Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Here we go again...

The other day I posted a quote from John Buck regarding the team's attitude:

"Rather than here were go again, it was now we are going to get the job done."

I loved the quote, and I loved that the Royals were taking a more ballsy approach to situations where they had fallen behind in a game.

Too bad they're back into the "here we go again" mindset. Before tonight, all the games in KC's current losing streak -- second in length only to Houston's 10-gamer -- were entirely made up of "here we go again" moments. Fall behind early, and never scrape up any runs in retaliation. Ever. Well, the 2nd part of that theme held true tonight, as Baltimore held KC scoreless in the series finale.

What a shame that Gil Meche's solid performance had to be wasted... 7.1 innings and 1 run allowed should be good enough, right? (It certainly was on Opening Day!) Greinke really wasn't too bad either, from the sound of it. (I am going NUTS during this long stretch without televised games. Come back to me, RSTN!!!)

Speaking of televised games...
- Does the Royals Sports Television Network (RSTN) make Kansas City win? It's entirely possible; check it out:

When Royals games are televised on RSTN (including games that are aired only on Channel 38 in KC), their winning percentage is .400, compared to a .214 winning percentage when they're not on TV and an overall .352 wpc. It took them until May 17 to win a game that was not televised. Tomorrow night's game will be televised, so I have some hope that the losing streak will end.

Here's some negative random stats, because I'm not in a good frame of mind like I was last week when I posted positive random stats:
- KC has been outscored 291-211 on the season. The way the last 7 games have gone, I'm left to wonder where we possibly came up with 211...
- The Royals have only won 3 games against left-handed starters
- The Royals have won zero games and have been outscored 44-10 since I sprained my ankle. How am I supposed to feel better when this is what my team does for me?

And lastly...I never thought I'd say this, but I'm glad KC is going on the road. To have them play so much better on the road is about the last thing I expected to have happen, but there it is. Also, check out Buddy Bell's eyes in the picture in that article. That's about as scary as being 9-20 at home.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Locusts, frogs, boils, famine, darkness...

The good news about being injured is that I can stay home and keep better track of the Royals. The bad news is, I have to be at home to hear all the excruciating details. Let's take a peek at the key phrases in the headlines from the last few games:
Lopsided defeat
Falls prey
Not enough


These are desparate words, more fitting of dying honeybee populations than my baseball team. What happened to those good Royals about whom I wrote last week? The Royals that would battle rather than lie down and die?

These last five games have been pathetic, and things need to improve NOW. I was rather enjoying having a better record than the Cardinals, but thanks to this awful streak, that joyous tidbit is no longer true.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Who put that crab there??

At about 2:30 in this video -- a clip from the fine movie Hot Shots! -- is what I wish I had been clever enough to say when I took a tumble off the dugout at work last night. Instead, I think it was more of an, "Ouch, that sucked. Ouch. Uhhh...paramedics, maybe?"

Allow me to back up a bit:
In my life, I've fallen up stairs a large number of times, with varying degrees of awkwardness and varying sizes of audiences. However, I almost never fall down them. But last night, as I was heading over to one lucky section to hand out coupons after a Joey Gathright double, I slipped on an oddly sized step and fell down. That was odd, and a fairly embarrassing thing to do in front of a good Friday crowd, but it didn't hurt.

A few innings later, my coworker Kaylee and I were messing around (unsuccessfully) with Hula Hoops on top of the Royals' dugout. After we were done making fools of ourselves (well, she was, but I had more up my sleeve in the fool-making department) we went to get off the dugout and into the adjoining camera well, which is our Base of Operations. There is a small set of steps next to the dugout that leads down in to the camera well, and I thought I could jump down on to those steps.

I was wrong.

Instead of making a graceful landing and entrance into the camera well, my left foot went one direction on the corner of a step, and the rest of my leg went the other way.

Okay, now we're back to where I started: the point at which I wish I was smooth enough to say, "Who put that crab there?"

