Results tagged ‘ Flannigan's Right Hook ’
Around the Horn got a treat today with the final State Farm Legends Luncheon of the season. General Manager Dayton Moore and manager Trey Hillman chatted with former Royals Al Fitzmorris and Willie Wilson for a few hours in downtown Kansas City and we got to listen.
For today, we’re going to give you a taste of what went on during the event.
If you haven’t been to one of these, we here at ATH strongly recommend them. Wilson and Fitzmorris serve as the host and talk to guests who are connected to Kansas City baseball or even players and coaches who represent the legacy of the Negro Leagues and Buck O’Neil. For more info, check out www.bestofbuck.com.
Today’s session started with a thank you to all those in attendance. Through nine years of Luncheons, over $100,000 have been raised for the Negro Leagues Museum. That’s a substantial sum for what started as an idea hatched in a conference room.
Once Wilson and Fitzmorris took the stage, they introduced Hillman and Moore. Wilson, who endorsed TeamSmile before the interview started, thanked Moore and his staff for bringing back the Royals Alumni. Wilson said he really enjoys being involved in the organization again and feels it will help re-instill the tradition of the franchise to the new players.
Wilson said it means a lot to him because he has a strong connection with the Royals. He worked his way through the system. So when he got to the bigs, he felt ownership over the team and pride in the uniform he wore. Similar to how he felt once he reached the Majors, Wilson said 60 percent of the Major League club needs to be grown through the farm system.
Moore agreed with him and spoke about being able to draft. He said that in the past, it wasn’t totally an issue of money being put into the draft, but instead the picks which did get the money didn’t pan out the way they should have. The philosophy has changed.
“You have to draft on ability and not signability,” Moore said.
Moore then talked about growing scouting everywhere and not just looking at the draft as a means of acquiring talent to be groomed. At this moment, the team is working on developing a foothold in the Eastern Rim – with area scouts and talent evaluators. The team is also ramping up efforts in Latin America and becoming more aggressive in the Dominican Republic, where the Royals already have a baseball academy.
To grow the system even more, programs are in place for the Fall Instructional League that will allow players who workout during the day and attend classes at night at Glendale (AZ) Community College. They will learn about leadership, character and responsibility on and off the field. Moore said this is something no other team is doing.
Wilson said home-grown players have an attachment to the “Blue and White,” a bond they’ve formed with the team since entering the organization and then continued as they flourished inside of it. Moore seconded his thoughts, saying “Players have to feel strongly about putting on the Royal uniform.”
These programs are making the Royals the toast of the league. In some respects, the Major League club may not be the strongest competition, but scouts are raving about the work going on in the Minor Leagues and at the scouting level. But there is still a lot of heavy lifting to be done.
For example, he threw out a few names the Detroit Tigers picked up over the last offseason. To acquire Edgar Renteria, the Royals would have had to give up Luke Hochevar and Dan Cortes. To get Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera they might have had to fork over Hochevar, Cortes, Derrick Robinson and maybe even Danny Duffy. Those trades would have decimated a thin minor league system. Moore said beyond those few, there was a large gap to get to the next tier of talent in the system.
“Before we build a great farm system, it will be very difficult to impact the Major League team,” Moore said.
The Royals are 10-5 this month, eclipsing their 2007 September win total with 11 games left in the season…When Brandon Duckworth struck out Wladimir Balentien to end the sixth inning; the 2008 pitching staff become the Royals strikeout kings. They passed the 1990 staff which had 1,006 punch outs with Duckworth’s K and ended the night with 1,010 for the season. That number is sure to skyrocket with Gil Meche and Zack Greinke likely to get at least two starts still (both are in the American League’s top 10 for K’s this season)…As a team, the K.C. offense produced a cycle in the fifth inning last night. It was the first time since June 14, 2007 that the Royals have singled, doubled, tripled and homered in one inning.
Today’s Official Game Notes.
Last night was an example of how the Royals want to win ballgames. Strong starting pitching, followed by a shut down bullpen and then an offense which will get the job done. To look at how that happened last night, let’s go Around the Horn…
He’s had two other eight strikeout efforts and he’s had two other eight inning games (one complete game). He’s also held opponents scoreless before. But Kyle Davies had never brought all of those elements together in one outing before last night.
The other impressive number about Davies’ four-hitter? Zero walks. He didn’t walk anyone, something he has not done this season. In fact he’s only recorded two other walkless starts, both of which were less than six innings.
Davies retired the first 12 batters he faced until Jose Lopez singled to lead off the fifth inning. Davies also combated another problem he’s had this season. He kept his pitch count low. He threw 98 pitches during his eight innings of work.
Manager Trey Hillman called Davies performance the best he’s seen.
Maybe more impressively, he has nine multi-hit games during his current hitting streak, including a 2-for-4 night last night with a double and a run scored.
Guillen is hitting .418, banging seven doubles and two homers with 12 RBI during his 13-game streak. He’s also scored six runs. With his recent surge, he has repositioned himself for a shot at 100 RBI and if he stays hot, he’ll have a chance to eclipse his career high of 104 (set in 2003). His 2003 season is his only 100-plus RBI season, though he reached 99 last year in Seattle.
The slugger leads the Royals in hits (147), doubles (40), homers (20), RBI (93), total bases (249) and multi-hit games (44).
One strikeout is all the Club needs to tie its single-season record. The 1990 pitching staff fanned 1,006 batters compared to this season’s 1,005, which is the sixth-highest total in the American League this season…Alberto Callaspo also has a career-high hitting streak going at nine games…Ryan Shealy has reached base in seven of his eight games and is hitting .387…Mike Aviles has scored nine runs during his seven-game hitting streak and is one of five Royals with over 60 runs this season…David DeJesus snapped a 127-game errorless streak with his throwing error in the sixth…Mark Teahen is hitting .338 since August 27 with nine extra base hits…From Trey Hillman’s pregame press conference: “Nothing is more powerful to the atmosphere than winning,” Hillman said in response to the environment in the Royals clubhouse before today’s game (the lights were dimmed, music was pumping and some players were dancing)…Also: “Pitching is as contagious as hitting,” Hillman said voicing his hopes for Brandon Duckworth’s start tonight following last night’s four-hit shutout.
How can you beat the deal we got going here tonight? $3 tickets and a long-sleeve tee upon entering.
Plenty of other great promotions are left this week and there are just six home games including tonight’s ballgame. You should come out and join the fun.
Also: The Royals will be announcing their 2009 home schedule (no game times) tomorrow at noon. Keep an eye out for that!
Today’s Official Game Notes.