Results tagged ‘ Justin Morneau ’

Swanee's Trip to the All-Star Game Concludes

After fighting a dead phone, a late night and an early flight, Royals Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Mike Swanson (Swanee) is back in Kansas City. And we’ll get to the pics he sent earlier today as soon as we can.

We hope you have all recovered from the late night. The game ended at 1:37 a.m. when Minnesota’s Justin Morneau was called safe at home in the bottom of the 15th. Around the Horn took yesterday off… to recover. Hopefully you had the chance to as well.

Swanee didn’t. He had to catch a flight back early yesterday morning. He wasn’t even able to catch up and think about sending Around the Horn his photos until today, when his phone was fully charged. Unfortunately, it died right before the game started or shortly there after. Swanee’s phone was useless well before he got back to his hotel in midtown Manhattan around 3 a.m.

7-17 Dugout.JPGBut lucky for us, he had a seat worth remembering. He was in charge of providing players for FOX and ESPN Radio to interview.

He snapped this from his spot on the bench. You can see Baltimore’s George Sherrill (52), Yankee captain Derek Jeter (2), Boston captain Jason Varitek (with the beard behind Sherrill) and All-Star Game MVP J.D. Drew (on the stairs between Jeter and Varitek) and Home Run Derby champ Morneau is standing with his back to Varitek (he’s the only other standing in the dugout who’s face is fully visible).

Around the Horn isn’t sure, and Swanee didn’t say, but we’re pretty sure the knees, hands and hat in the foreground belong to Texas’ Michael Young (who provided the game winning RBI with his sac fly).

7-17 Hall of Famers.JPG49 Hall of Famers scattered across the field as a part of the opening ceremonies. One famous Royal stood at third, standing next to Wade Boggs. You may have seen George Brett telling the AL All-Stars before the game not to try to be heroes but to be winners.

Of course, the home team is closest to first, so Swanee snapped this pic from the dugout.

7-17 Line.JPGRoyals’ All Star- Joakim Soria stood along the first base line for the introductions. Soria was between the Angels’ Joe Saunders and Detroit’s Carlos Guillen.


7-17 B2.JPGAnother sight Royals fans might be familiar with from the All-Star game, Yankee Stadium had a B2 Stealth Bomber flyover.

Swanee informed Around the Horn that it was the same crews that fly out of Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Mo. It’s the same stealth crew that often fly over Kauffman Stadium on Opening Day and that flew over Bank One Ballpark in Arizona during Game 7 of the 2001 World Series, another game Swanee was at.

7-17 Crow.JPGThe B2 flyover was during the National Anthem, which was sung by Sheryl Crow.

Swanee’s spot in the dugout didn’t allow him to get very close and his camera phone could only zoom so far.

7-17 Kenny.JPGHe did get a lot closer to a few other stars though, including Kenny Chesney (pictured at right). He said Kenny was in a conversation and Swanee ddin’t want to bother him, but he wanted to give us an idea of who turned out for the big game in the Big Apple.

7-17 Plaque.JPGWith all the talk about saying goodbye to one of baseball’s great stadiums, Swanee thought it would be appropriate to include a picture of Babe Ruth’s plaque in Monument Park.

It was afterall the final All-Star game in the House that Ruth built.

7-17 Swanee.JPGLike we’ve said at the end of each post, Swanee, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy All-Star schedule to provide us with a chance to see some of the inner workings of how this whole thing went down. We know you’re still resting and recovering for the second half of the season. So enjoy.

Royals Director of Community Relations Ben Aken was also in New York for the game, as we mentioned. Ben snapped this photo of our All-Star Insider. That’s Swanee (on the right) with Minnesota Twins Director of Baseball Communications Mike Herman hanging out in the Yankees/American League dugout after the Red Carpet Show and before the pre-game festivities started.

Both Ben, Swanee and of course Joakim, thank you so much for representing the Royals with class, pride and style in the Big Apple. All three of you already have Around the Horn’s All-Star vote to go to St. Louis next year.

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Day 2 in the Big Apple – Game Day

7-15 All Star.jpgApparently there is an All-Star Game going on in New York. At least that’s what Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Mike Swanson (Swanee) keeps telling Around the Horn.

If you watched last night, the Home Run Derby was by all accounts, amazing. The Rangers’ Josh Hamilton didn’t get the memo that Yankee Stadium isn’t scheduled for demolition until this off season and started working on that last night, launching a total of 35 homers into the stands (this is an 8-mintue video) with several into the 3rd deck and one off Bank of America sign on the back wall of the stadium. Minnesota’s Justin Morneau edged him in the finals by a score of 5-3. The AL Central’s other entrant was impressive too, Cleveland’s Grady Sizemore didn’t make it out of the first round. Swanee was in charge of the AL Derby contestants and his other guy, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria hit three.

7-15 HR Derby.JPGSwanee had good seats for the show, sitting behind Chicago’s Joe Crede. That’s Hamilton at the plate during his historic first round. He broke Bobby Abreu’s 2005 record of 24 first rounder shots, with 28 last night.

Around the Horn is curious if Swanee’s neck is okay from craning his neck to watch all the shots Hamilton and Morneau, both lefties, hit to right field (they combined for 57 bombs during the competition).

