Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Royals forget how to run bases in loss to Minnesota

Jason Smith
Jason LaRue
Mark Grudzielanek

This list serves several purposes. First, it is a list of the three Royals players who hit home runs tonight against the Twins. It is also a list of Royals players in tonight's lineup who seemed like the least likely candidates -- besides maybe Tony Pena Jr -- to do so.

David DeJesus robbed Torii Hunter of his 2nd tater of the night, and I'd post a video of it if MLB wouldn't kill me for it. It will likely be a highly ranked Web Gem tonight on Baseball Tonight. To me, the best part about that catch was Hunter's reaction. He waved off DeJesus as if to say either, "Come on, just let that ball go out," or "Awww man, I can't be mad about not getting a homer; that was awesome!" I choose to believe, based on Hunter's reputation as a jolly guy, that his line of thinking was closer to the latter.

Other than DDJ's sweet robbery, the Royals looked a little...off tonight. Maybe it was the pathetic baserunning in the early innings. Three caught stealing? Come on! Maybe it was the utter inability for anyone named Jason to hang on to a ball. Remind me again why LaRue plays, ever? I'm not a fan.

No surprise that Octavio Dotel was traded today; the only thing that surprised me is that Atlanta was able to finish off the Teixeira deal in time to finalized the Dotel deal. This is what I heard last night about what to expect from Davies (from a dedicated Braves fan who has coached baseball for many years, and pretty well knows what he's talking about): His fastball generally comes in chest-high at 90 mph, and doesn't move a whole lot.

I hope there's more to Kyle Davies than that, but you know me; I'm always loudly skeptical until a new acquisition gives me reason not to be, and then makes me eat my words. (See: Gil Meche, Joey Gathright, etc.)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Elarton, Dotel, A-Rod, etc

- Scott Elarton was released by the Royals organization yesterday. When they announced that at the head of the RSTN broadcast last night, the first words out of my mouth were "Now there's a surprise." Of course, I was being sarcastic; it was not at all surprising to see the struggling righty let go, no matter how healthy he said his shoulder was.

Here's what I don't understand: last night in an interview, Buddy Bell said he gave Elarton the option to finish out the season in Omaha, but Elarton turned that down, and so the decision to release him was made. But in the article at royals.com, Elarton said he would "'ideally' like to finish the season on a Triple-A team." I don't get that at all. If pitching for a triple-A team would be an 'ideal' way to finish the season, why not make it with Omaha and avoid the shame and hassle of being released and having to shop himself around to other organizations?

I am sad to see Elarton go; he struck me as a very kind, humble, classy individual. But I have said several times, both in conversation with other fans and right here on this blog that he no longer displayed major league-caliber stuff. It seemed like he was rushed back up to the bigs before he showed that he was ready, and payed the ultimate price for that.

- In the 9th inning of last night's loss to the Yankees, my dad (with whom I got to watch the game) and I were amused at the number of scouts who were there to watch Octavio Dotel. I would love to know what teams sent those guys, but I suspect I'll know soon enough. When A-Rod came to the plate, Dad said Dotel should pitch around him, lest he surrender home run #500 to Mr. Rodriguez. I disagreed, figuring that Dotel should pitch to Rodriguez and make the scouts' trip worthwhile. He did, and he did, as A-Rod struck out. I hope that at-bat convinced the scouts to throw in additional players or otherwise increase Dotel's market value.

- On the subject of A-Rod, I really hope he keeps hitting homers. I have never EVER considered myself a fan of the man, and a lot of times I think he's a whiny little girl, but I'd much prefer for him to be the home run king than Barry Bonds.

- On the subject of nothing I've mentioned yet, I made the mistake of going to Hobby Lobby today. I wanted a frame for a George Brett poster that's kind of an odd size. I found one, but ended up leaving the store with a bag full of other things -- and no frame. Go me.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Back to baseball: Bonds and more

Barry Bonds. I'm almost afraid to write anything about him at this point, so I'll be friendly to Mother Earth and recycle. The last time I was brave enough to have an opinion on Bonds in particular was here, and here are two heavily researched pieces (in one post! Go me!) on MLB's steroid issue in general.

