Results tagged ‘ Billy Butler ’

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!

Around the World with ATH in KC: The Butler family


butler_march2010_60.jpgThank you to everyone who sent pictures and stories for our travel feature!  Spring Training is just a week away as Kansas City’s pitchers and catchers report on Valentine’s Day!  We will have at least one more “Around the World” post in the near future, featuring road cities.  You are welcome to send additional Royals-related photos of road cities and places around the world to blog@royals.com.

Today we have two great Spring Training photos submitted by Katie Butler, wife of first baseman Billy Butler.  It is nice to know that Katie follows our blog!

According to Katie: “These are my two favorite Spring Training pictures from 2010! Billy & Kenley Butler (15 months at the time) on the Spring Training back fields! We spend a lot of  time out back of the complex after Billy gets done with his game so he can get some play time in with Kenley…She is a big daddy’s girl!”

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Butler press conference notes


butler-moore_7384.JPGBilly Butler
and Dayton Moore met with reporters on Tuesday to discuss Butler’s new long-term contract.  The 24-year old Butler is proud to wear a Kansas City uniform and excited about the future of the organization.  Butler and his family have always felt welcomed in the city and he looks forward to continuing his relationship with fans and the community.

Billy is looking forward to playing alongside some of the Royals’ highly-heralded prospects.  He’s not making guarantees, but he has high expectations for himself and the team. 

Dayton Moore believes that Butler has separated himself as one of the top young hitters in the game.  Moore cited that Butler broke into the Major Leagues at a young age and was successful in a short time period, which isn’t easy.  He recognizes Butler’s passion and that Butler wants to go from being a good hitter to a great hitter.

Photos: Royals Awards show

Hardware was handed out on Saturday afternoon at the Royals Awards show, which honored Billy Butler, Bruce Chen, Joakim Soria and all of the organizational award winners.  Let’s take a look!

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Chen, the Joe Burke Special Achievement winner, and Soria, the Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year, congratulated one another after the event.  Both players were very proud and appreciative of the awards.  Bruce, who worked his way back from “Tommy John” surgery in 2007, wanted to make sure that his award arrived to his Arizona home without a scratch – so he bought a seat on the plane for it!

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Billy Butler received his second Les Milgram Player of the Year honor on the same day that would see him ink a long-term contract with the Royals.

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Mike Moustakas was all smiles as he received the George Brett Hitter of the Year honor from the Hall of Fame third baseman.


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John Lamb earned the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year award.  John, who turns 21 in July, will be the youngest player in Kansas City’s Major League camp at spring training.


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Eric Hosmer won the Carolina League batting title and slugged key playoff home runs in the Texas League playoffs in 2010.  On Saturday, he was recognized for the other part of his game with the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year award.

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Derrick Robinson took his game to another level in 2010, setting a career high in batting average.  Robinson, who led the Texas League with 50 stolen bases, earned the Willie Wilson Baserunner of the Year award for the second time.  Wilson pointed out that Robinson is outstanding at both baserunning and base stealing.

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Former Missouri State pitcher Buddy Baumann received the Mike Sweeney Award from the five-time All-Star.  The award goes to the minor league player who best represents the organization off of the field.  Baumann participated in a variety of community events while with the Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2010.

Reminder: Royals Caravan to Warrensburg, Jefferson City and Springfield on Sunday, Springdale and Pittsburg on Monday!

Billy ButlerKila Ka’aihue and Jeff Montgomery will visit fans in Warrensburg, Jefferson City and Springfield, Mo.; Springdale, Ark.; and Pittsburg, Kan., on the annual Royals Caravan presented by Fox Sports Kansas City.  The group will also participate in a school visit to Fayetteville, Ark. 

A schedule of Caravan events is listed below and at royals.com/caravan.

South Caravan Trip, Day #1:           Sunday, January 23 (Warrensburg, Jefferson City, Springfield, Mo.)

