Tag Archive | "Kauffman Stadium"

Home finale was biggest moment in Royals history since 1985

Editor’s Note: Matt Kelsey is one of the original writers for i70baseball.  He has since moved on to other projects but submitted the following.

When I was much younger, my father took me and my brother to a the last game of the season for the Kansas City Royals.

RoyalsFans

We went to a lot of games when I was a kid – one summer, it seemed like we were out at the ballpark every other night – but this game sticks in my mind. It was the the late 80’s or early 90s. Back then the Royals were pretty good, posting a winning record most years, but the MLB structure of the time lumped the Royals into the huge American League West division, which featured seven teams and only one playoff spot each season. They were never good enough to break through and make the playoffs.

That year, the Royals were well out of the race, and the final month of the season was meaningless in the grand scheme of things. The last game of the season was especially pointless.

But we had an absolute blast that day. The stadium was on the verge of being empty. The orange seats of the Royals Stadium (yes, this was in the pre-Kauffman Stadium days) upper deck were a vast sea nothingness, and they belonged to us. The players were having fun down  there on the field, looking forward to their pending winter vacation, and it rubbed off on the handful of us in the crowd. After the game, we waited outside the stadium and collected autographs. All the players were signing that day. All of them were happy. One of the players (Danny Tartabull, maybe?) left the stadium in a huge fur coat, a woman on each arm, and climbed into the back of the biggest limousine I’ve ever seen.

As for the game itself? I remember nothing. I just remember the atmosphere that day.

Flash forward twenty or so years to Sunday afternoon. The 2013 version of the Royals were playing their last home game of the season. That game was much different. The Royals were in the midst of a Wild Card race, the first time they had been playoff contenders for a decade. After battling the Texas Rangers into extra innings, Justin Maxwell blasted a walk-off grand slam for the win.

And it was arguably the most important moment in Royals history since Game 7 of the 1985 World Series.

Yes, the Royals were sadly eliminated from contention a few nights later. But when this season started, could you have imagined the Royals competing for a wild card spot?

This team was written off multiple times during the season – even before the season began.

  • When the team traded top prospect Wil Myers to Tampa for James Shields, they were written off as an organization with its head placed firmly up its butt.
  • When the Royals lost on Opening Day, they were written off as a team that couldn’t even win with Shields, a legitimate ace, on the mound.
  • When the team went 8-20 in the month of May, they were written off as the same old Royals, with no hopes for postseason play.
  • When the Royals lost 10 out of 12 after a stretch where they went 17-3 spanning late July and early August, they were written off as a team that couldn’t stay on a roll.
  • And in the heat of the playoff race, every time the Royals lost a game, they were written off.

But the truth is, the Royals were contenders through the first 158 games of the 2013 season. And this season was no fluke; the 2014 Royals should be just as strong, if not stronger. They won’t be written off so quickly in the future.

Which makes last Sunday’s home finale that much more important.

It wasn’t just an amazing, walk-off, extra-innings win in front of a sellout crowd. Sunday’s game was a message to the rest of Major League Baseball: The Royals are not a joke anymore. The Royals are for real. They may be eliminated in 2013, but any opponents who write off the Royals in the future will regret it.

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The Royals hang on in playoff hunt

When a team like the Royals are in a Wild Card chase, every game is like a playoff game. And when they play six games against two teams ahead of them in the division, it’s important to win those games. In last Friday’s game against the A. L. Central leading Detroit Tigers, the Royals didn’t play well and lost 6-3. They rebounded in Saturday’s game and won 1-0, evening the series. In Sunday’s series finale, the Royals were tied 2-2 through seven and a half innings. Manager Ned Yost made the decision to have Jeremy Guthrie pitch the bottom half of the eighth, who at the time kept the Royals in the game.  But it was a costly decision, with Guthrie giving up a home run to Alex Avila, handing the Royals a 3-2 loss. In a crucial series, the  Royals lost two out of three games to the Tigers. It was a series the Royals really needed to win, but they didn’t.

