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Greg HallOff the Couch

by Greg Hall
Landmark columnist



Written 8/27/14

“On a glorious night for the Royals, Ned Yost manages to dump on the fans”
Headline for Sam Mellinger’s column in Wednesday’s Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger’s column touched off a firestorm of local sports talk along with the national media picking up on his column’s theme. Want some irony? Here was the headline for Sam’s column the day before… “This team still deserves to get its share of some national attention.” Okay then…

“It’s the most dramatic win of a spectacular-so-far season, the kind of moment we’ll remember in five weeks if this thing heads into the playoffs — and then, dang-it if manager Ned Yost didn’t take away from the whole thing with a clumsy, misguided, insulting and out-of-touch whine about only 13,847 people showing up on a school and work night with temperatures into the 90s. First came the sarcasm. ‘I mean, what, 13,000 people got to see a great game?’ he said in his post-game news conference.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Did Yost mean his words to be taken as sarcasm? We might never know. I do know that Jeffrey Flanagan used the same term in his game story on FoxSports.com to describe Ned’s comments about the fans. Read on.

“(Yost) was asked if he expected more people at the game, and let’s include his whole answer so he can’t claim to be misquoted, or taken out of context:”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger did not have to do this – as most columnists would not give up the space  post Yost’s comments verbatim in their column. I saw this as Mellinger’s attempt to be fair. Not all those who read Mellinger agreed with me – some I will address later in this column. Read on for Ned’s comments in written form.

“We’re in a pennant race, yeah. We’ve been working on trying to build this team for the last three or four years to put ourselves in a position where we can contend for a championship. And not only the division, but we want to contend for a world championship. It’s really, really important we have our fans behind us at the stadium. I know it’s a school night. But I’ve been through this before in Atlanta (when the Braves first made the playoffs) in ‘91, where it didn’t matter what night it was, that place was packed at the end of August and September. The fans really got into it. I know there’s different things you can do. You can watch it on the Internet. You can watch it on TV. But there’s a real need for our fans to be a part of this. We had a great crowd last night, and I was kind of hoping we’d have another great crowd tonight, and we really didn’t. They’re a big part of our success, especially at home. Because the electricity they provide, the energy they provide, helps you get through games like this. You know? We’ve been working hard to make our fans happy and make our fans proud for a lot of years, and we’d like them out here to enjoy a night like this with us. Because this was a special night. This was a fun night. I just wish there could’ve been more out here to enjoy it with us.”
Ned Yost, Kansas City Star
GH: I have heard Yost’s same words replayed on the radio today and I came away agreeing with Mellinger. Yost sounded frustrated with the small crowd at The K Tuesday night and he took this opportunity to voice his displeasure.

“What a stupid thing to say, on so many levels, and I’m writing this on deadline so I’ll stick to the stupidest. First, Yost is dead wrong. Laughably wrong. And this isn’t about his contention that the ‘electricity’ of the home crowd helps a team that is now 4-6 in front of crowds more than 30,000 at home and just had its signature win of the season in front of fewer than 14,000. It’s not even about the fact that a manager fired six years ago with 12 games left and his team holding a playoff spot at least in part because he wasn’t handling pressure well might not want to pick unnecessary fights with fans after the best win of the season.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I don’t believe Yost intended to pick a fight with Royals fans but he definitely did just that. Bringing up his time in Atlanta isn’t really going to play well here in Merriam and Blue Springs where folks have been dragged through two generations of awful baseball.

“All due respect to Yost’s three or four years of hard work, but the fans he’s talking down to had their hearts broken long before he came here and will be here long after he’s gone. Maybe he should give them some slack if a great five weeks of baseball hasn’t swayed a generation of stink just yet.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I love to read my local newspaper columnist standing up for the fans in the face of an arrogant manager. Mellinger scored big with me with today’s column. Others, not so much. Read on.

“I think there is a lot of irresponsible journalism going on right now and it’s painting Ned in a negative position. Inaccurate! Inaccurate! We do it for headlines. We do it for (sound) clips. He did not rip the fans! … It’s the first relevant column that Mellinger has written in three years. … That column by Skip Mellinger is irresponsible, man! Irresponsible! For those of you who complain about Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless, we’ve got Sam Bayless and Stephen A. Mellinger right here in the Kansas City Star today!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe and his sidekick, Josh Klingler, fashioned most of their Wednesday morning show around attacking Mellinger and his column on Ned. It was entertaining if misguided radio. Read on.

“The story around the country is, ‘Yost rips fans after walk-off win.’ Congratulations to The Star. They did exactly what they need to do to stay relevant. … Ned Yost did not rip the fans! (Mellinger) heard Ned’s comments differently than I heard them. Congratulations to him. Your job is to create a stir and you created a stir. I think falsely though. Falsely.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe and Klingler ripped a page out of Kevin Kietzman’s playbook Wednesday morning with their attempt to take the opposite side of a local story and attempt to be controversial. They came off sounding like they worked for the Royals Radio rights holder and homers. And not the good kind of homers.

“I think we’re the responsible ones here, letting people hear what Ned said!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: This from the guy who has made national news with his over-the-top rants about the local teams.

“I do question Kansas City, though. I’m wondering what it is going to take for Kansas City to go (to Royals games). It seems like we have a lot of built-in excuses. We have just moved on from making going to a Royals game a priority. What’s it going to take to bring everybody back to the ball park because it’s not just the winning right now.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Klingler sounds like he is trying to beat both sides of the drum. He admonishes Mellinger for his takes on Yost criticizing the fans but then rips the fans himself for not showing up.

“Why is it so many #Royals followers on twitter want this thing not to succeed?”
Josh Klingler, @joshklingler, Twitter
GH: One of my favorite responses to Klingler above tweet came from Kelly Zumbehl (@Brostyleoffense), “I watched that chiefs colts game, we just know how this story ends.”

“The average fan doesn't have four hours to spend going to and from the ballpark on a friggin' Tuesday.”
Brian, @BrianMcGannon, Twitter
GH: I went for a walk with my wife in the second inning. We walked past a dad and his two young sons playing kick ball in a cul-de-sac. All three wore Royals t-shirts. The oldest son, about six years old, proclaimed himself to be Alex Gordon as he let fly a boot and circled the imaginary bases. When we returned about 30 minutes later, the family was heading inside and I said, “Hope the Royals can get a win over the Twins tonight.” The father responded by saying, “I am hoping they have built a big lead for us to watch the rest of the game.” Not everybody can go to the ball park. But that doesn’t mean this city is not engaged in what is happening there.

“I'm embarrassed I called out Orioles fans tonight. Attendance at The K was pathetic.”
Jeff Rosen, @jeff_rosen88, KC Star sports editor, Twitter

“Royals draw 13,000, Detroit draws 40,000…just sayin'… Tigers..8 straight sellouts…”
Frank Boal, @realfrankboal, Twitter

“I'm with Ned. Attendance needs to be higher during this run. 13k last night doesn't cut it. Enjoy the ride. Go to games. Be a baseball town.”
Johnny Kane, @johnnykaneKMBC, Twitter
GH: The media ripping the local fans for not attending games is so old-fashioned and pro-business that it embarrasses me that this is our media.

“Dear Ned, Don’t be disappointed. We’ve suffered 30 yrs. This is new to us in KC. WE love the Royals. 13,847 saw something amazing last night.”
Nick Vasos, @NickVasos, of Fox 4, Twitter
GH: If Ned and the media want a full house on Tuesday nights, build a 20K-seat stadium like Sporting has done and we’ll call every game a sellout and smile about how tremendous our fans are and what a great sports city we live in. Or maybe just put a sock in it.

“If this is your year, and a lot of signs point to that for the Royals, these are the kind of games you win. If it is not your year. These are the games you do not win. (Alex Gordon) down in the count 0-1. Perkins brings it home. There’s a fly ball well hit to right! Back goes Garcia! To the wall. He leaps and…Gone! Gordon!”
Denny Matthews, prior to the pitch Alex Gordon hit into the right-field fountain for a walk-off 2-1 win over the Twins Tuesday night, Royals Radio
GH: Damn. Maybe this is our time. Finally.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24



Written 8/25/14

“When (Andy Reid) says he’s got to do a better job, that means his offense was terrible.”
Danny Clinkscale, after the Chiefs were embarrassed by Matt Cassel and the Vikings Saturday night at Arrowhead, 810 AM
GH: WHB’s Steven St. John cautioned Chiefs fans (like me) who are already pessimistic about this season’s squad to NOT overreact to what we are seeing in the preseason. After watching this debacle, we can only hope this is not what the 2014 season has in store for us.