Joe Posnanski, in whose writing I could immerse myself for hours on end, is currently part of the media circus that will be stuck on Bonds as long as they need to be. Bonds is at 753, leaving Posnanski unsure of how to approach the impending record and what he'll write about it. (It's here) I take solace in this, because I face similar confusion:
...these are confusing times. I don’t have any clearer picture of this crazy home run deal. My own thoughts constantly contradict each other. I tend to believe that steroid use is worse than using amphetamines (or the more law-friendly cheating like corking bats or scuffing baseballs) but I couldn't tell you exactly why. I think that Hank Aaron is more worthy of the home run record though I believe Barry Bonds was the better player (even before steroid suspicions). I think Barry Bonds was, in most ways, just playing the rules and boundaries of his time, and yet I also think he was fully aware of the lines he was crossing.

-Enough of that. Time for O-Royals!

Last night's Blake Shelton concert drew a crowd of over 14,000. Luke Hochevar got off to a rather rocky start...his first pitch bounced in the dirt about 55 feet in front of the mound. His control problems continued (but not to such a gross extent) for the rest of his outing, as he walked five over five innings. However, he wasn't all bad. He did not give up any runs, only surrendered one hit, and he struck out four.

In tonight's game, everyone in Omaha's lineup had at least one hit, and five batters had more than one. Mike Aviles homered twice (I think he either hits zero or two in a given game; never one), and Angel Berroa and Shane Costa also homered. Some of those may have been helped by the wind blowing out to left, but we'll take 'em wherever we can get 'em, no? I do not like relying on the long ball as something to build an offense on, but it is a ton of fun for me when O-Royals batters hit them, as I get to jump around on the dugout tops and high-five every fan I can reach. Doing that is easily in the top 3 thing I love about my job. One of the other top 3 favorite things is up next...

- Tales from the dugout
Yesterday afternoon, my co-workers and I found ourselves with a ton of extra time before the game because of a scheduling typo. Our boss accidentally wrote that we should arrive at 4:00 for a 7:05 game, so we were all ready to rock 'n roll a couple hours ahead of first pitch, and were chillin down by the field before most of the players even arrived. Joey Gathright was the first player there, taking extended batting practice before his first appearance since being sent back to Omaha. As the rest of the players trickled in, they all greeted him pretty warmly; it was pretty clear that they all like having him around as much as we fans do. He told me that while he was in KC, he spoke with my cousin Chris (who works for the Royals) about me and how I heaved myself off the dugout. I'm not sure I want to know how that conversation went.

Anyway, it's great to have Gathright back, even though it's likely only going to last until the trade deadline. He injects a certain something into the fans' spirit; it seems everyone is more into the game when he's leading off. (Perhaps it's the fact that he had two hits last night, and two more tonight.) That means I misjudged him completely when he first joined the Royals organization last year. This is me admitting I was wrong, and wholeheartedly embracing Mr. Gathright as an important part of the Royals' lineup.

Before tonight's game, the usual smattering of fans was gathered 'round the Omaha dugout, looking to score some John Hancocks. A young boy, maybe 10 years old (but I'm not sure because I'm terrible at guessing that kind of thing), had a request with several contingencies for Ryan Shealy:
"Um, hi, Mr. Shealy? I was wondering...if you guys win tonight, and if you break a bat, can I maybe have the broken bat? Please?"

Shealy's reply: "That's a lot of ifs, but I'll see what I can do."

He broke two bats tonight.

Here's my thing about Shealy. I like the guy a lot, and I seem to be much more patient with him as a hitter than most people are. He's not having the best year at the plate, I know. I'm well aware of his tendency to strike out frequently, but I'm also aware that he has power. It's unfortunate that he had to be hidden in Todd Helton's shadow for so long, but I think he still has the chance to prove to the KC fan base that he was a good acquisition. He also happens to be pretty darn nice, and good with fans. I spoke to him yesterday about how much I appreciated him being a part of the Royals Caravan this past winter, as meeting him (along with Frank White, Ryan Braun, and Brian Poldberg) was exactly the kind of thing I needed to cheer me up from the worst winter EVER. I wanted to thank him for doing what I figured was kind of a chore for players to do. His response kind of shocked me. He told me that he actually really enjoyed being part of the Caravan, and he was actively pursuing the opportunity to do it again this winter. How can anyone not like this guy?

