I’m so hyped from watching Kobe.  I like Fresno State – I’ve always been a fan in football.

ATH:  You mentioned running and we’ve also seen that on Twitter.  Is that something that you like to do on road trips?

DD:  Yeah, I’ve always enjoyed running.  Everybody has their way to wind down and shut the mind down.  That’s my way to cool off. 

Photo courtesy Texas Rangers

ATH:  What’s your favorite road city so far? 

DD:  I really enjoyed Arlington because it was so secluded.  It was an amazing ballpark, we had a good time down there, hanging out and laying low.

ATH:  Are you a video game player?

DD:  No, I’m not into video games…but it will be cool to be on one this year.  I will definitely check out the new MLB games.

ATH:  Who was your favorite baseball player while you were growing up?

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Dodgers

DD:  Mike Piazza.  I had a wall of 50 of his cards and was at his last game with the Dodgers.  (Remembering the trade like it was yesterday)…They traded him to Florida (with Todd Zeile) for Bobby Bonilla, Gary Sheffield, Jim Eisenreich, Charles Johnson and Manuel Barrios.  (ATH mentioned that Danny might meet Eisenreich at some point as the former Royals outfielder resides in the KC area.)

ATH:  You mentioned Piazza’s baseball cards.  Have you seen any of your cards?

DD:  I have seen a few, my Mom usually gets them as soon as they come out.

ATH:  What’s your favorite TV show? 

DD:  SportsCenter…other than that, I’m a big fan of Family Guy.  I love Stewie for his sarcasm.

ATH:  Yeah Stewie’s the best…well Danny, thanks for the time and good luck in 2012!

DD:  Thanks!

Royals invite 16 to Major League Spring Training

The Royals announced today that the club has invited 16 players to Major League Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz. The Royals have invited seven pitchers, three catchers, three infielders and three outfielders.

Pitchers (7): Francisley Bueno, 30, made 15 starts last season for Monterrey in the Mexican Summer League. Born in Havana, Cuba, the left-hander now resides in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and was signed by Kansas City as a minor league free agent on November 17, 2011.

23-year-old left-handed pitcher Chris Dwyer will participate in his second Major League spring training. The Royals fourth round pick in 2009 out of Clemson University was 8-10 with a 5.60 ERA in 27 starts for Northwest Arkansas (AA) in 2011, finishing third in the Texas League with 126 strikeouts.

Tommy Hottovy, 30, will make his first appearance in Major League spring training for his hometown Royals after inking a minor league deal on November 18, 2011. Born and raised in Kansas City and a graduate of Park Hill South High School and Wichita State University, the left-hander received his first big league call with the Red Sox in 2011, making eight relief appearances.

29-year-old right-hander Zach Miner makes his second straight appearance in Royals Major League camp, although he did not pitch last spring due to rehab from Tommy John surgery. Signed as a minor league free agent on January 3, 2011, Miner was 25-20 with a 4.24 ERA in 157 games (35 starts) for the Tigers from 2006-2009.

Recently rated as the top prospect in the Royals organization by Baseball America, Mike Montgomery, 22, will make his second consecutive appearance in Major League spring training. Montgomery was 5-11 with a 5.32 ERA in 28 games (27 starts) with Omaha last season. The 6-foot-4 left-hander was the Royals supplemental first round selection (36th overall) in 2008.

21-year-old right-hander Jake Odorizzi joins Royals Major League camp for the first time in his second season in the organization. Odorizzi was acquired with shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Zack Greinke and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt on December 19, 2010. Born and raised in Illinois, he made 27 combined starts during the 2011 season between Wilmington (A Advanced) and Northwest Arkansas, and was named the Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.

Will Smith, 22, will join Major League spring training for the third straight year, the second with the Royals after the club acquired him from the Los Angeles Angels along with pitcher Sean O’Sullivan for infielder Alberto Callaspo on July 22, 2010. Smith, the 2011 Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year, led the Texas League with 13 wins and 161.1 innings pitched.

Catchers (3): Cody Clark, 30, enters his sixth season in the Royals organization after playing in 2011 with Omaha (AAA). The resident of Conway, Ark., signed with Kansas City as a minor league free agent on October 26, 2006.

27-year-old Max Ramirez joins the Kansas City system after signing as a minor league free agent on December 14, 2011. The resident of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, has appeared in the Majors with the Texas Rangers in 2008 and 2010.

Julio Rodriguez, 22, was acquired by the Royals with left-handed pitcher Antonio Cruz from the Detroit Tigers for infielder Wilson Betemit on July 20, 2011. The Hato Mayor, Dominican Republic resident was a minor league All-Star in 2008, 2010 and 2011 and named the Dominican Tigers Player of the Year in 2008.

Infielders (3): Tony Abreu, 27, is a switch-hitting infielder who has batted .251 in 146 career Major League games with the Dodgers (2007, 2009) and Diamondbacks (2010). The Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic resident signed with the Royals as a minor league free agent on December 1, 2011.