JeremyGuthrie

Next up, the Cleveland Indians. With their two losses to Detroit, the Royals needed to sweep the Indians to move up in the Wild Card standings. And after their 7-1 victory Monday night, a sweep looked possible. Royals top pitching prospect Yordano Ventura was on the hill for Tuesday’s game and for six innings, Ventura kept the Indians to one run, striking out three and walking two before handing a 3-1 lead the the Royals reliable bullpen.

But the bullpen wasn’t reliable that night. A shaky outing from Kelvin Herrera tied the game at 3-3 and Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar each gave up a run, giving the Royals a 5-3 loss. In a 162 game season, one loss isn’t a big deal. But in a tight Wild Card race, a loss could mean missing the playoffs. Had the Royals won, they would be two games back of the second wild card spot with 11 games to go. Instead, they ended up 3.5 games back. It was a game the Royals needed to win, but they didn’t.

But if there’s a theme for the 2013 Royals, it’s resiliency. With their playoff chances on the line, the Royals came back Wednesday night with a 7-2 victory. While the win keeps their playoff hopes alive, the Royals still have three teams ahead of them in the Wild Card chase, and they’re 2.5 games back of a Wild Card spot. With ten games remaining and an 80-72 record, time and games are running out. But the next three games at Kauffman Stadium are against the struggling Texas Rangers, one of the Wild Card hopefuls. From there, the Royals finish the season on the road against the Seattle Mariners and Chicago White Sox.

With ten games to go and 8.5 games back of the Tigers, the only chance for the Royals to make the playoffs is a Wild Card berth. To do that, they need to win seven or eight games and have key losses from other teams in the Wild Card hunt to make the playoffs. It’s a long shot, but it’s up to the Royals to win their games and make it happen.

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Royals Ticket Policy For May 3 Postponement

BreakingNews3

KANSAS CITY, MO (May 3, 2013) – This evening’s game between the Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox has been rescheduled for Monday, May 6th at 1:10 p.m.  Tickets for tonight’s game will be honored for the rescheduled game.  The Royals have established the following policy for fans unable to attend Monday’s game:

Any fan holding tickets from the Thursday, May 2nd or Friday, May 3rd games who cannot attend the rescheduled games may redeem those tickets for any of the remaining 2013 regular season games excluding the following dates:  Saturday, May 11th, Monday, May 27th and Tuesday, May 28th.  Replacement tickets will be in a comparably priced seating category based on availability at time of exchange.

Unredeemed parking vouchers or parking receipts will also be good for the available games. This policy provides fans with an opportunity to select tickets from 65 remaining home games including the games this weekend vs. Chicago May 4th and 5th and the rescheduled game on Monday, May 6th at 1:10PM. All exchanges must be made at Kauffman Stadium. Fans are strongly encouraged to exchange their tickets well in advance of the game they hope to attend. All seating is based upon availability.

The Kauffman Stadium Ticket Office is open Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

In addition, the Royals Charities and FOX Sports Kansas City have rescheduled the annual Broadcast Auction to the Friday, June 7 game against the Houston Astros.

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Come To Play – The 2013 Royals

KANSAS CITY, MO (February 4, 2013) – The first pitch of 2013 is still a ways off, but the Kansas City Royals are stoking anticipation for the upcoming season with the announcement of their new advertising campaign and tagline, “Come to Play.”

KauffmanStadiumOutfield

Developed in partnership with Kansas City-based ad agency Walz Tetrick, the campaign spotlights the game experience with a “Come to Play” invitation for fans to come out to The K and soak in the excitement of seeing the Royals in person.

“Nothing beats going out to The K to be part of the Major League Baseball experience,” said WTA president Charlie Tetrick.  “With the offseason additions, this year’s team is a great combination of youth, experience and leadership.  Every pitch is an opportunity for something exciting and unexpected to happen.  When you add in the sights, sounds and smells of The K, it’s a unique experience that people throughout Royals territory treasure.  From the players and fans to the K Crew and Sluggerrr, ‘Come to Play’ is a rally cry that encompasses all of the excitement that is Royals baseball.”

