Results tagged ‘ Alex Gordon ’
Fans bring a variety of items through the autograph lines. We saw one woman with a bowling ball (try carrying that around FanFest for a few hours!)…Royals players have been signing the ball for the last five years! Some items are easy to sign, while David DeJesus found out that a little more precision was needed to inscribe this stuffed animal.
Here’s Joakim Soria penning his John Hancock on a green and white Royals Halfway to St. Paddy’s Day hat. Maybe this fan is hoping that Joakim’s signature will bring them a little luck.
Sometimes fans cherish the chance to welcome the newest players to Kansas City just as much as the signature.
9,500 fans flocked to the Overland Park Convention Center for the 2009 Royals FanFest. The main stage was home to a variety of question and answer sessions. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights:
General Manager Dayton Moore explains his thoughts on the 2009 Royals to Ryan Lefebvre and Tim Scott. At right, Ryan interviews the newest Royals. (Left to right – Kyle Farnsworth, Mike Jacobs, Coco Crisp, Willie Bloomquist)
The broadcasters held court on Saturday for some unscripted banter. Mike Swanson, VP of Communications and Broadcasting for the Royals, chats with Denny Matthews as Ryan Lefebvre, Steve Stewart, and Joel Goldberg look on.
One of Sunday’s most popular events was the Kids Only Press Conference. David DeJesus, Alex Gordon, and Willie Bloomquist took some tough questions from the youngsters in the crowd.
Fans at the main stage took home some new Royals gear as members of the K Crew tossed items to the crowd before and after each event.
Last night had no shortage of memorable moments and team photographer Chirs Vleisides was there to capture it. Among the most special was Kila Ka’aihue’s first Major League home run off Sox starter Gavin Floyd, complete with a curtain call made to a standing ovation from the almost capacity crowd.
The young slugger got a bit of a personal surprise with his September call-up, having to be added to the 40-man roster after hitting a combined 37 home runs in the minors this season. With 26 at Double-A Northwest Arkansas and another 11 in just a month at Triple-A Omaha, Ka’aihue had the fourth highest total in all levels of the minor leagues. He was named Texas League Player of
the Year, despite playing the final month of the season in the Pacific Coast League.
Ka’aihue was so dominant at Double-A he finished tied for the lead in home runs even though he played in 37 fewer games than his co-homer champ Arkansas’ Corey Smith. His 80 walks fell three short of the leader who played in 136 games compared to Ka’aihue’s 91 at Double-A. He coupled his high walk rate with a low strikeout rate. The Hawaiian struck out just 40 times in 287 at-bats in the Texas League. He had a .314 average and a .463 on-base percentage, neither of which qualified for the end of the season titles.
Alex Gordon also homered, his first one since coming off the Disabled List. Kyle Davies looked strong again, posting his second straight seven-plus inning start. He threw 15 scoreless innings, ending in the eighth last night. Joakim Soria tied Doug Bird for third on the Royals all-time career saves list, notching his 41st save of the season and 58th of his career. Only Jeff Montgomery and Dan Quisenberry have more saves in their Royals careers than Soria. David DeJesus delivered yet again in the clutch, going 1-for-1 with runners in scoring position. DeJesus’ infield single moved the runner over who later scored. With the hit, DeJesus raised his RISP average to .413 – which leads the Majors and is percentage points more than Texas’ Ian Kinsler.
DeJesus also hit his second career inside-the-park home run and the third for the Royals this season. An interesting note about the most exciting play in baseball, 77 of the team’s 93 inside-the-park home run have come at home in spacious Kauffman Stadium – it really makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
Last night was also “Shirts Off Their Backs” Night, which was a solid success, raising nearly $20,000 for Operation Breakthrough. With 23,754 in the stands for the 5-2 win over the White Sox and tickets going for a dollar, the total raised was close to a dollar per fan.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Tonight is Futures’ Night, which means Kansas City will get to take a peak at the future of the organization. With the team on a seven game roll, tonight is a great night to make it out to the stadium.
