Tuesday, May 13, 2008

How I Became a Royals Fan: Jeff Parker

Name: Jeff Parker
Location: St. Joseph, Missouri
Age: 36
Website or Blog: Royally Speaking

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 work for a plant that makes salad oil and butter based products for restaurants. I have been married for 13 years and have three kids so I really enjoy family quality time. I love to golf and while I'm not very good, it is very relaxing so I usually go about three or four times a month.

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

My earliest Royals memory is when I was about four years-old. I was sitting on the floor playing catch with my dad while the Royals were on TV. From that time on baseball and the Royals became a passion.

How did you initially become interested in the Royals?

Just living an hour north and having a dad who followed them probably made me a prime candidate to be a Royals fan. (My dad is also a Cardinals fan but I love him anyway.) Plus back then (the 70s) there was no ESPN or Fox Sports Net so they were the only game on TV.

Who was your first favorite Royals' player and why?

This one is easy, Freddie Patek. I think its because I was always the smallest kid in my class and I could relate. He's also the reason I played shortstop in little league. I was very heartbroken when he left the Royals and I actually became a big Angels fan for a few years. He is still my all time favorite Royal.

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

The first game that I remember was in 1979 against the Red Sox, I don't really remember who won but I do vividly recall a drunk guy sitting behind us who took off his shirt and declared to everyone in general admission that he was no longer a Royals fan and he just stated shouting "Go Red Sox!"

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 was 14 when KC won the World Series so I remember everything about the season. I watched Game 7 with my dad and it was really incredible. KC absolutely dominated the Cards and there was no doubt who was going to win, which in my opinion made the game that much more enjoyable. That team just seemed to have a touch of destiny about it and it didn't matter that they were down 3-1 to the Blue Jays and 3-1 to the Cards. I just knew they were going to win it all.

Also, George Brett got robbed of the MVP that year.

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

So many great Brett memories, but the one that stands out is the home run versus Goose Gossage in the 1980 ALCS.

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

Mike MacDougal striking out Barry Bonds looking. The look on Bonds face was priceless. That team's hitting with RISP was just off the wall nuts. Too bad management opted to get older in the off season.

Who is your favorite Royals player right now? Why?

Mark Teahen, because he does whatever they ask him to do without complaining. Plus, he doesn't mind taking a walk.

What are your favorite memories of Mike Sweeney?

Whenever Mike would go on a hot streak, he could put the team on his back. When healthy he was one of the best right handed bats in the game.

Some not so good memories I have is the way he was treated by some KC fans. The booing was just ridiculous.

What are your thoughts about the current Royals roster?

I like it for the most part. I predicted 80 wins but I really will be happy with 72+. They actually may just be a power bat away from contending this season. I was not happy about the Huber trade because I felt he could have been very productive as an everyday DH and I think Billy Butler can play a capable first base. I love the pitching staff and the bench is probably among the best in the league. But this team needs a power hitter whether through a trade or through production from Guillen and Gordon.

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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