Kansas City’s season ended on October 29, with non-playoff teams ending their season on September 28. The playoff run leaves a short turnaround time frame for offseason decisions, both for the A.L. champs and for players impacted by moves. Billy Butler is a free agent as of today and he reiterated on a conference call that he is not ruling out a return to the only organization that he has played for. Butler understands the decision and knows that he can’t take it personally. A Royal at heart, Butler says he will weigh heavily any offers and make the best decision for his family. He is interested in a multi-year deal and believes that a tough year does not define a player who has had success over many years. Butler played first base regularly in August and believes that he can play the position every day on a championship-caliber team.
Butler, 28, was an American League All-Star in 2012 and ranks third in club history with a .295 career batting average and is sixth in doubles (276) and RBI (628) and seventh in hits (1,273) and homers (128).
Fans hoping to see their beloved American League Champion Kansas City Royals one more time following Wednesday night’s game seven loss got that opportunity on Thursday as Kauffman Stadium hosted a season celebration. Ryan Lefevre hosted the event on the field and guests included Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders, Kansas City Mayor Sly James, General Manager Dayton Moore, and Royals owner David Glass. Ned Yost along with several players and field staff were greeted by loud cheers as Yost, James Shields, Billy Butler, Jeremy Guthrie, Lorenzo Cain and even Nori Aoki spoke over the PA system to the fans, all thanking them for a season they will not forget.
For the thousands of fans in attendance it brought a sense of closure to the best season this city has seen in 29 years. The disappointment is fresh and may sting for a while but after the dust settles, people will remember the 2014 Royals season. Many hands sculpted the masterpiece that lead the Royals to game seven of the World Series, on the losing end to one of the greatest World Series and Postseason pitching performances of all time. And Kansas City found itself just 90 feet away from sending the last game of the Major League Baseball season to extra innings. From the front office to the players and coaches and last but certainly not least the fans have much to be proud of no matter how much last night still hurts.
After the on-field celebration of the season, Yost met with the media for a final time to wrap up the season. Yost called this year’s Postseason run “magical” but that it wasn’t until after sweeping Baltimore in the American League Championship Series that he realized something special was going on. Ned’s confidence in his team never wavered this season, even through 98 games when the Royals were 8.0 games out of first place in the AL Central and two games under .500. That confidence continued into game seven.
“I felt right up to the minute Sal popped up that we were going to be World Champions,” Yost said. “We’ll sit back and reflect the next couple of weeks and start to understand how special this year really was.”
The Royals received national exposure with their Postseason run and with their style of play.
“I think the country has had the opportunity to get to know these guys and see what they’re about,” Yost said. “I think this organization has made a lot of new fans throughout the country.”
“What was more impressive than that was that the country got an opportunity to see that Kansas City is a phenomenal baseball town. I think they were a little shocked during the All-Star Game two years ago but they really got an opportunity with this playoff format to see our fans in action. It was amazing to watch.”
Through the highs and lows of a long season, Yost said this year was one of the most gratifying in his coaching career, citing a great clubhouse and guys who were committed to the team instead of individual accomplishments. It is one of the many qualities that got the Royals to the World Series.
“I’ve never been more proud of a group that I’ve ever been around in my life,” Yost said.
By Nate Rowan
The Royals announced that they have acquired minor league catcher Santiago Nessy from the Toronto Blue Jays organization in exchange for right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks.
Nessy, 21, appeared in 69 games this season with Lansing (A) and Dunedin (A-Advanced), batting .231 with 17 doubles, 2 triples, a homer and 28 RBI. He also drew 25 walks and scored 29 runs between his two clubs last season. He’s spent the last four years in the Blue Jays’ minor league system, after signing as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2009 out of Caracas, Venezuela. He was named a mid-season All-Star in the Dominican Summer League in his first full professional season, 2010 and the Jays’ No. 11 prospect heading into the 2013 season.
Hendriks, 25, came to the Royals along with catcher Erik Kratz in the July 29 trade that sent third baseman Danny Valencia to Toronto. He was designated for assignment on October 25.
Photos: Mike Moustakas set a club record with his fifth home run of this postseason. Yordano Ventura was dealing, to the tune of 7.0 shutout innings. He became the second rookie since 1948 to work 7.0 or more shutout innings in a World Series game. Lorenzo Cain made another outstanding catch and the crowd was excited all night, including when the 10-0 game went final.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: Bret Saberhagen, who was the MVP of the 1985 World Series, will throw out tonight’s ceremonial first pitch. Saberhagen delivered a complete-game shutout performance in the decisive Game Seven of the 1985 Fall Classic to clinch the organization’s first championship.
GAME BALL DELIVERY: Jazmen Fowler, 17, from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lawrence (Kansas), will deliver tonight’s official game ball to the mound with Royals Hall of Famer and member of the 1985 World Series Champion Royals Mark Gubicza.