28-year-old switch-hitter Irving Falu batted .301 in 111 games for Omaha (AAA) last season. The Carolina, Puerto Rico resident was selected by the Royals in the 21st round in 2003.

Kevin Kouzmanoff, 30, signed with the Royals as a minor league free agent on January 18, 2012. The six-year Major League veteran from Evergreen, Colo., is a career .255 hitter with 137 doubles, 85 home runs and 261 RBI in 672 games for the Indians (2006), Padres (2007-09), A’s (2010-11) and Rockies (2011).

Outfielders (3): Greg Golson, 26, joins the Kansas City organization as a minor league free agent, signing on December 13, 2011. A native of Austin, Texas, Golson has seen time in the Majors with the Phillies (2008), Rangers (2009) and Yankees (2010-11).

21-year-old outfielder Wil Myers will be a part of Major League spring training for the first time in his career. The converted catcher and Royals third-round pick in 2009 followed up his 2011 season at Northwest Arkansas with a tremendous campaign in the Arizona Fall League, hitting .360 while finishing in the top three in on-base percentage, slugging percentage and OPS.

Paulo Orlando, 26, was invited to his first big league camp. The right-handed hitting outfielder played at both Omaha and Northwest Arkansas in 2011. Acquired by Kansas City from the Chicago White Sox on August 9, 2008 in exchange for pitcher Horacio Ramirez, Orlando is attempting to become the first player born in Brazil to make it to the Major Leagues.

Pitchers and catchers will report to Surprise on Monday, February 20. Workouts for pitchers begin the following afternoon, Tuesday, February 21. The remainder of the squad will report on Friday, February 24 and begin workouts for the 2012 campaign on Saturday afternoon, February 25.

Moustakas to be featured on Thursday’s Royals Hot Stove

Third baseman Mike Moustakas will be the guest on this week’s edition of Royals Hot Stove.  Tune in at 6:00 Central on Thursday as “Moose” joins hosts Denny Matthews and Ryan Lefebvre

The show is on 610 AM in Kansas City and on the web at http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/kc/fan_forum/hotstove.jsp .

Visit the link above to catch archived broadcasts and check back every Thursday through Spring Training for a new show!

Touring Royals Country on Caravan

It has been a busy week at the office!  Last week, ATH joined team representatives on Caravan visits to Cameron, St. Joseph and Maryville, Missouri, then on to Topeka and Wichita, Kansas.  Hopefully you saw some of our pictures on Twitter @aroundthehornkc.  Here’s a recap of the Missouri tour:

Our journey began in Overland Park on the morning of January 15, where ATH met the bus and checked in with Ben Aken, Sr. Director of Community Relations.  Ben thought the players and staff would want a hot breakfast – so off I went to pick something up.  Once back, I took a seat on the bus behind Royals Hall of Famer John Mayberry and across from broadcaster Steve Stewart, who was joined by his son John (a.k.a. Little John on this trip). 

The bus made a quick stop in downtown Kansas City to pick up designated hitter Billy Butler and pitcher Danny Duffy (pitcher Greg Holland was already aboard).  We made our way through North Kansas City and on to Cameron (one hour north of KC), where our first stop was just off of I-35 at the Whistle Stop Cafe.

Steve Stewart introduced Butler, Duffy, Holland and Mayberry to the fine fans of Cameron.  The line weaved its way through the store to the front table, where fans mingled with our Caravan crew and picked up autographs from our foursome.  I visited with several season ticket holders while Aken and Stewart did radio interviews on KKWK, the Royals affiliate in Cameron.   

Ben suggested that I take lunch orders for our traveling party of 10.  One thing that I learned over two days was the easy-going nature of our three current players on the trip.  I’ve known Billy since 2007 but I didn’t spend much time around Danny or Greg last year.  I took Danny’s order and proceeded to Greg, who said he’d take the same.  And for Billy?  Anything…just order what Duffy and Holland were getting.  Easy enough!  The only problem was that the listed phone number for the sandwich shop was for a fax or modem.  Time is critical on Caravan – you want to get to your next stop as a line of fans will be waiting.  Luckily I found a ride to the sandwich shop and started our order. 

The bus pulled up shortly thereafter and we were on our way to St. Joseph, 45 minutes to the west.  I listened to stories from Big John Mayberry and John Stewart pointed out the town of Stewartsville to Steve.  We rolled into St. Joe, where a long line was waiting at Hy-Vee.  Once again, Steve Stewart did the introductions, this time over Hy-Vee’s intercom!  “Attention Hy-Vee shoppers…” 

I handed out schedules to the fans in line before proceeding back to the autograph table.  Our players and alumnus began walking the line in order for all of the fans to get autographs in our allotted time.  I assisted Big John, a natural at these types of events.  Once the autographs were complete, our current players met with the local media. 

We climbed back onto the bus and kept tabs on the NFL playoffs while traveling north to Maryville.  Our stop was at the Nodaway County Senior Center.  Several fans approached me and talked of how much it meant for us to visit.  This hits home with me as I grew up in a small town and usually made it to one big league game a year as a youth.