“I feel very comfortable where we are at. We got a ton of great work in at camp this year.”
Alex Smith, after the Chiefs looked awful at Arrowhead Saturday night against Matt Cassel and the Vikings, 810 AM
GH: Comfortable? Smith and the number-one offense has yet to score a touchdown in three preseason games. If that is feeling comfortable, let’s ratchet up the heat on this unit and try out some uncomfortable shoes. Maybe some with Jamaal Charles in them.

“After watching that (Vikings) game, I don’t know how (Reid) couldn’t be tempted to put some of his starters back out there (for the fourth exhibition game).”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Reid is not going to play his starters for more than a series this Thursday night against the Packers – if that. We are pretty much done with seeing anything to make us feel better about the season opener against the Titans. I guess that means we can only be surprised if Reid is able to field a competitive team against one of the NFL’s tougher schedules.

“On one of the sacks, Eric Fisher was on the ground as Alex Smith was being sacked. I couldn’t believe it! … This offensive line absolutely struggled tonight and I don’t see any relief coming. Will Shields is not walking through that door.”
Henry Lake, 610 AM
GH: The relief for the Chiefs offensive line is coming in the form of Jamaal Charles. The Texas Torch has been making Chiefs offensive lines look far better than they are since Carl Peterson drafted him out of Texas in 2008.

“Right now this offensive line is getting pushed around. They are flat getting pushed around at the point of contact.”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM

“Alex Smith is not only not going to get an extension (to his contract), he is going to be on his back a ton this year with that offensive line.”
Henry Lake, 610 AM

“(Alex Smith) has five guys protecting him that are pulling wedgies out of their asses!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM

“They’re getting worse. I think they’ve actually gotten worse.”
Jay Binkley, on the play of the Chiefs offensive line, 610 AM

“I'm extremely sorry that I failed to check with the NFL, NFLPA or Chiefs medical team before I took a medication that requires a therapeutic use exemption. The rules are strict and without a therapeutic use exemption, the consequence is a four-game suspension... It is not a mistake I will ever make again.”
Donald Stephenson, in a prepared statement to address his four-game suspension, cbssports.com
GH: My bullshit meter went off so loudly after reading Donaldson’s apology that I had a therapeutic  exemption myself.

“Our best offensive lineman just got suspended for the first four games of the season. The problem is that he’s our best offensive lineman.”
Jake Gutierrez, on Donald Stephenson being suspended for flunking a drug test, 810 AM

“I’m learning that all NFL teams pretty much do the same thing.”
Dee Ford, Chiefs defensive end and the team’s first pick out of Auburn in the 2014 draft, 810 AM
GH: Dee Ford is either an incredibly insightful and quick learner after three preseason games or a naïve rookie. I am guessing the latter.

“I don’t think Dee Ford is going to be a gigantic contributor on this team. I just don’t.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: That would make both of John Dorsey’s top draft picks as underwhelming underachievers. Let’s hope Clink is wrong.

“It’s more important to try ‘smart’ than to try ‘hard.’”
Denny Mathews, after the Rangers attempted to steal second base late in Saturday’s game despite being down 4-1 to the Royals, Royals Radio
GH: Very true words from one of my favorite baseball voices.

“Did you ever think the Royals would be 16 games over .500 and it would be expected?”
Josh Vernier, after the Royals win in Texas Saturday night, 610 AM
GH: With Sunday’s loss to the Rangers the Royals fell to 15 games over .500. Fell. Consider that statement and try not to smile.

“I don’t think these (Outside the Lines) stories are still happening if Missouri is in the Big 12. I’m talking about the last year or year and a half with ESPN and Outside the Lines really going after Missouri and suggesting that the people who are still there are wrong doers. ”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Is there anything that Kietzman hates more than Mizzou leaving the Big 12 and succeeding in the SEC? Maybe Tiger Woods? Nah, he hates Mizzou leaving more than anything.

“I can’t say it’s because of SEC football but I know the history of this league. Schools will rat out other schools in this conference. They will do to others things that will not happen in any other conference. There are people that were at Missouri in 2006, 2008 and 2009 that are working at other schools in the SEC.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Spoken like a true reporter with his hand on nary a fact.

“It may be that ESPN just has all this guilt of, ‘Well, we do all this other stuff for the SEC and we started the SEC Network and boy we sure look like homers  for the SEC, we better find something somewhere.’ And maybe Missouri’s just that. I don’t know.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Finally some truth from KK – “I don’t know.”

“I just don’t think that this is a coincidence that they’re doing all this stuff now that Missouri is in the SEC. Am I crazy?”
Kevin Kietzman, in a conversation about MU with Vahe Gregorian, 810 AM
GH: Yes.

“I’d like to know where the germ for the idea for these stories comes from. … There’s so much of that that is mystifying to me.”
Vahe Gregorian, columnist for The Kansas City Star, on where ESPN came up with their MU sources for their reports, 810 AM
GH: If you are as tied in to Mizzou as Gregorian has been for the past 25 years as a journalist, shouldn’t you be a bit embarrassed to make this statement?

“Drive hammered, get nailed. Enforcement’s up.”
Interstate Sign, on I-29 North just south of St. Joseph, MO
GH: Words to live by.

GregHall24@yahoo.com & @greghall24



Written 8/22/14

“According to ESPN, Missouri assistant football coaches and the victim’s adviser were aware of the sexual assault allegation (made by a female MU student athlete about MU’s Derrick Washington in 2008) but didn’t report it to the university so the school could start an investigation as required by Title IX. Also, the assault victim told ESPN that she felt her coach said she should decline to press charges against Washington in order to keep her scholarship, a claim MU chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said was unsubstantiated.”
Todd Palmer, MU beat writer, Kansas City Star
GH: R. Bowen Loftin is new on the Mizzou campus and has no ties to the list of sexual assaults and other crimes against students by MU athletes since Derrick Washington made headlines. Somehow, Loftin’s predecessor, Brady Deaton, is still held in high regard for his role in how his administration team and athletic department mismanaged these crimes, criminals and victims. We often talk about student athletes not displaying the proper amount of accountability, but what about the millionaires on campus wearing the suits? Shouldn’t these folks display some embarrassment for their lack of ethics, judgment and shame?

“Though there does not appear to be an intentional mishandling of any of the cases in the report at this time, I make no excuses, and offer my personal apologies and those of my staff to the victims.”
Chancellor R. Loftin, in an MU press release
GH: This sentence is rife with loopholes. Is the intent to allow Loftin future escape from his words? No “intentional mishandling?” Should we then infer that incompetence was the cause?  And then the caveat, “at this time,” seems all too open ended. If Mizzou is really serious about ending these crimes committed by Mizzou students against Mizzou students and the Columbia community, take off the white gloves Mr. Chancellor and toss down the gauntlet. How about stating the following; “We will not tolerate these types of crimes against our students and community. We will act swiftly and justly to eradicate individuals who besmirch our University with their selfish criminal acts. We are fed up and embarrassed with having to apologize to victims. We now strive to prevent victims and maintain a safe campus and community.”

“In contrast to its aloof initial response to the matter of Sasha Menu Courey, Mizzou on Thursday immediately and more sympathetically responded to the introduction of other smoldering remnants of deficient past practices. … This admission in itself is part of progress, maybe even major progress…”
Vahe Gregorian, on MU’s press release regarding ESPN’s Outside the Lines report of additional ugliness from the Derrick Washington arrest and criminal activity, Kansas City Star
GH: Major progress? How Gregorian can reach out and spin a positive from the goings on at Mizzou the past six years is stunning and disappointing. Mizzou stumbled around like a drunken freshman in failing to professionally responding to these crimes against their students and community. So now their new Chancellor gets this mess dumped in his bow tie and Gregorian is lauding his press release as possibly a sign of major progress? Should we not expect more from Mizzou and their leadership? I sure do.

“No degree of explanation or regret can undo what has happened in the past. Our focus now is to do everything within our power to prevent sexual misconduct of any type at Missouri and, if it does unfortunately occur, to provide the resources and support to the victim while assuring that the perpetrator is brought to justice.”
Chancellor R. Loftin, in an MU press release
GH: We will be watching, listening and grading your University’s act, Chancellor.

“(Maty Mauk) was just okay last season. He came into a game in one stressful situation and he did okay. It’s not like he set the world on fire. I’m not saying he’s not going to be better than that but it’s not like he was Aaron Murray as a freshman (at Georgia) and he just went out there and played and was really good. I don’t think we saw that (from Mauk).”
Danny Clinkscale, on the glossy expectations for MU’s second-year quarterback, 810 AM

“If (Mauk) is just the seventh or eighth best quarterback in the league, Missouri’s going to have real problems.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This is not KK’s boldest prediction.

