Tag Archive | "Home Opener"

Royals And Fox Sports KC Announce Schedule

KANSAS CITY, MO (January 31, 2013) – The Kansas City Royals and FOX Sports Kansas City today announced a 142-game television schedule for the 2013 season, featuring two exhibition games and 140 regular season games.

FSKC

The Royals and FOX Sports Kansas City are entering the sixth season of a long-term agreement in which FOX Sports Kansas City is the exclusive television home of Royals baseball.  The 140-game regular season television schedule features 67 road games and 73 from Kauffman Stadium.  Every game on FOX Sports Kansas City will be preceded by a 30-minute pre-game show, “Hy-Vee Royals Live,” and followed by the “Boulevard Royals Live” post-game show.  All 140 regular season telecasts will be presented in High Definition.

FOX Sports Kansas City’s coverage of Royals baseball kicks off with a Spring Training telecast from Surprise, Ariz., on Monday, March 25, when the Royals host the Los Angeles Dodgers at 8:05 p.m. (CDT).  A second exhibition game will be broadcast on Wednesday, March 27, when Kansas City hosts the Chicago Cubs, also at 8:05 p.m. (CDT).

FSKC will air Kansas City’s Opening Day contest on April 1 at Chicago as well as the April 8 home opener vs. Minnesota.

Ryan Lefebvre will call 90 regular season games and one exhibition for Fox Sports Kansas City and Steve Physioc will provide the play-by-play on 50 games during the season and one exhibition.  Rex Hudler will return for his second season as the analyst and Royals’ Hall of Famer, Jeff Montgomery, will provide analysis throughout the season on Royals Live with host Joel Goldberg.

The complete season schedule with telecasts is listed on the attached schedule, which you can download by clicking here.  All game times and the TV schedule are subject to change.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Royals Announce 2013 Schedule

ROYALS ANNOUNCE 2013 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Home opener scheduled for April 8 vs. Minnesota

KANSAS CITY, MO (September 12, 2012) — In conjunction with Major League Baseball, the Kansas City Royals today announced their 2013 regular season schedule.  Opening Day is scheduled for Monday, April 1 when the Royals visit the Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.  It marks the seventh time in franchise history that the Royals have opened against the White Sox (1972, 1976, 1987, 2003, 2004 and 2009), the third time in Chicago (’76 and ’09).  Kansas City will begin the home schedule on April 8 vs. Minnesota.  All game times will be announced at a later date.

2013 will mark the first season that each league will consist of 15 teams with the Houston Astros joining the American League West.  The Royals and every other Major League club will play 19 games against each divisional opponent, consisting of 76 division games total.

Kansas City will play 20 Interleague contests played over eight series, four home and four on the road.  The Royals will compete against their “prime rival”, the St. Louis Cardinals, in back-to-back two-game series spanning both cities from May 27-30, with the Cardinals visiting Kansas City on May 27-28 and the Royals returning the strip on May 29-30. The club also will host Interleague matchups against Atlanta (June 25-26), Miami (August 12-14) and Washington (August 23-25).  The visit to Kansas City will be the first in franchise history for the Braves.  The Nationals franchise played in Kansas City in 2004 as the Montreal Expos.  The road Interleague schedule also consists of visits to Philadelphia (April 5-7), Atlanta (April 16-17) and the club’s first-ever trip to Citi Field, home of the New York Mets (August 2-4).

Kansas City’s holiday schedule sees the Royals at home on Mother’s Day vs. the Yankees (May 12), Memorial Day vs. St. Louis (May 27), July 4th vs. Cleveland and on Labor Day vs. Seattle (September 2); and on the road at the Rays on Father’s Day (June 16).

The month-by-month home game totals are: April – 11; May – 14; June – 14; July – 13; August – 16; September – 13.  The Royals will host a pair of 10-game homestands, first from April 26 to May 5 and again from August 5-14.  The club’s longest road trips are a pair of nine-game journeys from May 13-22 and July 26-August 4.

The complete 2013 schedule is located here in PDF format..   The game dates are subject to change.