GAME SEVEN PERFORMANCES: Joyce DiDonato will perform the National Anthem prior to Game Seven. Winner of the 2012 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo, Kansas-born DiDonato entrances audiences and critics alike across the globe, soaring to international prominence in operas by Rossini, Handel and Mozart and as a fierce arts advocate. DiDonato’s acclaimed discography includes Grammy-Award-winning Diva Divo, Drama Queens, ReJoyce!, and most recently Stella di Napoli (Erato/Warner Classics). Other prizes include a Gramophone Award (Artist of the Year), a place in the Gramophone Hall of Fame, and a German Echo Klassik Award (Female Singer of the Year). Recent engagements include the Last Night of the BBC Proms, the title role of Maria Stuarda (Covent Garden; Metropolitan Opera), Elena La donna del lago (Covent Garden; Santa Fe), the title role of Cendrillon (Barcelona), Sesto La Clemenza di Tito (Chicago), and Angelina La Cenerentola (Metropolitan Opera). Much in demand on the concert and recital circuit, DiDonato holds residencies this season at both the Carnegie Hall, New York and the Barbican Centre, London.
Singing “God Bless America” before the bottom of the 7th inning will be Master Sergeant Jennifer Sherman from Whiteman Air Force base.
BUCK O’NEIL LEGACY SEAT: Kansas City, Missouri, Police Officer James Cisneros spreads his love of baseball to youth across the community, especially in the neighborhoods of the East Patrol Division. He often heads to early morning baseball games after an overnight shift to coach the 11-under “KC Premier Sluggers,” inspiring the boys to be great citizens on and off the field. Officer Cisneros is from a police family, a father of four, and works off-duty security at Kauffman Stadium throughout the season. He also mentors at-risk students from De LaSalle Charter High School and volunteers as a coach at William Jewell College.
BUDWEISER OUR HERO SEAT: Sergeant First Class Dominic Baruelo joined the United States Army immediately after high school at the age of 17, and served as the senior supply sergeant with the 325th Combat Support Hospital in Independence, Missouri. In 2002, Sergeant Baruelo deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and again in 2003 for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He and his men were constantly on dangerous roadways, charged with protecting all convoys going in and out of Iraq. Sergeant Baruelo is a highly-decorated native of Russell, Kansas, and has received many awards, including the Meritorious Service Medal twice, the Army Commendation Medal six times, the Army Achievement Medal four times and a Good Conduct Medal four times.
Here are a list of pregame activities, as provided by Major League Baseball:
MOMENT OF SILENCE FOR OSCAR TAVERAS AND EDILIA ARVELO: Major League Baseball will hold a moment of silence prior to tonight’s National Anthem for the late St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo.
CEREMONIAL FIRST PITCH: The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown by Medal of Honor recipient Army Retired Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hagemeister. Hagemeister received the United States military’s highest decoration for his actions during the Vietnam War, including repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire in order to aid his fellow soldiers.
GAME BALL DELIVERY: Hannah Moyer, 17, from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Lawrence, and former All-Star closer and Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery, will deliver tonight’s official game ball to the mound. Moyer is currently a student at Lawrence Free State High School.
GAME SIX PERFORMANCES: The Kansas City Symphony, conducted by Musical Director Michael Stern, will perform the National Anthem prior to Game Six of the World Series. Founded in 1982, the Kansas City Symphony has established itself as a major force in the cultural life of the community. Praised for performances of uncompromising standard, the orchestra is the largest in the region and enjoys a national reputation under the artistic leadership of Michael Stern. The Kansas City Symphony performs more than 100 concerts each year, while also serving as the orchestra for the Kansas City Ballet and Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Complementing its full schedule of concerts, the Symphony strives to enrich the lives of Kansas City residents by providing music education opportunities for children and adults, including KinderKonzerts, Young People’s Concerts and an instrument petting zoo. Highlights each season include a range of free masterclasses, events and concerts reaching more than 200,000 community members, including the annual Bank of America Celebration at the Station concert each Memorial Day weekend and Symphony in the Flint Hills every summer. The Symphony has released four recordings on the Reference Recording label — Shakespeare’s Tempest, the Grammy®-winning Britten’s Orchestra, an Elgar/Vaughan Williams project and most recently, Miraculous Metamorphoses, which highlights composers Hindemith, Prokofiev and Bartók. Additionally, a Saint-Saëns album and an Adam Schoenberg album are slated for later release. The Symphony and Michael Stern also have recorded for the Naxos label. KCS performances can be heard locally each week on KCUR 89.3 FM, Kansas City’s NPR affiliate. More information on the Kansas City Symphony is available at http://www.kcsymphony.org
Singing “God Bless America” before the bottom of the 7th inning will be Technical Sergeant Angie Johnson from the Tennessee Air National Guard.
BUCK O’NEIL LEGACY SEAT – BRET MILLER: Bret Miller of Kansas City, Missouri, was just 24 when he discovered he had a male-form of breast cancer and facing a mastectomy. Throughout his fight with the disease, he created the Bret Miller “1-T Foundation” and a website “check-them-dot-org” as a source of information, support, and awareness of the realties that men do suffer from breast cancer. Bret, cancer-free for four years, was selected as one of eleven representatives for the Warriors In Pink “Models Of Courage” calendar and speaks to audiences about early detection for men and women.