“I think there was a good sense for where things were headed (at Kansas) and then in the matter of 48 hours they lost their top two running backs. This is a tough blow for Kansas. It’s not good at all. You knew something was up when the email came from Kansas that said they changed their media policy to close practices to the media.”
Blair Kerkhoff, after Charlie Weis announced Tuesday that Brandon Bourbon (ACL) and Taylor Cox (Achilles) would miss the 2014 season with season-ending injuries, 810 AM

“I think in my mind this provides an unfortunate excuse for Charlie Weis.”
Danny Clinkscale, on Weis being able to point to KU’s injuries as an excuse for future results, 810 AM

“I think if there is anything to feel good about if you’re a Kansas fan it’s that you can’t be disappointed this year. You can only be surprised.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This is not likely to make KU fans feel any better about their football season – or Kietzman.

“You feed off the energy of the city – and this city is hungry for a winner.”
Anthony Fasano, Chiefs tight end, when asked by Bob Fescoe if he is paying attention to the Royals’ success this season, 610 AM
GH: Fasano said he grew up a Yankees fan but has been converted to also being a Royals fan while he has lived in Kansas City. Fescoe can relate to that religion.

“At this time of the year, anybody who says (they aren’t scoreboard watching) is lying. Everybody pays attention to the teams in their division.”
Frank White, Royals HOF second baseman, when asked by Kevin Kietzman if the players and coaches are really not paying attention to the Tigers and other teams in the playoff hunt, 810 AM

“You win for the present, not the future.”
Mike Macfarlane, discussing the Royals decision to allow their young pitchers to pitch deep into the season and into the playoffs if needed, 810 AM
GH: Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura have been on limited pitch counts throughout the season in preparation for a Royals Blue October. As Macfarlane stated, these opportunities are all too rare. There is no reason to save a player’s talent for a future that may never materialize.

“That looks like another sign that this Royals team might be a team of destiny.”
Nate Bukaty, on the Tigers dropping a 1-0 decision Thursday night to the Rays despite David Price throwing a one-hitter, 810 AM
GH: I loved Mike Macfarlane’s reaction to Price’s one-hit loser – he laughed. Loudly. “I loved that David had to suck on a loss,” chuckled Macfarlane.

“It’s going to be real interesting to see how fans react to Matt Cassel returning to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time Saturday night.”
Bob Fescoe, as Cassel returns to Kansas City as the Vikings’ starting QB, 610 AM
GH: I don’t expect much more than a burp from the Arrowhead crowd over Matt Cassel’s presence at Arrowhead. Cassel wasn’t a bad guy or the reason the Chiefs stunk for much of Scott Pioli’s reign. Now, if Pioli was under center for the Vikes…

“Most of the Pop Warner Leagues and CYO football leagues are down 30% and 40%. They have to combine two and three different schools to have enough players to field a team. Parents are now so concerned about head injuries and they don’t want to put their kids in that kind of peril. I’m telling you right now, most of the Kansas high schools, Gardner Edgerton and some of the Blue Valley Schools as well, are way down in their numbers too. People are not playing football as much.”
Tim Grunhard, 810 AM
GH: This is the reason I believe college football is facing a future crisis. The feeder programs  at the elementary and high school levels are drying up due to safety concerns. All the millions that colleges are receiving and spending on football-related amenities could look like ghost towns in places like Lincoln, Manhattan, Columbia and yes, even Norman and Austin if parents no longer consider football a safe sport for their children. If the lawyers don’t kill it, mom just might.

“Six total leagues.”
Jake Gutierrez, on the number of fantasy football leagues he is in this year, 810 AM
GH: Working in sports talk radio might be a prerequisite for a guy in six fantasy football leagues. I am juggling two teams and find myself cheering and cursing the same play all too often.

According to ESPN's Darren Rovell, The Horse Collar will sell for $20 at Lambeau Field this winter and appears to come with a penalty far stiffer than the 15 yards for a tackle of the same name. … The Packers will also be unveiling a doughnut ice cream sandwich, which looks delicious, and the Bratchos — a bowl of brats, cheese and fried chips Rovell dubbed ‘Wisconsin in a bucket’ — but The Horse Collar is the star of the show, coming in at a rough estimate of 10 billion calories.”
Ben Rohrbach, NFL writer, YahooSpots.com
GH: What a great way to go, though. Man, how I love the state of Wisconsin.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24



Written 8/21/14

“Eric Fisher has not looked good in camp and he has not looked good in games.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: There is not a more scrutinized player on the Chiefs roster than their 2013 first overall draft choice out of the MAC. He has not passed the eye test and he looks to be heading to where he might not pass the smell test as well. These are the kind of picks that can haunt a franchise’s reputation for decades. The Chiefs need Eric Fisher to snap out of it or go on the IR and get his shoulder healed sufficiently for NFL play.

“(Eric Fisher) had his best day today (Wednesday). It should be noted that they did not wear pads today and they was no hitting.”
TJ Carpenter, on the Chiefs much-maligned second-year left tackle, 810 AM

“I would hate to see this (Chiefs) organization make the same mistake that other organizations in this town have made and play young players who are not ready. Fisher should not play in two weeks if he’s not ready to play.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM

“I believe that Andy Reid will do the right thing. He will not play Eric Fisher at left tackle if he is not playing well.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Eric Fisher is starting at left tackle week one if he can stand up. We are already hearing the coach speak from the Chiefs that Eric is playing “great.” Andy Reid and John Dorsey are not so different from the rest of their NFL counterparts that they will “do the right thing.” The NFL is about doing the thing that makes you look right about the poor decisions you made.

“Right now, Denver has a team built just like the New England Patriots back when they went undefeated (in the 2007 regular season). I think it's going to be a Denver-Seattle rematch in the Super Bowl. And I would go with Denver this time. Giving Peyton two shots at it, to go against the same team, I'll take Peyton. If they can stay healthy, how do you beat this team? They're balanced on both sides of the ball. They can run, they can pass, they can stop the run and they can stop the pass now on a consistent basis. It's going to be very, very tough to beat them.”
Tony Gonzalez, the newest NFL analyst for CBS, newsday.com
GH: Nothing here is all that controversial but I am seeing headlines all over the place announcing that Gonzo is predicting the Broncos to go undefeated. Hell, they almost did that last season. When Tony predicts the Lions are going undefeated, then I’ll listen.

“The temptation would be there, but I don't know what the gain would be. I've always wanted a ring. That's been my main goal as a player over the last 15 years of my career. You're really trying to get that ultimate goal. But I'd be a mercenary to come in and get a Super Bowl ring, play with a team for, what, six, seven weeks? And even if I got the ring, it wouldn't be the same as going through the fight with the team from the beginning to the end. I don't think that will happen. The temptation will be there, but I'm 100 percent happy with my decision.”
Tony Gonzalez, on whether or not he would consider coming out of retirement to play for a title contender this season, newsday.com
GH: Tony doesn’t sound 100% to me. It would be kind of cool to see him catch the winning TD pass from Alex Smith in the Super Bowl, wouldn’t it?

“Tony Gonzalez has made his first ignorant comment since joining the media.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: It’s kind of a birthright as a member of the media to make ignorant comments. BTW, I still like Butler in right field…

“After 28 years of almost unrelenting misery, I think we’re due this.”
Rany Jazayerli, on the second-half success of the Royals as they lead the ALC by a game over the Tigers, 810 AM

“For all the crap we give Ned Yost, the team is on a second-half stretch for the second year in a row like they haven’t had in a long time.”
Rany Jazayerli, 810 AM
GH: If the Royals win the ALC, Ned Yost is the American League MOTY – going away. I am not a fan of Yost’s but you have to give the man his due if he can do it. But September is what did him in up in Milwaukee. I still think we have a lot of drama to get through to see October in this town.

“I think it’s the most asked question when I go around town, ‘What should Hosmer do when he comes back?’ And my answer is simple – sit the bench. Why bring Hosmer back? Since Hosmer’s been out, the Kansas City Royals are playing their best baseball of the season.”
Bob Fescoe, 810 AM
GH: Hosmer is the best option at first base for the Royals and there should be no debate. The question is can Butler sit and still hit? If he can’t, the Royals’ postseason chances diminish greatly.

“It is the umpire’s task to move the game along! If this is moving the game along, I am missing something! … Let there be a roll of drums and a blare of bugles. HE HAS THROWN A PITCH!”
Denny Matthews, during the sixth inning of Wednesday night’s game at Coors Field where the Rockies starter, Jorge De La Rosa, took an achingly long time between pitches, Royals Radio
GH: Steve Physioc referred to De La Rosa as, “The Human Rain Delay on the Mound,” during the early innings. By the sixth, Matthews was so ticked at the pitchers slow play that he was ready to jump out of the booth and beat Jorge with his hockey stick. MLB needs to address the pace of play in areas like this where they can speed up play. If the sport wants to know why their audience continues to age with little reinforcements from younger demographics, it is in the pace of play. Even old guys like Denny and I can’t handle watching a pitcher scratch himself after every pitch.