One more. Last night as I was singing 'Take Me Out to the Ballgame' from on top of the Royals dugout, a few fans stopped me as I was making a safe, non-injury-inducing exit back into the camera well. They had an adorable little boy with them, and said it was his 4th birthday. The one thing he wanted out of his birthday baseball game was to get a ball, if he could, from the dugout. Of course I told them I'd do what I could to acquire one for him. The players in the dugout were pretty engrossed in the action, because it was a close game, so I couldn't get anyone's attention for a little while. Then a foul ball was hit into the dugout, and pitcher Billy Buckner picked it up. I turned to my co-worker Britany and said, "Maybe that ball should go to the little birthday guy up there." Note that I did not say that to Buckner or anyone else inside the dugout. But Buckner overheard, and asked where the birthday boy was so he could give him the ball.

One very last thing
-Kansas City SO far from the basement
I am NOT a fan of the worst team in baseball. Pretty much the entire NL West has a worse record. I'm pretty sure the Comic Book Store Guy from the Simpsons has the scientific name for a division like that:
"Worst. Division. EVER."

Anyway, here's the list of teams that are not doing as well as KC right now:
Tampa Bay
San Fransisco

WHEW! What a long list!

Sorry for the crappy blogging tonight, you could make it up to your brain by reading more Joe Posnanski. Also, buy his book.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

From the bowels of my hard drive

No Royals game tonight, so here's a thing about the time I broke my face on a floor. The story is totally true, by the way.

From somewhere in my hard drive: A Face Smashing

What can a girl learn from breaking her face on a floor?

It all started fairly innocently. I didn’t think twice about stepping out onto the gleaming gym floor for another day of kickball. I was a busy little freshman, and P.E. was just a small part of my day: I still had golf practice, homework, chores, and the all-important Nintendo time to accomplish. Though this day of P.E. had innocuous beginnings, it ended with me unconscious in a pool of blood, and about 80 eighth- and ninth graders wondering if I was dead.

My team was on defense in a close game — the competition was always tight because Coach W. had quite a knack for picking fair teams. Anyway, the kid who was at the plate kicked it high, straight toward the ceiling. I started toward the ball, never taking my eye off its spinning red form growing larger and larger as it approached my outstretched hands. Well, my teammate Joel was equally focused on making the catch, and neither of us saw the other until it was too late. He jumped and I didn’t, so his bony knee jabbed me in the ribs, not too far beneath my clavicle, and I fell down backwards.

That much was really not a big deal. At that point, all I had suffered was a bruised rib, some floor burns on my elbows, and a second or three of unconsciousness. As I lay there on the floor, winded and slightly groggy, another classmate leaned in, offering me his hand. Part of my brain was protesting, telling me I should lie down for a few more seconds before trying to stand up. The other part argued right back, and told the first part to not be such a sissy. So I stood up.

It didn’t take long to realize that I should not have done that. Since my body wasn’t yet ready to stand up, I blacked out again and began to fall forward. Being unconscious and all, I really didn’t have the mental capacity to think, “Oh crap! I’m falling, and I should perhaps put my arms out to stop that!” so I just fell. I was on my feet one second, and then on my face the next.

As you can imagine, a face falling to the floor from five and a half feet up doesn’t stand a very good chance. The floor emerged as the victor in this battle, taking casualties such as my nose and eye sockets. I came away from the ordeal with a broken nose, two very darkly blackened eyes, and a concussion.

Contrary to what most high school girls might do, I didn’t try to cover up my black eyes. They made me look tough, and I had a ton of fun thinking of imaginative stories to tell people who asked how I got them. And due to the concussion, I didn’t have to go to P.E. class for two weeks, and instead got into a study hall. The study hall was fun, but not very useful, since most of my teachers took pity on me and didn’t make me do any assignments for those weeks.

So what can someone learn from such an ordeal? Plenty, as it turns out. One immediate lesson I learned was that getting a concussion is quite detrimental to one’s golf scores, which was unfortunate because I had to compete in the district meet a mere 9 days after my floor-face fiasco happened. It wasn’t pretty.