The “Come to Play” campaign will be seen throughout Spring Training and regular season in TV and radio ads, outdoor boards, newspaper ads, online banners and other guerilla marketing opportunities that are now being planned.

Season tickets are currently on sale and available online at www.royals.com, by phone at 816-504-4040 or at the Kauffman Stadium Box Office.

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Home Runs For Hunger November 10

ROYALS CHARITIES PARTNERS WITH ROYALS GROUNDS CREW FOR HOME RUNS FOR HUNGER ON NOVEMBER 10

Event Gives Fans Opportunity to Participate in
On-Field Batting Practice by Donating Canned Food Items to Harvesters 

KANSAS CITY, MO (October 19, 2012) – As the holiday season nears, Royals Charities and the Kansas City Royals Grounds Crew are hosting the first-ever Home Runs for Hunger event at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday, November 10.  Fans who donate canned food items or make a cash donation to Harvesters-The Community Food Network will have the unique opportunity to take batting practice on the field and shag fly balls in the outfield.

Fans can secure one swing against a pitching machine on the Kauffman Stadium field by donating three non-perishable canned food items or by making a $2 contribution.  There will be a maximum of 20 pitches per participant.  Batters will be entered into a drawing for autographed memorabilia for each home run hit.

Fans will also have the opportunity to shag fly balls in the outfield for 15 minutes by donating $25.  Participants are responsible for bring their own gloves for outfield shagging.  The Royals will provide bats, baseballs and helmets for the event.

Home Runs for Hunger will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (weather permitting).  Please note that children must be at least 48” tall to participate, and all children under the age of 17 will need a waiver signed by a parent or guardian.

As fans enter Kauffman Stadium, Royals staff will be on hand to collect canned food items and donations and will give each participant a number indicating the hitting order and respective number of pitches and/or shagging time.  Family and friends are welcome to attend and may watch from the seating bowl.

Complete details on the event are available at www.royals.com/homerunsforhunger.

Fans who are unable to attend but wish to make a monetary donation may send checks to Royals Charities at One Royal Way, Kansas City, MO 64129.  Please note in the memo of the check that it is for Home Runs for Hunger.

As the area’s only food bank, Harvesters has been helping people in need since 1979.  The Harvesters network includes more than 620 nonprofit agencies throughout a 26-county service area, including emergency food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, children’s homes, homes for the mentally disabled and shelters for battered persons.  Harvesters can feed five people for just $1 and provides food assistance to as many as 66,000 different people each week.

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Royals name minor league players and pitchers of the year

KANSAS CITY, MO (August 31, 2012) – The Kansas City Royals have named their Minor League Pitchers and Players of the Year for their respective affiliates.  The Paul Splittorff Pitcher of the Year and George Brett Hitter of the Year will be announced this offseason.

A majority of the players are expected to be at Kauffman Stadium for Futures Night on Friday, September 14, where they will take part in an autograph session at Gate A from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m., as well as be honored in an on-field presentation prior to the Royals game against the Angels.

OMAHA (AAA)

Right-handed pitcher Jake Odorizzi has been named the Omaha Pitcher of the Year.  The 22-year-old is 11-3 with a 2.93 ERA in 19 games (18 starts) for the playoff-bound Storm Chasers after going 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in seven starts with Northwest Arkansas (AA) to begin the campaign.  Odorizzi’s 15 combined victories are tied for the second-most in the minors.  He started for the U.S. squad in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, tossing an inning.  Odorizzi, who was acquired with shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and right-handed reliever Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010, was the 2011 Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.

