Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fifth Royals Game...In Review

On Thursday, I went to my fifth Royals game of the year. This one was planned before I went to the one on Tuesday. This one was to be the last one I got to before I left for overseas mission for two months. It turned out to be a pretty good time. The weather was great (sunny, high 70s/low 80s). It was a day game matchup and Zack Grienke was pitching. Some highlights:

*Before the game, me, Kyle, Tyler and Dr. Cardoza (one of the profs at Midwestern) got to the park early and did some tailgaiting. This was the first time I ever tailgated at a professional game. It was pretty cool.

*The game itself was pretty good...except for the fact that Cleveland won. The Royals had a lead when Grienke left and the bullpen/defense let him down and cost the Royals a win.

The record of games I go to now stands at 3-2. The next game I'll be able to go to will be in August when I get back from being overseas. Hopefully at that point, the Royals will still be hanging around.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One of the Greatest MLB Games I've Been To...Fourth Royals Game in Review

Yesterday, I went to one of the best baseball games I've ever been to. The whole story behind it and the game itself was great and one worth retelling.

To preface, on Monday afternoon I was playing Star Wars: Epic Duels with some guys (Tyler, Kyle and Stephen) in the dorm lobby. While we were playing, Allen walked over and said something to the effect of "I know that you three (me, Tyler, Kyle) would probably be interested in this...I got some free tickets to the Royals game tomorrow night, would you like to go with me?" When I heard this, my immediate reaction was of course. Turns out, Dr. Roberts (president of the seminary) got these tickets from some unknown benefactor and gave them to Allen. These tickets were initally going to be given away during the Royals Chapel but weren't available then. So it ended up being me, Allen, Kyle and Stephen who went (Tyler had to pick up a friend at the airport that night and couldn't go).

So yesterday afternoon, the four of us headed out to the "K". On the way, looked at the tickets and found that there was free parking too. When we got to the stadium, it was several hours early. It was plenty of time to walk around the Outfield Experience, along with getting our free t-shirt (it was T-Shirt Tuesday so we got a free Royals t-shirt). It was a beautiful day at the ballpark and a perfect evening for baseball.

Since the rest of the stadium wasn't open yet, I suggested we walked down to the Pepsi Party Porch and watch batting practice taking place. We were early enough to see the Royals taking BP. It was the first time I had been out there and it was surprising how really low the porch is to the field. As we were standing out there watching, there was a ball hit on the field near where we were standing. One of the Royals pitchers (Ron Mahay) who was out on the field gently tossed the ball up to some fans about a few feet away from me. They missed catching it and it landed back on the field. I stood there and didn't see where the ball went. Suddenly I see a ball come flying up in the air and a little behind me. I turn back and took about two steps and with my right hand I caught it bare handed. It was completely unexpected and totally cool.

When the opened the rest of the stadium up, we decided to head over to our seats. On the way I saw someone signing autographs by the Royals dugout. I figure why not and decided to try and get my baseball that I just got signed. As I got about halfway down the steps, I saw that it was Trey Hillman, the manager signing autographs. I got down there and stood in a short line and waited for my turn. When it was my turn I handed him the ball and my Sharpie pen. As he was signing it I said "I wanted to thank you for coming to Midwestern Seminary last month." He said "You're welcome, I had a good time there." I then said "It was a real blessing." He then replied "Thank you, I appreciate that." as he handed me the ball and my pen. I walked away with a smile on my face.

I got over to where the other guys were sitting and saw the view from our seats. We were in the Dugout Plaza section, it was lower level behind the first base dugout near home plate, just right underneath the second level. They were some of the best seats I've ever sit in at a baseball game. It was an awesome experience and the game hadn't started yet.

The Royals were playing the Cleveland Indians. This was my second time this year seeing this matchup. Unfortunately, Trevor Crowe was not there as he is in AAA right now. The pitching matchup was Brian Bannister vs the reigning AL Cy Young Winner Cliff Lee. The game was a fairly close one. There was some back and forth going on and some exciting plays. One included at collison at the plate which resulted in the Indians player getting booed the rest of the game.

The game seemed to go the way of the Indians when they hit a 3 run homer in the 6th to make the score 5-1. The Royals scored a run and in the 9th were down 3 runs with the score 5-2. In between the 9th inning, me, Kyle, Allen and Stephen got on Crown Vision (the big screen). It was really cool and I was able to get a picture of it.