Posted in RoyalsComments (0)

Shutdown Theory

Ligament Replacement Surgery—known better by the moniker “Tommy John Surgery”—is almost a foregone conclusion for Major League pitchers today. Teams practically build their rotations and, many times, entire seasons around when, not if, a certain pitcher will need to take a year or two off for an elbow rebuild. In 2012, the most famous case is that of Stephen Strasburg of the first place Washington Nationals. But the St. Louis Cardinals may have a similar case to review regarding their ace Adam Wainwright.

Saturday, the Nationals announced Strasburg will be shut down for the rest of 2012, including any postseason games the Nats might play. Strasburg underwent his procedure on September 3, 2010—two full years ago. Conventional wisdom suggests a pitcher needs anywhere from 12-18 months of rehab before he is truly ready to return to form on the mound, and most hurlers don’t feel back to 100% until two years after the surgery. Technically, Strasburg should be hitting his stride right about now. Imagine the boost the Nats would be getting from that, assuming they were close to where they currently are. Instead, they’re forced to go the rest of the season without their de facto ace. Arguments and hindsight from both sides are numerous: should he have rehabbed at all in 2011…should he have started 2012 late…the Nationals are doing this to protect his and their futures…this is just another power flex from Scott Boras…how can the Nats do this to their fanbase…how can they not do it…etc.

The Cards are in a somewhat similar situation with Wainwright, though the scales are vastly different. The righty underwent his procedure February 28, 2011, and was in training camp less than one year later. Wainwright started the Cards’ home opener—albeit to little success—and hasn’t missed a start yet. As the 2012 season progressed, Wainwright seemed to get stronger. Aside from the occasional hiccup, he looked to be inching closer to pre-surgery form right before our eyes. Cardinal coaching and front office eyes, however, were no doubt laser-focused on his health the entire time. And while the Cardinals also have to ponder the future, their perspective is quite different: coming off a World Series victory that punctuated perpetual success under Tony La Russa, followed by a complete sea-change with the transition to Mike Matheny…losing Chris Carpenter at the start of 2012…could Wainwright have rested a few more months and joined the team mid-year…only having Wainwright under contract one more season, with designs on trying to re-sign him…the Cards are still in a dogfight for a return to the postseason…etc.

Ironically, the two pitchers’ last few outings have been similarly bad. Strasburg pitched well against the Cards last week, but that start was bookended by giving up five earned runs in each of two outings—one of five innings, one of three. Wainwright’s last two starts have been even worse: six earned runs in less than three innings and five earned runs over five innings. Under normal circumstances, these events could be looked at as a slump or even just a radar blip for two pitchers so obviously better than the numbers they posted. But is it more than just irony that Strasburg’s stumble came as he inched closer to the 160 IP limit the Nats originally discussed, or that Wainwright seems to be losing gas as he hits 18 months since his surgery?

Wainwright has said that failing to repeat the proper arm slot has led to his bump in the road, not soreness or fatigue. But fatigue is sometimes just as much a symptom of mechanical issues as anything else. And even if he cannot perceive something being off—or simply can’t fix it—Wainwright runs the risk of injuring himself in other areas.

That’s not to say the Cardinals have to shut down Wainwright like the Nationals are doing for Strasburg. Even with all the similarities, the two cases have differences too: namely, Wainwright being a veteran, being older, not being as much of a power pitcher, etc. But the situation definitely bears watching, especially if Wainwright’s starts continue to go badly. And if Carpenter ends up able to pitch at all in 2012, perhaps that’s a scenario where Waino can at least get some extra rest.

Every pitcher is different, so it’s tough to assign hard numbers and come up with the right answer every time. And any ill effects for these two teams either way are still weeks to months away from being truly known, if they ever are at all. No team should ever give up on a season, especially one that includes a legitimate shot at postseason play. The Nationals know what price they were willing to pay regarding Strasburg, and they believe they just hit their limit. Do the Cardinals know their price regarding Wainwright? Will they know when they’ve hit it?

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

Posted in CardinalsComments (0)

Royals Mid-Term Report Card By Position

As we sit at the All-Star Break, we take some time to reflect on the Kansas City Royals performance by position in the first half of the season.

