Monday, August 10, 2009

Royals Done in by the Long Ball

Game Date: August 9, 2009
Oakland@ Kansas City
A’s 6, Royals 3 / Box Score
WP: Anderson (7-8), LP: Hochevar (6-5), SV: Bailey (16)
KC Home Runs: None
Royals Record: 43-68 / Record in August 3-6

I made it out to the game yesterday. The temperature was brutal—so much so that I wasn’t feeling all that great for a while, but after I got some water in me I felt better.

I got to the stadium early and the party I was with decided to go through the Hall of Fame. If you haven’t done so yet, you need to. The line to get in is long, but it’s worth it.

Once you are inside the door, a guide explains the various headlines that are carved into the walls. He provides a quick history of baseball in Kansas City—much of which I didn’t know—and he sets the stage for the video you are about to see. You transition into a room that is shaped like a dugout and there you get to see the Royals’ history unfold on a screen which I believe they said is nine feet tall and thirty five feet wide. It’s pretty hard not to get caught up in the video—especially when they get to the 1985 season. Overall, it’s a great experience.

I was a little puzzled by the omission of a few players, namely Mike Sweeney, Bo Jackson, Amos Otis, and Hal McRae. I could have missed them, but if I did, that means they didn’t get enough attention.

The game itself yesterday looked to be over in the second inning when Oakland blasted two home runs and took a 4-0 lead. Luke Hochevar said afterward that neither pitch was where he wanted it. But Hochevar impressed me by battling back and shutting the A’s down over the next five innings in sweltering temperatures.

The Royals’ defense was one of the surprises of the days. I’m not going to say they were great because the plays they made need to be made by big league teams, but they were good. Alberto Callaspo made a nice diving stop at third base. Yuniesky Betancourt made several good plays. Mark Teahen looked good at first base. And Josh Anderson showed that he could cover some ground in right field. Everybody looked to be playing in the right position and that’s not normally the case.

The Royals made a game out of it by putting up a three-spot in the seventh inning to draw close to the A’s, but then things got fairly typical for the Royals; our bullpen gave up a couple of runs and our bats got quiet. But at least this was one of the games where you feel like the Royals got beat, rather than beating themselves. It’s still a loss, but it doesn’t leave such a bitter taste in your mouth.

Update @ 10:47 AM: In the next couple of days, I should be able to provide a photo for you of the many kids you helped send to Kauffman Stadium yesterday. From what I understand some of them probably spread out to take shelter from the sun, but it'll still be nice to see a photo or two of them. The kids came from the Red Bridge YMCA and Kansas City Parks & Recreation. The Royals Community Relations department works closely with both organizations.

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