Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Flair for the Dramatics: Third Royals Game of 2011...In Review

On Thursday night, I went to my third Royals game of the year.  This time I went with my girlfriend, who is in town for a few days visiting.  It wasn't the best weather for baseball.  It was cold, windy, and rainy (the not raining hard but light rain/mist).  There were only about 9,000+ at the ballpark that night.

It was the first time I had been to a game during the week at night where they really weren't any promotions (except for the all you can eat seats).  The seats that we got were super cheap and were essentially front row in the lower level, third base side near the foul pole.

The Royals were playing division rival Cleveland (alas no Trevor Crowe as he's on the DL).  It was the last game of the series.  It was the second time in as many games I saw Sean O'Sullivan start (he started the game last Saturday too).  It was a pretty uneventful game for the most part.  I think weather played a part in that.

It came down to the 9th inning, Royals down 2-1.  They hadn't led for the entire game.  But they came through on some clutch hitting and ended up with a walk off hit by Melky Cabrera.  They ended up winning 3-2.  It was an exciting ending to say the least.  Aaron Crow picked up his 2nd major league win.

The Royals are now 3-0 in games I've been to this year.  I don't know how many more games I'll be able to make but hopefully it'll be as exciting as the end of this one was.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Divided Loyalties: Mariners vs. Royals: Second Royals Game of 2011...In Review

It was another great day to head to the ballpark and so yesterday (Saturday) I did.  It was a convergence of several things to make it a reason to get out to the ballpark.  First, it is major league baseball, so that's a good reason.  Two, it was free jersey day and as been tradition I've went to the previous three years in a row.  Finally, it was a game against my other "home" team, the Seattle Mariners.  Add all that up, and it was enough reasons to make it out to the ballpark.

It was another early start to a Saturday game (12:10pm first pitch) so that meant getting out to the ball park early to make sure to get a jersey.  It was cold out for sure.  It had rained the previous day and dropped the temps and the wind was blowing.  It felt like football weather more than baseball weather.  However, once we got to our seats (lower level, third base side) it felt okay as we weren't getting the wind blown much on us.  Plus right before the game started, the sun came out and that helped warm things up.

The free jersey was a road (grey) jersey.  It was cool looking.  I still say my favorite free one was the powder blue Billy Butler jersey I got.  There's just something cool about having a jersey with a name and number on the back of it.

This was the first year that I did not wear Mariners gear to the game.  I went with Royals gear.  The Royals have been off to a hot start and I wanted to support that.  As always when it comes to these games, my loyalties are divided.  I've grown to love the Royals and I love the Mariners so it's always bittersweet when they play each other.  I'm happy on the one side and sad on the other.

The game itself was a pretty good one.  It was a pretty close game until the 5th inning.  Seattle had their ace, Felix Hernandez pitching while the Royals had Sean O'Sullivan their 5th starter who was starting his first game of the season after starting out the year in the bullpen.  The Royals offense got the job done while the Mariners offense did not.  Some key moments/stats in the game:

*Alcides Escobar has some really huge defensive plays including robbing Ichiro of a hit (which is really hard to do)
*Speaking of Ichiro, he went 0-5 snapping his multi-hit streak he had at the "K" which was the longest of anyone at that stadium, breaking the record a few days ago that George Brett held.
*Got to see Tim Collins pitch, the dude is short but he can throw.  He looks like a mix between Hideo Nomo and Tim Lincecum in his windup, it is crazy looking.  The Royals have a bullpen with three rookies (Collins, Jeffress, Crow) who can seriously throw the ball and throw it hard.
*The Mariners left 11 guys on base and scored 0 runs.  The Royals scored 7 runs and left only 4 on base.

The Royals ended up winning the game 7-0.  With that win, they went to 10-4, which is the 3rd best start in team history.  Last time they did this well was back in 2003.  The Royals went to 2-0 in games I've attended this year and record in series of games between the M's and Royals since 2008 (moving to KC) it is a split with each team winning 3 game apiece.  It should make for an excited next few weeks as my time in K.C. winds down.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Albert Pujols and 60 Minutes

Last night on 60 Minutes there was a piece on Albert Pujols, star first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals.  It was about his time that he spends reaching out to people both in the U.S. and the Dominican Republic.  He is one of those players that I have a lot of respect for and who I've followed since he came into MLB a decade ago.  The more I've heard his story, the more I've seen how God has used Pujols through his testimony.  I recently got Pujols' biography that came out in February (and was cowritten but Tim Ellsworth, who works at my alma mater Union University) and I look forward to reading it.

Here's a link to the piece from last night

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Spring is Here and So is Baseball: First Royals Game of 2011....In Review

It's spring and it's time for baseball again.  I had really gotten tired of winter so it was nice for spring to come around and with it the start of baseball season.  With this being my last few months in KC, I want to try and make as many games as I can as I don't know where I'll be in a few months so I made sure to be at the ballpark for the first homestand.  It also happened to be a doubleheader as they also were going to have the "Futures Game" between the Royals AA (Northwest Arkansas) and the AAA team (Omaha Storm Chasers).

Because of this, it was a day game on a Saturday.  Lane and I made the trip to the ball park and it was a pretty easy ride out.  There wasn't any real traffic out and got into the ballpark rather easily.  There were some changes between last year and this one.  First off, they have free programs they give out instead of buying a program (which means I was one of the last ones in history to win the autograph in the program contest).  Second, there are some different sponsors out in the signage (including the Fountain seats not called the Dri Duck seats anymore).  And third, the Royals switched bullpens (now out in left field instead of right field).

It was free magnet schedule day so that was cool too.  The game itself was a decent one against the Anaheim Angels (I refuse to call them Los Angeles Angels).  It was a back and forth game with the teams trading leads.  I got to see one of the young phenom pitchers in Aaron Crow pitch.  I will say he was really good.  He seems as good as advertised.  Royals scored in the bottom of the 8th with new Royal Matt Treanor coming through along with Chris Getz.  Treanor is awesome in my book because his walk up music is The A-Team theme.  That is awesome.  Soria came in the 9th to shut it down and pick up the win, which was Crow's first career win.  Ironically, it's the first time since May of '09 that the Royals have been above .500 (they were never above .500 all of last year).

After about 30-45 minutes, the second game started.  It was cool seeing all the young stars playing.  I was really impressed by Mike Montgomery, pitcher for Omaha.  He had 4 no-hit innings.  Lane and I lasted to the end of the 5th before calling it a day, partly because we both got sunburnt.

It was a good start to the year and looking forward to seeing some more games before the end of my time in Kansas City