Photos: Friday, August 8

The Royals won a fifth straight last night, staying 2.5 games behind Detroit in the division and in control of the second A.L. Wild Card spot.  Here are photos from Chris Vleisides and Jason Hanna:

Photos:  Starter Jason Vargas, Billy Butler’s homer, Alcides Escobar turns a key 4-6-3 double play, Sal Perez makes the play at the plate, two awesome views of the postgame fireworks

Vargas88ButlerHR 8-8EscobarDP88

 

playAtHome8-8

 

8-8 Fireworks

 

8-6 Fireworks

Ned Yost media session: August 8, 2014

Winners of four straight and 12 of their last 15 games, the Royals begin a seven-game homestand this evening versus the San Francisco Giants, an opponent that finds itself nearly identically positioned within the pennant race on the National League side.

“This is a big homestand,” said manager Ned Yost. “The Giants are in the exact same position we are. Of course, Oakland, with the pitching they have over there, they’re going to be very tough games. But we’ve been playing some tough games and playing very well.”

Yost said that hot bats throughout the lineup have been largely responsible for the team’s recent surge.

“We played better,” he said. “Billy got hot. Cain got hot. Aoki got hot. Mixed in with Alex, mixed in with Salvador doing what he’s doing. And we won ball games. That’s what we need to continue. We’re 40 games over .500 when we score four runs or more. We had guys get hot and it creates more offense when that happens.”

According to Yost, the team continues to focus on the division race in spite of the fact that it finds itself locked in a tightly contested Wild Card race.

“I don’t get them in there every day and put on a chalkboard, ‘Do not look at the Wild Card,’” said Yost. “[But] we want to win the division. They know that. They want to win the division. The Wild Card is Plan B. We stay focused on Plan A.”

The Royals will look to veteran Jason Vargas to keep the win streak alive in just his second start back from the disabled list. Vargas dropped his previous start at Oakland after the A’s exploded for eight runs in the fifth inning. Yost said that the box score was not indicative of Vargas’ performance, however.

“I saw Vargas being Vargas,” he said. “He commanded his fastball well. He kept his change-up down. I didn’t categorize that game as him having a rough inning. If we make a couple of plays for him and he gets out of that inning, maybe only giving up one, maybe two, but it just all kind of snowballed.”

The recently acquired Erik Kratz will get the start at designated hitter this evening, a decision that Yost said came down to Kratz vs. Christian Colon.

[Kratz] has got power and it was a difference between him or Colon,” he said. “Colon has done a really nice job for us. But either way, right now, you’re going to lose a little bit of protection. If something happens to Salvy, we’re going to lose our DH. But if I use Colon, if something happened to three of my middle infielders, I’m going to lose my DH. So I went with the catcher.”

Homestand Highlights: August 8 – 14

The Kansas City Royals open a seven-game homestand tonight against teams from the West Coast as they host the San Francisco Giants (August 8-10) and Oakland Athletics (August 11-14).  This is San Francisco’s first trip to Kauffman Stadium since 2008.
The Royals will celebrate Huskers Night on August 9 and will give away a bobblehead of University of Nebraska product Alex Gordon on August 10.  Fans can also get great giveaways including another edition of T-shirt Tuesday (August 12) and a special edition Kansas City Baseball History poster (August 13).  Please see below for more details.

Friday, August 8 – San Francisco Giants vs. Royals 7:10 p.m.
•    Summer Fireworks – Fans will enjoy a spectacular fireworks show, presented by Hy-Vee and Pepsi, after the game.