Once again, I found myself in a position to find out who the Nice Guys in Baseball (prounounced in-Gibs for those of you who like to phoeneticize your acronyms) are. Because my little fall happened between innings, the entire Royals team was in the dugout right next to me. So yes, superstar players like Billy Butler and so forth totally saw my spazziest moment of all time. Talk about awkward. However, they were all kind enough to not laugh at me, and a few were terribly concerned for my well-being. Two players I've written about before for their extrime kindness toward fans, Gathright and Matt Wright, were about 2 feet from me and saw the whole thing. Though he couldn't offer medical help -- Rosenblatt has medics for that purpose -- Wright was immensely helpful in keeping me from passing out. He brought me a cup of water from the team's cooler, reminded me to breathe, offered me sunflower seeds, anything to distract me from my pain. I really appreciated that, because I'm well aware that if I had lost consciousness at any point, it would have added a lot of extra time in the hospital, and I really didn't want that!

After a short time, the stadium medics came down with some ice and an ankle-stabilizing brace. Then came the tricky part: How to best get me from the bottom of the stairs to the concourse so I could get to the hospital? I flat-out refused to try walking, because it looked like it could be fractured. So God bless these guys, they carried me up to the main walkway, where there was a wheelchair waiting. They wheeled me through the vomitory and to the first aid room. Because I'm only 18 and therefore incapable of any care for myself, my older brother had to come get me to take me to the hospital (my other option was riding in an ambulance, but that seemed kind of extreme and unnecessary). While I was waiting in the first aid room, I became very angry. You see, the O-Royals have been awesome lately, and are on quite a winning streak. They were behind by a few runs when I went out through that vomitory (ha! Twice in one paragraph!), but I missed the amazing comeback. I called my dad and opened with these thoughts:
-The good news is that the O-Royals mounted an awesome comeback to win it, but
-The bad news is I'm waiting for my brother to arrive and take me to the hospital. (Parenthetically, I confess that this might not be the best way to open a call home. But I digress...)

I watched the Friday night fireworks through the window of my brother's car as he, his fiancee, and my gentleman friend drove me to the nearest hospital. ER waiting rooms provide for some interesting people watching: The guy who came in shortly after I did had broken his arm in a Fight Club-esque fight, and had made a splint out of athletic tape and...a pizza box. After seeing that guy, I scrambled to come up with a more manly-sounding story for how my left ankle had ended up three times bigger around than the right one, but came up short.

Anyway, after a lot of waiting and some being poked and prodded (The answer to the question "Does this hurt?" is almost always a resounding "YES" when it is asked in a hospital setting), we learned that I suffered a pretty nasty high ankle sprain. Things could have been much worse. Sure, it hurts today, but the thing that makes me the most mad is that the red-hot O-Royals are playing at home the rest of the weekend and I will not be able to be there!

I have many DVDs and baseball games to watch, as well as the last few issues of Sports Illustrated to catch up on, so I will hopefully not be too bored. But I am kind of stuck in my apartment, as we live on the 2nd floor and the thought of crutching down stairs is kind of scary to me.

The moral of the story is, don't jump off dugouts on to steps. Find a flat land surface instead. Or if you're going to try the steps, make sure you do it around some in-Gibs.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


I mentioned the other day that if Mike Wood pitched against Omaha this week, it would be hard to root against him. Guess who is slated to pitch for Oklahoma tonight! (Hint: It is in fact Mike Wood.)

-I'm bummed that I missed last night's KC game. It's great to see the team able to come from behind and come through in the clutch like they have been in the last 10 or so games. And I love John Buck:

"Rather than here were go again, it was now we are going to get the job done."

That is exactly the attitude I want to see. Rather than getting flustered and resigning themselves to lose again, this year's team is able to push harder and make wins happen. I'm still concerned about the team's tendancy to hit into double plays -- they apparently did that four times last night -- but I think that's something that will start to disappear as hitters gain confidence and the team continues to build.