There is no denying that expectations were higher for this Royals team. With this being the first year having most of the young players Royals’ fans have been hearing about starting the season with the team, it is only natural that fans expected to see production right away. Well, for the first week, things looked pretty decent. Then Johnny Broxton blew a game in Oakland and everything went to hell in a handbasket for 2 weeks. The Royals proceeded to get blown out on their home opener in front of a sold out crowd, in the second of 12 consecutive losses. Once the Royals finally snapped their losing streak, they actually began playing well. Despite several more injuries to key players, they managed to claw back to 5-6 games out of first place. Then they hit a swoon last week that puts them currently at 37-47 and 9 1/2 games out of first place in the division. How has each position performed? We will fill you in on that right now:

Starting Pitcher-C minus

People may feel like this is being too generous. But based on the injuries to guys like Duffy and Paulino, what more could you expect? Bruce Chen has regressed a little, and Luke Hochevar has been his same unreliable and inconsistent self. But Luis Mendoza has been a pleasant surprise, and guys like Vin Mazzarro, Nate Adcock, and Everett Teaford have done an ok job filling in. If it wasn’t for Jonathan Sanchez, I might be able to give this group a B minus.

Catcher-B
Brayan Pena will always be Brayan Pena. But this year he has solidified himself as a solid clubhouse presence as well as a high quality backup catcher. He and Humberto Quintero had to start more games than the Royals would have preferred due to Salvador Perez‘s knee injury, but that’s what they’re there for. Quintero is now gone, and since Perez returned from injury, he has been a monster in every respect. It would not surprise me if the Catcher position receives an A for its final grade based on what Perez is able to contribute in the second half of the season.

First Base-D plus

Eric Hosmer now has his batting average up to .231. This is saying something, considering it doesn’t seem that long ago that he was hitting a meager .179. The Royals and their fans expected more out of Hosmer this season, as they should have. I believe he will turn it around and have a very solid 2nd half of the season.

2nd Base-B

The tandem of Yuniesky Betancourt and Chris Getz (when he as been healthy) has certainly outpaced expectations for this year. Johnny Giovatella’s less than inspiring performance after getting called up is certainly a downer, but overall I think the Royals have gotten more offensively than they expected to out of the 2nd Base position.

3rd Base-A

Mike Moustakas has exceeded all expectations both offensively and defensively. He is currently on pace for 29 HR’s and 91 RBI. While nobody doubted he could put up numbers like this eventually, nobody expected it to come this year. On top of that, he is playing gold glove calibur defense.

Shortstop-A

Alcides Escobar is hitting .307 and slugging .410. He also has 21 doubles at the break. And is probably the best defensive shortstop in the game. Yes, we will take that.

Outfield-C

Defensively, the trio of Alex Gordon, Jeff Francoeur, and Jarrod Dyson has performed quite well. Offensively, however, the production coming from the 3 outfield spots is well below where it was last year and well below where anyone expected it to be this year. After a slow start, Alex Gordon has now raised his batting average to .274 with 27 doubles. However, his 5 HR’s are well off the pace of the 23 that he clubbed in 2011. His speed on the basebaths has also somehow disappeared, as he sits at 3 SB’s after swiping 17 bags last year. Jeff Francoeur has been similarly disappointing at the plate. After hitting .285 with 20 HR, 85 RBI, and 22 SB’s a season ago, he currently sits with a batting average of .251, 7 HR, 25 RBI, and just 1 SB. This is far from the kind of production they were hoping for in 2012, and is the primary reason Royals fans are clamoring for Wil Myers to replace Frenchy in RF. And the lack of production in CF is almost entirely due to the injury of Lorenzo Cain, who is scheduled to return this coming weekend. Jarrod Dyson is a nice player with a limited skillset, so he is performing about as well as one could reasonably expect him to. So once Cain comes back we should see an uptick in production from the CF position.

Bullpen-A minus

A lot has been asked of this bullpen and for the most part they have delivered. Even with Joakim Soria going down before the season, Jonathan Broxton has stepped up and performed admirably in the closer’s role. Kelvin Herrera, Tim Collins, Jose Mijares, Greg Holland, and Aaron Crow have also been very reliable options out of the pen. The hope is that this group was not over-used in the first half of the season and doesn’t break down, but time will tell.