Wil Myers was named the Omaha Player of the Year.  The 21-year-old, like Odorizzi, began the 2012 season with Northwest Arkansas.  After batting .343 with 13 home runs and 30 RBI in 35 games, the Royals third-round selection from 2009 was promoted to Omaha where he is hitting .293 with 23 home runs and 75 RBI in 95 games.  The 2010 Burlington (IA) Player of the Year’s 36 combined home runs are the second-most in the minor leagues while his 105 RBI place him seventh.  An outfielder on the 12-member All-PCL team, Myers also competed in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, was named the “Star of Stars” at the Triple-A All-Star Game and is a finalist forUSA Today Minor League Player of the Year.

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (AA)

Right-handed pitcher Michael Mariot, 23, has been named the Northwest Arkansas Pitcher of the Year.  The University of Nebraska alum, who was recently promoted to Omaha, went 6-3 with one save and a 3.40 ERA in 31 games, including 14 starts, for the Naturals.  Mariot was the club’s eighth-round pick in 2010.

23-year-old Christian Colon is the Northwest Arkansas Player of the Year.  The middle infielder saw his season end prematurely in mid-August due to a right eye injury after batting .412 in five games for Omaha.  Colon, the club’s first round pick (fourth overall) in 2010 out of Cal State-Fullerton, hit .289 with five home runs and 12 stolen bases in 73 games for Northwest Arkansas.  The right-handed batter drew 37 walks and struck out just 27 times in 85 combined contests in 2012.

WILMINGTON (A-ADVANCED)

Right-handed starter Yordano Ventura was named Wilmington Pitcher of the Year.  The 21-year-old, who started and tossed a scoreless inning for the World team in the SiriusXM MLB All-Star Futures Game this July at Kauffman Stadium, is currently pitching with Northwest Arkansas.  He opened the 2012 season with Wilmington, posting a 3-5 record with a 3.30 ERA in 16 starts, striking out 98 in 76.1 innings.  The five-foot-11 Ventura was signed out of Samana, Dominican Republic, as a non-drafted free agent on October 8, 2008.

Whit Merrifield, 23, is the Wilmington Player of the Year.  Now at Northwest Arkansas, the former national champion from the University of South Carolina hit .258 with 20 doubles, eight homers, 59 runs scored and 25 stolen bases in 30 attempts in 101 games for the Blue Rocks.  Merrifield, who has played extensively in both the infield and outfield, was the Royals’ ninth-round pick in the 2010 Draft.

KANE COUNTY (A)

21-year-old Angel Baez was named the Kane County Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-three right-hander is 6-5 with a 3.17 ERA in 16 games (15 starts) with the Cougars, striking out 83 in 76.2 innings.  Baez, a resident of Juan Baron, Dominican Republic, was acquired as a non-drafted free agent on July 21, 2008.

19-year-old outfielder Jorge Bonifacio was named the Kane County Player of the Year.  Bonifacio will make his third-consecutive trip to Kansas City after being named the 2010 Dominican Royals Player of the Year and the 2011 Burlington Royals Player of the Year.  The younger brother of Marlins outfielder Emilio Bonifacio, he is batting .282 with 20 doubles, six triples, 10 home runs, 61 RBI and 54 runs scored in 105 games for the Cougars.  Born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Bonifacio was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on December 9, 2009.

IDAHO FALLS (ROOKIE-ADVANCED)

Left-handed pitcher Sam Selman, selected by Kansas City in the second round this June, is the Idaho Falls Pitcher of the Year.  Selman, 21, was recently named the Pioneer League Pitcher of the Year.  He is 5-3 with a league-leading 2.11 ERA in 12 games (11 starts), allowing just 41 hits in 55.1 innings, holding Pioneer League batters to a .202 average, best in the circuit.  The six-foot-three hurler from Austin, Texas, by way of Vanderbilt University, has struck out a league-best 84 and walked just 22.

Outfielder Ethan Chapman, 22, has been named the Idaho Falls Player of the Year.  Chapman, selected in the 30th round of the 2012 Draft out of Cal State San Bernardino, is batting .314 with eight triples, tied for third in the league, 52 runs scored, fifth in the league, and 22 stolen bases, tied for second in the league.

