Results tagged ‘ Renovations ’

Renovation Update

The Kauffman Stadium renovations have been one of our most popular features on Around the Horn. On Wednesday, we’ll bring you new pictures as we count down to April 10. Look for a late afternoon post. Until then, check out the galleries at royals.com or our earlier ATH photos (October and December).

Also on Wednesday, be sure to watch the local television news and sports in Kansas City. We’ve invited them out for a look at the stadium.

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Stadium Renovations

Here are a few more behind-the-scenes photos from Kauffman Stadium. These pictures were taken on December 10, so the project has progressed in a week. Be sure to check out the photo galleries, webcams, and renovations news on royals.com.

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We start with a wide shot of the snow-filled field. The batting cage was out, but no one was taking cuts on this cool day.

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Stadium 12.10 017.jpgNext, we move inside for a look at the widened concourse on the plaza level (left). Notice that the new concession stands are in place, just a few months after demolition work started in this area. On the right is a concession area on the Loge Level.

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On the left, scaffolding is in place as work continues on the new Stadium Club. On the right, steel is in place in the former View Box seats. This area will house the new press box.

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Finally, here’s a look at some of the new additions on the outside of the original stadium. On the left are the new escalators that will service the Loge and View Levels. The glass on the right is on a new office building. This level of the building will house the Royals front office. The ground floor will feature a team store and ticket office, while the roof will be the food court for the View Level. The picture on the right shows the new panels on the outside of the stadium.

Check back for more photos as we count down the days to the April 10 opener!

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Waiver wars, renovation photos

Jairo Cuevas (pronounced “HIGH-row KWAY-vahs”) was a Brave, then a Royal, then a Brave, and now…a Royal…all in the matter of six and a half weeks. The Royals now have 39 players on their 40-man roster after they re-claimed the right-handed pitcher from Atlanta. Kansas City originally claimed Cuevas on October 24. Atlanta re-claimed him on November 26.

Cuevas, 24, made just seven appearances (six starts) in the Braves organization this season for Mississippi (AA) and the Gulf Coast Braves (R).  The 6-foot-2, 217-pounder underwent season-ending surgery on his labrum in his right shoulder on Aug. 22.  The resident of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, was the 2005 Danville (R) Most Valuable Pitcher of the Year, going 6-1 with a 1.95 ERA in 27 appearances, including 23 starts.  He was originally signed by the Braves as a non-drafted free agent on March 20, 2003.

Renovation photos

This morning, we had the chance to take a tour of Kauffman Stadium. Recent snowfall prevented us from checking out the outfield experience, but we have some new pictures that will be posted soon, so check back!

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Renovations: Loge Level

One of the biggest undertakings of 2008-09 offseason is the transformation of Loge Level. In 2009, Kauffman Stadium will feature a new press box, new broadcast booths, and expanded suite options. Let’s take a look.
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This picture from section 118 shows the demolition that has been done on the Loge Level from the press box to the Stadium Club.

Press Area.jpgOn the field level. the Diamond Club is being built. The old press box will house new radio and television booths. Sections in the View Level have been removed for the new writing press box.

As we proceed into this area, you can get an idea of the large amount of space that was cleared. The picture below is from the old concourse on Loge Level. This area housed offices and the press dining club. On the right is an up close and personal look at the areas that were removed for the new press box. This is the view that writers, including MLB.com’s Dick Kaegel, will have in 2009. 

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New Press Box.jpg Our tour concludes in the old Stadium Club area. This area is being transformed into a smaller Stadium Club, along with new Party Suites for 2009.

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Riding along on a carousel

One of the major family features at the renovated Kauffman Stadium is an expanded kids’ area. This area will include a Royals-themed carousel. The carousel will feature 15 figures, including large baseball bats, a glove, and Sluggerrr. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the carousel figures that are currently being carved by hand.