The Minor League Players of the Year will be on hand. We’re going to have one last fireworks spectacular here at the “old” Kauffman Stadium, it’s Buck Night and of course the Royals pit their surging brand of baseball against the first-place White Sox. Let’s go Around the Horn…
The past few years the team has given Royals fans a glimpse of what is to come and not just with September call-ups (though it’s been exciting seeing the successes of Ryan Shealy and Kila Ka’aihue and Devon Lowery this month). Futures’ Night is that chance. Names like Mike Moustakas, Dan Cortes, Derrick Robinson, and Mike Montgomery are just a few of the players we’ve mentioned in this space who will be here to meet the fans.
But these players got a taste of what it means to be a Kansas City Royal earlier today. Some of the front office accompanied the players as they helped out at Harvesters and then toured the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. The future of the Club then made its way to Kauffman to take in the Royals batting practice earlier this afternoon. It is important that these young players understand about the community they hope to play in and their short tour was designed to do just that. It’s worked in the past.
Among some of the names you might recognize from the last few years, Mike Aviles has won Minor League Player of the Year for his respective team three times (2007 at Omaha, 2004 at Wilmington and 2003 at Surprise), including the title of 2007 Minor League Player of Year last season for the entire organization. In 2006, three players who’ve seen time in the Majors this season were given the award. Zack Greinke and Alex Gordon – two of the building blocks for the team – won Pitcher and Player of the Year at Wichita and Carlos Rosa, who had three strikeouts in three innings earlier this season, was the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.
Billy Butler joins Aviles as a two-time winner of the award. He also won at two different levels. At 18, he won the Idaho Falls Player of the Year and followed that performance with the honor at High Desert as a 19-year old.
Some of the lower-level award winners over the past couple of years are already starting to help the organization win. Luis Cota and Nick Van Stratten won the award for Burlington Pitcher of the Year (2005) and Arizona Player of the Year (2006), respectively. Both were key to the success of the Burlington Bees in their run to the Midwest League Championship.
The team has clicked. Through the streak, the starter has won every game. They’ve bashed 12 homers and run their season win total to 69, matching their 2007 win total. With one more victory, they can secure their first 70-win season since going 83-79 in 2003.
After their last loss, a week ago in Cleveland, the Royals were 19 games back and eight behind Detroit. While they haven’t shaved much off their deficit to the division-leading White Sox, they are just three behind the Tigers.
Manager Trey Hillman told the media today that the strong play will get a test tonight. Matching up against the White Sox, a team who is playing for the postseason, he said the Royals will see just how well they have been playing. He hopes that they can continue their run, but doesn’t want to diminish what the Royals did in Cleveland. The Indians have been strong for most of the second half and Hillman’s boys shut them down (with the exception of the eventual Cy Young winner Cliff Lee).
Hillman sees tonight as a chance to measure his team. He believes comparing his team to the rest of the division, his main competition, will give him an accurate read on where he sits. Chicago will bring a playoff atmosphere to the K and the Royals will need to stand up to the division leaders – “the pride of the division,” – if they want a shot at not finishing in last place, which is a goal the manager thinks shows something.
Alberto Callaspo has hit in 12 straight, a career high…David DeJesus picked up his 70th RBI yesterday. DeJesus and Jose Guillen (95 RBI) are the first pair of Royals to knock in 70 or more runs in a season since Emil Brown (86) and Mike Sweeney (83) did it in 2005…DeJesus currently has a .402 average with runners in scoring position and is trying to become just the third Royal to end a season with a .400 RISP mark. Sweeney (.402 in 2002) and George Brett (.469 in 1980) are the only others to do it…Mark Teahen had two hits in the fourth inning yesterday, which was the first time a Royal had done that since Tony Pena, Jr. did it in the second versus St. Louis on June 14, 2007…The 500th strikeout of Zack Greinke’s career was former Royal Raul Ibanez in the first inning yesterday.