-Now, I'd like to put up some random Royals stats, because the team holds a lot of not-so-hot numbers in the league, and I'm sick of hearing about those. So instead, we'll look at some happier numbers:

David DeJesus - 5th in the Majors in runs, 1st in the AL in at-bats and total plate appearances.
Tony Pena Jr - 3rd in the Majors in triples
Alex Gordon - NOT 1st in the AL in strikeouts (he's down to a reasonably distant 4th)
No Royals players are in the AL's top 20 in caught stealing
Three KC pitchers have a 1.000 OBP, which includes Joel Peralta's 2-run double late in Sunday's crazy game against the Rockies, which leaves him with a healthy (AL-leading) slugging percentage of 2.000.
Predictably, Alex Gordon leads the AL in getting hit by pitches. Mark Grudzielanek is also in the AL's top 10 in that category.

-The Omaha Royals have been enjoying a burst of power hitting the last two days. Craig Brazell had 2 home runs Monday night, followed by 2 more last night. Mike Aviles of all people also hit 2 of them last night, both of which were well over 400 feet (I think they were 417.5 and 423, but don't quote me on that). They've won the first two games against the Oklahoma Redhawks, and have two more in the series before taking on New Orleans over the weekend.

Monday, May 21, 2007


-My beloved roommate Steph moved out today, leaving the house frightfully devoid of furniture. It went from being a full, tastefully decorated space to a total bachelor pad in the space of one morning. I added the final bachelor-esque touch tonight when I stuck a George Brett poster up on an otherwise empty wall. But I think he deserves his own wall.

-Yet again the baseball world is chatting about the idea that Joe Torre may be the end of his days as New York's skipper. I was going to try and articulate why it might be the right time for that, but Jeff Pearlman totally beat me to it, and did a much better job than I could have.

To be honest, Joe Torre is the one thing about the Yankees I don't hate. He's a good Catholic, attends daily Mass, and seems pretty decent, despite the fact that he works for the Great Evil. But even the greatest men in the world couldn't make winners out of a roster full of selfish players. The Yankees are getting exactly what they deserve, and until they sack up and play as a team, they will stay far behind Boston, or Toronto, or any other team for the division's lead.

-Tonight at work I came across a familiar face, though he was in a visitor's uniform. The Oklahoma Redhawks, the AAA affiliate of the Rangers, were in Omaha for the start of a four-game series. I was jogging off the field after one of my promotions, and a player in the Oklahoma dugout was chatting with the kids who had been my contestants in the freshly-completed promotion, offering them advice on how they could have worked more efficiently and improved their performance (although how he knew so much about tossing and catching rubber chickens, I may never know). This player looked terribly familiar, but it took me a few minutes to figure it out: It was former Royals pitcher Mike Wood. The next inning, we ran a promotion that involved throwing water balloons, and there was one unpopped balloon left over. I had it in my hand as I left the field, and when Wood signaled to me that he wanted the balloon, I mindlessly tossed it to him -- it's pretty common for Royals players to ask for that kind of thing, so I'm in the habit of sharing the random fun crap with the dugouts. After I realized that this balloon would be coming back at me later, and from the arm of a professional pitcher, I regretted giving him the balloon but went about my business anyway. After another inning or two, the balloon came sailing out of the dugout towards me...and missed by a few feet! I would have expected better aim out of a pitcher, but whatever.

At the very least, I think I've met another Good Guy in baseball that I'm always seeking. If Wood pitches against Omaha this week, it will be hard to root against him.

-Speaking of good guys, I finally got my copy of Champions of Faith: Baseball Edition. (Available at the CoF website) It was awesome. I higly recommend this film to any Christian who likes baseball at all. It revolves around players who are Catholic but I think it could touch the heart of any Christian fan. Worth every penny!

-It is a beautiful night (the perfect weather for a 8-1 O-Royals win!) so we've got windows open in the house here. And the neighbors are enjoying the weather by skateboarding. The only slight problem with that activity is that skateboards hitting cement is really noisy, and it is 1:00 in the morning.