“I don’t mean to come to Rome and not do what the Romans do but I need to warn you – I’ve never liked barbeque. Sorry about that.”
Buster Olney, ESPN MLB analyst, as he discussed setting up a meet-and-greet with The Border Patrol when he is in town this weekend for the Royals first appearance on Sunday Night Baseball in almost a decade, 810 AM
GH: Get a rope.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Billy says KC 'not scared of nothing'

Written 8/20/14

“Billy Butler said the Royals are no longer looking in the rear-view at Detroit. ‘We’re not scared of nothing this time of year,’ he said.”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, Twitter
GH: You know what? I am starting to believe that to be true. These Royals are 70-55 here in late August – after being tossed away by me and many others as dead for most of the season. This second half of the season just keeps getting better.

“This whole town is different when they’re winning and in first place.”
Jaime Bluma, 810 AM
GH: A 30-year dust storm is showing serious signs of abating here in Kansas City.

“Now I’m @ #HyVee @ 11:15 because I didn’t want to miss the #Royals game.”
John Anthony, @CravenMorhead, Twitter
GH: You are not alone, Johnny. This city has begun the transformation from casual Royals followers to the kind of town that drops everything and drives to Colorado to make the Rockies’ park sound like The K.

“People are expressing hatred of the Royals and it's not their own fans. This truly is a whole new world.”
Mike Engel, @michaelengel, Twitter
GH: How great is that? We are the sons of bitches for a change – and it’s not us calling ourselves sons of bitches!

“Cripes, Royals Twitter is going to be insufferable during the playoffs.”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, Twitter
GH: Andy says “insufferable.” I would offer, “entertaining as hell.” BTW, did he say, “…during the playoffs?”

“If you've taken my advice and adopted the Royals for the rest of the season, here's a terrific primer for you: ow.ly/AvuxS.”
Mike Vaccaro, @MikeVacc, Twitter
GH: Vaccaro wrote for The Star’s sports page for a short while when Whitlock and JoPo were getting the headlines. He is back in NYC but he still checks out the Royals and their plight – or should I say flight.

“Ned Yost: ‘I'm wearing Greg (Holland) out. I can't find any way to give him a break.’ Then he said he won't use Davis as his closer for a day or two.”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, Twitter
GH: Read on for my favorite take on the problems Davis and Holland are facing as they are “overused” by Ned and the Royals…

“You know what the good thing is about (the Royals’ relievers Wade Davis and Greg Holland being overworked)? They’re pitching a lot because we’re winning a whole lotta ball games! Okay, so you’re tired. Suck it up!”
Jaime Bluma, 810 AM

“The fun of this job for me is to watch them grow, watch them develop and watch them become successful. Winning baseball games and watching young men succeed in their sport is what drives me to do what I do. I just don’t see any use for Aaron Crow.”
Ned Yost, Fox Sports KC
GH: We could all say the very same thing about Ned as a manager.

“The Royals second half in a nutshell: Salvador Perez tweaks his knee. His late-game replacement homers. Twice.”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, Twitter
GH: Christmas in August.

“I like the team how it is right now but when (Eric Hosmer) gets back I want him in the lineup.”
Jaime Bluma, 810 AM
GH: This seems to be the hot topic of the week – what to do when Hosmer is healthy and Billy Butler is playing so well he is streaking across SI’s cover this week?

“So there’s no reason to call him Eric Grback or Elvis Hosmer? … Do you want Eric Hosmer to play again this year? Is there a little part of you that doesn’t want him back (at first)? We’re just being honest!”
Steven St. John, 810 AM

“I don’t think Billy’s going to be unhappy or proud if he has to go back to be the designated Hitter. For one thing, Billy’s playing for a contract. I think he wants to show in every way that he’s a team player right now.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Billy is an athlete and athlete’s do not like to sit. This has the potential to be a very big problem if Hosmer comes back and Butler and the team start to tank.

“I’m sure he didn’t think, ‘I need to play first base and that’ll get me out of my offensive funk.’ But that’s exactly what’s happened.”
Jaime Bluma, 810 AM

“When I asked (Butler) he said, ‘I don’t know how I’m gonna feel. I’ll do it, but I don’t know how I’m going to feel.’”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: Ned will get a chance to earn his money in September when he has to juggle all these egos.

“Maybe it’s time to revisit that Hosmer moving to the outfield?”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: The move to make is Billy in right field. Maybe not for this off season but that’s where he could really become an impact player for the Royals’ lineup.

“I think James Shields is the second most valuable player in Royals history. Maybe I wasn’t so far out there with those comments.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Jay Binkley called Fescoe’s comment “asinine.” And he did it while he was talking to Fescoe. This is something I really enjoy about 610 Sports – their on-air voices are all on somewhat equal footing. They can go at each other and not fear getting fired by the other guy. The talent at 810 have to be very careful about who they knock and what they say about the other voices on the air.

“I just enjoy the strategy of a National League game. But I understand that fans would rather see David Ortiz hit than Clay Buchholz in the Red Sox were in town. I get that.”
Ryan Lefebvre, discussing whether MLB should abolish the DH or adopt it in both the AL and NL, Fox Sports KC
GH: Lefebvre then went on to tell us about his plan to eliminate the DH from the college and high school game. I know there are a lot of NL fans who cannot imagine the game with the DH. They need to get over their “strategy” bias. Pitchers hitting and NL teams being able to plan on an automatic out for the first six innings is not strategy. It’s boring as hell.

“We used to have a nice view from the broadcast booth of the Colorado mountains but they are building some apartment buildings. So instead we have the breathtaking view of an apartment building under construction. That’s underrated. There are worse things you could be looking at. There’s also a nice crane out there so we shouldn’t totally bash the apartment buildings. If you like cranes, there you go!”
Ryan Lefebvre, complaining about the view from the Coors Field press box, Fox Sports KC
GH: I love Kansas City – but The Beav is waaaaay off complaining about the view in Denver. The Rockies and Denver revitalized an area of their city with a great ball park. The K is a beautiful stadium build amidst trailer courts, strip joints and a Taco Bell. I’ll take that view in Denver over the view of I-70 any day Denver wants to trade us the Rocky Mountains.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


MU football outlook; and Nick Wright's ridiculous 'breaking news'

Written 8/16/14

“I think Missouri’s being a little bit ignored. The preseason polls are out and Missouri’s not in either preseason poll.”
Blair Kerkhoff, KC Star college sports columnist, 810 AM
GH: How good are this season’s MU Tigers without DGB and L’Damian Washington? Without James Franklin? Without Michael Sam? Great programs shake off these kinds of personnel losses each season and roll on to another nine- or ten-win campaign. Is Mizzou football now in that elite stratosphere where they can absorb these hits and still go bit-time bowling? I can’t wait to find out.

“5-7 DID happen just two years ago. I don’t know why that gets washed away. That DID happen!”
Soren Petro, on why MU fans’ expectations should be lowered due to Mizzou’s inaugural football season in the SEC in 2012, 810 AM
GH: Okay, so not everybody is sold that Gary Pinkel’s troops have what it takes to be SEC worthy each fall. That makes it all the more compelling of a story.

“(Mizzou) has got a chance but there are a lot of questions here. There are questions with their wide receivers, there are question on defense. There’s too much uncertainty to think of them as a ten-win team out of the box.”
Blair Kerkhoff, KC Star college sports columnist, 810 AM
GH: Ten wins is pretty darn difficult to produce no matter what conference you happen to be in but any of the top five or six conference schedules make that 10-win total increasing hard to reach. The biggest question mark for me is the MU defense and if they have learned anything from the thrashing they took at the hands (and feet) of Auburn. I haven’t seen an undressing of that caliber since Bill Callahan coached Nebraska’s pink shirt defenders and Mark Mangino’s Jayhawks hung 76 on the Huskers.

“What is the expectation for Maty Mauk? There is an expectation that because he played well he’s going to come in and set the world on fire.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Yeah, that is kind of what comes with the territory if you are MU’s starting QB. Mauk was sensational as a fill-in starter last season during the heart of Mizzou’s SEC schedule. Should he be expected to be just as good in his third season at MU? Damn straight.

“Somebody’s going to be at the bottom of this (SEC East) Division. I’m not saying it’s going to be Mizzou but I think they’ll be somewhere right in the middle.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: To MU’s credit and their resurgence the past decade as a football school, “somewhere in the middle  is not going to be good enough. There is a LOT of building, renovating and progress happening at the Columbia campus and much of that is based on the success of the football team. Nobody thought moving to the SEC would be easy.

