Thursday, December 31, 2009

Reliving Zack Greinke’s 2009 season

Zack Greinke made 33 starts for the Royals in 2009 and he made an appearance in the All-Star game. It was a magical year that ended with a Cy Young award for Greinke. Over the next three months, I’m going to do a series in which we relive each start, as well as his All-Star game appearance.

I’ll include quotes from Greinke as they were recorded in various news stories. I’ll include quotes from various Royals bloggers, and maybe quotes from bloggers of the teams Greinke faced. And I plan to dig deep into the Twitter archives for quotes about Greinke from fans and players as the season progressed.

I hope you enjoy it. The series will begin tomorrow.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

An update to the Royals Twitter Directory

I've updated the Royals Twitter Directory. I've checked all the links and added a new section for former Royals players. Have I missed anybody? If so, let me know. And if you are a Royals fan who would like to be added in the fan section, leave a comment with your Twitter user name.

You can always find a link to the directory on the right side of the page.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Royal gift

Somebody knows how to tap into my inner-kid. What a Christmas gift! We might be in the middle of a blizzard, but who says we can't play inside?

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

From one Brian Anderson to another

So, Dayton Moore has gone and signed Brian Anderson, giving him a one-year deal and putting him on the Major League roster. I’m not sure what the point of signing another light hitting center fielder is, but this isn’t the end of the world. From the various accounts I’ve read, Anderson is far above average defensively and as bad as this team was on defense last season, any defensive help should be welcomed.

I have to tell you though, I still have a certain affinity toward the previous BA—the one who pitched for the Royals from 2003-2005. Of course, the two players have nothing to do with each other. It just gives me a reason to tell you a story about BA #1—well, really it’s about the 2005 season, but it involves BA #1.

In May 2005, a couple of newspapers I write for sent me into the Royals clubhouse to do two features. Ten days or so in advance, I applied for and received my media credentials for the games on May 12-13. The Royals were playing the Rays.

Two days before the series started, Tony Pena (the manager) quit during the series in Toronto and I’m thinking, “Uh oh, this might make it more difficult to get the interviews I need.”

Sure enough, that was true. I wrote about it in a post:
When I made plans to come to Kansas City and interview a couple of players for two newspapers I write for, I had no idea that I'd walk in to such chaos. Allard Baird was in the middle of a press conference yesterday when I got to the ball park. I slipped in and caught the tail end of it . . .

Most of the players weren't in a talking mood before the game yesterday and that was certainly understandable. The media had limited access to the players because the Baird press conference ran a little long and because the Royals kept the clubhouse closed longer than normal. The mood was what you would expect from a team whose eternally optimistic manager quit on them when the going got tough. Guys were a little down.
As I was walking from the clubhouse to the dugout, still hoping to get at least one interview before the game, I saw Ryan Lefebvre talking to Allard Baird. I waited for a minute and asked Baird if he was open to a brief interview. He was, so I hit record. I didn’t want to ask him about his search for a manager. Why would he tell me anything he wouldn’t tell other reporters? So, I asked him if he ever read any Royals blogs. There weren’t that many at the time, but you can read his brief reply here.

The Royals went on to win the rain-shortened game that night 7-5 on an RBI double by Mark Teahen and an RBI single by Ruben Gotay.

Thankfully, the clubhouse was quite a bit loser before the game the next day.

I was able to interview Jeremy Affeldt for one of the features I was writing and while I was waiting to get the other interview, with Tony Graffanino I believe, Brain Anderson (#1) came walking in. His locker was close to Affeldt’s. He plopped down on a stool and began talking to Affeldt. Nobody knew it at the time, but BA had just pitched in the final game of his career. He injured his elbow on May 8 against the Orioles. Later he had to have two Tommy John surgeries.

I don’t know if the seriousness of Anderson’s injury had been discovered or diagnosed yet. I just remember seeing a look of frustration on Anderson’s face as he talked to Affeldt. At one point, Anderson picked up a ball with his left hand and appeared to be showing Affeldt the pain he was feeling in his elbow during certain points of his delivery. Of course, they could have been talking about anything. I couldn’t hear what they were saying, but the Royals were awful at this point, and I couldn’t help but feel for Anderson.

Royals v Giants 
[SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MARCH 8: Pitcher Brian Anderson #19 of the Kansas City Royals delivers against the San Francisco Giants during the Spring Training game at Scottsdale Stadium on March 8, 2004 in Scottsdale, Arizona. The Royals won 9-3. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) Content © 2009 Getty Images All rights reserved.]
Tony Pena had just quit on the team. They were 9-26 at this point. The season was basically over and it was just mid-May. They had no idea who their new manager was going to be. And Anderson was injured. In the big scheme of things, Anderson’s injury was not a big deal. But seeing the frustration on his face at that moment caused a shift inside me. I felt like I was looking at frustration personified.
The Royals only won 56 games that season. It was the worst season, winning percentage wise, of any in Royals’ history. Those were not good times for Royals fans or players. But I don’t see that particular losing season in some abstract fashion. Instead, I see the look of frustration on Anderson’s face and it gives me some perspective.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Royal Reflections update

Life over at Fan Huddle didn't work out for Royal Reflections, so I'm going to resume posting right here. Thanks for sticking with me through the transitions.

As I began to think about new posts I want to write, I came to a realization about the tone of my posts. This blog has gained the reputation for having a positive tone, generally speaking. I like it that way. It suits who I am. On a scale of Ryan Lefebvre to Jason Whitlock, you'll find me sitting right next to Lefebvre.

You already know that though if you've been reading this blog for a while.

Sometimes people will tell me they can't really tell what my opinion is when I write a post here. That's probably because I'm a journalist who enjoys blogging. Having a foot in both worlds can be complicated sometimes. The truth is, I'm not always offering an opinion. Sometimes I'm just recounting a funny or touching baseball story, sometimes I'm just passing along a fact or an observation.

When I have an opinion to share, I share it. But I learned something about myself last season. When Dayton Moore made the deal for Yuniesky Betancourt, in what may turn out to be the turning point of Moore's career as the Royals' GM, I thought it was an awful move (there's an opinion for you). So did many of you. I voiced my opinion as such, but then, as the season wound down I found myself in the position of wanting to be correct in my assessment of Betancourt while at the same time hoping he played well. I didn't like that feeling. It sort of takes the fun out of the equation.

I don't plan to stop offering opinions as a result, but if you read a post that doesn't contain any, it's probably by design.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Royals showing interest in Ivan Rodriguez?

At the end of the 2009 season, John Buck had a certain tone in his voice that seemed resigned to the fact that he probably wouldn’t be back with the Royals next year. They gave Brayan Pena a decent look and Dayton Moore was pretty clear about going in a different direction regarding who the starting catcher would be in 2010.

Now we’re hearing the Royals are showing interest in Ivan Rodriguez. He’s 38 years old. He’s had a great career. But does anybody really think he’d be better than John Buck at this stage of his career? He hit 10 HR and drove in 47 runs while hitting .249 for Texas and Houston last season in 121 games. John Buck hit 8 HR and drove in 36 runs while hitting .247 in just 59 games for the Royals. And Buck is much younger.

Granted, Buck is going to cost the Royal more money, but I agree with Craig Brown at Royals Authority. Buck will only make around $3 million in 2010 and he’s an adequate catcher. What’s wrong with him being the Opening Day catcher? He certainly isn’t the problem with the Royals and bringing in another veteran who is past his prime wouldn’t be the solution if he were.

Clicky Web Analytics