Saturday, May 15, 2010

Start of a New Era: Fourth Royals Game in 2010 in Review

Yesterday I took in my fourth Royals game of 2010. It was an interesting game to say the least as the Royals took on division rivals the Chicago White Sox. It was the first game for new manager Ned Yost after Trey Hillman was fired on Thursday. Before I go further, I want to say this. I think Trey Hillman is a great guy, I've met him in person and heard him speak. He's a faithful follower of Jesus and I still think he's a good manager. He just didn't get the best situation with having enough talent to compete with his style. I really hope he finds another chance to manage in the big leagues and with a team with the talent to compete.

With a new manager there some new hope. I will say this for about 4 1/3 innings I was pulling for Mark Buehrle because he was pitching a perfect game, then after that was given up I was back to pulling for the Royals. I was there with a group from seminary up in the "cheap seats". One thing you can be sure, if it's a group outing, chances are you're sitting in the "cheap seats". There's really not any bad seats at Kauffman so that's fine. You just have absolutely no chance at a foul ball. I did come close to having a home run ball during batting practice. Kyle, Lane, Andrew and I walked out to the Party Porch while the Sox were taking BP. Just as we get to a spot, the batter hits the ball. Kyle and I are looking at the outfielder who turns his head to look in our direction. It was like "Oh no" as we can't track the ball and all of a sudden there's a "thump" right over our heads, then it bounces down and to the right of where we are. A teenager ended up with the ball. If we had been there probably a minute before, we could've tracked the ball and ended up with it.

The game itself ended up with a win. They scored 5 runs in the 7th inning and batted around the order to get the victory 6-1. It was the first win of the year for the Royals in games I've been to (which means they're 1-3). Though for teams I'm rooting for, I'm 3-1 (I did root for the Mariners in 2 games). I was wearing my Billy Butler powder blue jersey which in the past two years has a winning record for the Royals.

After the game, it was Fireworks Friday so there was a fireworks display that lasted about 10 minutes or so. Overall, great time and a good victory and hopefully the start of something good for the team.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Running Journal for Royals Chapel 3.0

Last Tuesday, Midwestern Seminary hosted it's third (I guess you can say at this point annual) Royals Chapel. This year it was just Trey Hillman, manager of the Royals who was involved as GM Dayton Moore was unable to come due to a scheduling conflict. It was a similar format as in previous years where Dr. Roberts, the president of the seminary, asked Trey questions and did it in a dialogue format.

It started out with a funny quip as Dr. Roberts told Trey that it he was back in the hot seat of Midwestern Seminary to which Trey replied that the seat at the "K" is hot too.

Dr. Roberts asked Trey to give a quick testimony of his background for those who hadn't been to previous chapels. Trey briefly shared his testimony and also shared some new stories. One was that he grew up in a Church of Christ church down in Texas and one time when he was a youth on a Wednesday night he was over at the Baptist church leading worship with his guitar and that his parents, when asked where Trey was by those in the congregation of the Church of Christ church, told them that he was leading worship at the Baptist church. That got a pretty good laugh out of everyone there.

He mentioned that he and his family attend a Baptist church in Liberty Hills, TX where his home is (and where he lives during the offseason). He mentioned how as time went on, he felt more at home in a Baptist church and so that's why he worships at the church he's at now.

Trey then talked about one thing that has been on his heart the last ten years is that he has asked God that he be less judgmental. He mentioned how it's our job as Christians to love people and that he's trying to do a better job of that.

When talking about his job as a manager, he mentioned how he's heard words put together with his name that he couldn't even fathom.

He then talked about his time in Japan as a manager and how he was able to do a lot of mission work with the missionaries there and the great opportunities that came about from that. He said that wherever God puts him, he plans to honor God and be bold in his witness.

He acknowledged he felt the prayers of everyone from the seminary and that he couldn't wait to come back to campus to thank everyone for them.

Dr. Roberts then asked him what his typical day was like. Trey mentioned that he's there at the ballpark 12-15 hours a day. Before he discussed his routine, he said that it's important to surround yourself with people not only who encourage and support you but who you can encourage and support as well. He said that there are 2 types of people, energy givers and energy suckers and he wants to be around energy givers and more importantly around people encouraging with the Holy Spirit.

He then got into the day in the life of a MLB manager. He said he gets to the ballpark and does about 3 to 5 miles on the treadmill. He works out early in order to work out stress. He then spends about 45 minutes to an hour for video review. The early work for the players on a typical day starts at 3:00 and official stretch time starts at 4:15. He said that a lot of it is essentially "hurry up and wait". He will do two press conferences a day. The first one is prior to batting practice while the second one is 8-10 minutes after the game. He said they as managers are required by MLB to be available for those two press conferences. He then talked about meetings with players and he said usually he doesn't meat with the team as a whole prior to a game. It will usually be either with the pitchers or with the position players. He said it could be anywhere from 3 to 7 meetings a day and that "you don't really know what your day is going to be like".

When asked about using Twitter, Trey said that he's not a "twister" or "tweeter" but that he does text. He then mentioned one piece of advice he gives to this 16 and 13 year old kids "Don't text anything that you can't say to someone's face".

He then talked about this new technology he found out about recently. One of his coaches or scouts (don't remember off hand) came into his office and gave him this notebook. In it it had tracked a pitcher's arm slot release. It was color coated and had it from 2008, 2009 and this year. He said he was shocked about all that was involved in it.

Trey then talked about how he likes to have conversations over confrontations and that given how everyone is watching him, in order to speak to a player he has to go 20 feet into a tunnel. Case in point, two years ago during a game he made a joke with the pitching coach Bob McClure and then later took some time to encourage SP Gil Meche as he was coming out of the game. Trey was later accused of picking a fight with the pitching coach and punking out his pitcher. He said that his wife told him that he needs to smile more and that would help some with that.

He mentioned how part of his job is to help with players' "ego management system". He also said that he wants to be confident but not perceived as arrogant and understands there's a fine line there.

He shared a story about while he was working in the Yankees organization he ran the fantasy camp that they held. One time he was with Bobby Richardson and he told the story about Mickey Mantle came to knew the Lord while he was in the hospital just before he died.

Dr. Roberts then asked him some baseball questions (and he couldn't respond with the answer Royals or any Royals players) and here was his responses:

Best pitcher: Tim Lincecum (Giants)
Best hitter: Joe Mauer (Twins)
Best athlete: Adam Jones (Orioles)
Best reliever: Mariano Rivera (Yankees) (he also shared briefly that while Trey was with the Yankees organization he got to know Rivera personally and talked about how Rivera loves the Lord and is a strong Christian)
World Series: Yankees vs. Giants

Dr. Roberts then asked Trey how to better pray for him. Trey mentioned how he was humbled and truly appreciated the prayers. He said that he would ask them to pray for wisdom, how to be best used in the platform God has given him, patience, and prayer for the families of players and coaches. He then said that he prays for the campus and very much appreciates the seminary having him come and speak.

I've found these chapels to be a blessing and I'm glad that the seminary has done them and I hope that it something that will truly be an annual event.