“Big thing about this (Kansas) team: They believe they're good & can win. But also humble/smart enough to know it won't be a given or easy.”
Matt Tait, @mctait, Twitter
GH: This tweet made no sense to me. How humble do you have to be if you are a Kansas football player? That should almost be a birthright.

“These guys are ready for this. These guys are ready or what we’re about to go through the next 44 days or so.”
Ned Yost, Royals Radio
GH: I like 610’s new, “Are you ready, Kansas City?” ad campaign with all the Royals players asking their town if they’re ready for a playoff run. Sungwoo Lee’s final clincher comments at the end of the promo always make me grin.

“We feel pretty good about ourselves. We feel like we’re a pretty good team too. What we take, six out of seven (from Oakland)? That’s pretty good.”
Ned Yost, when asked about his Royals facing the A’s, the team many believe to be the best team in baseball, 810 AM
GH: Ned can be cocky to the point of being an ass. But this is the kind of cockiness that the Royals and Kansas City as a town have long lacked – and needed.

“Salvador Perez, it just seems like he’s so happy every day. It’s awesome to be around him.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: The world needs more people like Salvy and less people like those who caused and have continued the mess that is Ferguson, Missouri.

“People over reacted to my tweets. I said he was a fraud and I stand by that.”
Nick Wright, after calling local newsman Kris Ketz a fraud on Twitter and then in an interview with Lazlo on The Buzz that tried to tie Ketz to the Ferguson riots and was so ridiculous even Lazlo and Slimfast made fun of Wright for his trumped up breaking news, 96.5
GH: Nick Wright calling anyone a fraud is choice stuff. Nick is the guy who went into 610’s studios AFTER the NFL draft and recorded himself making uncanny predictions about who the Chiefs would draft and then played that recording after the draft as if he had accurately predicted five of the Chiefs’ seven picks. I take almost all of what Nick Wright has to say as something to promote Nick Wright at almost any cost – including his character.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Has Kansas City bought into Royals Fever?

Written 8/15/14

“I really feel like this team has taken this city by storm. I just think this city is so locked into this team and they’re on such a ridiculous run right now. Man, it’s awesome! It’s so awesome to watch!”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: TV ratings are again setting records for Royals telecasts in August. Walk-up crowds at The K numbered in the thousands for the just completed four-game series with the A’s. I even placed a Royals sticker on my car window – the first time I’ve done anything like that since the early ‘90s. But has Kansas City embraced MLB and their Royals like it was 1985? Nope. There is still much work to be done and many broken hearts to repair. Read on.

“The interesting thing to me in polling the Royals fans in person is that when you ask them if they think this team is going to the playoffs, almost universally they say, ‘No.’”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Scoff at TJ’s informal polling if you want but I think the guy’s got a pretty good feel for what local fans are thinking – especially because he is a transplant from Arkansas. He doesn’t exhibit a lot of the scar tissue that most of us long-time Royals fans harbor.

“No, not really.”
Josh Willingham, the recently required slugger from the Twins, when asked by Nate Bukaty if he was not experiencing the vibe and atmosphere on this Royals team that has made them successful the second half of the season, 810 AM
GH: Okay. So it’s just not some of the fans that are not caught up in the blue hysteria.

“(The Royals pennant race) has in some ways divided the city between young and old. The older generation has created this time machine and remember when there was a buzz in this city about the Royals. But for the people that are our age, for the first time in our lives we have seen competitive baseball and we’ve seen people excited about baseball with football just around the corner.”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM
GH: Harrison’s and Parkins’ afternoon drive show on 610 itself divides the KC sports market by age. They market their show to a younger demo to take advantage of their youth and Kevin Kietzman’s audience’s more senior-appealing format. It is not a bad move in trying to unseat the undefeated king of Kansas City sports talk. I doubt it will work but it does define a clearly different demo for 610 to control and cater to advertisers.

“Do you even see the possibility of a collapse (by the Royals)?”
Danny Parkins, as the Royals clung to a half-game lead over Detroit on August 14th, 610 AM
GH: This is the naïve side of being 20-something. Parkins and Harrison went on and on how they could not even fathom the Royals falling out of contention over the next six weeks. Not only could the Royals be out of it in September, they could be all but gone before the end of August. Baseball is a cruel, cruel mistress. Never think you understand the game or its future. All we can do is watch, listen and hope like hell we break this 29-year drought. 

“Hey, what time do the Royals play tonight?”
Guy sitting in the booth next to me at Freddy’s last weekend
GH: I was a bit startled that this stranger saw me as the Royals expert as I downed my second double-cheese Freddy. It then dawned on me that I was wearing a Royals lid. Wearing a sports’ team cap is the universal sign to the world that you are a fan of that squad and open to blessings and barbs about your team. Kind of cool to see that kind of chatter happening in our town again.

“(Josh Vernier) will be on the road with the team (this week). It will be good to have our guy reporting on the road.”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: There have been a few of those 100-loss seasons where the local radio station holding the Royals rights cancelled the travel for the guy following the team on the road. I believe Nate Bukaty was yanked off the road one or two seasons when 810 was losing their shirt as the Royals rights holder. It is just another change in the Season of Woo to have 610 add Vernier to their Royals road coverage.

“There wasn’t a lot of tough moments. A guy lost a ball in the sun…”
Ned Yost, when asked after the Royals final game of the A’s series to comment on the “tough moments” in the, Royals Radio
GH: Yost can be such a putz. Of course there were tough moments Thursday afternoon in the Royals 7-3 win over the A’s! Dyson lost a fly ball in the sun allowing the game to be tied and eventually costing Shields the lead. Escobar gets called out for running inside the baseline after a throwing error had him on second base. Cain suffers a brain cramp and almost prematurely lifts his hand off third base after a failed pick-off attempt. And through all that palpitating madness the Royals persevered and beat the A’s for the sixth time in seven tries this season. As Ned said, “That’s pretty good.”

“We’re like Mayweather in the ring. We never give up.”
Jarrod Dyson, 610 AM
GH: Dyson with a Mayweather comment? Harrah’s anyone?

“It was a tremendous game to be at. That press box was alive. That entire stadium was alive. It was awesome to be here.”
Henry Lake, 610 AM
GH: The press box was alive??? Did somebody spike the popcorn? If these Royals have the media buzzing in the press box, this truly is a special team.

“ESPN just called (the Royals) ‘America's sweethearts.’”
Luis Lozada, @MrPinkFloyd71, Twitter

“The seventh inning was nothing but a party. There’s no other way to describe it. The Royals took a 7-3 lead and never looked back.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“September is going to be the key (to the Royals run at the postseason). It’s going to be how this team reacts. The key is going to be can they overcome their emotions or is it going to be, ‘Oh my gosh, we’re in uncharted waters here!’”
Mike Mcfarlane, 810 AM

“I’m very passionate about playing first and I love it. I understand how talented Eric is over there too.”
Billy Butler, on filling it at first while Hosmer is recovering from a broken wrist, 810 AM
GH: I thought Hosmer’s injury was a death knell to the Royals season. Instead, it’s been the best thing to happen to Billy Butler since Zarda’s started cooking his sauce. And it might prove to be the best thing to happen to the Royals and Kansas City – outside of Sung Woo Lee that is.

“Billy’s turned his whole season around. Billy’s played spectacular defense over there. He’s played tremendous defense at first.”
Ned Yost, Royals Radio
GH: I don’t know about all that, Ned  – but Butler has made himself a LOT more attractive to any National League teams that are interested in picking him up for next season and beyond.

“The Royals are going to pound some people this week!”
Mike Mcfarlane, 810 AM

“I don’t really care if (Detroit) won or not. My team just played a great game. I don’t care if they’re aware or not.”
Ned Yost, Royals Radio
GH: I think this grumbled response was to a question from Karen Kornacki. Not even Korny can soften up ‘ol Nedley.

“Ned Yost played by Nick Nolte. That’s what I came up with.”
Johnny Kane, TV 9 sports anchor, as he and Josh Klingler tried to cast the Royals 2014 season as a movie, 610 AM

“Mike Moustakas played by Mike Tyson. That’s what I came up with.”
Johnny Kane, 610 AM
GH: Moose played by Tyson? Tats gone wild!

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter @greghall24

Chiefs corners and O-line look rough in opener

Written the other day (too specific?)