-Also...vomitories? This article about the (awesome-sounding) renovation project at The K taught me a new word. I already knew much of what the story entailed, but it was entirely worth reading for the use of that word alone. My challenge for you: Incorporate the word "Vomitory" into your conversation at least once this week.

Friday, May 18, 2007


-I got to "have a catch" with two of my brothers and with my dad tonight. This was incredible for several reasons:
1) I can throw a baseball (a bit, though my freshly operated-on shoulder will be sore later)
2) My dad must be recovering miraculously from his ankle surgery to have been able to participate as well, and
3) We played on an empty lot that until very recently held this horriffic house that we wanted to tear down. We were recently able to buy it, and it is now just a ghost.

It's like having everyone come off the DL at once, and having a new ballpark in which to play.

-Kansas City is on a fantastic three-game winning streak. They took home a series win (3-1) over Oakland, and has now won the season against the A's. Then they went for some interleague action against the Rockies, which included some clutch hitting by middle reliever Brandon Duckworth. He looked strangely at home in the batter's box, and singled. Emil Brown has been heating up lately. Funny how having regular at-bats helps a batter find his rythm!

- One of my brothers is travelling to Rome next week. Please pray for safe travels for him and the family with whom he is going!

Monday, May 14, 2007

My Hall of Fame

I've created a new post label, called "Featured Posts" -- a label kind of stolen from my brother. I was going to call it "Hall of Fame," but I thought that might be a misleading suggestion that the posts with that label were about Cooperstown rather than what it actually is: some of my favorite/best stuff.

Aaaaanyway, if you're new to this blog, I invite you to explore the Featured Posts.

The Chronicles of Berroa

I didn't intend for this to turn into the Official Blog About Nothing But Angel Berroa. But it's about to get a whole lot more boring in the O-Royals dugout, as Berroa has been called back up to KC.

I'm happy for him, and I truly hope he does well. He's been playing all over the infield here in Omaha -- everywhere but first -- and while he does his best work at short, he will be suitable at any position.

But oh, how I will miss him!! What's really sad is that I was going to get an autograph from him TODAY for someone I know who might like it. Guess I should have gotten it yesterday...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Ouch, yay, and autographs

- Surely there was more to the conversation that produced this quote from Royals manager Buddy Bell:
"He just can't throw."

Bell was speaking about Luke Hudson, who was activated from the DL and pitched only one game -- a disasterous two-inning outing against Oakland a few days ago. Regardless of the context, that's a pretty painful statement. I hope Huddy didn't read it.

- Mark Teahen now leads the majors in outfield assists, with seven. Six of them have come in the last week, and on the evening of Cinco de Mayo, he recorded three in one game. Not bad for a third baseman.

- Since writing about the nice players I've met at work, I've been pursuing more stories about the "good guys" in pro baseball. I know they're out there, so if you have any stories about pro baseball players being...well, not jerks...please share. Eventually it will turn into some sort of piece of writing, but for the moment it's an idea onto which I've latched, but I do need help. I'm asking players whenever I can, but it's hard to get time with some of them. But I'm definitely nominating Angel Berroa, Joey Gathright, and pitcher Matt Wright of the O-Royals. They give a LOT of their time at the ballpark to some of their younger fans, and I truly appreciate it.

When I was younger (I won't tell how much younger, but certainly younger than I am now), I waited and waited for over an hour outside of Kauffman Stadium, waiting for autographs. I'm not a hound; when I pursue an autograph, it's because I'm a fan of that particular player. I'm not going to sell it on eBay or any crap like that. So anyway, back to waiting outside of The K. There was this one pitcher in particular I wanted to have sign my hat. He was a young guy with a world of pitching potential (I won't name names). When he finally did come out into the autograph area, not only did he not sign for any fans, he was quite rude to me about it. Since that time, I've taken a special liking to any players to give their time to kids and make sure they can sign as much as possible. Even though it can be a mundane day-to-day thing for players, it's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of kids, and something they'll always remember, for better or worse. I still have a bad taste in my mouth (metaphorically speaking) for that one talented pitcher who refused to care about his fans, but I love all players -- even the not-so-acclaimed ones -- who take the time to interact with fans, especially kids.