Saturday, August 9 – San Francisco Giants vs. Royals, 6:10 p.m.
•    610 Saturday – The Royals have teamed up with Entercom and 610 Sports Radio for special pregame festivities outside Rivals Sports Bar that include 610 Sports Radio personalities, special guests, food and drink specials and much more.  Fans can enjoy the 610 Saturday Appetizer Special – Buffalo Chicken Dip for just $6.10 – in Rivals Sports Bar from the time the gates open until the first pitch.  Listen to 610 Sports Radio and receive a coupon code to purchase a ticket for only $6.10 in the Hy-Vee Infield.  For more information, visit http://www.royals.com/610saturday.
Husker Night cap_Aug. 9•    Huskers Night – Supporters of The University of Nebraska can join fellow Huskers for a night of big league action presented by FOX Sports Kansas City and Rally House.  To join fellow Huskers, fans can visit http://www.royals.com/huskers for details or to purchase discounted tickets.  The first 6,000 Nebraska fans who bring their Huskers Night discounted ticket to the Huskers table located inside Hy-Vee Gate B will receive a limited edition red and white KC Royals Nebraska cap.  Gates open at 4:30 p.m.  To reserve a group of 20 or more tickets, call (816) 504-4174.

Gordon bobblehead_Aug. 10Sunday, August 10 – San Francisco Giants vs. Royals, 1:10 p.m.
•    Alex Gordon Bobblehead – The first 10,000 fans will receive a bobblehead of three-time Gold Glove Award winner Alex Gordon, presented by Pepsi.
•    Cruise to the K Classic Car Show – The Royals host the fifth annual Cruise to The K Classic Car Show and Exhibit.  Participating car enthusiasts will have the opportunity to see their cars on the warning track during pregame ceremonies.  Cars will also be on display in Lot A throughout the day.  Cruise to the K participants may purchase a special ticket package that includes entrance into the contest, two tickets to the game, a parking pass, commemorative t-shirt and dash plaque for just $30 (advance purchases).  To register, please visit http://www.royals.com/carshow.  To reserve a group of 10 or more tickets, which includes scoreboard recognition and block seating, call (816) 504-4167 or email carshow@royals.com.
•    Family FunDay Sunday – Each Sunday home game features pregame interactive kids entertainment by School of Rock, plus face painters, caricature or balloon artists in the Outfield Experience.  New this season, fans also have the opportunity to get pregame autographs from select players each Sunday.  All-Day Play Passes for unlimited activities in the Outfield Experience are available for just $10.  In addition, the Royals are offering a Family FunDay Sunday 4-Pack that includes four Hy-Vee Infield tickets, $10 in loaded value per ticket to use for concessions and merchandise and four All-Day Play Passes – over $150 in value – for just $80! For more information, visit http://www.royals.com/sunday.
•    Sunday Fun Run – All fans 14 and under can run the bases after the game (conditions permitting).

Monday, August 11 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
•    Value Monday – All Hy-Vee Level tickets, excluding Hy-Vee Box, are just $8 courtesy of Hy-Vee. http://www.royals.com/fanvalue.

T-Shirt Tuesday 6_Aug. 12Tuesday, August 12 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
•    T-shirt Tuesday – The first 10,000 fans will receive a special white Kauffman Stadium themed design t-shirt, courtesy of Sport Clips.
•    Dynamic Deal – Don’t let the end of summer stop you from coming out to The K!  On this day, the Royals are offering $10 Field Plaza tickets and $5 Hy-Vee Infield Tickets.  Fans can take advantage of this special deal via the Kauffman Stadium Box Office, Royals.com or calling 1-800-6ROYALS.

Wednesday, August 13 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m.
•    Student Night presented by INK Magazine – Rivals Outfield Box or Hy-Vee Infield tickets are available for Wednesday home games for youth and students with a valid ID at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office for just $8.  Select tickets are also available online at http://www.royals.com/studentnight.   Seating is subject to availability.  All Student Nights include pregame food and beverage specials available at the Crown Classic concession area.
•    Local Music Showcase presented by INK Magazine – Catch a free pregame concert on us.  Every Wednesday Student Night also features live local music prior to the game in the Outfield Experience.  Performing during this showcase will be the band, Hearts of Darkness.  For details, visit http://www.roKansas City A's poster_Aug.13yals.com/studentnight.
•    Kansas City Baseball History Poster – The first 10,000 fans will receive a poster, courtesy of Pittcraft Printing and Sprint, featuring Kansas City’s A’s yearbook covers that celebrate Major League Baseball history in the city.