11:30-12:30 p.m.:       Meet & Greet at Fitters Pizza and Pub – 131 W Pine St. in Warrensburg (Hosted by KOKO Radio)

3-4 p.m.:                       Meet & Greet at Hy-Vee – 3721 W Truman Blvd in Jefferson City (Hosted by KLIK Radio)

7-8 p.m.:                       Meet & Greet at Coyote’s Adobe Caf – 1742 South Glenstone in Springfield

South Caravan Trip, Day #2:           Monday, January 24 (Fayetteville, Springdale, Ark., Pittsburg, Kan.)

11:30-1:30 p.m.:         Luncheon at Holiday Inn – 1500 South 48th St. in Springdale (Hosted by NW Arkansas Naturals and Springdale Rotary Club)

                                        Luncheon tickets are $15, which includes a buffet lunch.

                                        For tickets, contact the NWA Naturals at 479-927-4900.

4-5 p.m.:                       Meet & Greet at Meadowbrook Mall – 202 E Centennial Dr. in Pittsburg (Hosted by KKOW Radio and Cox Communications)

Royals and Billy Butler agree to four-year contract through 2014 with club option for 2015

Butler_8-13-10.JPGThe Royals have agreed to terms with first baseman Billy Butler on a four-year contract through the 2014 season with a club option for 2015.  Consistent with club policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Butler, 24, has won back-to-back Les Milgram Player of the Year awards in 2009 and 2010, joining George Brett as the only two players in franchise history to win the award in the back-to-back seasons.  He hit a career-high .318 last year with 45 doubles, 15 home runs and 78 RBI, ranking in the top 10 in the American League in batting (sixth), hits (tied for third, 189), doubles (tied for fourth), multi-hit games (fourth, 54) and on-base percentage (seventh, .388).  Butler’s 96 doubles are the most in the Major Leagues since the beginning of the 2009 season.

Selected by the Royals in the first round (14th overall) in the 2004 Draft, Butler is a career .299 hitter with 141 doubles, 55 home runs and 278 RBI in 533 Major League games since making his debut in 2007.  Born in Orange Park, Fla., he and his wife, Katie, have a daughter, Kenley, and reside in Idaho Falls, Idaho.

Billy will be participating in the Royals Caravan that will visit Warrensburg, Jefferson City and Springfield, Mo. on Sunday.  The group will visit Springdale, Ark. and Pittsburg, Kan. on Monday.  We’ll bring you a recap of Billy’s press conference, which will take place on Tuesday in Kansas City. 

 

Royals Caravan to travel south to locations in Missouri, Arkansas and Kansas

The Royals will visit fans in Warrensburg, Jefferson City and Springfield, Mo.; Fayetteville and Springdale, Ark.; and Pittsburg, Kan., on the annual Royals Caravan presented by Fox Sports Kansas City.  A number of current Royals players and front office officials, as well as Royals legends, will take part in the annual Caravan event with trips to Midwestern towns throughout January.

This Caravan trip will include 2010 Royals Player of the Year, infielder Billy Butler, infielder Kila Ka’aihue, and Royals Hall of Fame pitcher Jeff Montgomery.  A tentative schedule of Caravan events is listed below and at royals.com/caravan.

Prior to the trip, the club will host the marquee off-season event, Royals FanFest, taking place on January 21-22 at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan.  The best place for fans to meet their favorite Royals, FanFest features appearances from more than 40 current, former and future players, interactive games for fans of all ages, main stage programming and much more.  Additional details can be found at royals.com/fanfest.

2011 Royals Caravan presented by Fox Sports Kansas City

South Caravan Trip, Day #1:           Sunday, January 23 (Warrensburg, Jefferson City, Springfield, Mo.)

11:30-12:30 p.m.:       Meet & Greet at Fitters Pizza and Pub – 131 W Pine St. in Warrensburg (Hosted by KOKO Radio)

3-4 p.m.:                       Meet & Greet at Hy-Vee – 3721 W Truman Blvd in Jefferson City (Hosted by KLIK Radio)

7-8 p.m.:                       Meet & Greet at Coyote’s Adobe Caf – 1742 South Glenstone in Springfield

South Caravan Trip, Day #2:           Monday, January 24 (Fayetteville, Springdale, Ark., Pittsburg, Kan.)