Four years later, my nose is an excellent barometer; I can feel even the slightest change in atmospheric pressure. When in the presence of fluorescent lights, I can tell you whether the lights are of high quality based on how bad of a headache they give me. I guess that’s just proof that my high school isn’t your typical learning environment.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

By the way...

Last night's Kansas City win was Win #40 on the season.

So I set out to find out how long it took to get to 40 last year. I had forgotten (or repressed? Yeah, probably repressed.) how atrocious the first half and the beginning of the 2nd half were last year. Are you ready for this? The Royals took until the following date to reach 40 wins in '06:

August 9. Yes, really.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


Omaha came from behind in the 9th inning to beat the Isotopes 6-5. Omaha's three runs came when Richard Lewis lofted a homer with one out, bringing home Craig Brazell and Paul Phillips, who had both singled. CLUTCH.

Kansas City won pretty handily
, too. 'Tis a good day to be me! (Or, ya know, any other Royals fan.)

A little late, but

- Casual Royals fans, and even somewhat impassioned ones, can sometimes miss out on some of the talent their team has at the minor league level. Until this season, I really only knew about a handful of players in the KC farm system, because people only ever talked about a few: Mitch Maier, Billy Butler, Chris Lubanski, and so on. It makes me a little sad to see how many awesome players about whom I hadn't heard before this year. Should it really have to take attending every home game to know what's going on in your team's farm system (beyond the marquee players, that is)?

Omaha put up an impressive battle against their rivals, the Iowa Cubs, this past weekend. A roughly equal number of I-Cubs and O-Royals fans filled a good number of Rosenblatt's seats throughout the 4-game series, and were delighted with three close games, two of which went into extra innings.

**Whoa, my roommate's cat, Sophia, has hopped up on a scratching post behind my desk and placed her head right under the bottom edge of my monitor. I guess I'll finish this post with an audience. Speaking of cats, I bought a Nerf gun this afternoon to deal with Kronk, my other roommate's cat who loves to get on the kitchen counters and in the sink. It doesn't hurt him, but boy is it gratifying to get a good shot in!**

ANYWAY, I don't want any Royals fans to overlook Mike Aviles. He was Mr. Clutch in Saturday night's 4 1/2 hour, 15-inning win. Twice in the late goings, once in the 10th and once in the 14th, Aviles made spectacular plays to end Iowa's offensive assaults and hold the Cubbies scoreless for an astounding total of 10 innings. Then, in the 15th, it was Aviles who drove in the winning run.

His batting average is only at .301 right now, but only because of a slightly less-than-average June and July so far. He's still pretty reliable at the plate, and more than capable at either middle infield position, and at third base.

If you don't get the chance to go many O-Royals games (or any at all), you really don't get the chance to hear about some of the not-quite-big-name-but-still-damn-good players. I'll definitely profile more players as the 2nd half progresses, but wanted to start with Aviles for his awesome contributions to an exciting series against the I-Cubs.

- In other O-Royals news, Justin Huber is back in the lineup! He rejoined the team last night in Albuquerque after spending a little time rehabbing in Surprise. He had a double in last night's loss to the Isotopes. So far tonight he is hitless, but he has at least one more AB coming (more if Omaha decides to play yet another extra-inning game).

- In still more O-Royals news, Reggie Sanders has rejoined the Kansas City lineup (at least temporarily, as the club is very open about the fact that they're shopping him around, probably for some pitching) so Joey Gathright is coming back to his adoring fans at Omaha.

I'm assuming that Gathright will be called back up to KC at the start of August, assuming KC finds a good exchange for Sanders. In the meantime, Omaha's outfield will be pretty stacked, with the likes of Gathright, Maier, Shane Costa, Lubanski, and probably Huber on some days.

- For those of you who watch Prison Break...does anyone else see a resemblance between Captain Bellick and Craig Brazell of the O-Royals? It's especially apparent when Belick is wearing his hat and smirking, which is most of the time. The fact that Brazell, too, spends a lot of time smirking makes the resemblance even easier to spot.

That's it for now; I have to go try to catch the naughty kitten doing something he's not supposed to so I can Nerf him. Yes, I just used 'Nerf' as a verb.

It could be worse.