Thursday, August 14 – Oakland Athletics vs. Royals, 1:10 p.m.
•    GordoNation – Fans can enjoy being a part of GordoNation, a special seating section in left field that will be reserved for die-hard Alex Gordon fans on Thursday home games throughout the season.  The first 100 GordoNation fans will also receive an Alex Gordon big head.  Tickets cost $35 and come with a gold GordoNation t-shirt.  For details, visit http://www.royals.com/gordonation.
•    All You Can Eat Seats – Fans can purchase All You Can Eat Seats located in the Loge Level (Sec. 318 – 325), which include unlimited ballpark fare.  All the hot dogs, nachos, peanuts, pretzels and Pepsi products you can handle for $40 per seat!  Individual and group discount tickets are available.  For details, visit http://www.royals.com/allyoucaneat.

Fans may purchase tickets online at royals.com, by calling 1-800-6ROYALS, at area Hy-Vee stores or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.

A Letter from Quiz

Dan_Quisenberry_S_0d001We bring you this post by Royals Hall of Fame Director Curt Nelson:

When we think of Dan Quisenberry the first thoughts are usually of his submarine pitching motion, his uncanny control, his ability to induce ground balls and close out many Royals wins with lots and lots of saves. Maybe even his trademark mustache would make your list, but even with all those attributes I’m always drawn to remember his almost peerless wit.

Once when speaking about his lack of velocity and somewhat unique pitching motion he said, “I found a delivery in my flaw.” Upon accepting the 1982 American League Relief Man of the Year Award Quis quipped, “I want to thank all the pitchers who couldn’t go nine innings, and Dick Howser who wouldn’t let them.” On relying on his teammates defensive skills he said, “Our fielders have to catch a lot of balls, or at least deflect them to someone who can.” And on life in general he gave us this pearl of wisdom and humor, “I’ve seen the future and it’s a lot like that present – only longer.”

Dan seemingly made a lasting impression on all those he came in contact with during his all too brief life – even those he never meet face to face. Recently I came across another example of that in an article titled ‘How Athletes Ensure Immortality’ written by Darren Garnick of The Atlantic.

In the piece he talks about immortality in the sense of induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame – the type of immortality many believe Quisenberry’s career in baseball merits (note – two separate links). But then he speaks of the immortality a player has the chance to make by taking advantage of the unique opportunity they have to connect with people. All kinds of people, from the fan in the stands to the child in the hospital. From the usher at the ballpark, to – in Gurnick’s case – a 13 year-old letter writing fan half-way across the country in New England.

Garnick, a Red Sox fan by birth, took a liking to Quisenberry primarily because of the submarine style motion of the Royals ace reliever. It reminded him of the way his father tossed a whiffle ball to him in their own backyard. Like many young boys Garnick had baseball dreams and he decided to write Quisenberry for some advice on becoming a better player. To young Garnick’s surprise his creative writing got a response from the man himself – a two page hand written letter the now slightly older Garnick still cherishes a full third of a century later.

You can see the entire response letter from Quisenberry here in Garnick’s blog.

Dan_Quisenberry_S_0b002The advice Garnick sought on becoming a better baseball player was given, but in the end it was secondary to the personal connection the letter made. Like most of us the big league dream didn’t come through for Garnick. Nevertheless Quisenberry’s letter gave Garnick high marks for being creative and that made all the difference for both of them. Quisenberry saw creativity in Garnick’s letter and responded. And in some small way perhaps Quisenberry’s tip of the cap to Garnick helped inspire more creativity on the part of the 13 year-old he never met.

Garnick’s creativity is still going strong. He is a writer for The Atlantic, an author and Emmy-nominated documentary producer. Quiz was right – the kid was creative.