10:15 a.m.:                   School Assembly at Asbell Elementary School – 1500 North Sang Ave. in Fayetteville

11:30-1:30 p.m.:         Luncheon at Holiday Inn – 1500 South 48th St. in Springdale (Hosted by NW Arkansas Naturals and Springdale Rotary Club)

                                        Luncheon tickets are $15, which includes a buffet lunch.

                                        For tickets, contact the NWA Naturals at 479-927-4900.

4-5 p.m.:                       Meet & Greet at Meadowbrook Mall – 202 E Centennial Dr. in Pittsburg (Hosted by KKOW Radio and Cox Communications)

 

Royals announce 2010 organizational award winners

The Royals are pleased to announce the remaining organizational award winners for the 2010 season.  The honorees will be recognized at the 2011 Royals Awards Show, scheduled for Saturday, January 22 in conjunction with Royals FanFest presented by Sprint and Teva Neuroscience at the Overland Park Convention Center.

During the event, the Royals will recognize 12 honorees for their contributions both on and off the field in 2010.  Former Royals greats such as George Brett and Willie Wilson will be among the presenters in attendance.

Previously, the club announced the following award recipients as voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).  Royals’ closer Joakim Soria  was the selection for the 2010 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year while Billy Butler was the 2010 Les Milgram Player of the Year for the second straight season.  Starter Bruce Chen was named the 2010 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award winner.

The remaining award recipients to be recognized at the event include:

Mike Moustakas, recipient of the George Brett Hitter of the Year – recognizing the organization’s top hitter. The 22-year-old third baseman combined to hit .322 with NW Arkansas (AA) and Omaha (AAA), tying for the minor league lead with 36 home runs.  The Royals’ first-round selection (2nd overall) in 2007 also posted 41 doubles and drove in 124 in being named the Sporting News Minor League Hitter of the Year, the Texas League Player of the Year, and a Baseball America 2010 first-team Minor League All-Star.

John Lamb, recipient of the Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top pitcher. The 20-year-old pitched at three levels of the Royals system in 2010, wrapping up at NW Arkansas.  The six-foot-three lefty from Laguna Hills, Calif., was a combined 10-7 with a 2.38 ERA in 28 starts, allowing 122 hits in 147.2 innings, striking out 159 and walking just 45.  Lamb was a fifth-round pick of the Royals in 2008.

Derrick Robinson, recipient of the Willie Wilson Base Runner of the Year - recognizing the organization’s top base runner.  The 23-year-old patrolled center field for the Texas League-champion Northwest Arkansas Naturals in 2010, hitting .286 with a league-leading 50 stolen bases in 67 attempts.  The speedster, drafted by the Royals in the fourth round in 2006, has swiped 236 bases in his professional career, including 181 in his last three campaigns, and is a two-time winner of the Willie Wilson Award, also earning the honor in 2008.

Eric Hosmer, recipient of the Frank White Defensive Player of the Year – recognizing the organization’s top defensive player.  Hosmer, 21, is an athletic first baseman who posted a .988 fielding percentage in 80 games at Wilmington (A Advanced) before upping that mark to .994 in 43 games at first for NW Arkansas.  At the plate, the Royals’ first-round pick (3rd overall) in 2008 batted a combined .338 with 43 doubles, nine triples, 20 home runs, 86 RBI and 87 runs, also stealing 14 bases in 16 attempts.

Buddy Baumann, recipient of the Mike Sweeney Award - recognizing a player who best represents the organization on and off the field.  The 23-year-old left-handed pitcher tirelessly volunteered for numerous community events throughout the 2010 season, visiting Wilmington-area schools and hospitals and conducting several baseball clinics.  Kansas City’s seventh-round selection in 2009 was 0-0 with a 1.80 ERA in three relief appearances for Burlington (A) to begin 2010 before going 4-2 with four saves and posting a 2.24 ERA in 31 games (14 starts) for Wilmington.