Looking at these performances, it is hard to not feel somewhat optimistic about the 2nd half of the season. With drastic increases in production expected from Catcher (Perez), Right Field (Myers), Center-Field (Cain), and the opportunity for Gordon to show improvement from the first half, the Royals could find themselves in position to make some noise in the 2nd half of 2012.

Posted in Featured, RoyalsComments (0)

That did not go well at all…

The St. Louis Cardinals had their Home Opener spoiled by the Chicago Cubs on Friday, as the North Siders downed the Redbirds 9-5. The Cubs were up 8-0 at one point, so the Cards did make a game of it. But huge hits by the visitors early in the game were too much to overcome.

It was a weird Home Opener from the get-go. First, the whole situation had ominous implications: The Cardinals were playing their home opener against the Cubs on Friday the 13th. That could not be scripted better for weird things to happen. Next, the weather would not cooperate and the game was delayed nearly two hours before things even got underway. Then, the resulting conditions on the field made it so the Budweiser Clydesdales could not make their signature trip around the Busch Stadium turf. A jinx? Perhaps. The only thing for certain is that display of the Clydesdales is as much a part of the Opening Day ceremonies for the Cards as is having Hall of Famers on hand and someone throwing out a ceremonial first pitch.

Everything else about the pregame festivities went fine, and the game started late but was played in its entirety. But it was an ugly game for the Cardinals.

Adam Wainwright got rocked early and often. Maybe the chilly, wet weather had an effect on his surgically-repaired elbow, or maybe his routine was altered, or maybe he just didn’t have it in this start. But it seemed like every pitch he threw Friday was hittable. It definitely was not the Wainwright we are used to seeing…but then again, we really have not seen him in a long time because of the injury. Hopefully this was just a bump in the road and starts like these are few and far between for the Cards’ hurler.

Some of the Cubs’ hits could be classified as seeing-eye singles or finding the holes, but they launched a couple of homers that really put the game out of reach early.The Cardinals’ offense, however, was not able to find an answer early on. Jeff Samardzija stymied the Cards’ bats until the 5th inning, when the Redbirds climbed back into the game by putting up five runs. But it was all they could muster.

There is something even more disappointing about losing the Home Opener. No one likes to lose any games, but losing is a part of baseball. No team wins them all; in fact, just winning two thirds of a team’s games puts that team into historic territory. But at the Home Opener, whether it’s the first game of the year or the seventh, that feels like it is owned by the home team. They pull out all the stops to make the entire day an event not soon to be forgotten. The St. Louis Cardinals are great at this. It’s not just about lining the players up and introducing each one individually over the stadium’s sound system; it’s about tradition and success and icons and starting things off on the right foot. So when the game sucks, was it all in vain? Did we drag these people and these vehicles and these trophies out just to the team can blow it on the field? Of course not. But after all the ceremonies and celebration is over, it does not become just another game. That cake needs icing. On Friday, there was none.

In the grand scheme of things, it was Game 8 of 162. There is still plenty of baseball left to play. But I would bet the Cardinals come out hungry for a win on Saturday. Maybe this time Mother Nature and the Baseball Gods will cooperate.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

Posted in CardinalsComments (0)

Northwest Arkansas makes a unique guarantee

“No Rain Guarantee” issued for Opening Night
KFSM Chief Meteorologist Garrett Lewis guarantees uninterrupted game

SPRINGDALE, AR – KFSM Channel 5 Chief Meteorologist Garrett Lewis, the new official weather forecaster for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, has a guarantee that is sure to add an extra ounce of intrigue to Opening Night – he’s guaranteed the game won’t be delayed or postponed due to rain.

If Thursday night’s Naturals’ home opener against the Corpus Christi Hooks is delayed at all due to rain showers, the Naturals and KFSM will make all tickets from the home opener valid as a rain check for an additional game during the first homestand.  Should the game Thursday evening end up postponed or cancelled due to rain, Opening Night tickets could be redeemed for equivalent value tickets during the month of April for TWO GAMES – a game of the fan’s choosing during the first homestand, and one more game for a date during the remainder of the 2012 season per the Naturals’ normal rain check policy.