“I think the Chiefs actually like Ron Parker but it certainly didn’t help his cause (Thursday) night). I would be absolutely stunned – absolutely stunned – if Sean Smith isn’t starting for the Chiefs week one. Ron Parker is still transitioning to the cornerback position. Given the quarterbacks that the Chiefs are facing, do you really want Number 18 in Denver identifying where Ron Parker is and just absolutely picking on him? I don’t think that’s the case at all.”
Herbie Teope, writer for ChiefsSpin.com, on the Chiefs corner who was toasted Thursday night at Arrowhead, 810 AM
GH: Playing quarterback in the NFL is maybe the most difficult position in team sports. Playing cornerback in the NFL might be the second-most difficult – and the NFL just keeps making the corner’s job all the more difficult with rule changes that favor the offense. Parker isn’t nearly as bad as he looked Thursday night. The NFL is now a lights-out scoring league. It resembles flag football more than it does the NFL from 30 years ago. 

“The (Chiefs) secondary is like the gal you brought home from Funky Town on Thursday night.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Count me among those who have driven by Funky Town on the city’s southeast side (is the building still painted purple?) but have never gotten off I-435 to venture inside. I guess I am going to have to take Nate’s word on this.

“I don’t think this team has a number-one corner. I think they have a lot of number-three corners.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM

“After their OL was tagged for 6 sacks, the Chiefs' Jeff Allen said youth was no 'excuse' vs. Cincy.”
Sean Keeler, NFL writer for FoxSports.com, @SeanKeeler, Twitter
GH: Six sacks in a preseason game is not good. Six sacks in a regular season game gets you beat and puts your quarterback in jeopardy of being injured.

“He was retreating at a pace that you wouldn’t be proud of or put in your offensive tackle video.”
Stan Weber, on the play from the Chiefs former overall number-one draft choice and starting left tackle, Eric Fisher, and his play in Thursday night’s first preseason game, 810 AM
GH: Fisher looked like he is still way in over his Central Michigan helmet against the Bengals. This makes Kevin Kietzman immensely happy, not to mention correct in his criticism of the Chiefs drafting an offensive tackle with the first overall pick in 2013. It is only Fisher’s second season but this has all the makings of being the worst first-round pick in Chiefs’ history – and that my friends is one helluva bad pick.

“Man, (Tyler) Bray has a nice arm. Pocket presence, not so much...”
Kurtis Seaboldt, @KSeaboldt, on the Chiefs’ third-string quarterback’s play Thursday night, Twitter

“You just can't replace arm strength. Tyler Bray has it, you saw it on that last throw.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, Twitter
GH: While watching Bray play, I was trying to come up with the top five quarterback arms the Chiefs have had on their roster over the years. Brodie Croyle, Grbac, Bill Kenny…not the great collection of rocket throwers. Bray’s wing might be better than any of them.

“I just think Albert Wilson is a guy we hear a lot about in the preseason and then don’t hear much about during the regular season.”
Joel Thorman, of ArrowheadPrice.com, on the Chiefs’ breakout wide receiver, 610 AM
GH: We have heard the training camp names before that vaulted into the public spotlight via talk radio and media buzz only to fade as August turned to September. Is Albert Wilson the rare camp star who continues to shine through the autumn? You would think the Chiefs are due to find one of these gems.

“I’m looking forward to being in the booth. I can finally be as honest as I want.”
Tony Gonzalez, on his new role as an NFL TV analyst, 810 AM
GH: Does Tony G seem like the kind of guy who has been harboring a lot of truths beneath his surface? Me either. It will be interesting to hear how real Gonzo gets on CBS’ NFL Today.

“Yeah, but (Rex Hudler) sorta calls for a homer on about every third at bat...”
Kurtis Seaboldt, @KSeaboldt, after @oldmedicinecrow credited the Royals broadcaster with calling a Royals home run just before it was swatted, Twitter

“The terrible accidents in New York City in the 9/11 terrorist attack.”
Steve Physioc, Royals play-by-play broadcaster, Fox Sports KC
GH: This comment by Physioc made Royals Twitter rumble. Read on…

“Physioc thinks the bombing of Pearl Harbor was a terrible accident. Physioc thinks Timothy McVeigh had a horrible farm accident with fertilizer in Oklahoma City.”
Robert Sigrist, @DocSig, Twitter

“Phys may be a nice man. He's a horrible broadcaster.”
Conrad McGorkin, @ConradMcGorkin, Twitter

“Steve Physioc is not good. I try to be a nice person, but he is just really not good at his job.”
Christy, @ChristyDianneG, Twitter
GH: While Rex Hudler was the target the last two seasons for most of the Royals fans ire, it appears Physioc’s sugary delivery is receiving almost as much criticism from the viewers/listeners as The Wonder Dog. Wouldn’t it be interesting to get a leaked copy of the Royals survey on their radio and TV broadcasters? My email is greghall24@yahoo.com if you happen to have a copy.

“(Andrew Wiggins) needs to be in a place where people are really depending on him.”
Bill Self, after saying Wiggins told him he hoped to get traded from Cleveland and LeBron, KSHB TV 41
GH: Really? I like Wiggins and think he is a great talent and a good guy. But he does not strike me as a player who can carry an NBA team on his young shoulders. Maybe is a few years he is that guy but he would only be a sophomore at KU next season. That strikes me as too young to be The Man in Minnesota.

“What should Arkansas and Mizzou call their annual football game? I'm partial to #OzarkOfTheCovenant.”

TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, Twitter
GH: Sounds like an Indiana Jones sequel.

“All I can think about is that I’m a nine handicap and I would like to play (Tiger Woods) for money right now – a LOT of money!”
Kevin Kietzman, when asked by TJ Carpenter if he was getting some enjoyment out of watching Tiger Woods struggle on Friday at the PGA, 810 AM

GH: Let me get this straight – KK wants to jump from fleecing 70-something Jack Harry at Falcon Ridge to playing Tiger for “a LOT of money” at Valhalla? Okay.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


The K rocks as Royals move into first

Written 8/12/14

“First place. After 70 games. For the first time. Since 1980. Holy. Crap.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: It is mid-August and unlike last season’s pseudo pennant race when the Royals were six or seven games out for most of the last two months, this summer Royals fans can taste October. And man, is that pumpkin sweet!

“Last time KC was in 1st place and at least 10 games over .500 after the 117-game mark: 1985...”
Kurtis Seaboldt, @KSeaboldt, Twitter
GH: And that was a very good year indeed.

“The K had an energy I hadn't felt in a long time tonight.
Dennis Dodd, @dennisdoddcbs, after the Royals 3-2 win over the AL West leading Oakland A’s, Twitter
GH: There were only 21,000 fans at The K Monday night but they made the old place sound like Arrowhead in November. Sitting on my couch I was rocking from the noise. The scenes from the stands in the ninth inning were absolutely beautiful. Damn, I am tearing up just typing about this stuff!

“The top of the 9th gave me chills. In a good way. Major goosebumps. Best game I've ever attended at the K.”
TigerDan, @MizzouKCfan4, Twitter
GH: And it is only Aug. 12. Maybe everything goes to hell in a ball bag for the Royals over the next six weeks. But maybe not. Maybe we get to experience what Cardinals fans view as a birthright – Fall Ball!

“We always have Chiefs watch parties. How long has it been since you went to a Royals watch party?”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: There is a Royals watch party every night on Twitter. I know some of you are repelled by social media but Twitter is one of the most entertaining ways to watch your home team and share in its triumphs and failures. Where would we all be without @THEFakeNed?

“Sung Woo would like to let everyone know that his First Pitch during game 3 of the ALDS will be much more accurate.”
THE Fake Ned, @TheFakeNed, after Sung Woo sailed his ceremonial first pitch over his catcher’s head and into the backstop, Twitter

“I think it's awesome that 98% of Kansas Citians are in love with a guy named Sung Woo. The other 2% are just miserable people.”
Mic Johnson, @MicJohnson, Twitter

“I want to meet him tonight. I brought him a gift.”
George Brett, talking to Denny Mathews and Steve Physioc in the radio booth Monday night about his plans to meet Sung Woo Lee and present him with a 3,000-hit coin that was made for him, Royals Radio
GH: The Year of the Woo has gone Brett Sized!

“If/when the Royals make the playoffs, they should put a bronze statue of SungWoo Lee next to Brett, White and Howser.”
@KingsofKauffman, Twitter
GH: Crazier ideas have been made to happen. If the Royals truly do make this a magical World Series championship season here in Kansas City, I am all for a bronze statue of Sung Woo Lee out front of The K. That shot of him holding up the giant W for the win from last night would make a great pose.

“I remember everywhere you went the Royals were on radio...at school everyone would spend every break talking Royals.”
Greg Schaum, @Greg_Schaum, on remembering a time in Kansas City when the Royals ruled, Twitter
GH: We are not there yet in Kansas City but this town is starting to turn Blue. Every bar, restaurant and office with cable TV should be tuning into the Royals each night. If you spot an establishment not following this Code Blue, let them know it’s Back To The Future in KC -- 1985.

