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Looking at the hoops bracket – Royals style

There are multiple ways to fill out a basketball bracket and if you’re looking for help…well…your guess is as good as ours.  We’re here to have some fun with Royals trivia and connections to this year’s tournament.

First, three questions.

Gordon hit 6-26We’ll start with a layup:

1.  Which local school, in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament for the first time since 1998, is the alma mater of a current Royals player?
The answer is Nebraska, represented by left fielder Alex Gordon.  (Catcher Adam Moore also redshirted at Nebraska before transferring).

We move to the free throw line:

2.  This 2014 tournament entry’s baseball alums include former Royals pitcher Floyd Bannister and Royals Hall of Fame lefty Larry Gura (pictured, with a Hall of Fame third baseman in the background).
The correct answer is Arizona State.  Bannister earned National PlayeLarry_Gura_S_0i001r of the Year honors with the Sun Devils in 1976 and Gura was on ASU’s College World Series Championship teams of 1967 & 1969.

Can you make the three pointer?

3.     Name the current Royals player who attended two entrants in the 2014 basketball tournament.

If you guessed Jeremy Guthrie, then you really know the 2014 Royals.  The righty attended BYU for one year, went on a church mission, then completed his college career at Stanford.  Jeremy is also an Oregon native and a fan of the University of Oregon Ducks, who play BYU in the Round of 64 opponent is BYU.  It will be interesting to see who Jeremy pulls for in this game!
We move on to our affiliates.  KC’s minor league cities are well represented in the tournament – three times!  And all three universities have a relation to blue.

Omaha, Neb., home of the Triple-A Storm Chasers, is also home to Creighton University Bluejays, the third seed in the West Region.
Wilmington, Del., home of the High-A Blue Rocks, is a short drive from Newark, home of the South Regional #13 seed University of Delaware Blue Hens.  Blue is big in Delaware and that’s just fine with us!

Speaking of ‘Big Blue’ – Lexington, Ky., is Kansas City’s newest affiliate.  The Legends of the South Atlantic League represent the same city as the University of Kentucky, which has played in 15 Final Fours.  The blue variety Wildcats will battle our ‘Little Apple’ neighbors, the purple variety Wildcats of Kansas State.

Former affiliate hometowns are also well represented.  Close to home is Wichita (Wichita State), where future Royals were once Wranglers; Memphis (University of Memphis), where Bo Jackson was a Chick; the gem that is Mike Sweeney was once an Emerald in Eugene, Ore. (University of Oregon); and Spokane, Wash. (Gonzaga) where Carlos Beltran hit his first professional home run with the Royals as an Indian.  Additionally, the Royals once had an affiliate in Lansing, Mich., just down the street from East Lansing (Michigan State), which made several future Royals also former Lansing Lugnuts.

Good luck with that bracket!  And if you don’t take home first place, hopefully you learned a Royal connection!

Monday’s Royals-Rangers game airs on FOX Sports Kansas City

FOX Sports Kansas City kicks off its live coverage of 2014 Royals baseball when it televises the Royals spring training game against the Texas Rangers on Monday, March 17.

Coverage starts at 7:30 p.m. CT with a special edition of Royals Live from Surprise Stadium. The game telecast starts at 8 p.m. Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler call the game, with Joel Goldberg hosting Royals Live and reporting from the field.

Immediately following the game is FOX Sports Salutes the Troops, a 30-minute special chronicling the goodwill visit major league players and broadcasters made to Fort Bragg Army Base in North Carolina in February. FOX Sports Kansas City’s Rex Hudler was part of the group that brought spring training to the troops, participating in drills and sharing their big league experiences with the soldiers.

FOX Sports Kansas City airs its second spring training telecast on Tuesday, March 25 at 8 p.m. when the Royals host the Seattle Mariners. That game is preceded by a one-hour Royals Season Preview.

Royals sign reliever Ramon Troncoso to minor league deal

The Royals announced have signed right-handed relief pitcher Ramon Troncoso to a minor league contract.  The signing does not carry an invitation to Major League spring training.
Troncoso, 31, made 29 appearances out of the White Sox bullpen last season, going 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA (15 ER in 30.0 IP).  Prior to his stint with Chicago, he spent four seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers (2008-11), where he was 8-8 with a 3.92 ERA (86 ER in 197.1 IP) in 175 outings.  He made a career-best 73 appearances for the Dodgers in 2009, helping the team win the National League West.

Royals make six roster moves on Friday; 38 players remain in Major League camp

The Royals announced two sets of moves on Friday, reassigning three players in the morning and three more in the evening.  Following the transactions, the Royals have 38 players in Major League camp.
Left-handed pitcher Justin Marks has been optioned to Triple-A Omaha.  In addition, left-handed pitchers Scott Alexander and Everett Teaford have been assigned to minor league camp.

Right-handed pitcher Michael Mariot, catcher Francisco Pena and infielder Christian Colon were all optioned to Triple-A Omaha after KC’s game with Oakland.

Royals prospects tour F-35 simulator

If you’ve attended Royals Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz., you have probably witnessed the sights and sounds of Air Force jets overhead.  The planes are from Luke Air Force Base, which is south of Surprise in Litchfield Park.