First pitch on Thursday will be at approximately 6:20 P.M.  Current weather models indicate that there will be a chance of scattered showers or thunderstorms in Springdale during the afternoon hours, but the chance of rain diminishes Thursday evening.  Incidentally, the drainage system at Arvest Ballpark, installed when the park was built in 2008, can drain up to 12 inches of water an hour.

”In general, as long as it is not raining at gametime, most games are able to begin ontime even when there is inclement weather earlier in the day,” stated Naturals’ General Manager Eric Edelstein.

KFSM and the Naturals also have a “Ballpark Weather Page” on nwanaturals.com that shows the current radar and weather conditions right at the ballpark along with detailed information about the weather policies and procedures at Arvest Ballpark.  Weather policies are also stated on the back of the ticket as well.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale.  Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

Posted in Minors, RoyalsComments (0)

Statement

If teams thought the St Louis Cardinals would flop without Albert Pujols, they should think again.

The scheduler did this team no favors.  Opening Day in Miami, ushering in a new era in Florida and a new ballpark.  Then a 1300 mile flight to Milwaukee, the team’s biggest rival, for their home opener.  Finally a 300 mile drive to Cincinnati, the Cardinals’ OTHER big NL Central rival.  Seven games in 3 cities over a little more than a week.  Lots of teams would limp back home under .500.  Or worse.

With last night’s win the Cardinals will open at home over .500 no matter how the last two games in Cincinnati go. They have done it with solid pitching and torrid hitting.  St Louis currently leads the NL in hits, runs, doubles, home runs, average, OPS, and total bases.  After a horrible spring training Rafael Furcal reached base 11 times in his first 20 plate appearances.  Carlos Beltran, David Freese, Matt Holliday, and Yadier Molina all have 2 HR so far, and the Cardinals have blown out their opponent in 3 of their first 4 wins, scoring at least 7 runs in those games.   They have been equal opportunity assassins, bludgeoning both aces (Josh Johnson, Yovanni Gallardo) and back of the rotation guys (Randy Wolf, Homer Bailey).

The pitching has been good – 3.86 ERA, 0.886 WHIP, 34K against 4 walks and 2 HBP. Kyle Lohse set the tone with six no-hit innings in that opener near South Beach.  Jamie Garcia survived a 2-run first inning to work 6 effective innings, Lance Lynn shut down the Brewers while striking out 8, and Jake Westbrook had his own no-hitter for 4 2/3 innings in Cincinnati.  Heck, when the starter who had the worst line the first time through was Adam Wainwright you know the team’s going well.  And Wainwright, just back from Tommy John surgery, will continue to round back into form the first month of this season.

Some prognosticators predicted this Cardinal team would be at least as dangerous as last year’s World Champs.  If the first time through is any indication that was an accurate prediction.  With 27 of their first 28 games against NL Central opponents, St Louis can make a real statement in this year’s divisional race, putting some distance between themselves and the rest of the field.  Three wins in their first 4 intra-divisional games is the start of a major statement, and should rightly put a shudder through the rest of the division.

St Louis is on pace to win 130 games, which of course is unrealistic.  Or is it?

Mike Metzger is a freelance writer based in San Diego.  He blogs about the Padres.  Follow him on Twitter @metzgermg.

Posted in Cardinals, FeaturedComments (0)

Roenicke helps Cards take Brewers’ opener

I have seen the offense of the 2012 St. Louis Cardinals, and first impressions are that this lineup is every bit as fierce on the field today as it has been for months on paper.  Yadier Molina, Matt Holliday, and Carlos Beltran all hit solo home runs, and David Freese added a 2-run bomb for good measure on their way to an 11-5 pounding of the Brewers’ for their home opener (with the windows and roof closed, no less!).  It’s the second team the Cardinals have beat on the road to spoil that team’s home opener.  Two games into a season doesn’t tell us much about what the next 160 games are likely to be, but better to be 2-0 after two than 1-1 or 0-2.

As we all know, the Cardinals are under new leadership, as Mike Matheny’s inaugural season as a Major League manager sets sail.  So far, I’ve not seen anything that makes me question his ability to perform in this role as a high level–he certainly had little trouble being a leader during his playing days.  I did, however, see something out of Ron Roenicke during Friday’s game that left me scratching my head.