BUDWEISER OUR HERO SEAT – BOB MOTLEY: Bob Motley of Kansas City, Missouri, is a rare historical figure in baseball and the military. He is the only living umpire from the historic Negro Leagues and served his country as a United State Marine. After receiving a Purple Heart for his service during World War II, he umpired in the Negro Leagues for the likes of Buck O’Neil, Satchel Paige, Willie Mays and Ernie Banks. Bob belongs to the Montford Point Marines Association, an organization celebrating the legacy of the first African Americans who service in the Marine Corp. In 2012, he was awarded the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor for his service during World War II. Bob’s story came alive in his 2007 memoir “Ruling Over Monarchs, Giants & Stars.” Bob, a Royals Lancer, is a founding member and serves on the Board of Directors for the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. He’s joined tonight by his wife of more than 60 years, Pearline, and family.
Greg Holland of the American League Champion Kansas City Royals is the inaugural “Mariano Rivera American League Reliever of the Year” and Craig Kimbrel of the Atlanta Braves is the first “Trevor Hoffman National League Reliever of the Year,” Major League Baseball announced today. Both Holland and Kimbrel participated in a press conference at Kauffman Stadium prior to tonight’s Game Two of the 2014 World Series.
In 65 games this season, Holland fashioned a 1.44 ERA and posted 46 saves in 48 opportunities in helping the Royals reach the Postseason for the first time since 1985. In 62.1 innings, the two-time AL All-Star struck out 90 batters while surrendering just 37 hits and 20 walks. In the Postseason, Holland has saved six games during the Club’s eight-game winning streak to the AL pennant. After a franchise-record 47 saves in 2013 and 46 this year, the 28-year-old Holland now owns the two best single-season save totals in Club history. The North Carolina native’s 93 saves over the two-year period were the best total among all AL relievers and second in all of MLB to Kimbrel’s 94.
Kimbrel, 26, assembled a 1.61 ERA and fanned 95 batters in 61.2 innings this year, earning an NL-high 47 saves in 51 opportunities. The four-time NL All-Star allowed just 30 hits, 26 walks and two home runs this season and stranded 12 of his 14 inherited runners. The Alabama native is the first pitcher in Major League history to begin his career with four consecutive 40-save seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Braves’ all-time saves leader is just the third pitcher to register 40 or more saves in each of four consecutive seasons, joining Hoffman (1998-2001, 2004-2007) and Francisco Rodriguez (2005-2008). Kimbrel’s strikeout percentage of 42 percent ranks as the highest in Major League history for pitchers with at least 150 saves.
The AL relievers who were the runners-up are Dellin Betances (5-0, 1.40 ERA, 90.0 IP, 135 SO) of the New York Yankees and Zach Britton (3-2, 1.65 ERA, 37 saves, 76.1 IP, 46 H) of the Baltimore Orioles.
The NL relievers who were the runners-up are Aroldis Chapman (2.00 ERA, 36 saves, 54.0 IP, 21 H, 106 SO) of the Cincinnati Reds and Kenley Jansen (2.76 ERA, 44 saves, 65.1 IP, 19 BB, 101 SO) of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Balloting was conducted among a panel of nine all-time great relievers in order to determine the first recipients of the revamped awards, which were announced on April 9th. Rivera and Hoffman, both of whom spent their entire careers in the same League en route to the top of the all-time saves list, were joined as voters by the four living Hall of Fame relief pitchers – Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Rich “Goose” Gossage and Bruce Sutter – and the three relievers who round out the top five in career saves – Lee Smith, John Franco and Billy Wagner. The nine voters ranked the top three AL relief pitchers and the top three NL relief pitchers based solely on regular season performance, using a 5-3-1 weighted point system.
The new Awards replace MLB’s “Delivery Man of the Year Award,” which was presented to one winner in all of Major League Baseball from 2005-2013, and continue a longstanding baseball tradition of honoring the game’s top relief pitchers.
The Royals held a workout for a second straight day as they prepare for Game 1 of the World Series on Tuesday.
The big news on the day is that James Shields will start Game 1, with Yordano Ventura tabbed to open Game 2.
Yost was asked about players tipping their caps when a big play is made. He says he loves it – the practice is something that started when James Shields joined the team prior in 2013. As for the skipper, don’t expect to see him tipping his cap…he claps instead.
Four first-time umpires are expected to take part in the series. Yost thinks that it’s good for the game and that they’ve earned the right to be here, just as the players have.
When asked about his approach compared to past years, Yost says he listens more. He has tremendous coaches who he utilizes regularly. He was mentioning that he has the best first base coach in the game in Rusty Kuntz, and at that exact moment, Kuntz was walking over and taking pictures of the media session!
Yost said that he used to wake up at night and think about situations that he can’t control. Today he woke up in the early a.m. hours and was vacuuming by 4:30! His young grandson will be in town for the World Series and Yost wants the floor as clean as possible. Reporters inquired as to whether he’s good at vacuuming, to which he replied that it looks better.