The sun was setting as we prepared to leave Maryville.  With our stops complete, Billy, Danny, Greg and Big John posed for a picture next to the sign which advertised our stop.  We had visited three different venues with a common theme:  Fans who were very happy to see us and looking forward to the 2012 season.  When I arrived home that night, I could think of only one thing…the thrill of doing it all again the next day!

“Royals Fans Got Talent” auditions set for February 11

The Royals will hold the third annual “Royals Fans Got Talent” auditions on Saturday, February 11 from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Kauffman Stadium.  Bands, choirs, groups, musicians and individual singers are invited to audition for national anthem and seventh-inning stretch opportunities during the 2012 season.

Auditions will be conducted on a first-come, first-served format.  Fans are encouraged to complete paperwork prior to the audition by visiting royals.com/perform.  All national anthem and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” performances must be 90 seconds or less and in the traditional version of the song.  Performers are responsible for all set-up and break-down of materials needed to audition and both must be completed during the allotted 90 seconds.  Performers may audition to a recorded instrumental music track if it is on a compact disc.  Pyrotechnics or harmful materials are prohibited.  All participants will audition on a volunteer basis with the understanding that no compensation will occur for their participation.  All talent is subject to approval by the Royals.

For more information on the 2012 “Royals Fans Got Talent” auditions, please call (816) 504-4426 or email perform@royals.com.

FOX Sports Kansas City to air Best of 2011

FOX Sports Kansas City will air a 30-minute show recapping the Royals awards winners and getting their thoughts on the 2012 season. Kansas City Royals: Best of 2011 will include interviews with Eric Hosmer, Dayton Moore, Bruce Chen, Alex Gordon, Lorenzo Cain, Johnny Giavotella and Ned Yost. The show premieres Sunday, Jan 22 at 9:30 p.m. on FSKC and replays several times.

Air dates for Kansas City Royals: Best of 2011 on FOX Sports Kansas City

Sunday, Jan. 22  9:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 26  6:30 p.m. 

Sunday, Jan. 29  10 p.m.

Tuesday, Jan. 31  10 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 1  9:30 p.m. 

Wednesday, Feb. 8 9:30 p.m.

Royals announce ticket opportunity for home opener

The Royals will hold an online Opening Day ticket opportunity program to give fans the chance to secure tickets for the club’s home opener presented by Sprint.  The 2012 Royals home opener is set for Friday, April 13 against the Cleveland Indians.  First pitch is scheduled for 3:10 p.m.

To be eligible for the ticket opportunity, fans must register online at www.royals.com/openingday.  Online registration is currently open and will close on Tuesday, February 21 at 5:00 p.m. CST.  A random drawing for the opportunity to purchase up to two tickets to Opening Day at Kauffman Stadium will be held later that week, and winners will be notified by Monday, February 27 via the email address submitted on the registration form.  Those applicants whose names are selected will then have an opportunity to purchase tickets to Opening Day at a date and time to be indicated in the winning email.  As an added benefit, all fans that register for the Opening Day ticket opportunity will have the chance to purchase tickets to any other 2012 Royals home games prior to the general public through a special presale, which will take place on Thursday, March 1 on royals.com.

Fans can also guarantee themselves tickets to Opening Day by purchasing a full-season, half-season or 21-game season ticket plan.  The Pick 15 Plan, which starts at just $165 for a minimum of 15 games, also includes an Opening Day seat.  All plans are currently available online at royals.com.  Fans may also contact the Royals Sales Department by calling (816) 504-4040, option 2, or emailing seasonsales@royals.com.

2012 Promotions and Special Events announced!

It’s “Our Time” this season at the ballpark as the Royals unveil an exciting 2012 promotions and special events lineup.  The schedule features great giveaways, the return of fan favorites and the introduction of special offers, which allow fans to experience all the ballpark’s offerings at exceptional values. 

The complete special events schedule can be found at www.royals.com/promotions.  Please note all dates and times are subject to change.

Royals announce times for 2012 schedule

The Royals today announced their 2012 regular season schedule with times.  Opening Day is scheduled for Friday, April 6 at 9:05 p.m. Central when the Royals visit the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Angel Stadium.  Kansas City will begin the home schedule on April 13 vs. Cleveland at 3:10 p.m.

In addition to the 3:10 start for the home opener and a 1:10 start on Labor Day, September 3 vs. Texas, the Royals host 1:10 weekday contests on May 17 vs. Baltimore, June 27 against Tampa Bay and July 19 vs. Seattle.  Kansas City’s game on Saturday, May 19 vs. Arizona is scheduled for a 6:15 start.  Saturday home contests on June 2 vs. Oakland and June 23 against St. Louis will start at 1:10 p.m.  

Standard start times for all other contests at Kauffman Stadium in 2012 are:

Monday through Friday:        7:10 p.m.

Saturday:                                     6:10 p.m.

Sunday:                                        1:10 p.m.

A complete schedule can be found at:

http://kansascity.royals.mlb.com/schedule/index.jsp?c_id=kc#y=2012&m=1&calendar=DEFAULT

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