Roenicke managed the Brewers to back-to-back losses to the Cardinals on Friday (Oct 16, 2011 & Apr 6, 2012)

Taking a look at the bottom of the 5th on Friday, the Brewers had a chance to make some noise, and score a couple of runs to get back in the game.  The Cardinals were up 6-2 at that point, a nice lead, but 4 runs in Miller Park in the 5th is far from “in the bag”.  The Brewers had the bottom of the order coming up, and Garcia had pitched very well, after giving up a couple of runs in the first.  Jamie faced only three batters in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th innings, and after Cards went down 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth, the Brewers came to bat.

Mat Gamel led off and hit a ball hard to center, for a single.  Jonathan Lucroy followed with a single of his own.  Marco Estrada, who replaces the shelled Yovanni Gallardo was due up next, and Roenicke decided (as most mana…er, um…as most National League managers would) to pinch hit for him.  Runners on first and second, nobody out, bottom of the fifth against the opposing team’s [only left-handed] starter (whose pitch count was low, yes, but it’s game #2 on the season)–this is a huge moment in the game.  Roenicke pulled Estrada back for…Norichika Aoki, who bats left-handed.

There were five guys on the bench (Brewers players, not burgers & fries) that Ron Roenicke could’ve gone to in this situation: Kottaras, Ishikawa, Izturis, Morgan, and Aoki.  Of the group, Caesar Izturis is the only switch-hitter, the other four are lefties.  Roenicke chose the only rookie in the group, Aoki, to face Garcia, for his first career at-bat in the big leagues.  Somehow, it seems, Roenicke expected this to continue the rally.

Or…

Perhaps he was thinking that if sent a lefty up there (not that he had a lot of options), he might be able to get Matheny to go to the bullpen, and end Garcia’s day.  Personally, I’d say that’s highly unlikely, given Jamie’s 2nd, 3rd, and 4th inning performances, though, though I guess you never know.  But, in that case, wouldn’t you have sent a left-handed batter (or any of the 5 I listed) to the on-deck circle during Lucroy’s at-bat to get Matheny thinking that way?  (side note: with Lucroy’s base-running blunder, perhaps going with Kottaras makes sense, in hindsight)  In any event, after this spot in the lineup, you’re back to the top of the order: Weeks-Gomez-Braun.

Let me get this straight: you have a scoring opportunity like that, at this point, and go with a LHB PH to face a LHP? #DidIMissSomething
@Dathan7
Dathan

This was going to be the Brewers best chance to catch the Cards until probably the 8th inning, or maybe the 7th in a best-case scenario…which also would’ve increased the chances that they’d not have another opportunity as good when the bottom of the 9th rolled around.  Given that, plus it’s the home opener for the National League Central champions, whose opponent that day beat them in that very building to eliminate them from the NLCS, and advance to the World Series, this is a game Roenicke should’ve really wanted to win.  (Obviously, you try to win them all, but this one is special)

He chose Aoki.  Garcia started him off by showing him a slider for a ball, then promptly used the next three pitches to strike him out.  Rickie Weeks then stepped in, and hit a ground ball towards (second baseman) Daniel Descalso, who was unable to field the ball, given that he was mauled by Jonathan Lucroy, prior to Descalso being able to field the ball*.  In the boxscore, this is a fielder’s choice–Lucroy is out, Weeks reaches on the FC.  On the field, however, it’s an idiot move at best–Gamel would’ve scored, bringing the game to within 3, making Braun (on-deck) the tying run, and assuring the middle of the Milwaukee order one more at-bat in this game.  But instead, Gamel has to stay at third, Weeks reaches first, placing runners at the corners with two outs and Carlos Gomez due up.  Gomez swings at the first pitch he sees (really?) and flies out to Holliday to end the inning.

Brewers rally?  Dead as dead gets.

The Cardinals would go on to score again in the 6th, 7th, and 9th innings.  The Brewers came up with a few runs in their half of the 9th as well, but fell well short of the ten runs they needed to win their opener.

