Results tagged ‘ Negro Leagues ’
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.
We wanted to get this up, we’ve got a good story:
Royals outfielder Joey Gathright has a sense of history. He understands what the game he plays was built upon. He volunteered to don Jackie Robinson’s uniform number earlier this season to honor the man who broke the color barrier. He was one of four Royals to do so on Jackie Robinson Day this year. Gathright credits Robinson with influencing his education and showing him the opportunity in the world of baseball.
Today gave him another chance to honor the history of the game, while making some Royals’ history too. After all, seven-run comebacks don’t happen everyday. They are pretty unique. And Gathright had the game-winning hit, while wearing the same jersey Robinson did – a Kansas City Monarchs’ jersey.
It was Salute to the Negro Leagues Day held in conjunction with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City. It was the second largest comeback in Royals history (nine runs is the largest deficit the Royals have ever overcome along with six other seven-run comebacks).
Technically, Gathright didn’t actually wear the same jersey Robinson wore. Robinson played for the Monarchs in 1945 only. The uniforms the Royals wore today honored the 1951-52 Monarchs. The Royals did wear Robinson’s jersey last season in honor of the 60th anniversary of Robinson playing in the Majors. Over the years, the Royals have also worn the 1924, 1942, 1945, 1948 and 1949 uniforms.
Director of the Royals Hall of Fame Curt Nelson said the Royals will try to pair their uniforms with a historic date in Monarchs history, like Robinson’s 60th Anniversary year, his lone year with Kansas City (1945 and 2005) and the Monarchs’ first championship (1924 and 2004).
Meanwhile, the San Francisco Giants put on throwbacks honoring the 1927 Royal Giants, a team which barnstormed up and down the California coast and traveled abroad. With roots in northern California, the all-star team traveled to Hawaii, Korea and Japan hoping to spread the game. The Royal Giants went 35-2-1 on the Goodwill Tour.
The tour’s impact, along with the other Negro League teams and Major League all-stars who traveled abroad, is still felt today. Two Japanese pitchers threw today (The Royals’ Yasuhiko Yabuta and The Giants’ Keiichi Yabu). Trey Hillman managed in Japan and the country won the inaugural World Baseball Classic. There is even a team in Japan called the Yomiuri Giants which formed in 1936. Coincidence?
Nelson said today’s Giants uniforms were based almost solely off one picture of the barnstormers. The only picture the Negro Leagues Museum had. It features Hall of Famer Raliegh “Biz” Mackey and a few other Royal Giants players. They are wearing grey pin-stripes with an interlocking “RG.”
Nelson said Ray Doswell, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Curator, believes the jerseys featured a brownish-orange or brownish-yellow logo.
Nelson said a lot of teams call the Royals for advice on their Negro Leagues throwbacks. A very non-exhaustive search turns up quite a few examples of throwbacks over the last couple of years, including the Orioles, the Cardinals, the Nationals, and the Brewers who played the Royals in Milwaukee last season.
But it all originates in Kansas City, with the Museum being the defining authority on uniform accuracy and respectfully honoring the past. The Royals have been partnering with the Museum since 1994. Gathright has been here for three of them and he said was significant.
“They paved the way for me and to wear the uniform of the Monarchs, one of the major teams in that league, is very special. And it’s even better to get the game-winning hit on a day like today.”
The team had a successful trip to Arizona,winning the series over the Diamondbacks. And they are enjoying their day off in St. Louis.
This week is the first of two Cardinals weeks. It’s blue versus red – the I-70 Series 23 years later. The Royals encourage all of you to sport your blue this week and attend the watch party tomorrow in the Kansas City Power & Light District.
With that said, let’s go around the horn…
How about that starting pitching of late? Gil Meche threw four perfect innings yesterday. Yea, perfect. Meche did eventually allow three runs, but he got the win and finished off a nice series win over the Diamondbacks.
As for the rest of the rotation…They’ve delivered. Meche, rookie Luke Hochevar, Zack Greinke, Brian Bannister and tomorrow’s starter Kyle Davies have been sharp over the last week. In pitching 46.1 innings, the group has a 2.53 ERA. That’s 13 earned runs during a seven game span. Royals’ starters have allowed just 3 homers and struck out 36 (big thanks to Meche for his 10 K’s yesterday) during those seven games. Now that is quality pitching.
Royals broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre said it during yesterday’s FSN-KC broadcast. David DeJesus is locked in right now. The praise came after the Royals outfielder hit his first career grand slam into Arizona’s version of a splash down – the pool in right-center field. DeJesus is hitting .350 over his last 20 games, which includes a 12-game hitting streak. DeJesus has 11 extra base hits during that span including four homers.
Recently recalled Mike Aviles is killing the ball with a .368 average and a .711 slugging percentage over his last 10 games…Jose Guillen is too, extending his hitting streak to 10 games and upping his average to a season high .288.
This weekend spells a ton of great stuff for fans. Three games versus the San Francisco Giants and three great promotions.
Friday: The Royals present Kansas City’s largest firework show ever, The Sky Show hosted by Pepsi and 99.7 The Boulevard…The Royals are 4-2 in interleague play this season.
Saturday: Alex Gordon Bobblehead Night…The Royals are 1-0 on Bobblehead nights this season, winning 4-2 on Big John Mayberry night versus Cleveland
Sunday: Salute to Negro Leagues Day and Kansas City Monarch Caps…For one day, it’ll be the Monarchs versus the San Francisco Seals as both teams will wear Negro Leagues throwbacks.
Hope to see you out at the K this weekend and remember, it’s the first of two Cardinals weeks…WEAR YOUR BLUE.