BURLINGTON-NC (ROOKIE)

18-year-old left-handed pitcher Colin Rodgers has been named the Burlington Pitcher of the Year.  Rodgers, the team’s third-round selection in this year’s draft out of Parkview Baptist School in Louisiana, went 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 11 starts for the B-Royals, allowing opponents to hit just .226 against him.  Rodgers made the start last night in the second game of Burlington’s first-round playoff series.

Outfielder Bubba Starling, 20, is the Burlington Royals Player of the Year in 2012.  The club’s first-round pick (fifth overall) in last year’s draft out of Gardner-Edgerton (Kan.) High School batted .275 with 10 home runs, 33 RBI and 35 runs scored in 53 regular season games.  The six-foot-five centerfielder also swiped 10 bases in 11 attempts.  Starling last night was 2-for-3 with a home run and two RBI as Burlington evened their best-of-three playoff series at a game apiece.

SURPRISE (ROOKIE)

Matt Tenuta, an 18-year-old left-hander, has been named the Surprise Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The six-foot-four hurler from Apex High in North Carolina went 3-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 13 games (one start) with Surprise, surrendering just one home run in 39.1 innings.  Tenuta was selected in the 25th round of the 2012 Draft.

Outfielder Alexis Rivera has been named the Surprise Royals Player of the Year.  Rivera, 18, was sixth in the league batting .341 with seven doubles, four triples, three home runs, 34 RBI and 35 runs scored in 48 games and was named to the Arizona League All-Star team.  The left-handed hitter originally from Ponce, Puerto Rico, was the Royals’ 10th round pick 2012 out of Montverde Academy in Florida.

DOMINICAN ROYALS (ROOKIE)

Right-handed pitcher Miguel Almonte is the Dominican Royals Pitcher of the Year.  The 19-year-old made 10 starts for the Dominican Royals, recording a 6-1 record with a 1.44 ERA, allowing just 34 hits and 8 walks with 46 strikeouts in 50.0 innings.  The six-foot-two resident of Santiago, Dominican Republic, who signed as a non-drafted free agent on November 20, 2010, is currently pitching for Burlington after a brief stint with the Surprise Royals in Arizona where he went 2-1 with a 2.33 ERA in six games (two starts).

Infielder Wander Franco, signed by Kansas City as a non-drafted free agent on September 26, 2011, is the Dominican Royals Player of the Year.  Franco, 17, hit .315 with 14 doubles, five triples, 38 RBI, 45 runs scored and 13 stolen bases in 66 games.  The switch hitter currently resides in Bani, Dominican Republic.

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2012 All Star Lineups

LINEUPS FOR THE 83rd ALL-STAR GAME ANNOUNCED

Aces Verlander of the Tigers and Cain of the Giants Earn Starting Honors

KANSAS CITY, MO – The 2012 All-Star Game managers, Tony La Russa and Ron Washington of the Texas Rangers, have announced their starting lineups for the 83rd Midsummer Classic, to be played on Tuesday at Kauffman Stadium.  The lineups were announced at this afternoon’s 2012 All-Star Game Press Conference.

La Russa’s National League lineup will be:

Player, Club

Bats

Pos.

Statistics (N.L. bests are bolded)

Carlos Gonzalez, COL

L

DH

.330, 61 R, 17 HR, 58 RBI, 11 SB, .389 OBP

Melky Cabrera, SF

S

CF

.353, 8 HR, 44 RBI, 119 H, .391 OBP

Ryan Braun, MIL

R

LF

.306, 24 HR, 61 RBI, 15 SB, .599 SLG

Joey Votto, CIN

L

1B

.348, 14 HR, 48 RBI, .471 OBP1.087 OPS

Carlos Beltran, STL

S

RF

.296, 20 HR, 65 RBI, .382 OBP

Buster Posey, SF

R

C

.289, 16 2B, 10 HR, 43 RBI

Pablo Sandoval, SF

S

3B

.307, 8 HR, 30 RBI, .362 OBP

Dan Uggla, ATL

R

2B

.221, 53 R, 12 HR, 45 RBI, .351 OBP

Rafael Furcal, STL

S

SS

.275, 54 R, 5 HR, 36 RBI

Matt Cain, SF

R

RHP

9-3, 2.62 ERA, 120.1 IP, 118 SO

Washington’s American League lineup will be:

Player, Club

Bats

Pos.