Had Roenicke sent pitcher (and right-handed batting) Estrada to the plate to bunt the runners over in the 5th, then the Brewers probably end up sending the top of their lineup to the plate with 1 out and two runners in scoring position for Rickie Weeks.  If Weeks can work a walk (say that five times fast), the bases are loaded for Gomez, with Braun to follow.  If he gets a hit one run (maybe two) score, and it’s a one-run game.  Obviously, any number of combinations are possible, but it starts with making the right decision for who to send to the plate in the 9th spot.  God, I love National League baseball.

*In a completely unrelated story, Kyle McClellan would enter the game in the 9th, and bean Jonathan LuCroy.

Posted in CardinalsComments (2)

Fans Throughout Cardinals Nation Urged to Go RED for Kids to Celebrate Opening Day

ST. LOUIS (April 2, 2012) – To kick off the 2012 season and help celebrate the 15-year anniversary of the founding of Cardinals Care, the St. Louis Cardinals are encouraging local businesses, schools and other organizations to rally behind the team and Cardinals Care by participating in Cardinals RED for Kids.

Piloted during the 2011 postseason, Cardinals RED for Kids is the team’s version of an office “dress down” day in which participating organizations make a donation to Cardinals Care in exchange for the opportunity to sport their Cardinal colors around the office on Opening Day.

“This is a great way to show your support for the team and help kids in our community as we commemorate the fifteen year anniversary of Cardinals Care,” said Michael Hall, Vice President of Community Relations and Executive Director of Cardinals Care. “We hope to rally everyone as we celebrate the return of baseball with our reigning World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.”

To participate, local businesses and organizations can log onto cardinals.com/red and download the registration form, choosing to participate for the Cardinals’ April 4 season opener or the home opener on Friday, April 13. Individual participants within the organization are then asked to pledge a modest donation to dress down and wear red in support of the Cardinals for the day. Companies can even make matching donations to support the cause. Schools are also encouraged to participate in Cardinals RED for Kids, but are not required to make a donation to get involved.

Participating schools, businesses and organizations are also encouraged to submit a creative photo showing their RED team spirit from the Rally Day. The photos will be displayed on cardinals.com  The organization that raises the most funds will receive 100 Cardinals tickets personally delivered to their office by Fredbird. Monies must be received by April 30th. Winners will be contacted directly to select their game.

For more information, or to sign up for Cardinals RED for Kids, visit cardinals.com/red.

Since its inception in 1997, Cardinals Care has invested nearly $18 million in “Caring for Kids” both on and off the baseball field.  Over the last 15 years, Cardinals Care has provided nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations and built 19 youth ball fields in local disadvantaged neighborhoods.  Cardinals Care also runs the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids in Missouri and Illinois who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.  In 2011, Cardinals Care established the Joplin Recovery Fund with over $200,000 in fan donations to help the thousands of Joplin area children recover from one of the most destructive tornadoes in American history.  Fans may now make a tax-deductible donation to Cardinals Care on-line at cardinals.com/community.

Posted in CardinalsComments (0)

Naturals Again Welcome Royals Caravan For 2012

Naturals again welcome Royals Caravan for 2012
Annual winter caravan stopping in Springdale on January 16th

SPRINGDALE, AR - Although the grass is not green and the nights are chilly, the 2012 home opener at Arvest Ballpark is less than 100 days away. With that in mind, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals are excited to welcome the Kansas City Royals 2012 Winter Caravan as it makes its yearly stop in what has become an annual tradition of kicking off a new year of baseball in our area.

The signature event for this year’s caravan will be a lunch held in cooperation with the Springdale Rotary Club on Monday, January 16th at the Holiday Inn in Springdale at 1500 S. 48th Street. The lunch program will begin at 11:30. Several Royals of past and present will be on hand to meet and greet fans, sign autographs, and take questions and answers from Naturals fans.

Admission is $15 per person which includes a buffet lunch, and fans are encouraged to call (479) 927-4900 to purchase tickets. Naturals’ season ticket holders and mini-pack holders may purchase their tickets for a discounted rate of $10 over the phone or at the Arvest Ballpark front office. Rotary club members of Northwest Arkansas may reserve their seats by contacting Courtney Palfreeman at (479) 530-8060.