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Renovations: The Outfield

Today we bring you more photos of the renovations at Kauffman Stadium, with a focus on the outfield experience. In 2009, you can take in a Royals game from a new view. You’ll have more chances to catch a home run and on a summer day, the mist from the fountains will keep you cool.

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HallofFame2.jpgIn left field, the Royals Hall of Fame is taking shape. This area will also house five group suites that can host gatherings of 20 to 150 people. Outfield Box sections 104, 105, and 106 will be between the visitor’s bullpen and the Hall of Fame building. Check out those sections on the 2009 seating chart.

 

 

  

LeftFieldFountains.jpgAs we move to left center field, you can see that the Tri-Vision signs are getting a new look. Outfield Box sections 101, 102, and 103 will be in front of the left field fountains. The new seating that surrounds the old Jumbotron platform will be Fountain Pavilion seating (sections 201, 202, and 203). Tickets in the Fountain Pavilion are just $7 for non-premium games. These tickets will be available only on the day of the game, so get to the stadium early!

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Here’s a closer look at center field, where the outfield wall has been removed. Construction crews are doing heavy dirt work in this area.

 

 

 

 

RightField.jpgThe right field area will feature a restaurant with a great view of the field.

Now you’ve seen a few of the new amenities in the outfield. Wet conditions prevented us from taking a close-up tour of the Outfield Plaza, the area beyond the new buildings and CrownVision. Look for a photo posting later in the offseason on the these features.

 

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Renovations: View Level

Today ATH took a tour of Kauffman Stadium. It was rainy when we arrived but the construction crews were still hard at work (the sun came out just in time). We hope to bring you pictures throughout the offseason.  Today we will start with a tour of some of the new features on View Level.

Stadium 10.17 013.jpgFirst, we want to show you a view from outside of the stadium. You are looking north, with the first base spiral on the right. The new building with the glass will house the ticket office and team store on street level. The next two levels are administrative offices. The roof of the building will have a food court for the View Level (below left).

 

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On the right are the new escalators you’ll use to access the View Level and the food court.

Here’s a look toward the stadium. As you can see, this level now features more space for amenities and foot traffic.

 
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Stadium 10.17 062.jpgNow that you’ve seen your first stop, the food court, we want to show you to your seats. We’re installing new steps in the View Level aisles to make your experience more comfortable.

 

 

 

 

Our final picture is out toward the field. You can see why we call it View Level! Be sure to check back next week as we bring you more pictures of the Kauffman Stadium renovations!

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Renovations Update, Arizona Fall League Blog



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Drivers on I-70 get a glimpse of the changes at Kauffman Stadium, which has been abuzz with activity since the Royals closed out the home slate on September 21st. If you want a better view, you’ve come to the right place. On Friday, ATH will take a behind the scenes tour of Kauffman Stadium. Look for an afternoon post, the first in a series of photo updates of the renovations as we count down to the home opener, 177 days from today. If you can’t wait until Friday, check out the renovations webcams. You can control the views, both inside and outside of the stadium.

Also, be sure to check out one of our fellow blogs on royals.com. Last week we told you about the Kansas City prospects participating in the Arizona Fall League. Now, those players are posting on their own blog, Royals in the AFL. Outfielders Joe Dickerson and Brian McFall have shared their initial experiences. Look for more posts from the group of prospects.

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Touch 'em All: Victor Rojas on growing up at the K, calling the game he loves and riding in wood-paneled station wagons.

10-3 Victor Rojas.JPGOne of the great things about baseball is the connections that extend throughout the game. People with Royals ties are all over the sport. The Texas Rangers alone have former pitcher Steve Busby broadcasting for them and their Executive Vice President, Communications and Public Relations is former catcher Jim Sundberg.

Former second baseman Cookie Rojas is also tied to the Rangers. One of his sons, Victor, has been broadcasting for them for five years. Victor has a unique perspective of the Royals and Kansas City. He was growing up when the team was experiencing its surge in the 70s and 80s. Victor is a Kansas Citian (a graduate of Blue Valley High School) who’s gone on to do big things in baseball. He serves as an English language play-by-play broadcaster for the Caribbean Series. He’s broadcast the Major League All-Star Game and he’s put together six seasons as a broadcaster in the Majors.