Sure, the Royals got shut out by a pitcher Boston called up from the minors at the last second to replace the hurting Curt Schilling. Sure, Emil Brown could not be bothered to put up two hands to catch a routine fly ball in the 5th*. But things could very much be worse for the 39-53 Royals right now; we could be the Devil Rays (35-56), the Nationals (38-54), the Astros (39-54), the Reds (38-55), or the Giants (38-52).

I am thrilled that typing a list of teams that are worse than KC took as long as it did. This is progress, people! Last year at this time, the Royals were 32-60 and had sole possession of the MLB basement. The closest team to us was Pittsburgh at 33-61.

*I Loooooove seeing Major Leaguers ignore the basics that I taught 9-year-olds in little league. Makes me feel really really good that we pay that much money for those guys to play. But at least Emil gave me a more concrete reason to dislike him as much as I do. Two hands on the ball, folks, or you'll look like that lazy guy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Guess I could not go without KC news

Oh for Pete's sake. I try to take a break from baseball, but KC has to do something like this.

This article contains a lot to consider for Royals fans. Chiefly, I suppose, I'm led to wonder how this new fellow, Jason Smith, will fit in the KC infield and in the lineup. Though he has chiefly been used as a middle infielder, I'm sure he'll be used at first, with both Ryan Shealy and Mike Sweeney on the DL forever and Ross Gload coming off a nasty quadriceps tear.

Fernando Cortez
will apparently be coming back to Omaha (the article didn't specify, but I assume they wouldn't have any reason to send him any lower than AAA). He got off to a pretty decent start with KC, but was scarcely used after that.

This is what excites me the most though. Luke Hochevar has been promoted to Omaha after posting a 3-6 record and a 4.69 ERA with Wichita. Hochevar has been followed by a lot of hype since he was selected 1st in the 2006 draft. I was pretty skeptical of his selection, but I'm excited to finally see him in action. How lucky for the home crowd -- he'll pitch on Sunday in the final game of the upcoming homestand against the Iowa Cubs.

I'm nervous and anxious about how the 2nd half will treat Kansas City. People seem to be optimistic about how things will go from this point forward, provided the starting pitchers show more consistency. I'm a little less confident, but don't tell any of the players I said that. The team has suffered a number of injuries, and I'm just praying people can stay at least marginally healthy for the remainder of the season. Then again, I was skeptical about the reserve players having to do all the work at the end of last season in the absence of the regulars, and look what happened. I do think the team will do better than they did in, say, April, and I do think certain key players (Emil Brown, Mark Teahen) will heat up at the plate.

Billy Butler has an interesting opportunity to show what he can do now that Sweeney will be out for so long. Nobody in the front office necessarily wants a 21-year-old as their everyday DH, but if Butler can make it work now is the time to do so.

Also, God bless Dick Kaegel for this bold 2nd-half prediction:
Not only will the Royals escape another 100-loss season, they'll make their way out of the cellar and finish ahead of the White Sox.
I can so get behind that.

Lastly, what the heck? A Royals hammer?!? I'm simultaneously disgusted and intrigued.

Best. Dog. EVER.

Lately my roommates' cats have been causing me a lot of grief, so I went home over the weekend so I could be around my dogs instead. The two dogs my parents have now are seriously awesome. And completely adorable:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Anyway, the point is that I love having pets, and I hate being without them. On my favorite message board, someone asked people to share stories of their favorite pets. My childhood dog Sweetpea definitely gets that honor from me, and this is what I said about her on that message board:

My dog Sweetpea belonged to my family before I was even born. Aside from a fear of thunderstorms which caused her to shake and pant uncontrollably, she may have been the perfect dog. We don't know what exactly she was, as we got her at the Humane Society, but her mixture of breeds made her small enough to sit on our laps, but big enough to play with, free of the worry of crushing her. She did not shed.

Sweetpea had an almost human quality about her. She was even big on subtleties, which I've not seen in a dog since. If she wanted food, she'd bat her food dish on the inside of the dish. If she wanted water, she'd bat her water dish on the outside of the dish (in case there was a tiny amount of water left in it, I guess...she didn't want to spill or get her paw wet).

She also taught me to walk. When I was...however old kidlets are when they are almost ready to walk, Sweetpea would crouch down next to me until I grabbed onto her neck and tried to stand up. As I stood, so did she, so that she was like a moving handrail for me as I tried to take a few steps. She walked alongside me as slowly as I needed her to, and if I fell she'd crouch back down and patiently wait for me to use her to stand back up.