Why are autographs such a big deal? The signatures themselves might not be. But to a little kid, whose possible paths in life are as numerous as the blades of Bermuda grass in the outfied at The K, the influence of these big famous ballplayers taking the time for him, the little wide-eyed kid, could have momentous impact. That one warm smile as the player signs a ball or a hat could be enough to upgrade baseball from something the kid likes to something the kid lives. On the other hand, the big famous ballplayer with the inflated ego who squeals away in his overpriced truck could sour a kid on The Game for a tragically long period of time. Players shouldn't drive away their fans; without us, those guys might be playing stick-ball in an abandoned lot instead of living in mansions in an upscale neighborhood.

That is why I love players like the three O-Royals I mentioned above. The way some people see it, Berroa and Gathright have every reason to be all sulky. After all, they've had their time in the majors, and now they have to go back to the simpler life and smaller crowds of triple A ball. But instead, they are the ones who have the best attitudes of all; the ones who remember that they need their fans about as much as we need them to play for us every day. (And yes, baseball is a need. I try to go without it every winter, but it never works. I die a little every offseason, so I actually think baseball might be like vegetables and vitamins.)

Anyway, I'm not sure why the issue of autographs has been weighing so heavily on my mind lately, but there it is. But now, 'tis bedtime!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

High hopes

Just a quick note, as I have to be at Rosenblatt pretty soon -- Spiderman is there today signing autographs for the wee ones, which will require extra staff a little earlier than usual.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand: High hopes.

Scott Elarton is scheduled to start for KC tonight against Mark Buehrle. It'll be his first big-league start since last July, and I pray that he does well. From a fan's perspective, of course I want him to do well because it will help the team -- and let's face it, the Royals need a LOT of help right now -- but I also want him to do well because he's coming off of labrum surgery, which I had a few months ago. But really, we need Elarton to come back strong, especially after Luke Hudson's disasterous start the other day against Oakland.

A lot is riding on the healthy and successful return of all of our hurt pitchers. It would be fantastic if Dotel's strained oblique would hurry up and cooperate, but but Soria has been a pretty dependable stand-in.

Brian Bannister has been brought back down to Omaha, and will throw here tonight. I'm pretty pumped; even if he didn't quite do well up in the majors, he usually looks like he has a handle on the AAA hitters. He is fun to watch.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The designated hitter

-My parents have been married for nearly 30 years, a phenomenal fact for which I thank God every day. They absolutely do not fight, ever.

"Okay," I can see you asking. "That's great, but what does your parents' long and fightless marriage have to do with the designated hitter?"

Oh darlings, it has everything to do with the DH. The only time I've ever heard them argue is over the merits and drawbacks of the DH. Some people think that's ridiculous, and that surely these two people have something bigger about which to argue. I think it's a perfectly valid thing to fight over, and have entered a number of debates about why the DH makes managing baseball too easy, and takes away some of the purity of the sport.

This has been an issue on the table for years in our household. It comes up from time to time, and we all have a merry laugh that something as seemingly trivial can cause such division in our otherwise harmonious family. But tonight, according to a commercial for the Missouri Lottery, this argument puts us among baseball's craziest fans. These commercials (which I'd link to, but I can't find yet; sorry!) feature some ridiculous show of ultra-fandom like "You haven't washed your lucky socks since 1985 -- Or removed them." or "You watched every game of the 1985 season -- consecutively." The punchline (if that's what it would be called in an advert) is that there are easier ways to show you're a hardcore Royals fan, like buying the new Royals-themed scratch tickets from the MO lotto.

One that my dad and I saw for the first time tonight reads like this:
"The DH argument has ruined two friendships...

...and a marriage."

Dad and I were talking on the phone when the commercial first aired, and laughed heartily for quite a while. Did they write that commercial about us specifically?!?