“I literally cannot act like I've been there before.”
Brian, @BrianMcGannon, Twitter
GH: So well stated. For so, so, many Royals fans. It’s time.

“I need to go to bed. Instead, I'm pacing around my living room like a crazy person.”
Jared Speckman, @Speck60, Twitter
GH: Anybody else fit this description last night? I was tweeting waaaay past my bed time. And it felt as good as that Dyson backflip!

“I told the boys I'm gonna backflip on the third out. ... I couldn't let 'em down.”
Jarrod Dyson, on his game-ending backflip in right-center field, MLB Network
GH: Most entertaining impromptu move at The K since Fountain Mom!

“Fabulous atmosphere tonight at Safeco. Hearing from lots of friends that it was the same in KC. Two fan bases getting a taste…. It's only mid-August. It only gets better from here if club stays in race. Nothing like the Hunt for October for daily drama in any city.”
Bob Dutton, @TNT_Mariners, Twitter
GH: Cool to know that our longtime Royals beat writer can enjoy some of this rare August moonshine with the rest of us starving Royals fans. Would love to see the Ms and the Rs battling in October.

“Avg fastball velocities (Monday night).
Yordano Ventura 96.3 mph
Kelvin Herrera 99.2
Greg Holland 96.8
Wade Davis 94.5”
@ESPNStatsInfo, Twitter
GH: You want to know how the Royals have hung in this race long enough to become relevant? Dayton Moore’s pitching has brought us to the brink of greatness. The currency of baseball has a rich future here in Cowtown.

“Two nights in a row – big fat coverage of the Royals on SportsCenter! The Royals are getting that coverage right now. There’s a reason to be proud of your team. You can invest in this team. Come on in. The water’s not too cold.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The Royals were everywhere last night on national coverage. And Dyson’s flashy backflip didn’t hurt one bit.

“Ned Yost and I had a spirited debate today about whether he would be a good television analyst. He thinks he would be good. I disagree.”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, Twitter
GH: Andy wins this one in a head-first slide.

“Everything was grist for his mill.”
James Lipton, the host of Inside the Actor’s Studio, on the talent that was Robin Williams, MSNBC
GH: Lipton was interviewed less than an hour or so after the news of Robin Williams’ death. He was audibly shaken over the death of one of his favorite artists. I listened to the interview in satellite radio and it was riveting stuff. I think Williams was one of the greatest actors/talents of my era. A genius with the depth of range of no one I have ever seen. My favorite works of his are as different as his characters. His portrayal of a teacher in Dead Poets Society is one of my all-time favorite roles. He was what I wanted all of my teachers to be – funny, motivational, tough and smart as hell. His stand-up routine on the Scotts inventing golf makes me cry with tears every time I view it. The man was brilliant. I am so glad he found a way to share his talents with so many for as long as his madness allowed.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24



The magic of Sung Woo; and Butler says he wants to stay in KC

Written 8/11/14

“On the morning of July 31st – ten days ago – the Royals were five games behind the Detroit Tigers. That morning the Tigers traded Drew Smyly and Austin Jackson for David Price, while the Royals did nothing.”
Rany Jazayerli, ranyontheroyals.com
GH: Ten days ago I was so despondent over this Royals season that I changed the banner photo of my website to a photo of the Chiefs training camp. All looked pretty much over at the trade deadline and then Eric Hosmer was diagnosed with a broken hand. Ball. Game. And then insanity happened. Sung Woo Insanity to be more specific. Read on.

“I think it's time to change the banner photo to a certain South Korean man with a broom.”
Tom Howell, @thowell21, Twitter
GH: Done. And we are riding with the Crazy Korean up top right through August. What a great story this guy is and likely will be for maybe years to come. Imagine if the Royals do the unthinkable and win the World Series this October. The Year of The Woo will be talked about in Kansas City when our grandkids are grandfathers. More…

“It’s funny. For twenty years I’ve been trying to make the Royals play better by writing about them analytically, by bringing a scientific approach to baseball and using it to show what the Royals are doing wrong and how they could do things better. And for twenty years maybe I’ve been doing it wrong. Maybe science and intellect doesn’t work here. Maybe it works in Boston and Oakland and Tampa Bay, but not in Kansas City. Maybe what works here isn’t reason, but emotion. Maybe what the Royals needed wasn’t someone to explain to them that OBP matters, but someone who loved them so much that he’d fly 6,000 miles to see them play. Maybe what they’ve been missing isn’t talent, but a talisman. And that talisman is Sung Woo Lee.”
Rany Jazayerli, ranyontheroyals.com
GH: Rany can write really long, insider-baseball kind of columns that might not be for everybody. But this column is a keeper. Read it here. Just fantastic stuff, Rany. Loved it.

“Screw it. I'll deal with the heartbreak later if need be. I'm in.”
David Lesky, @DBLesky, writer for PineTarPress.com. Twitter

“As an aside, do you know hard it was to be a Royals fan in South Korea in 1995? This was years before an MLB Extra Innings package existed, let alone MLB.tv and watching games over the internet. Sung Woo was able to watch the Royals play only rarely – he told me he saw most of their highlights from the satellite TV equivalent of CNN Headline News, a snippet here, a ten-second clip there. I lived overseas from 1984 to 1991 and it was almost impossible to keep up with the Royals – but at least I was already a Royals fan, and we came home to Wichita every summer from early June to mid-August. The level of devotion it took for him to become a Royals fan warrants every good thing that’s happened to him this week.”
Rany Jazayerli, ranyontheroyals.com
GH: Imagine following a really crappy Korean baseball team the past 20 years from here in KC. And loving them like they were the Yankees.

“Screw it. Go get the AL Central.”
Ross Martin, @PCBearcat, former sports editor of the St. Joseph News Press, Twitter

“Pretty sure the @Royals need to find a way to keep @Koreanfan_KC around until the end of the season. Heck, bring the whole family over too!”
Brad Hallier, @bhallier, Twitter

“If @Koreanfan_KC needs a place to stay in October....I have a couch.”
Mike McCartney, @mikemccartneykc, Royals stadium PA announcer, Twitter
GH: McCartney is as much a Royals fan as us other degenerate social media wonks. I love that the old guy is willing to be one of us – great pipes and all.

“I'm giddy, but I know I shouldn't be. Oh hell, let's roll with it.”
Brian Spano , @kcspano, Twitter

“I’m not quite on (the Royals bandwagon) yet. I’m getting close. You know me.”
Jack Harry, when asked by Frank Boal if he is now on the Royals bandwagon, KSHB TV 41
GH: Jack isn’t the only Royals fan holding back his emotions about the Royals latest surge. His and other’s skepticism makes a lot more sense than my and your unabashed fan-aticism. But it is mid-August. The Royals are a half game from the ALC lead. As Jack Buck would say, “Go crazy folks! Go crazy!”

“I knew they were going to do it. I knew it all along. There was no wavering there. I just knew it. I believe in them.”
Ned Yost, on his team’s second-half surge toward the playoffs, Fox Sports KC
GH: Ned is a freaking genius I guess. This week anyway.

“Is Ned Yost the manager of the year if they make this postseason as a wild card?”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: Gulp. If the Royals turn this dumpster fire of a season into a postseason appearance, Ned gets the AL MOTY and three Walmarts of his choosing. (I would suggest a Walmart outside of Ferguson, MO.)

“Dude, it’s so much fun. It’s so much fun to be in this clubhouse.”
Danny Duffy, Royals starter and a huge reason for the rotation’s toughness this season, 810 AM

“I still think the Tigers are the best team in the AL Central and I think over the course of 162 games they will prove themselves out. There’s just some inconsistencies with that team that hasn’t allowed them to pull well ahead in a race that they should be pretty much in control of now.”
Drew Sharp, sports columnist for the Detroit Free Press, in an interview with The Border Patrol, 810 AM
GH: Sharp might be right and I am sure most of baseball agrees with him, as they should. But his words rubbed me wrong. He sounded like he dismissed the Royals simply because they were, well, the Royals. Again, it makes sense – but it is maddening. Let’s kick these guys’ asses and change that thinking about our town.

“I hope Eric Hosmer gets back in the lineup because I am TIRED of talking about this. OF COURSE they are going to put Hosmer and his gold glove back at first base when he is healthy.”
Josh Vernier, on speculation that the Royals need to keep Bill Butler at first to keep his bat hot, 610 AM
GH: Hosmer needs to play first base and catch fire like Butler, Gordon and Aoki have done. Billy just needs to hit no matter where he is during the rest of the game.