Statistics (A.L. bests are bolded)

Derek Jeter, NYY

R

SS

.308, 7 HR, 25 RBI, 111 H, .354 OBP

Robinson Cano, NYY

L

2B

.313, 57 R, 20 HR, 51 RBI, .578 SLG

JOSH HAMILTON, TEX

L

LF

.308, 27 HR75 RBI.635 SLG1.016 OPS

Jose Bautista, TOR

R

RF

.244, 59 R, 27 HR, 65 RBI, .540 SLG

Prince Fielder, DET

L

1B

.299, 15 HR, 63 RBI, .505 SLG

Adrian Beltre, TEX

R

3B

.326, 15 HR, 54 RBI, .524 SLG

David Ortiz, BOS

L

DH

.312, 62 R, 22 HR, 57 RBI, .607 SLG

MIKE NAPOLI, TEX

R

C

.228, 12 HR, 30 RBI, .340 OBP

Curtis Granderson, NYY

L

CF

.248, 61 R, 23 HR, 48 RBI

Justin Verlander, DET

R

RHP

9-5, 2.58 ERA, 5 CG, 132.2 IP128 SO

Cain, now a three-time N.L. All-Star, threw the first perfect game in Giants franchise history and the 22nd of all-time on June 13th against the Houston Astros.  His 14 strikeouts were tied for the most ever in a perfect game, matching Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax.  The eighth-year hurler, who has a 3.29 career ERA, threw 21.1 innings without allowing an earned run in the 2010 Postseason, helping lift the Giants to the city of San Francisco’s first World Series Championship.  Cain became the sixth pitcher in Major League history to make three starts in a Postseason without allowing an earned run.  His streak of 21.1 innings without allowing an earned run to start his Postseason career is the sixth longest in Major League history.  The durable right-hander has made at least 31 starts in each full season of his career (2006-2011).

Verlander, now a five-time A.L. All-Star, was both the 2011 American League Most Valuable Player and the 2011 A.L. Cy Young Award winner after going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA, becoming the 10th pitcher of all-time to win both in the same season and the first since Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley in 1992.  The Old Dominion product was also the A.L. Rookie of the Year in 2006, when he helped Detroit reach the World Series for the first time since 1984.  Verlander becomes the first pitcher ever to win an MVP, a Cy Young, the Rookie of the Year Award and to start an All-Star Game in his career.  Don Newcombe won the three awards but never started the Midsummer Classic in his four All-Star appearances.  Verlander owns a career record of 116-62 with a 3.45 ERA and has thrown two no-hitters in his career.  The Virginia native will become the seventh different Tigers pitcher to start the All-Star Game (10th overall).

The 2012 All-Star Game will be played at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday, July 10th.  The 83rd All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports; in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS; and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International’s independent feed.  Pregame ceremonies will begin at 8:00 p.m. (ET)/7:00 p.m. (CT).  ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide exclusive national radio coverage of the All-Star Game.  MLB Network, MLB.com and SiriusXM also will provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage.

For more information, please visit allstargame.com or royals.com/2012.

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Kansas City and the All Star “DNP” Tradition

The big boys are coming to our house this year, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be allowed to play with them.

The Royals host the All Star Game this year, and it is a huge event for Kansas City. But the hopes of KC fans that their team would be well represented at home were disappointed.

Ever since the announcement was made that KC would be home to the 2012 All Star Game, the question has been would the Royals have more than one player named to the team?

But a 12-game losing streak, a sluggish start by a few young stars, and injuries conspired to limit the Royals to just one representative.