Victor was with the Rangers when they came to Kansas City in late August. And on their last day in town, he sat down with Around the Horn in one of the radio booths during batting practice to chat. With the renovations under way during the interview and now kicked into full swing, we asked Victor what he thought about the state of the stadium and asked about a few of his favorite memories. So here’s the final Touch ‘em All interview from the 2008 season. Hope you enjoy…

Around the Horn: Having spent time in Kansas City when you were younger, what does seeing the stadium going through renovation mean to you?

Victor Rojas: It makes me excited to see what the finished product will look like. I spent so many summers here, down in the tunnels and in the family room and all that stuff. Just from an aesthetic standpoint, this ballpark has been spectacular from day one for me. You see the plans that are in place, and for me anyways, just because of the connection I have to the city, you just can’t help but be excited to see the finished ballpark.


10-3 Cookie 1.jpgATH:
You would have been eight or so when your dad finished playing?

VR: When he retired, I was in the fifth grade. I remember they had Cookie Rojas Night in September of ’77. I remember that like it was yesterday. Both sets of my grandparents were here. They brought us out and gave my dad a wood-paneled Volare Station Wagon. Which we took to Spring Training the next spring when my dad was a coach for the Chicago Cubs.

ATH: Good times in the old station wagon (thoughts of the Griswolds dancing through ATH head)?

VR: (he laughs) Plymouth Volare, yea. (laughs again)

ATH: Obviously the ballpark has undergone some transformation since you were young. They’ve taken out the turf and put in grass and the scoreboards and the fences moving in and then back out. When you look out and see this kind of a change to the ballpark, is it heart warming or are you a little sentimental?

VR: No, no, no, no. I think because the general feeling and thought process of the facility is remaining intact. You’re just kind of adding around it. I think the integrity of the ballpark remains. For me, of course the signature pieces are the crown scoreboard and the fountains out in right and into left-center. Because those things are staying and you get to see I-70 in the background, that’s the view that I always had and it will remain, with some tweaking in the left field corner and the right field corner and some seats adjusting and stuff like that.

10-3 Kauffman.jpgI think the best thing they did prior to this whole renovation process was: Number 1, take the turf out and put grass in and then go to the blue seats. It just makes the stadium pop. I know that if I weren’t in baseball and weren’t working in it, I’d come here every chance I got. I know the Royals have gone through some tough times over the last few seasons, but because of the memories I’ve had here, I love coming here. I love seeing the people who are still working in the front office – the few that are still here – and just coasting around the stadium.

ATH: Growing up with a father playing baseball, and then playing some minor league ball yourself, how did you ultimately get into broadcasting?

VR: The broadcasting thing was a whim. I was really young in high school. I was a 16-year-old senior at Blue Valley. I turned 17 in February and graduated in May. I wasn’t quite ready to play baseball at the collegiate level, or at least I didn’t think I was anyway. I was overwhelmed on a recruiting visit to Cal State-Fullerton. And because of that, we moved down to Florida right after I graduated in ’86. I graduated in ’85, but we moved in ’86.

So to pass the time, I was just going to take a year off, but my dad said why don’t you go to this radio broadcasting school and learn the business. And I did that for a year. Then I went on to play college baseball and the rest is history from that standpoint.

It was about 2000, the fall of 2000. I was kind of in one of those situations where – not a mid-life crisis – but I was kind of tired of doing what I was doing. So I thought maybe I’ll give this broadcasting thing a try. I had a friend that was coaching for the Newark Bears and Rick Cerone – the former catcher – owned the team and so I sent them my resume. The plan was, let me sign as an independent league player and in my off time, work with the radio station, do some interviews and kind of get into it that way. Well I’d worked in professional sports and Cerone didn’t want me as a player, not at 31, 32 yeas of age. But he said “You can come up here and you can put the team together since it’s independent ball, and then you can do color on the radio.”