-Last night, the O-Royals took 13 innings to down the Sacramento Rivercats. They loaded the bases (on 3 walks, if I remember correctly) in the 10th but did not score, which was kind of frustrating. But then in the 13th, Mike Aviles of all people -- definitely more of a scrappy speed guy than a power guy -- smacked a home run to end it. I was impressed with our bullpen for holding the tie as long as they did; as a follower of the Royals for so long, I generally take the attitude that once we hit extra innings it could take a miracle for the bullpen to hold up.

Aaanyway, yesterday's game was pretty strange for me, as Nebraska alum Shane Komine took the mound for Sacramento. It felt so wrong to root against him after all the time I spent cheering him on in his Husker days! I ended up getting the best of both worlds, as Special K dominated for a few innings, but the Royals offense picked up in the middle of the game. So I got to see my team do well enough, and got to see a former Husker excel as well. I'm so spoiled sometimes!

-My extra access to various O-Royals players has made me think a lot about who they are, why they are in AAA Omaha, and what they are doing to make it to The Show (whether they've been there before or not).

For example, I'm one of many who has criticized Angel Berroa for his fall from grace after his Rookie of the Year season in 2003. It was easy for me to criticize, because I did not know who I was dealing with. He was just a guy who I had heard was goofy, but was ultimately more a compilation of statistics than a person to me. (That sounds really heartless now that I have finished typing it. But the thing is, I don't know many players personally, so I don't have too much to go on besides their numbers. I hope you know what I mean.) But this article in the Kansas City Star, combined with the fact that Berroa is my favorite player to be around at work, makes me feel bad about ever having spoken harshly about him.

Sure, he has his weaknesses on the field. From a strictly baseball standpoint, Berroa is a guy who swings at bad pitches, has a tendancy to ground out (often in DP situations), commits errrors a lot, and almost never walks. But he's a person. He's a person who works hard but LOVES baseball (and life) so he smiles and jokes all the time. He's a man of the people and signs autographs for almost anyone who asks -- he has a special weakness for his youngest fans, as he himself is a father. The guy mentioned in the KC Star article is someone I know; he's a season ticket holder and a pretty vocal heckler. But I'm pretty sure that Angel will still sign autographs for him, despite all the mean comments. (As an aside, I'm pretty sure I was about 2 feet away when the situation described in the story actually happened.) Of course Berroa wants to get back to the majors, but he's not a mopey guy. He is wise enough to know that being bitter about his demotion will do nothing to help him get back to the bigs.

In the article, Sam Mellinger describes Omaha as a place where fans only show up for "goofy promotions." As a member of the O-Royals' promotions staff, I almost take offense to that, but then again a lot of what we do is pretty goofy. But the people we bring on the field for promotions are that many more people for Berroa to pick on, joke with, or startle with his loudness. And as well as that goofy atmosphere does suit Berroa's personality, I hope for his sake he doesn't have to be in it for too much longer.

P.S. Tomorrow is, as mentioned in the article in the Star, Thirsty Thursday. Drink up, Royals fans!

UPDATE: Mark Teahen just got yet another assist, throwing out a runner at home to end the inning!! He had an astounding THREE assists on Saturday, and one more over the weekend, plus the one just now. I think it's safe to say he is adjusting pretty handsomely to right field, yes?

Also, I can not for the life of my type the word 'soul.' For some reason I always want to put a 'd' at the end of the word. I mention this because that word is in the name of my favorite baseball blog, Joe Posnanski's 'The Soul of Baseball.' If you're looking for some great reads on baseball from someone way more knowledgable than me, go read it. He's great!

Monday, May 07, 2007

I must be dreaming

Surely these words were not actually written about a Royals pitcher:
In addition to ranking among the best starting pitchers in the Major Leagues, [Gil] Meche has outpitched every big-name pitcher who signed a big offseason contract, including Daisuke Matsuzaka, Andy Pettitte, Jason Schmidt, Ted Lilly and Barry Zito.


Normally on an off-day, I'd be all sad, bored, and despondent without the drug that is Royals baseball. But that story might contain enough happy to get me through till tomorrow night's game.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Billy Butler, O-Royals notes, etc.