Jets are familiar to Royals prospect Shane Halley.  Shane has a direct connection to military flying as his father, Tom, served as a naval aviator, logging over 4,000 flight hours and 700+ carrier-arrested landings.  (Shane was actually born at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba).  Captain Halley now works in aerospace with Lockheed Martin.  That leads us to Wednesday, when Royals prospects Marten Gasparini, Hunter Haynes, Alec Mills and Sean Manaea joined Shane to take a first-hand look at Lockheed’s F-35 simulator at Litchfield Park.

FP140573 F-35 Luke AFB KC Royals at Sim

FP140573 F-35 Luke AFB KC Royals at SimFP140573 F-35 Luke AFB KC Royals at Sim

Thank you to Lockheed Martin for providing information and photos of this unique visit! (Photo credit: Todd R. McQueen)

Royals honor team championships and organizational award winners

The Royals held an awards ceremony this morning at Spring Training in Surprise, Ariz.  Two minor league clubs – the Omaha Storm Chasers and Idaho Fall Chukars – won league titles in 2013.  The Storm Chasers also won the Triple-A National Championship.  Members of the 2013 Storm Chasers and Chukars were presented with championship rings.  Individual awards were also presented, including the George Brett Hitter of the Year (Lane Adams) and the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year (Yordano Ventura).


Organizational awards

Royals announce 14 roster moves

The Royals announced today that 14 players have been reassigned at Spring Training.  Following the transactions, the Royals have 44 players in Major League camp.
Left-handed pitcher Chris Dwyer has been optioned to Triple-A Omaha, while left-handed pitcher John Lamb, infielder Cheslor Cuthbert and outfielder Lane Adams were optioned to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
In addition, the following players have been assigned to minor league camp: right-handed pitchers Jason Adam, Aaron Brooks, Sugar Ray Marimon and Kyle Zimmer; catcher Juan Graterol; infielder Brandon Laird and outfielders Jorge Bonifacio, Gorkys Hernandez, Melky Mesa and Paulo Orlando.

Belfonte Ice Cream Shop to open at Kauffman Stadium

The Royals are pleased to announce a new, multi-year partnership with Belfonte Ice Cream & Dairy Foods, a Kansas City-based company specializing in premium ice cream and dairy products.  As part of the partnership, Belfonte will open an ice cream shop located in center field in the Outfield Experience at Kauffman Stadium for the 2014 season.  In addition, fans will be able to enjoy Belfonte’s delicious ice cream by visiting one of multiple cart locations and concessions planned around the ballpark.
“Belfonte Ice Cream is proud to be a part of such a strong Kansas City tradition,” said David Belfonte. “The Royals and Belfonte Ice Cream & Dairy Foods share in calling Kansas City our home.”
The Belfonte Ice Cream Shop at Kauffman Stadium will operate on the same hours as the Outfield Experience.
In addition, Belfonte is also introducing a Royals-branded Triple Play Sundae premium ice cream that will soon be available at local retailers.
“We are excited to have Belfonte join the Royals team,” said Wes Engram, Sr. Director-Corporate Partnerships.  “Belfonte and the Royals are both Kansas City traditions, and now fans visiting Kauffman Stadium will have the opportunity to enjoy the best hometown ice cream.”
After starting in 1969, the Belfonte name is now found on more than 190 products in more than 550 supermarkets and convenience stores, and in more than 600 restaurants, country clubs, hospitals, schools and food service facilities.  Belfonte Ice Cream is distributed from Kansas City to Wichita, Kan., to Tulsa, Okla.

Spring game schedule on MLB Network

Wednesday’s Royals game will appear on MLB Network, with the tape delayed telecast beginning at 4:00 p.m. Central.  You can catch the game live through an audio webcast on royals.com, beginning at 2:05 Central.

The following Royals spring games will air on MLB Network:

Saturday, March 8, at Milwaukee, 3:00 p.m. Central (tape delayed)

Wednesday, March 12, vs. Dodgers, Midnight Central (tape delay of Tuesday game)

Friday, March 14, at Cleveland, 9:00 a.m. Central (tape delay of Thursday game)

Thursday, March 20, vs. Angels, 3:00 p.m. Central (live)

Saturday, March 22, vs. Texas, 3:00 p.m. Central (live)

Tuesday, March 25, vs. Seattle, 10 p.m. Central (tape delay; this game will air live in Kansas City on FOX Sports Kansas City at 6:05 Central.  The MLB Network telecast is subject to blackout in the FSKC market.)

Guillermo Mota announces his retirement

Royals’ right-handed pitcher Guillermo Mota has announced his retirement from professional baseball after a 14-year career in the Major Leagues.  He signed a minor league contract with the Royals on January 16.

“I’ve always admired Guillermo as a person and a player.  I’d like to thank him,” Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said.  “However, in talking with him, he indicated that he wanted to spend more time with his family.”

Mota, 40, hadn’t pitched in the Major Leagues since 2012 with the San Francisco Giants.  He made 26 relief appearances for San Francisco that season, going 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA, recording 24 strikeouts in 20.2 innings.  The right-handed reliever began his career in 1999 with the Montreal Expos and pitched for six other organizations: Los Angeles Dodgers (2002-04, 2009), Florida (2004-05), Cleveland (2006) New York Mets (2006-07), Milwaukee (2008) and San Francisco (2010-12).  He was 39-45 in 743 appearances (all in relief) with a 3.94 ERA.  Between 1999 and 2012, only five pitchers made more relief appearances than Mota.

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