Tonight is the final Buck Night and Fireworks Friday. But tomorrow has plenty for the fans as well. Stocking caps and “Shirts Off Their Backs” Night will highlight the rest of the weekend’s promotions.
With the season coming to a close and Around the Horn running out of time, we here at ATH and the K want to again voice our deepest gratitude to you – the fan – for your support and for your patience with the renovation process. You will not be disappointed when we re-open on April 10, 2008 versus the Yankees.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Interested? Let’s go Around the Horn…
“Shirts Off Their Backs” is a major highlight for Fan Appreciation weekend. For just $1, you can buy a chance to win a game-worn jersey from the White Sox game on September 20. Each of the 35-40 players in uniform will be on hand to sign and deliver their jersey to the winners immediately after the game.
Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the stadium – in the stands, at the gates, booths, etc. The instant scratch win tickets will correspond with a jersey and will guarantee the ticket holder their prize (you must be in attendance to win).
Following the game, winners will be escorted onto the field and be presented with their jersey. Players will sign their jerseys and hand them over. So you might be the lucky winner to get an Alex Gordon jersey (he should be off the Disabled List by then) directly from the Royals’ third baseman, complete with dirt stains and his autograph.
All proceeds from the event will go to support Operation Breakthrough, a Kansas City based charity which helps provide a safe, loving and educational environment for children living in poverty. The United Way Agency expanded its facility in 2006, allowing it increase the number of children it helps from 353 to 674. The program has been helping Kansas Citians since 1971.
The Burlington Bees start their final series of the season tonight. They will meet the South Bend Silverhawks in Game 1 tonight of the Midwest League’s Championship. Game 2 will be tomorrow night, also at Burlington Community Field. The series then moves to South Bend with at least one game on Friday. It’s a best-of-five series and the final three are scheduled as away games for Burlington.
The Royals bullpen hasn’t allowed a run in its last 9 1/3 innings…Devon Lowery made his second Major League appearance and struck out one. He’s retired 6-of-7 hitters he’s faced in the bigs…Jose Guillen had a RBI double last night during his seventh three-hit game and is tied for the team lead with 39 multi-hit games, with hits in six straight…Longtime captain and Royals slugger Mike Sweeney was released by the Oakland Athletics. Sweeney will most likely undergo microfracture surgery on both knees if he wants to make a bid to play again next season.
Several great deals not to forget about as we approach the final home stand:
Retro-pricing and $5 parking for Seattle, Halfway to St. Paddy’s group deals on September 17, Fuel Up for 40 all homestand long and of course, the always available and ever popular All-You-Can-Eat Seats.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Good afternoon Royals fans. Hope all is well today and you’re ready for a nice long Labor Day weekend. Around the Horn is ready for some baseball after the off day. We’ve got three in Detroit and then another off day Monday before the Royals open their second to last home stand.
Since there wasn’t any baseball for us yesterday, today is the perfect opportunity to give you a look inside a place many people don’t get to see. Today, we’re going inside the Royals Clubhouse. We didn’t want to intrude on the team’s privacy too much so we waited for the team to hit the road before we snapped our photos. So here we go…
The first picture is a general overall shot of the clubhouse. For the most part position players are along one row and pitchers on the opposite side of the clubhouse. To kill time, you’ll often find the guys playing cards at the tables in the center.
Here’s a close up view of Alex Gordon’s locker. He’s got a few pairs of spikes, some turf shoes and some regular workout shoes in there. And you can see the pile of batting gloves.
The trainer’s room is a place a lot of guys will go when they get to the park. Many get massages before the game, after BP or after the game. Despite the recent rash of injuries, the team has been healthy this season and that’s a credit to Head Athletic Trainer Nick Swartz and his staff.
These slots are the player mailboxes. Now you might be saying, there’s not really any mail in those boxes. Well, Around the Horn was informed after taking this picture that all of their fan mail had been moved to the actual boxes which sit below the mail boxes on the wall.