She died of congestive heart failure* when I was 11. We decided it was time for her to go on Valentine's Day of that year, and going to school the next day was the hardest school day of my life. I knew that when I got home after the final bell, I'd have to say goodbye to the best dog in the world. I took her for a walk around the block, which took at least a half hour because of her failing health. I still get a little misty sometimes when I think about losing her.

*Side note: My grandpa died of the same thing in the same year. They were even on one of the same medications, though Grandpa's dose was bigger than Sweetpea's.

Anyway, just figured I'd use MLB's break from baseball to take a similar break. Hope you enjoyed it.

UPDATE: My mom just sent me this picture:

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Today on my way back to Omaha, I got pulled over. Only once has that happened to me before, and that time it was for an "improper left turn." Today it was for speeding. Oops.

The All-Star Game is happening right now, and I could not be more bored. I hate the All-Star Break. For me, this three-day break from actual baseball feels like three weeks. I need to have 13-15 MLB games to keep up with every day. I need the Royals. what I don't need is an exhibition game played by a bunch of big shots who don't want to be there.

For the first time all season, I don't have any emotional stake in how Gil Meche performs. I guess I hope he does well if he gets to pitch, but only so KC critics have one less thing to mock (I still hear crap about Mark Redman being our All-Star last season). But for the most part, a person could not pay me to care about tonight's game. I'm watching it, yes, but I may as well be doing taxes or cleaning a bathroom -- I feel it's something I'm obligated to do even if I don't want to.

To make matters worse, the Royals have a built-in off day on Thursday. That means a four-day break. Fortunately, Omaha plays Thursday night* so that will help pass the time until my Return to Normalcy.

Until the Break is over, I will be grumpy. You can't say I didn't warn you.

*It will be Thirsty Thursday! $1 beers and Cokes! Come drink!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Independence Day in KC

How lame of me to not write about my Independence day in KC sooner. We went for two things, the game and the fireworks. Both were pretty much lacking. KC got shut out, and the fireworks were cancelled due to afternoon rains.

The trip wasn't all bad. Here are some small positives:
1) Our seats were fantastic. They were high enough to be underneath the overhang, so we did not have to sop up any water when we first sat down.
2) My section won free cookies from Midwest Airlines when a precious little 6-year-old correctly answered a trivia question. Incidentally, the boy's birthday was today, so he turned 7 on 7-7-07. Happy birthday, precious little boy!
3) Brian Bannister was good in most of his innings. If not for the top of the first, and the bottom of every inning, Wednesday night might have been a good game.
4) We got some...shopping...done prior to the game.
5) My car has brand new tires, so it easily survived the driving rain that killed the fireworks. My car > fireworks.

Tonight's Royals game was nuts! I didn't get to listen to all of it, around steaks with my parents and little brother, as well as a trip to Wal-Mart. (Yes, I really know how to party...) How happy that Mark Grudzielanek is magically healthy again so he could deliver the game-winning hit. After being frustrated in two ways in two consecutive games -- shut out one night, and falling just short of a comeback the next game -- it's extra refreshing to see a win like tonight's.

I'm hanging out at my parents' house for a few days while Omaha is on the road. Woo!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Good news, bad news

Good news: Kansas City won on my birthday, which usually doesn't happen.
Bad news: I was at work and missed it.

How about that Billy Butler? Last night's game is the game the KC front office is going to look to in the near future, when all the now-injured players are healthy and the decision about whether Butler stays in the majors or goes back to Omaha needs to be made. His bat is big league; there is no doubt about that at this point. But he can't be DH forever, especially with Mike Sweeney close to ready to come back.

I was away from my computer from 3:00 yesterday afternoon until 1:00 this morning, and by that time I desperately needed to sleep, even before reading up on the Royals. That's how you know I'm tired. So I didn't hear until just a few minutes ago that Jason LaRue also homered. Good for him. I would love it (and I'm sure he would too) if he was more consistent at the plate, so his offense would merit the almost platoon-style catching rotation he and John Buck share. Perhaps coming so close to hitting for the cycle can be a good starting point for LaRue.