I went up there and 30 days later – the way I tell it – our play-by-play guy quit before the season, so I became the play-by-play guy. And then a month later, our GM got fired and so I became the General Manager. So that was the beginning of my broadcasting career as the GM and play-by-play guy of the Newark Bears. I did that for two years.

Actually after my first year, I got in contact with this little thing called MLB Radio, which is now MLB.TV, Gameday Audio and a bunch of other things. They had some shows during the season and I got hired, in 2002, to do a morning show Monday through Friday. That led to doing the All-Star game in Milwaukee – the famous tie – for MLB.com. Then that off-season, a friend of mine decided to hook me up with an agent. He said, I’ll listen to your stuff and critique you, but I can’t take you on as a client, you can use me as a mentor type deal. And that winter the Diamondbacks were looking for a guy. Kevin Kennedy was also one of his clients and they said no to Kevin Kennedy because they wanted somebody full-time to do all the games and he was still doing some FOX games. So they hired me. And then the next offseason, the Rangers contacted me and hired me and I’ve been with them ever since. So really it was all just chance and luck – being in the right place at the right time.


10-3 Victor Rojas 1.jpgATH:
Some broadcasters have a bit of a learning curve moving from the National League to American League with different players, teams and some rule differences. Which do you prefer?

VR: It’s a completely different style of baseball. I really enjoyed spending time in the National League. For some reason the games are shorter. At least in my mind, the games are shorter, even with double switches and the like.

I think there’s more strategy involved, just from that standpoint in how you use your bench – the quality of the guys that you have to bring in late in games and stuff like that.  So I enjoyed that, but there’s no doubt about the familiarity. So I guess I am kind of an American League guy and will always be that way.

ATH: Did you ever get to go on the road with your dad when you were young?

VR: The only time I remember going on the road, it might have been ’76 or ’77. There was a family trip to California. We went to Anaheim and Oakland. I remember Anaheim because we went to Disneyland. And I remember Oakland because I remember taking my first helicopter ride over Alcatraz and back in those days, the A’s were pretty good. So they packed them in and they put the visiting families up the first base line in the upper deck. I remember my mom was royally, royally, upset about it. She couldn’t wait to get back here and tell the folks in the ticket office here. And my brother caught a foul ball, which was the first foul ball I’ve ever seen a friend of mine catch in a game.

I think that’s the only trip I remember going on when he was playing. I’ve visited with him since then when he was working.

ATH: Growing up in Kansas City, would you say that Kansas City is your favorite place to visit when you’re on the road with the Rangers?

VR: Yea. People ask me all the time what’s your favorite ballpark? What’s your favorite city? This place will always have a pull for me. It will always be the number one place for me. We stay at the Plaza, I have friends here. So this will always be number one for me. Personally this is the place for me. Seattle would be nice because I like the city and the ballpark.

10-3 Kauffman 2.jpgOf the newer ballparks, Pittsburgh is probably for me, the nicest, aesthetically, with the Roberto Clemente bridge and everything. But for me, Kansas City will always be number one because of the ties.

ATH: When you’re calling a game, what do you pull from? Is it the years that you watched when you were younger or is it mostly from your time playing?

VR: I think it’s a combination. I think, just like anything else, the more you do it, the more comfortable you feel. The more times you see things, you react in certain ways. I think you just draw on your own experiences to decipher what’s going on on the field and be able to explain it from a broadcasting standpoint, especially on radio, where you have limited time. When your doing color and you’re not on the play-by-play side, you have to get everything in between pitches. I think you fall back to, if something happens that you recall a specific instance when you were a player and that happened to you, then sure that pops up.