It seems the art of the hand-written personal letter is almost completely gone. Today we communicate faster and more often than ever, but the personal touch is sometimes lost in translation. It is something we’ll really come to miss. I may be wrong, but a two screen e-mail written today probably won’t hold the same emotional connection in the year 2047 that Quisenberry’s 1981 letter has for Gurnick.

With the letter in his hands, Garnick says of Quisenberry, “For this, he remains immortal to me.”

To that I say to Garnick – he is here in Kansas City too. Dan Quisenberry was simply one of the best ever – and he was a darn good pitcher too.

Royals celebrate Retro Night on August 30

Retro Night uniforms_Hosmer, Gordon, AvilesThe Royals will host Retro Night at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday, August 30 when the club takes on the Cleveland Indians and celebrates the year 1974.  First pitch is set for 6:10 p.m.

As part of the festivities, both the Royals and Indians will wear throwback uniforms from the 1974 season.  The above image features Alex Gordon and Eric Hosmer of the Royals and Mike Aviles of the Indians modeling the retro jerseys.

Mr. Royal bobblehead_Aug. 30In addition, the first 10,000 fans through the gates that evening will receive a limited edition Mr. Royal bobblehead.   Mr. Royal first appeared in the 1970s and could be found anywhere from the old crown scoreboard to pocket schedules and other promotional materials.
Retro Night will also feature a themed pregame concert on the Hy-Vee Stage, a live organist entertaining fans throughout the game, and other special programming, including music and trivia inspired from 40 years ago.  Additional promotions in conjunction with Retro Night will be announced in the near future.  For more information, please visit www.royals.com/retronight.

Fans may purchase tickets to Retro Night online at www.royals.com, by calling 1-800-6ROYALS, at area Hy-Vee stores or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.

Dayton Moore and Ned Yost media sessions: July 31, 2014

“Nothing really presented itself that we felt would work at the end of the day,” said Kansas City Royals General Manager Dayton Moore as he met with the media, roughly an hour after the non-waiver trade deadline had passed. While the Royals did not make a move, both Moore and manager Ned Yost stressed the work that went into trying to improve the team. Moore said he and his staff were as aggressive as they could be but there were not any players that fit that would be upgrades over what the Royals already have.

“It’s important that our current group of players produce and we believe they will,” Moore said. “We have not played our best baseball yet, collectively. That’s what we have to count on.”

With big name players like David Price, Jon Lester, and Yoenis Cespedes, among others that were moved, Moore said he could sense what it would take to upgrade his team. He said it became apparent two weeks ago that teams were looking to get big league players in return.

Yost and Moore both said they believe in this team. While Moore acknowledged it’s more difficult to acquire players in August, it can be done, and he will continue to pursue avenues that help the team get better. Even without a move, Yost likes where the team is at.

“[My confidence] hasn’t changed since the first day of Spring Training,” Yost said. “I felt good about this group from the first day on and I feel good about them now.”

By Nate Rowan

Butler, Cain, Crow participate in Players Trust City Clinic

 

The Major League Baseball Players Association’s Players Trust hosted a City Clinic today at Community America Ballpark in Kansas City, Kan.

Billy Butler, Lorenzo Cain and Aaron Crow joined Ripken Baseball in providing free instruction to youth baseball players.  The Players Trust created the City Clinics program to help Major Leaguers promote the game of baseball to underserved children, ages 6-16, in select cities across the country.  Sponsored by Majestic Athletics, this program has impacted more than 6,000 disadvantaged youth across the United States.  For more information on the Players Trust, visit www.playerstrust.org

Players Trust Group

 

Cain Players Trust

Crow Players Trust

Billy Players Trust

Ned Yost media session: July 30, 2014

Ned Yost’s pregame meeting with the media centered most around plate discipline and his thoughts on his team’s approach at the plate. Yost said that while players have played their entire careers up to this point a certain way that doesn’t mean they stop trying to improve in all areas including discipline.