Billy Butler rightfully was named the Royals’ rep. And he’ll hobnob with baseball royalty at our very own Kauffman Stadium in what is a great exposure of Kansas City. It will be a great economic and cultural event for the city.

But it won’t do much for healing the wounds Royals have taken from the mid-summer classic over the past decade. Three letters describe the slight baseball has dealt the Royals: DNP.

Six of the last ten KC representatives in the midsummer classic never left the bench.

In case you were like most fans who paid almost no notice to whether Royals played or not over the past decade:

2011: Aaron Crow – DNP.
2010: Joakim Soria – DNP.
2007: Gil Meche – DNP.
2006: Mark Redman – DNP.
2003: Mike Sweeney and Mike MacDougal – DNP.

Having lacked a legitimate “star” for years, it’s been a long time since Royals fans had much reason to care about the All-Star Game. So all the DNPs seem to have gone by without much notice. Lesser players are often forced to wait until late in the games to pinch-hit, or are held out for extra innings. So most casual fans have gone to bed by the time the benches start clearing.

I made the case a year ago that this was no coincidence.

During a 13-year stretch – 1990 to 2002 – when the team was pretty bad, the Royals had just one DNP – Jeff Montgomery in 1996. So based on that fact, it would appear Royals representatives are not getting into the games as frequently as they once did.

And it wasn’t that all the Royals representatives during that period were legitimate stars (see Jose Rosado in 1997 and 1999 and Dean Palmer in 1998).

It all started with what looks like the biggest slap in the face back in 2003. In the one season when the Royals were actually good – leading the Central Division with a 51-41 mark – the Royals sent legit slugger Sweeney and lights-out closer (at the time) McDougal to the game.

And neither played.

Since then, the American League seems to be making no effort to get Royals into the game.

Butler will not record a DNP this year. Most of the DNPs have been logged by pitchers, which isn’t that uncommon. And being as the game is in KC, they will finally make it a priority to get the Royals’ rep in the game.

Butler will play, no doubt. Sadly it will probably be in a pinch-hitting role. He’ll come up for one short at bat, go to the bench, and the Royals’ presence will be barely noticed.

But strangely the slight doesn’t end there.

For once the Royals had a rep who could conceivably participate in the second-biggest event of the All Star Break, the Home Run Derby. The door was open for Butler, and Robinson Cano even said he would invite a Royal.

But this year the Royals will sadly record a different DNP – Did Not Participate in the derby.

Good luck in your All Star appearance, Billy. You deserve it. The Royals deserve it. The city deserves it.

I’m afraid next year we’ll go back to the usual DNP.

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St. Louis Cardinals set to begin second surge as All-Star break approaches

The St. Louis Cardinals began their World Series title defense in impressive fashion, going 14-8 in April and leading the NL Central division by three games over the Cincinnati Reds. But then the season quickly took a turn for the worse as several key players got hurt and the Cardinals lost the division lead.

However, the Cardinals looked a lot more like the team of April this week than the depleted roster that struggled to keep up through much of May and June.

Sure, they are just 3-2 in their last five games heading into play Sunday, but the team has played much more solid games devoid of the mental lapses and poor fundamental play that plagued the team for more than a month.

Lance Lynn started last week’s series against Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers unimpressively. He gave up five runs in five innings, but since then the Cardinals pitching staff has been dynamite. Jake Westbrook threw a complete-game shutout Wednesday, and Kyle Lohse certainly pitched well enough to win Thursday afternoon’s game the Cardinals lost 2-1 in 10 innings.

But the real wake-up call came when the team showed up Friday at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City to begin a beatdown of their cross-state rival, the Royals. The Cardinals plastered 10 runs on the board in the first two innings of Friday’s game started by Joe Kelly. They went on to win 11-4 and then pounded out eight more runs Saturday to help Adam Wainwright get the 8-2 win.

Perhaps how the Cardinals won those games is more impressive than the fact that they won them. The offense jumped out to early leads in both games and put the Royals in a position where they had to try and make a comeback if they were going to win.