Each box is numbered, so you can see the No. 4 which is sitting on top of another box. Yep, that’s Alex Gordon’s and yes he needs two boxes. He gets a lot of fan mail. Apparently he’s popular in Nebraska.
You can also clearly see David DeJesus (No. 9), Alberto Callaspo (No. 13) and John Buck (No. 14).
It’s a neat room. Photos of former players adorn the walls, many of them with their kids or candid shots of them just hanging out. There’s a cooler with plenty of cold drinks for them to relax with before going out to the field. The recliners are also vibrating, so you’ll often see pitchers using them and collecting themselves before starts.
The food room is right next door to the lounge and is a heavily trafficked area. Often times, the players will eat two or three meals a day at the stadium. So having a full service room is a nice way to monitor what they are eating, making sure its healthy and a place for them to grab a bite to eat anytime they need a little extra.
Although most of the food in the food room is healthy, a little snack never hurt anybody. And when you’re trying to serve 25 guys plus a handful of coaches, you never know what they might have a sweet tooth for, so they’ve got a little of everything in there. It’s almost like a candy store.
At the end of the hallway joining the Clubhouse to the players lounge, food room, trainer’s room and weight room, this stands. It’s a tribute to two of the greatest Royals of all-time and the only two players with retired numbers, George Brett and Frank White.
Hopefully its a bit of an inspiration too, to see the two greats who once lockered where the likes of DeJesus and Gordon and Gil Meche and Zack Greinke do.
Just before heading to the dugout, an essential room is always buzzing. Mark Topping, the Royals Video Coordinator and his staff work diligently to make sure all the high tech needs of a baseball team competing in the 21st century are met.
This state of the art room is decked out with computer monitors and TV screens everywhere.
It’s all to allow the players and staff to watch or review anything that might help, be it a previous at-bat, an opposing pitcher or a minor leaguer in the Royals system.
The room was one of the first pieces to be re-done as a part of the renovation process.
We had to take a picture of this. Around the Horn had never seen so many DirecTV boxes in one place. Each one is responsible for receiving a game to be recorded and each is marked with a Post-It note.
Everything from the high school prospect games, collegiate games, minor league games or even the Colorado-San Diego game tonight is recorder through this bank.
The big club has a lot going on as well. Injuries are plaguing the roster. To take a look at the stories and more, let’s go Around the Horn…
The No. 3 overall pick of the 2008 June Free Agent Draft displayed a little bit of why he merited such a high honor today. Back in June, the Royals tabbed Eric Hosmer, a 6’4″, 215-pound first baseman from American Heritage High in Plantation, Florida. The left-handed hitting and throwing slugger was considered the best high school power bat in the draft.
Exactly one week ago, Hosmer inked his deal with the Royals and today he met the media. Hosmer started his day at the K with a 3:30 press conference. With General Manager Dayton Moore, Senior Director-Scouting Deric Ladnier and Assist. GM-Player Personnel and Scouting J.J. Picollo by his side, Hosmer fielded questions smoothly. He talked about his decision whether to sign or go to college. Ultimately, it came down to his drive to play – a dream he’s worked on for a long time. He was asked about the wood bat. Hosmer admitted it will be an adjustment, but they aren’t foreign to him. He took some batting practice with them in high school. And he was asked about playing for the Midland (Ohio) Redskins, an amateur team in the Connie Mack League which he made a commitment to and felt he needed to fulfill.
Once the press conference was over, Hosmer was taken into the Royals clubhouse. He was next seen emerging from the Royals dugout, wearing a blue batting practice jersey complete with No. 25 and his name on the back. Traditional baseball fans will be happy to note that he wore his socks high. After stretching, Hosmer took some hacks in the batting cage on the field. He was in the first group, trading turns with Jose Guillen, Ross Gload and Joey Gathright. He took a regular B.P. – laying down bunts, working all fields and depositing one ball into the fountains and several more over the wall.