After last night, Alex Gordon leads the American League in hit by pitch. David DeJesus is close behind him, in third place.

I loved Joey Gathright's diving catch to end the game. THAT is how you should do things when you're brought in late in the game. The TV announcers from Fox Sports Northwest said it best: "The best thing they can say about this game is that is has ended."

Good news: My ankle held up during work yesterday.
Bad news: Scott Elarton did not.

I was rather encouraged to see Elarton's name in the "probable pitchers" column for yesterday. Elarton is a good pitcher, but right now I don't feel like he should be in the majors. However, he's generally fine during his rehab starts at triple-A. In his last outing, he threw six scoreless innings, so I hoped he'd show similar stuff yesterday. But when you start a game by giving up three homers in the first for a total of six runs, things don't usually end up too well.

Last night was the Big Night for the O-Royals. The announced attendance was 21,873 for an evening that included a post-game concert and a huuuuuuge fireworks show (which I missed). I had hopes that the team would show all these fans who don't normally come to the game what they're missing. Beyond the first inning, it really wasn't a bad game, but the damage had been done, and all those "extra" fans pretty much pegged it as a loss from the middle of the first inning on.

Mike Wood was supposed to pitch for Oklahoma, but he got a call in the mid-afternoon...the Texas Rangers need him up there. Good for him.

Good news: It was a fabulous day for lots of water balloons.
Bad news: They don't feel very good if they don't break.

Jorge Padilla
threw one at me while I was on top of the Omaha dugout. It bounced off of me and popped harmlessly elsewhere. One that popped on me would have felt much more refreshing.

Good news: I'm going to tonight's Kansas City game!
Bad news: Are you kidding me?

I haven't been to a KC game since Opening Day, so I'm awfully pumped for this. And you probably all know by now how much I love Brian Bannister, who is slated to pitch tonight.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

A good day to be a Royals fan

Happy birthday to me!
I like to think that David DeJesus' awesome performance in last night's extrra-inning win was like a birthday present (one day early) for me. He had three hits, a homer and two doubles, and scored all three Royals runs. (By the way, you can check out video highlights from the game in that article...worth a look since the game was not televised!)

But check out this glowing praise from Jose Guillen regarding DeJesus:
"The ball jumped off his bat like he was one of those power hitters," Guillen said. "I thought he would have 20 homers, 30 homers. It's amazing when I saw the ball jump off his bat. I should have gotten a better read on that ball."
Okay, maybe in real life DeJesus only has five, but still...pretty ringing endorsement for David's ability at the plate.

Meanwhile, down on the farm...

Chris Lubanski hit his 1st home run at the Triple-A level in last night's game against the Oklahoma RedHawks. It was just his 4th game with Omaha.

Better yet, Matt Wright pretty much owned the Redhawks in relief, as he struck out 10 over five innings. Wright came on in relief of the rehabbing John Bale, who worked three innings and gave up three runs. Bale is scheduled to make one more start at AAA before finally being called up to throw in the majors. Wright's finest inning was the eighth, long after some fans had started calling for a reliever to come in. Wright struck out the side on just 15 pitches. It was beyond fantastic.

Angel Berroa had a great night, with three hits and a rare walk.

When, oh when, will Justin Huber be healthy again? He was quietly placed on the DL again in mid-June, while the team was on the road during the College World Series. I'd love to have him back!

Hoo boy

The last time Oklahoma was in town, I had a hard time rooting against former Royal and all-around nice guy Mike Wood. He's had a really good season so far; the game in late May in which Omaha beat him was a rare loss. He's their representative in the AAA All-Star game, and according to my calculations he's also their pitcher tonight (I had to guess on that, because it's only 8:40 a.m. and the starters haven't been posted online yet). Tonight is my birthday, and I would love to watch Omaha win! So sorry Mike, I have to root pretty wholeheartedly against you this time around.

UPDATE: Starters have been posted: Wood will indeed pitch for Oklahoma, and Omaha's starter will be Scott Elarton.

Come on over!

If you're in the Omaha area, I highly recommend coming to tonight's game. We are expecting around 20,000 fans, and we'll have live music and tons of in-game entertainment, plus the BIG Independence Day fireworks show.

Hope to see you there!