Wednesday, May 07, 2008

How I Became a Royals Fan: Don Barry

Name: Don Barry
Location: Omaha, Nebraska
Age: 30

Tell me a little about yourself. What do you do for a living? What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies?

I have worked for a bank the last 8 years. I am a lead credit analyst.

For fun, I enjoy golfing, going to movies, and attending sporting events. My favorite hobby has to be bowling. I bowl in three leagues a week, and probably 20+ tournaments every year. I also golf in two leagues a week, and play probably 40-50 rounds of golf each summer.

How old were you when you first started following the Royals?

The earliest I can remember following the Royals was when I was about five years old. I used to listen to Denny Matthews and Fred White call games on the radio.

How did you initially become interested in the Royals?

I must have first started following them when I was younger because they were the "local" team in our area. I probably went to a game when I was five or six years old, and I have enjoyed watching/listening to the games ever since.

Who was your first favorite Royals’ player and why?

I had several favorite players growing up. George Brett and Frank White were my two favorites when I first starting watching games. Later on, I always liked watching Danny Tartabull and Bo Jackson. My favorite pitcher was Charlie Leibrandt. I think I enjoyed watching him because he is left-handed and so am I.

Can you remember the first time you saw a game at Royals/Kauffman Stadium?

I don't exactly remember my first experience at Royals Stadium. I know that when I was ten or younger, we went to a game, and I believe it went 17 innings (The score was 2-1). Both Royals runs came via Steve Balboni homers. I always loved watching Balboni hit home runs.

What is your favorite Kauffman Stadium memory?

My favorite memory attending a Royals game must have been back in 1986 or 1987. Bo Jackson hit a home run into the fountains (I think it was his first Major League home run), and the stadium just erupted.

Are you old enough to remember the 1985 season? If so, where were you when Darryl Motley caught the final out of Game 7?

I remember watching the game in the basement with my parents. I found it really funny when the Royals got so far ahead and a few St. Louis players/coaches were ejected from the game. When the game was over, I remember thinking that I couldn't believe they came back from being down 3-1 against both Toronto and the Cardinals to win both series.

Are you old enough to remember seeing George Brett play? If so, what is your favorite George Brett memory?

Of course most people are going to say the famous pine tar game, but that wasn't my favorite memory. Mine has to be from the 1985 season (I think). They let him manage the team on the last day of the season. I don't really remember the outcome of the game, but it was cool to see him manage the team.

Tell me your favorite memory from the 2003 season when the Royals spent most of the season in first place in the AL Central.

My favorite memory of that season was them starting out the season on a big winning streak when nobody gave them any chance to be competitive. Seeing Jose Lima pitch so well that season and the energy he brought to the team that year were fun to watch.

Who is your favorite Royals player right now? Why?

My favorite player now is probably Grud. I just like the way he always hustles, and is a great leader of the team. He always gives 100% every time he is in the lineup, and I wish more players would have his attitude.

What are your favorite memories of Mike Sweeney?

The best thing I remember about Mike Sweeney was his class. When he signed his last big contract several years ago, he had plenty of chances to go somewhere else, but he wanted to remain a Royal. Even though the team was bad, he wanted to stay there to help try and turn things around. That is what made the 2003 season so fun. He finally had a chance to get into the postseason.

What are your thoughts about the current Royals roster?

I like the youth on the roster right now. They have a lot of talented young players, and a few veterans who can step in and show the younger guys how to play. The pitching staff has a lot of potential with Bannister and Greinke. The only thing I would like to see in their lineup is a little more power. They don't have anybody that can consistently provide the threat that he will hit a 3-run homer at any point. I would like to see them with a guy who can give them 35-40 homers a year.

Have you ever met anybody who played for the Royals at an autograph session (or somewhere else)?

I met several Royals players when I was younger (they did several autograph sessions I think during the week). The one I remember most was Danny Tartabull. It was fun to see meet him when I was a kid because he was always one of my favorite players.

Do you have any memories about the Royals that you’d like to share that you haven’t already?

The one thing that really disappointed me was back in 1994 when the Royals went on that amazing winning streak, got themselves in position to maybe win the AL wild card that year, and then the strike hit. I think with their pitching and offense that year, they had a legitimate chance to get themselves into the postseason and make a run in the playoffs. I would have loved to see if they might have been able to carry it through October and make a run to the World Series.

This series will run periodically here at Royal Reflections. If you'd like to be interviewed for this series, send Lee an email and he'll be in touch. Also, please note: all photos belong to the interviewees and are not to be copied and/or posted elsewhere.

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