But for me, I follow baseball so much, I have a pretty decent recall where I can say “Hey, wasn’t there a situation a couple years ago with the Yankees and the Red Sox…” and I kind of base my explanation on those experiences as opposed to just what I did on a baseball field or what my dad did on a baseball field. The ins and outs and the nuts and bolts of the games, where you’re supposed to throw on a cut-off man and baserunning blunders, that kind of stuff is like second nature to me. I don’t know how to explain it. It’s just there. But as far as the storytelling part of it and what happened in your life, if that maybe coincides on the field then I can relate it or maybe fall back on what I’ve seen my dad go through?

ATH: Is that type of thing that you enjoy about what you do now, is the storytelling?

VR: Yea. And it all depends about the time of year. Both of our teams are out of it. A month ago, we were talking about the Rangers and the Wild Card and they were four and a half games out of it. So we were talking about the excitement of August and September.

But now, you do have to rely on different ways to keep the listener interested. Maybe you’ll bring in some off-field kind of stuff, like I was playing golf this morning with a couple buddies and a funny thing happened. If the game is out of hand and there’s some dead space, so you bring that kind of stuff up. A game like last night, it was two hours and change. You’ve got two pretty good guys going out there and throwing the ball well with a couple unearned runs, that’s all baseball. But the Rangers tend to play a lot of three, three and a half hour games.

ATH: You and your dad were both in the Angels organization. Were you there at the same time when you were in their minor league system?


10-3 Cookie 2.jpgVR:
Dad was there from ’82 through ’92, so the first couple of years of my minor league career.

ATH: What was that like? Did you get to work with him?

VR: Didn’t see him at all. He did come out. He was actually managing in ’88, when I was out in college in the desert in Palm Springs, California. I actually spent the summer with him that year. But when I actually started playing for the Angels, maybe one time he came to Arizona in ’90, but that was when he was scouting.

ATH: Were you a clubhouse kid when you were growing up?

VR: Oh yea. Today’s players are younger and aren’t married or don’t have kids. But it seemed like when I was growing up, from Marty Pattin to Al Fitzmorris to B-Mac to Kimmer Brett. There were tons of guys downstairs, Dusty Wathan, it just seemed like there were kids all over the place.  Amos Otis’s kids were there.

Now it’s like the kids that are there are babies. I think it’s just from that standpoint that guys are getting to the big leagues a lot faster.

ATH: What were some of your favorite memories from those years?

VR: The best part for me it just going out and shagging during batting practice.  Dad was pretty strict about going out and shagging and once B.P. is over, shower up and get out of the clubhouse. This is where we work, respect that and I still carry that over to today. I go downstairs, get my lineup and get out. I don’t hang out down there.

In this ballpark, the best times we ever had were during the games in the family room with the tape-ball game we would have. We would end in nine innings and we were just drenched in sweat. And there was this dolly, kind of like a thing that paramedics use. It was almost like a stretcher on wheels. Well there was one in there and we would stand on it, lean it back and race it around the room with it. That was to me the best part of it. Just hanging out with the guys…and having a crush on Jenny Splittorff. (Around the Horn and Victor both laugh)

ATH: Well, it’s a good thing that was caught on tape. Thank you so much for your time.

VR: No problem.


10-3 Victor Rojas 2.jpgEXTRA BASES WITH VICTOR ROJAS

Greatest Hitter: Don Mattingly, for me. I have personal reasons behind that. Even before I met him, I just loved his approach at the plate. My daughter’s name is Mattingly. Her name is Mattingly Grace and not after Marl Grace. Her grandmother’s name is Grace.
Greatest Pitcher: Not because he’s our boss or the team president, but Nolan Ryan. It’s tough to argue with Roger Clemens and what he did in his career, especially early on and in college. From my forty years on this earth and the limited guys I’ve seen, it’d probably have to be Nolan Ryan. I say Nolan, but the term greatest is tough to define. With what I’ve seen I have to say him because of the strikeouts and the no-hitters and just overall dominance. And he did it in such a fashion that he was almost humble that he did something. I mean Randy Johnson was fun to watch in Arizona, but it has to be Nolan.
World Series: I’m a huge Joe Maddon fan because he was my minor league coordinator when I was in the Angels system. That being said, I’m going to go with the Angels and the Cubs probably in the National League. It’ll probably be the Cubs and the Angels and I’ll go with the Angels because they probably have the upper hand in pitching.