“I saw it with Prince Fielder when he went to the next level. I saw it with Barry Bonds. You know it’s like if you’re not going to throw a strike I’m not swinging the bat but when you do I’m going to do damage. It’s part of becoming a veteran hitter and a learning how to be a better hitter. The more disciplined you are the better off you’re going to be.”

Meanwhile the lack of run support continues for tonight’s starter, Danny Duffy. Despite the worst run support of any pitcher in baseball that has thrown at least 90.0 innings this year, Duffy continues to post solid numbers.

“Danny doesn’t worry about run support he just goes out and pitches,” Yost said. “It’s maturity I think. He’s learned how to harness his emotions to his benefit and he just goes out and does his job. Once you step onto the field that’s all you can do is do your job.”

Ned Yost media session: July 29, 2014

The Royals made a trade on their off day, sending Danny Valencia to Toronto, which changes two positions on the roster. Ned Yost was asked about the addition catcher Erik Kratz, one of two players acquired in yesterday’s trade, and the recall of infielder Christian Colon, who was at Omaha.

Yost said that Colon provides middle infield depth, which the Royals have not had since Colon was optioned to Omaha on July 11.  The former first-round pick can play second, short and third, while Valencia was primarily a third baseman who could play at short or second when the need occurred. Yost said that Kratz is a big guy who can hit with power.

Valencia had played third base against most lefties, which led to the next question: Will Mike Moustakas now play third on a full-time basis? Yost said that it’s a day-to-day situation. His focus is on winning today’s game. He reiterated that Colon is a sound, fundamental player who can defend at all three positions.

Yost said that Jason Vargas threw very well in today’s bullpen session as he progresses in returning from his appendectomy. Yost noted more command and life on Vargas’ pitches. When asked about the lefty returning to the rotation, Yost said that it depends on how he feels the next few days. If he continues to progress, his return could be sooner rather than later.

Royals acquire Erik Kratz, Liam Hendriks from Toronto for Danny Valencia

The Royals announced tonight that they have acquired minor league catcher Erik Kratz and right-handed pitcher Liam Hendriks from the Toronto Blue Jays, in exchange for infielder Danny Valencia.  Kratz will join the Royals in time for Tuesday night’s game against Minnesota, while Hendriks will be assigned to Triple-A Omaha.  Infielder Christian Colon will be recalled from Omaha tomorrow, while to make room on the 40-man roster, catcher Brett Hayes has been designated for assignment.

Kratz, 34, has split time between Toronto and Buffalo (AAA) this season.  He played in 34 games for the Jays in 2014, batting .198 with 3 doubles, 3 homers and 10 RBI.  He has posted a .299 average and 10 doubles, 3 homers and 17 RBI in 27 games for the Bisons.  He was traded to Toronto this offseason from the Phillies’ organization, where he spent three years.  He’s been a Triple-A All-Star three times in his career (2009-11), being named the game’s Top Star at the 2009 contest in Portland, Ore., collecting a double and a homer in his two at-bats.  In parts of five Major League seasons, Kratz has hit .216 with 21 homers, 63 RBI with Pittsburgh (2010), Philadelphia (2011-13) and Toronto (2014).

Hendriks, 25, was named the Top Star from the International League at the Triple-A All-Star Game on July 16, pitching 2.0 scoreless innings and recording four strikeouts.  He’s made 16 starts for the Blue Jays’ Triple-A affiliate, Buffalo, going 8-1 with a 2.33 ERA, recording 91 strikeouts in 108.1 innings, while holding opponents to a .231 batting average this season.  The young righty has made three starts for Toronto in 2014, going 1-0 with a 6.08 ERA with eight strikeouts.

Hendriks was selected off waivers by three different teams this offseason, ending up with Toronto on February 21.  He was originally signed by the Minnesota Twins as a non-drafted free agent out of Perth, Australia in 2007.  He participated in the SiriusXM Radio Futures All-Star Games (2010, 2011) and pitched in 30 games for the Twins over a three-year period (2011-13).

Valencia, 29, was hitting .282 with 2 homers and 11 RBI in 36 games for the Royals this season.

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