After the workout, he made the rounds. It was an Eric Hosmer overload. First he chatted with Joel Goldberg for FSN-KC’s Royals Live pregame show. Then he talked with Steve Stewart for the Royals Radio Network’s pregame show. And finally, Marty Wall of 610 Sports, the flagship station for RRN, interviewed Hosmer.
Tomorrow will be another long day for the First Rounder. He’s got a ticket to Idaho Falls (actually the team opens a three game series against the Ogden Raptors tonight) to start his professional career as a Chukar. Moore said in an interview shortly after the signing that Hosmer’s assignment to the short season Rookie League instead of the Arizona League, a place most high school selections go, is a credit to his ability.
Injuries have riddled the 25-man roster as of late. Within the last week, Ron Mahay has battled a foot injury, Luke Hochevar suffered a rib contusion, Mitch Maier was struck in the face by a pitch and yesterday Alex Gordon left during the fifth inning versus the Indians.
Gordon and Mahay are headed to the Disabled List. Gordon was originally listed as day-to-day when removed from yesterday’s game. But a muscle tear has been found in Gordon’s upper right leg (we’ll have more on this when we get the details). Manager Trey Hillman said the pain Gordon was experiencing was severe but the second-year third baseman wanted to take his next at-bat. Instead he was removed from the game after the fourth and examined, which is when the tear was found. He is expected to be out for several weeks.
Mahay, on the other hand, had pitched just once over the last 12 games and was be placed on the D.L. retroactive to August 16. His case of plantar fasciitis, a bruise to the tendons which spread weight out among the heel and ball of the foot, is still bothering him. Kyle Davies is being called up from Omaha and will start tomorrow’s game, filling in half of the two-slot hole in the rotation. Sunday’s starter is still not finalized.
The Royals infielders worked on some fundamentals before today’s game…That group included Mark Teahen, who is filling in at third base – his old position – in Alex Gordon’s absence. Teahen is starting at third tonight and has not started a regular season game at the hot corner since 2006…Fresh off the D.L., Joey Gathright is making his return to the Royals lineup for the first time since July 23 versus Detroit…From Trey Hillman’s Press Conference: He doesn’t blame injuries for the team’s play…Tonight is the first night of the Kauffman Stadium reduction. Only 27,000 seats are available per game through the end of the season due to renovations.
Tomorrow is Christian Family Night. A concert will follow the game, featuring Natalie Grant and Chris Sligh. Manager Trey Hillman, General Manager Dayton Moore and pitcher Brian Bannister are expected to speak, will all events to be held outside the stadium on the first base side.
Larry the Cucumber and Bob the Tomato from “Veggie Tales” will also be on hand.
The final issue of Gameday Magazine is hitting the newsstands tonight. With David DeJesus on the cover, the issue features Frank White, Mike Aviles and a preview of the stadium renovations. Also don’t miss a fun look inside the Royals clubhouse at some college football rivalries that exist.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
In fact, this is a much different squad than the team we saw last on June 1. During that game, Alex Gordon belted a double and knocked in two, while Jose Guillen and Mark Grudzielanek added homers for a 6-1 win over Cleveland’s Paul Byrd.
To look at some the wheeling and dealing that the Royals and the Indians have done since they last met, let’s go Around the Horn…
Just under half of the season series was in the bag after the game on June 1. The other half will be played out quickly with 10 games (seven in Cleveland and three in K.C.) set to be in the books by September 14. One of those Cleveland games was scheduled during the Royals first trip to Progressive Field, but rain forced the May 2 game to be rescheduled as part of a doubleheader on September 13.
The Indians look a lot different this time out. The Tribe starter on June 1 is with the Red Sox (Paul Byrd made his Sox debut last Saturday). Their reigning Cy Young winner has thrown five complete games in nine starts with a 1.60 ERA for Milwaukee (CC Sabathia won his 11th straight last night). And one of the leading Royal killers has four homers, 12 RBI and 23 hits in 22 games as a Dodger (Casey Blake has hit .329 with a .388 on-base percentage during his career at Kauffman Stadium).