The Final (Con)Quest

The Royals opened their final road trip last night with a 6-2 victory over the Tigers. They are now one-game back from the Bengals as Trey Hillman’s club continues to play well in September.

Hillman has said he wants to finish out of the cellar and the team is responding. 9-23 DeJesus.jpgThey have shaved 7.5 games off their fifth-place deficit since August 31. How? Let’s go Around the Horn…

First
David DeJesus placed the Royals on his back last night, collecting seven total bases and falling a homer shy of the cycle. In his seventh career four-hit effort, DeJesus scored twice and added his 73rd RBI of the season. He’s hit in 13 straight, averaging .420 over his streak.

That has been an absolute key to the September surge. Timely hitting has carried the Royals with three separate players compiling hitting streaks of 10 or more games this month. Joining DeJesus is Jose Guillen who had a career-high 14 gamer from Sept. 4-17 and has hits in 17 of his last 19 games. The Royals also have found a regular second baseman in the wake of Mark Grudzielanek’s season ending early with Alberto Callaspo, who has both looked solid turning the double play and is in the midst of a career-high 16-game hitting streak. Callaspo’s streak is tied for the longest by any Royal this season. 9-23 Guillen.jpgGuess who has the other 16-game hitting streak in 2008? Here’s a hint, his initials are D.D. and he wears No. 9.

Thanks to these three, the Boys in Blue are delivering for their manager in a big way. They are 8-2 in their last 10 and 14-7 in September. They own the highest American League September batting average at .295, they are second to only Cleveland in the A.L. in wins this month and the pitching staff’s 3.88 ERA is third with their .239 opponent’s average second.

Second
The Royals may have only three game left on FSN-Kansas City, but it turns out they have four more TV games. Saturday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, who are 2.5 games behind the White Sox at the moment, has been moved to FOX. The Twins, who are home against Chicago now, may still be vying for their playoff lives.

Instead of a 6:10 start, the game will now begin at 2:55 with Gil Meche making his last start of the season. The change will mark the Royals second exposure to the FOX spotlight this summer. You may recall the blisteringly hot day in Kansas City on August 2, when the Royals played the White Sox on FOX.

In the first of two-straight 19-hit affairs, the Royals beat the Pale Hose, 9-7. 9-23 Meche.jpgThe temperature at first pitch that day was 95, but the heat index soared to over 110. So don’t miss it this Saturday, the Royals will get in on the playoff action again, playing the second game of a three-game season-ending series.

Short
David DeJesus’ four-hit effort last night is his third at Comerica, where he is hitting .357 in 36 career games…Gil Meche became the Royals first 13-game winner since Paul Byrd notched 17 wins in 2002…The team’s 14 September wins are the most since 2000 (14-14) with a 15th victory being the best since 1987 (15-13).

Third
Around the Horn would like to announce that due to the ongoing renovations at Kauffman Stadium, we had to vacate yesterday, leaving behind our old press box and working environment. The only thing left populating the offices where we once worked are construction workers who are busy tearing those offices apart. It was a sad day for all of us who were moving yesterday. That press box was the original, created in 1973. We just thought you, our loyal readers, would like to know what’s up with us.

Reminders: The Royals Charities car auction on September 26. Vote for Mark Teahen for the Roberto Clemente Award and Buddy Blattner, Fred White and Ryan Lefebvre for the Ford C. Frick Award

Today’s lineup:
DeJesus CF
Aviles 2B
Guillen RF
Shealy 1B
Teahen LF
Butler DH
Gordon 3B
Olivo C
Pena SS

Greinke P

Today’s <official a NotesOfficial Game Notes.

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