That’s what the Cardinals did so well at the beginning of the season. Fans who were late to their seats would miss most of the scoring because the Cardinals often had a multiple-run lead before the stadium lights would begin to take effect.

Not coincidently, the Cardinals recent performances happened the same weekend as centerfielder Jon Jay and utility man Matt Carpenter returns from the disabled list. Both players returned to the lineup for Friday’s game.

Now let’s not oversell those two players return as the saviors to the season. Injuries have certainly played a major role in the Cardinals’ struggles this year, but there have also been defensive lapses and bullpen problems that have nothing to do with injuries.

Still, the return of Jay and Carpenter are a boost to the club and should be the beginning of a stretch of better baseball.

Plus, the Cardinals will begin a series Monday in Miami to face the Marlins, who are in the middle of a rough stretch where they’ve lost nine of their last 10 games. The Cardinals started the season in Miami with a 4-1 behind a masterful performance by Lohse and maintained that momentum for the rest of the month.

Westbrook is scheduled to start Monday’s game, but his complete game last week in Detroit might have been the spark for a similar run into the second half of the season.

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Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi and Yordano Ventura to Futures Game

Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi AND Yordano Ventura NAMED TO

XM ALL-STAR FUTURES GAME ROSTER

KANSAS CITY, MO (June 21, 2012) — Kansas City Royals prospects Wil MyersJake Odorizzi and Yordano Ventura today were named to the rosters for the 14th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.  The game, which will match Myers, Odorizzi and the U.S. squad against Ventura and the World roster, will begin at 4 p.m. CDT on Sunday, July 8 from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.  The Royals are the only organization in baseball to place three players in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

The game will be televised live on ESPN2, ESPN2 HD and MLB.TV and is also available on the radio at MLB Network Radio (XM channel 89).  Tickets are still available for purchase for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game by visiting www.allstargame.com, calling 1-888-326-3378 or visiting the Royals box office at Kauffman Stadium.

Myers, 21, will be making his second-straight appearance at the XM All-Star Futures Game, also appearing last July at Chase Field in Phoenix, Ariz.  The 6-foot-3, 206-pound outfielder is currently tied with 31-year-old Brad Eldred for the minor league baseball lead with 24 home runs.  Myers opened the season with Northwest Arkansas (AA) before being promoted to Omaha (AAA) in mid-May.  He has combined to hit .336 (86-for-256) with 18 doubles, three triples, 24 home runs, 62 RBI and 60 runs scored in 68 games, posting a .416 on-base pct. and .711 slugging mark.  He is the Royals third-round selection from the 2009 June Free Agent Draft.

The 22-year-old Odorizzi, like Myers, opened 2012 with Northwest Arkansas before a promotion to Omaha.  The 6-foot-2 right-hander has compiled an 8-2 record with a 2.89 ERA in 13 games (12 starts), recording 81 strikeouts in 71.2 innings while holding opponents to a .219 average.  Odorizzi was acquired along with shortstop Alcides Escobar, outfielder Lorenzo Cain and pitcher Jeremy Jeffress from the Milwaukee Brewers on December 19, 2010 in exchange for pitcher Zack Greinke and infielder Yuniesky Betancourt.

Ventura, 21, worked a scoreless inning with a walk and a strikeout at the Carolina-California League All-Star Game on Tuesday.  The 5-foot-11 right-hander is 3-5 with a 3.10 ERA in 13 starts for High-A Wilmington, posting 78 strikeouts in 61.0 innings.  Born and raised in Samana, Dominican Republic, Ventura was signed by the Royals as a non-drafted free agent on October 8, 2008.

Major League Baseball, in conjunction with the Major League Baseball Scouting Bureau, MLB.com, Baseball America and the 30 MLB teams selected the 25-man rosters for each club.

You can read the full press release, complete with full rosters and a complete list of current Major League players that have participated in the Futures Game in the past, by downloading the PDF located here.

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