The bottom of the 9th was simply crazy. The fireworks started with one out and Mike Jacobs at the plate and Kerry Wood, the Indians closer on the mound. Jacobs worked the count to 3-2 and then proceeded to take a pitch out of the park. The solo HR made the score 5-3. The very next batter was Mark Teahen. On like the first pitch of the at-bat, Teahen takes Wood yard as he hits a home run of his own. The back-to-back solo HRs made the score 5-4. Miguel Olivo was the next batter and proceeded to take a walk. The Royals send in a pinch runner (Mitch Maier) and then have David DeJesus at the plate. DeJesus then hits a triple which scores Maier and ties the game at 5-5. The next batter was Willie Bloomquist, former Mariner and a favorite of mine. Bloomquist hits a deep pop out which allows DeJesus to tag up from third and score the game winning run. The Royals win in dramatic fashion 6-5.

The crowd was loud right after Jacobs hit the HR and kept getting louder and louder. It was a tremendous atmosphere. It ranks up there as one of the best MLB games I've ever been to. With that win, the Royals are 3-1 in games I've been to. It's the time of game that definitely is worth retelling the story.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Running Journal for Royals Chapel 2.0

Last month, Midwestern Seminary hosted the second Royals Chapel. Once again, manager Trey Hillman and GM Dayton Moore came and spoke in a dialogue format with the president of the seminary, Dr. Roberts. It was a similar format to last year's chapel.

It started off with a little humor as they were asked some things they were thinking on recently. Trey said that Dayton said to him "I'm the boss, you go (first)." Trey mentioned how he had been thinking a lot about family and the importance of being the spiritual head of his household. He also made mention of his wife being the glue that holds things together.

Dayton mentioned about how he was encouraged about the good start the team has done but that he wasn't satisfied. He also mentioned about there was harmony within the organization and the importance of that.

Trey followed up by saying that it is easy to feel excitement like the way the fans feel lately. He had two really good quotes at this point. One was one he mentions a lot to his team "Without hope and faith, we're lost as human beings." The other was "God bless critics. If we didn't have critics, we wouldn't have anyone to prove them wrong."

Dayton mentioned that he felt more pressure from ownership than the media and that Trey has more of a challenge with the media than he does.

Trey talked about how he is more at peace this year. He also mentioned something that was interesting. He said that "Sometimes its better to keep your mouth shut for the better of the group." He also mentioned about carrying a "reporter's notebook" where he writes down some of his favorite verses and thoughts that God has laid on his heart.

When asked about his greatest moment in a baseball uniform, Trey mentioned the championship parade that he was in after winning the Japan World Series. He also talked about his time in Japan where he was able to help with several missions groups that came to the country and how his position as manager there was a way to share his faith.

Dayton talked about how winning games was more of a relief than anything. He mentioned that his team is at home (meaning his family). He talked about how he tries to make a difference in the lives of family and the people he associates with.

They wrapped up by giving prayer requests. Dayton mentioned about maintaining being the leader God wants him to be while Trey mentioned balance in his life and also for his family.

After prayer, there were giveaways. Unfortunately, didn't get anything this year. Hopefully, they will do it again next year and I look forward to it.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Third Royals Game 2009...In Review

I was able to take in my third Royals game of the year was also one where I wasn't rooting for the Royals. Yes, the Seattle Mariners were in town and I was rooting for the M's. It was a 1:10pm first pitch and I had a class that finished around noon so it meant getting to the ballpark right before first pitch. Here are some highlights:

*It was "School Day at the 'K'" which meant that there were 20,000 kids in attendance. What surprised me was the walkup for a day game in May. There were about 32,000 people in the stadium which made it loud. The Royals are starting to develop a nice little homefield advantage.

*The M's played tough. Jarrod Washburn pitched a really good game. They just couldn't cash in with runners in scoring position.

*The Royals put up a strong performance from Bannister. Juan Cruz had another good outing and Soria fought through in the 9th to get the victory.

*I was one of the few, the proud, Mariners fans in the stadium. I wore my old trusty Mariners hat along with my new Griffey jersey that I got recently. It felt weird cheering and there was no sound at times. I could literally hear myself clapping when the M's were doing something. I wouldn't be surprised if I got on TV back in Seattle since there weren't that many M's fans there.

*It was a bittersweet day. Dave Niehaus, play by play commentator for the M's was calling his 5,000th game, which was cool. The M's fought and got the bases loaded in the 9th. But the Royals held on for a 3-1 victory.

The Royals have won six straight now and are 2-1 in games I've went to seen. They might make it interesting for the duration of the season.

I'll recap the 2nd Royals chapel that took place recently at Midwestern seminary in the next few days. Until then, if you're in a MLB city, take in a game, it's a great time to do it.