Attending the caravan this season are two prominent Kansas City Royals’ alums – former outfielder Willie Wilson and former infielder Kevin Seitzer, who currently serves as the Royals’ hitting coach at the Major League level. Current Royals’ pitchers and former Naturals Louis Coleman, Everett Teaford, and Aaron Crow will also be on hand and will participate in an audience-driven question and answer session that will be emceed by Joel Goldberg, the host of the Royals’ pre- and post-game shows on Fox Sports Kansas City, and Toby Cook, the Royals’ Vice President for Community Affairs and Publicity. Royals’ Chairman and Owner David Glass will also be in attendance.

Coleman, a fifth-round selection of the Royals in the 2009 draft out of LSU, was sensational as a rookie right-hander in the Royals’ bullpen this past season, posting a 2.87 ERA in 48 relief outings and fanning 64 batters in 54 2/3 innings pitched. A member of the Naturals’ 2010 Texas League Championship team, the 25-year old spent the first half of the 2010 season with the Naturals, posting a stellar 2-1 record and 2.09 ERA in 21 outings with six saves, earning a spot on the Texas League All-Star team.

The Naturals’ 2010 Pitcher of the Year, Teaford spent part of the 2009 season and all of 2010 in Northwest Arkansas and made his Major League debut this past May. In 26 games with the Royals, including three starts, the southpaw posted a 2-1 record with one save and a 3.27 ERA and just 36 hits allowed in 44 innings of work. In his stellar 2010 season, Teaford established a Naturals’ franchise record with 14 wins against just three losses, making 27 appearances, including 12 starts. His spectacular playoff pitching in both 2009 and 2010 helped the Naturals reach two consecutive Texas League Championship Series. Following the 2010 season the 27-year old was one of six Royals farmhands chosen to represent Team USA in the Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament, a group that also included former Naturals and current Royals’ starters Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.

Crow, who emerged as a key cog in Royals’ manager Ned Yost’s bullpen last season in just his second professional season, posted a 4-4 record and 2.76 ERA in 57 appearances with the Royals, striking out 65 batters in 62 innings. The 25-year old was also selected as the Royals’ lone representative for the American League’s All-Star Team. He was the Royals’ first-round pick (12th overall) in the 2009 draft and began his first professional season in the Naturals’ rotation, where he was the Opening Day starter and posted a 7-7 mark for the eventual Texas League Champions.

Seitzer was an 11th round selection by the Royals in the 1983 draft and made his MLB debut with Kansas City in 1986 as a first baseman. The following season, he flip-flopped positions with Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett during a rookie season that saw him bat .323 with 15 home runs and 207 hits, earning him the first of two selections to the American League All-Star team. Seitzer went on to a distinguished big league career that saw him bat .295 with 1,557 hits over a career that spanned 12 seasons spent with the Royals, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, and Cleveland Indians. Following his playing career, the 49-year old Seitzer served as the Arizona Diamondbacks hitting coach for a portion of the 2007 season, and was named to the same post with the Royals prior to the start of the 2009 season.

Wilson was a switch-hitting speed demon who was drafted by Kansas City in the first round of the 1974 draft. Perfectly suited to cover the large outfield at Kauffman Stadium, Wilson made his debut two seasons after he was drafted and went on to have a 19-year career in the big leagues, rapping out 2,207 hits and swiping 668 bases while batting .285. Much of that career (1976-1990) was spent with the Royals. He was an American League All-Star in 1982 and 1983, was a two-time Silver Slugger Award winner, a winner of a Gold Glove in 1980, and a member of the Kansas City Royals’ 1985 World Series Championship team. After his playing career the 56-year old Wilson served as a coach in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system in 1995 and 1997 and currently runs the Willie Wilson Baseball Foundation in Kansas City.

The Northwest Arkansas Naturals are the Double-A Texas League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and play at state-of-the-art Arvest Ballpark, located in Springdale. The 2011 season begins on Thursday, April 7th. Visit our website, nwanaturals.com, for information on season tickets and ticket plans.

Posted in Minors, RoyalsComments (0)