The Indians have jettisoned a lot, but we’ll still see their 2008 Cy Young hopeful. Cliff Lee, with his 17-2 record and 2.43 ERA, is scheduled to start Thursday’s matinee. Lee has dominated teams all year and started the All-Star game as a reward for his performance.
Injuries have also struck the Indians who are missing slugger Travis Hafner and Victor Martinez. Both are on the mend and on schedule to return soon. Jake Westbrook (Tommy John surgery) and Scott Elarton are on the D.L. as well.
To combat their pitching losses, the Tribe acquired Anthony Reyes, among others, who we will see tonight. Reyes is making his third start for Cleveland and is 1-1 with a 2.19 ERA (3-2, 3.67 ERA in 2008). He was a Cardinal before being traded and is 1-0 versus K.C., when he allowed four hits over 5.2 innings and no runs. Tomorrow the Indians have Zach Johnson who’s making just his second start of the year.
Cleveland has also found a hot bat with Kelly Shoppach. Filling in for injured catcher Victor Martinez, Shoppach hit .275 in June and .318 in July. He collected 14 RBI each month and homered four and six times, respectively. Most impressively, Shoppach became just the sixth player in the modern era to get five extra base hits in a game with three doubles and two homers. He ended the game on July 30 versus Detroit with 14 total bases and added a walk.
The newest Royal was the Opening Day pitcher for the Rockies. Today, the Royals signed Kip Wells, who had some trouble this season with a blood clot in his right hand which cost him two and a half months. He will wear No. 40.
Wells joins fellow former Rockie Ramon Ramirez in the bullpen and takes the place of lefty Josh Newman, another former Coloradan. Wells has been good in the bullpen during his career, which is where the Royals plan to have him pitch for now. In 41 games, he’s 4-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 73.2 innings, striking out 62 and walking 35 while allowing just three homers.
Wells will look to help shore up a pen which is missing dominant set-up man Ron Mahay, who pitched over the weekend but is still bothered by foot problems and has seen a lot of work recently.
Tonight’s starter Luke Hochevar picked up his first career road win at Progressive Field earlier this season…Miguel Olivo returns from his four-game suspension tonight…Kansas City pitchers are 40-46 with a 4.55 ERA…Paulo Orlando, the player the Royals received for Horacio Ramirez from the White Sox, is hitting .364 with High-A Wilmington over his first eight games.
The Royals have announced first round draft pick Eric Hosmer will be at Kauffman Stadium on Friday to meet with the media at 3:30 p.m. Hosmer will also take batting practice after the press conference. On Saturday, he will begin his professional career at Idaho Falls as a Chukar.
In other draft news, Michael Montgomery is 2-1 with a 1.51 ERA in 10 games and seven starts with the Surprise Royals, the rookie league team in Arizona.
Upcoming Promos: Banner Flags (man, they are big!) on Saturday and Soria T-shirts on Tuesday. Plus Saturday is Christian Family Night.
Make sure you don’t miss out on Around the Horn’s interview with Jerry Krause: ex-Bulls GM and Mets pro scout.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Luke Hochevar looks to break out of a four game winless streak, making his 21st big league start this season…The Royals lost the opener last time they were in Chicago and rebounded to win the series 2-1…Mark Teahen carries a season-long eight-game hitting streak into tonight’s game…Alex Gordon hit his first triple in over a year last night during the second inning…Gordon has 11 hits and 12 walks in 48 plate appearances since July 30, which is good for a .489 on-base percentage.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Around the Horn snapped this photo last homestand on Frank White powder blue t-shirt night. It was late… very late after the rain delay and these four guys stuck it out. David DeJesus was battling Detroit’s Fernando Rodney and we happened to see these guys from the pressbox down behind homeplate and so we snuck down got this.
You ever notice how 20 = 4 x 5? Around the Horn isn’t sure what that means but we’re pretty sure it can only be good.
Twins in town tomorrow for the last time this summer. Bobbleheads and Sluggerrr T’s Saturday and Sunday. See ya out there.