Brian Poldberg, recipient of the Dick Howser Player Development Person of the Year – recognizing an outstanding member of player development.  The only manager the NW Arkansas Naturals have ever known, Poldberg led the club to the Texas League Championship in 2010.  The team was also recently recognized as the Baseball America Minor League Club of the Year.  After ending a seven-year playing career, the Carter Lake, Iowa resident has been a coach and instructor in the Royals organization since 1987.

Sean Gibbs, recipient of the Art Stewart Scout of the Year – recognizing an outstanding scout.  Gibbs has served the Royals organization as an area scout since 2007.  He has scouted and signed several players including 2010 Burlington (R) Pitcher of the Year Crawford Simmons.

Andrew Layman, assistant general manager of the Wilmington Blue Rocks, is the recipient of the Matt Minker Award – recognizing an outstanding minor league affiliate employee.  Layman has directed the merchandise, ticket and stadium operations departments during his 19-year Blue Rocks tenure.  In 1998, he received the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for best exemplifying the spirit of volunteerism in recognition of his time invested with a local teen.  The Malvern, Pa. native is a 1992 graduate of Lynchburg College where he played lacrosse.  He currently makes his home in Wilmington with fiance, Jordan, and their son, Mason.

In addition, the Royals will honor Chuck Sailors with the Dan Quisenberry Special Achievement Award –  recognizing an outstanding member of the community.  In 2004, Sailors founded the KC Urban Youth Center at 28th and Troost in Kansas City, Mo.  Today, the center is part of three low-income housing communities in urban Kansas City serving more than 300 students and their families each year.  Sailors and his staff work daily with a holistic approach in order to offer hope, community and wholeness to children and youth living in traditionally underserved communities.

 

Billy Butler conference call notes

Butler 2-25.jpgLast season, Billy Butler became the youngest player to win the Les Milgram Player of the Year award since a 22-year old George Brett won in 1975.  Today, the K.C. first baseman joined Brett as the only player to win the award in consecutive years (Brett did that twice).  Butler realizes that his accomplishments do not put him in the same category of player with a George Brett.  He is honored just to be mentioned in the same sentence as the Hall of Fame third baseman. 

Butler started slowly in 2009 – batting just .262 through the first month.  This season, he was hot out of the gate – batting .326 in April and .355 in May.  Butler attributes that to more at-bats during spring training.  He felt more polished going into this year than he did in 2009. 

The early success was slowed a bit by a hand injury.  Butler learned about himself by playing through the pain.  He played in 158 of 162 games and has missed just seven contests over the last two years.  His hand is much better than when the season ended on October 3.  Butler continues to do rehab from the injury under the advice of trainer Nick Kenney and physical therapist Jeff Blum. 

This offseason is the first time that Butler will be eligible for arbitration.  If the right deal came along, he would be more than happy to sign an extended contract with the Royals.  He believes that the arbitration issue will take care of itself.  His main focus is to help the team in any way that he can.

 

Billy Butler named 2010 Les Milgram Player of the Year

Butler_8-13-10.JPGThe Royals have announced that first baseman Billy Butler has been named the 2010 Les Milgram Player of the Year.  The award was voted on by the Kansas City Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA).

Butler, 24, earned his second straight Les Milgram Player of the Year by hitting .318 with 45 doubles, 15 home runs and 78 RBI in 158 games.  He ranked in the top 10 in the American League in batting (6th), hits (T3rd, 189), doubles (T4th), multi-hit games (4th, 54) and on-base percentage (7th, .388).  Butler joins George Brett (1975-76 and 1979-80) as the only two players in franchise history to win the award in back-to-back seasons.  His final average was the highest among qualified Royals players since Mike Sweeney hit .340 in 2002.  Born in Orange Park, Fla., the current resident of Idaho Falls, Idaho, leads the entire Major Leagues with 96 doubles over the past two seasons, also setting a new club record for two-base hits in a two-year span.

The Royals announced last week that left-handed pitcher Bruce Chen was named the 2010 Joe Burke Special Achievement Award winner while right-handed hurler Joakim Soria was honored with the 2010 Bruce Rice Pitcher of the Year.

Butler will take part in a conference call this afternoon.  Check Around the Horn later today for a recap!

 

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