So Billy Butler has been called up. I didn't see the game, so I didn't see how he did on defense, but my guess is he was...slow. I'm sure he's a nice kid and all that, blah blah, but the inescapable fact is that the brother can not run. Don't get me wrong: Of course I wish Mr. Butler the best of luck in The Show, but I'm not entirely comfortable with this roster move, especially since Shane Costa has been hitting as well as he has (17-game hit streak right now), and has proven he can play at the big-league level. As I told my dad, the good news in all of this is that Ryan Shealy will be playing at least one game in Omaha in 7-10 days. Here's the thing about Shealy: when I met him last winter, he personally promised me that he'd kick ass this season (his words, not mine). He hasn't done the best, so I feel the need to set him straight.

Alex Gordon was hit by another pitch tonight, putting him within one of Chase Utley for first in the majors in that category. Attaboy, Gordo!

As a good Royals fan, I'm supposed to have a strong distaste for the Cardinals. After tonight's game between the O-Royals and the Memphis Redbirds (the Cards' AAA team), it's harder for me to dislike them. Some teams that have come and gone from Rosenblatt stadium have been less than classy. Players on certain teams which I won't name -- but one might rhyme with "Sound Sock Wexpress" -- have been rude to my coworkers and me, to the point where I do not want to work near the visitor's dugout. The Redbirds were quite the opposite. They never laughed at us for the silly things we have to do on the field, such as the Chicken Dance. Instead, one player congratulated each of my contestants for a job well done, and shared the team's stash of bubble gum with everyone who passed by. The rest of the team lined up in the dugout and cheered on my contestants in each of our promotions: my rockin' air guitar girl, water balloon toss girls, balloon bust couple, and the kids I brought down to do the chicken dance on the field. It was adorable, and a refreshing reminder that there are still good guys in pro baseball. I don't know who the player was who shared the bubble gum and was so friendly, but I want to thank him for restoring my faith in The Good Guys.

Before the O-Royals/Rebirds game, I was doing my usual pre-game duties like locating contestants for the promotions and horsing around with the mascots. At one point, I glanced into the Memphis dogout, and was quite surprised to see David Eckstein in there! Again, I'm supposed to hate Cardinals but he is one of my exceptions for some reason. Maybe it's because he's short? Anyway, I guess he has been struggling mightily and was sent to AAA. I had no idea that was going to happen, and I was actually a little starstruck. I think it's because I watched this man on TV helping his team to a World Series victory, and there he was, five feet from me.

Harold Reynolds
was in attendance at Rosenblatt tonight. I don't know why he was there, but I do know that we thought about asking him to do our air guitar competition.

One last note before I work on packing and studying for a few hours:
I know I've spoken somewhat critically about Joey Gathright in the past, but I must admit that he's pretty fun to be around. Plus, he always signs autographs for kids. During the 9th inning, Gathright scored from 2nd on a sac fly to tie the game at 4 runs apiece. When he slid home -- a great slide under a decent throw and tag effort -- he couldn't stand back up. He's now day-to-day after suffering a pretty nasty leg cramp. But while he's in the dugout and still hurt, he doesn't have much better to do than chat with me and my coworkers. He's a pretty funny guy, although he likes to give people crap about anything and everything as much as he can. He also threw sunflower seeds at us, but we probably deserved it.

The whole Gathright affair, while it has been entertaining, has made me wonder how well I want to know any of the players I work next to. Can I be as critical as I need to about a struggling player if I know he's a super nice guy? Or can I praise a player's great performance if I know he's a huge jerk? Fortunately, all of the Omaha Royals I've met have fallen into the "nice guy" category rather than the "huge jerk," so I guess we'll have to see if any of that clouds my ability to fairly assess their performance from an objective perspective.

I'm done rambling now; it's definitely time to work on packing all my belongings in preparation of moving Friday. I have a final tomorrow night, a final Thursday night, another test somewhere between now and Thursday as well. Then I'll move to Omaha so my commute will be five miles instead of fifty-five.