If you were curious, the longest homer in the Majors this season (according to Hit Tracker Online) is 485 feet by Adam Dunn just last week on July 10th. That is not an official measurement but the estimated true or actual distance the home run would have flown if it had traveled all the way back to the field level.

If you check that site out, you’ll notice that John Buck owns the longest home run by standard distance at 478 feet, which is the same as true distance but factors out wind, temperature and altitude. Buck’s April 9th shot is also second on Hit Tracker’s charts for speed off bat, which estimates his homer came off the bat at 121.6 mph.

7-15 Fox.jpgToday, Swanee has been all over New York. FOX was setting up and rolling out the red carpet for the parade.

7-15 Radio City.jpgThe All-Star parade ran right past Radio City Music Hall. Swanee didn’t say if he stop7-15 Ben Aken.jpgped to see a show.

He did see Royals Director of Community Relations Ben Aken who’s in New York helping with some of the All-Star games charity work. In this picture he’s standing off to the side of the Boys and Girls Club.


7-15 Brett.jpgAnd he saw former Cubs’ star Mark Grace interviewing a Hall of Famer you should all recognize. And since we were talking homers in Yankee Stadium, George Brett is a very fitting choice for Grace to talk to.

Brett hit 17 regular season and five postseason homers in the “House that Ruth Built” and holds a lifetime .311 average there.

Royals fans won’t forget the “Pine Tar” Game or his homer in the 1980 playoffs.

7-15 Soria.jpgAnd lastly, but definitely not least, Swanee saw the All-Star Joakim Soria with his wife, Karla.

Again today. Big thanks to Swanee and we here at Around the Horn who are still in Kansas City hope he’s having a great time in New York.

He’s on AL Clubhouse duty tonight for the game. You can be close to the action too without even being in the Big Apple. FOX will have complete coverage of the game tonight which starts at 7 p.m. CT.

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All-Star Festivities

All-Star Soria.jpgThe Royals have three representatives at the All-Star game this week. Joakim Soria is the only player, but Director of Community Relations Ben Aken is helping Major League Baseball’s efforts to promote the game throughout New York. Hopefully we can get an update and maybe some photos from him as the week goes by.

The Royals other All-Star, Vice President of Communications and Broadcasting Mike Swanson (Swanee) has already been plenty busy. But he’s taking pictures with his phone (he apologizes for the quality) and keeping tabs on Soria for all of us back here in Kansas City.

7-14 Presser 1.JPGThis morning, the All-Stars had a 50-minute “assembly-line” media session. Swanee said the players were just lined up in a conference room and media made stops at each table.

Soria was conducting interviews with everybody who came by and in as many languages as he could speak (Around the Horn is pretty sure that’s just two, English and his native tongue Spanish).

One note about his heritage, Soria is the only Mexican player on either All-Star roster. In fact there are only 15 Mexican players who have played in the Majors this season and just 103 to ever play in the Majors. In comparison, the Dominican Republic has fielded 115 players in 2008.

Soria is the most dominant Mexican pitcher of all-time (only pitchers with at least 10 appearances were considered). His current 2.09 ERA in 112 innings edges Cy Acosta, who held a 2.66 ERA over 186 innings from 1972-75. And his batting average against is a full 40 points lower than Jose Cecena who established a .213 average against in 22 games in 1988 (Acosta holds a .216 batting average against).   

7-14 Presser 2.JPGSwanee told Around the Horn that Soria was stationed between two popular stops, Carlos Quentin of the White Sox and the Yankees Mariano Rivera (he’s the cause of the glare from the lights in the picture). Quentin is currently second in the American League in home runs (22) and RBI (70).

While Rivera, one of three players representing the host team, is considered one of the greatest closers of all-time. He’s putting together another solid season this year, sixth in the A.L. in saves with 23 which happens to be one spot and two saves behind Soria who’s 5th and tied a Royals pre-All-Star break record with 25 saves.

7-14 Derby.jpgHome Run Derby Tonight
Swanee also reports that he’s in charge of the American League Home Run Derby players. He sent Around the Horn a photo from their press conference. Representing the league with the DH, will be four non-DH’s. Swanee should have an easy time with a pair of divisional opponents,  Minnesota’s Justin Morneau and Clevland’s Grady Sizemore, in the mix. The A.L. will also send the Ranger’s Josh Hamilton, Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria to the plate. The National League will have Houston’s Lance Berkman, the Brewers’ Ryan Braun, the Marlin’s Dan Uggla and Philadelphia’s Chase Utley vying for the title.

7-14 HR Conf.jpgSwanee’s American League guys are featured in the photo, going from left to right Hamilton (in red), Longoria, Morneau and Sizemore. Angel’s slugger Vladimir Guerrero hit 17 homers last year in San Francisco to win it all. Around the Horn doesn’t have a favorite, but is just pulling for the American League to keep the title. The Derby starts at 7 p.m. CT on ESPN. For more coverage, go here.

Around the Horn hopes to deliver more All-Star coverage throughout the week, keeping in touch with our inside man in New York. Swanee, thanks for the photos.

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