“It would definitely be painful. … I would definitely be more than happy to make that an option," he says. "I'd do it because I love playing here. It's all I have ever known. There's been a lot of tough years, but there have been a lot of good memories, too. I don't want to let that go. I've enjoyed every minute of it.”
Billy Butler, in an article written by Jeffrey Flanagan, Foxsports.com
GH: Flanagan continues to get great quotes from the Royals organization and this stuff today from Butler is head-turning once again. Billy has looked at times this season like he had checked out, didn’t care and was less than excited about being a Royal. If he’s in, a lot of Royals fans will be in on him resigning as well. The guy has seven more good years in his bat or more. We know he sure didn’t use up many hits the last two.
GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


The Star's McCullough can write

Written 8/7/14

“Up to the plate came Moustakas. Collmenter relies on deception rather than dynamism. He tested Moustakas with a 3-1 cutter down the middle. A line drive exploded off the bat and screamed past the right-field fence. Moustakas reclaimed the team lead in homers with 14.”
Andy McCullough, Royals beat writer, in his game story for the Royals 4-3 win at Arizona Wednesday night, The Kansas City Star
GH: I pulled up McCullough’s game story from last night’s win to get a quote that exemplified his writing skills – which I believe to be plentiful. Instead, this stinker of a paragraph grabbed by attention. Dynamism? Screaming past the right-field fence? This clunker aside, the young man can write. Read on for an example of his prowess with a pen.

“The baseball hung in the sky for eight seconds, and Billy Butler stared upward for the duration. His eyes were bare, without protective shades to ward off any glare, but he insisted afterward the sun had not hampered him. As Jonny Gomes’ soaring pop-up floated toward first base, the Royals’ temporary replacement shuffled around and made a backhanded stab. ‘I just misjudged it,’ Butler said in a quiet clubhouse after his team absorbed an 8-3 drubbing by the Oakland Athletics.”
Andy McCullough, Royals beat writer, in his game story for the Royals 8-3 loss at Oakland last Friday night, The Kansas City Star
GH: This was McCullough’s lede for his Friday night game story and it vividly described Butler’s stumbling effort and the game’s pivotal play. And it was all done in a tightly written paragraph. McCullough looks to be another nice find by The Star’s sports desk.

“I don’t want to hear about Junior Hemmingway anymore! He’s been around here for three years! Wouldn’t we know if Junior Hemmingway was going to do something? I’d rather hear about somebody else! If these (other receivers) can’t beat out Junior Hemmingway… That’s another one – Donny Avery! How long’s he been with the team – four or five years?”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: It sometimes takes a bit to get Clinkscale worked up on the air but it appears that the dearth of talent available to the Chiefs is the tipping point. As I listened to his rant, I wondered how great it would be if he turned to Kevin Kietzman and proclaimed, “And I am sick and tired of hearing about your golf game! And how much money Jack Harry owes you from your two-bit bets! And haven’t we had just about enough of these damn grilling segments?” Talk about some quality radio…

“Corey Kluber's numbers in four post All-Star break starts: 34 innings, 3 earned runs, 3 walks, 35 Ks.”
Buster Olney, @Buster_ESPN, on the Indians sensational young starter, Twitter
GH: Kluber did not make the AL All-Star roster – which was a ridiculous slight. He appears to be taking the snub to heart and mowing down just about every hitter he faces in the second half of the season.

“You gotta have motivation to (pass block). You’ve got to be ‘hongry!’ … If you’re gonna bull rush me, I’m gonna come back next play and cut (block) you. You gonna bull rush me? I’m not the biggest and the strongest but I can play your game as well. If he tries to come up to me I’m gonna try and chop his legs off.”
Jamal Charles, when asked about his pass-blocking skills, 810 AM
GH: We often hear that the problem with the Texas Longhorns is that their players are soft from the country club life style they led under Mack Brown. Jamaal Charles is the exception to that stereotype. Mitch Holthus calls him the toughest Chiefs player he has come across in 20 years. Mitch might be right.

“The things I saw (at Chiefs camp) is the same thing everybody is talking about – the offensive line and the secondary. Are those two areas going to be able to overcome some of the questions people have about them? I didn’t walk away feeling better about it to be honest with you. I think they’ve got a lot of issues.”
Jeff Chadiha, NFL reporter, on his visit to the Chiefs camp in St. Joseph, 810 AM

“It will not make you feel better to see that (Chiefs’) secondary.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: Our last look at the Chiefs secondary was in Indianapolis as they surrendered one of the biggest second-half leads in NFL postseason play. It does not sound like Andy Reid has found a solution. This will very likely be a problem in the AFC West.

“You’re not going anywhere in the AFC unless you can manage to cover Denver’s wide receivers.”
Louis Riddick, ESPN NFL analyst, in an interview with The Border Patrol, 810 AM

“I see the way that secondary plays and the quarterbacks they are going to have to play and I can see a lot of flags flying.”
Jeff Chadiha, on the rules changes that will be new this year could hamper the Chiefs style of pass coverage, 810 AM
GH: Were the Chiefs DBs even close enough to the Colts’ receivers to garner a flag last January?

“The Chiefs rewarded (Justin) Houston for honoring his current obligations by offering a new contract.  Houston didn’t like it.  Per a league source, a ‘huge’ gap current exists between the team’s offer and Houston’s demands.”
Mike Florio, nbcsports.com

“I’ve got a hunch this Justin Houston thing is going to get done sooner rather than later.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Take your pick on who to believe in the Justin Houston contract dispute – Florio or Fescoe.

“(Danny) Parkins and I were talking and it doesn’t seem like people are as excited about the Chiefs as they normally are this time of year.”
Carrington Harrison, after seeing that the number of Chiefs fans attending the team’s first day of camp at Missouri Western looked to be less than in past years, 610 AM
GH: Harrison made this statement on the first day of camp so his opinion may have since changed. But there does seem to be a bit less buzz this summer about the Chiefs’ upcoming season. How many folks at your office are wearing red today? We have one guy in a Chiefs shirt.

“I want to see Weston Dressler in action tonight. Rider fans rave about him. Probably get a good look tonight.”
@ArrowheadPride, on the diminutive former wide-out from the Canadian Football League, Twitter
GH: We all love to see the little guy with almost no chance make a big splash. Call it The Rudy factor in sports. But with the poor quality of the Chiefs secondary, any camp stats from the Chiefs wide-outs might be as worthless as the fourth quarter of an NFL preseason game. BTW: Click here for some great info on ArrowheadPride.com as to where and how to watch tonight’s Chiefs preseason game.

“Brandon Carr can’t even cover a receiver who is laying on his back.”
John Q. Cowboys Fan, Twitter
GH: This link from Jimmy Kimmel Live shows Dallas Cowboys players reading “mean tweets” about themselves from Cowboy fans. The former Chiefs corner, Brandon Carr’s reaction at the end is priceless.

“I’ll give you one secret – Italian dressing. Italian dressing and a little mayonnaise.”
Wallace Gilberry, the former Chiefs defensive end who now plays for the Bengals, in an interview Wednesday with The Border Patrol, 810 AM
GH: Gilberry swears his smoked BBQ is better than anything we can buy here in KC. Mayo? Wallace is smoking something but it ain’t ribs.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Chiefs concerns might temper optimism

Written 8/4/14

“They showed their best side there (in the three-game series in Oakland) except for that fifth inning on Saturday. They played good defense and the pitching was outstanding. You just grinded out two wins against what I think is the best team in baseball. That’s pretty impressive. They’ve really responded well after that horrible series in Boston.”
Andy McCullough, Royals beat writer for The Kansas City Star, 810 AM
GH: So you want to quit this Royals team? They just refuse to let us leave. Get swept in Boston coming out of the All-Star break and most of us were ready for the Royals fire sale and football. But this team just won’t let us go. Guthrie and Big Game James pitched playoff-worthy gems in the Royals two wins in Oakland. It is only August 4th. Plenty of time for Royals fans to give up on this squad three more times and then jump right back on the bandwagon before October. Let’s hope we have a reason this season to be embarrassed for our fickle fanhood.

“I think the offensive line is a big worry.”
Tim Grunhard, while discussing his concerns for the 2014 Kansas City Chiefs with Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Tim Grunhard knows offensive line play. While he might not have been the best center in the league, he was darn good for a decade. If he is concerned about those behemoths protecting Alex Smith, we all should be concerned.

“I don’t think not being good enough at wide-out is going to stop this (Chiefs) team from going where they want to go. If they’re not going to go where they want to go, it’s going to be defense. Wide receivers are not going to be what takes this team to the Promised Land.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Petro added that a knowledgeable NFL insider once told him you could pick up a decent wide receiver on any playground in America. I would suggest the Chiefs start kicking it in some playgrounds, then. Because this draft and free-agent mode doesn’t seem to be getting it done.

“To this point Frankie Hammond has been awesome! He’s been fantastic! There’s been a couple of wide receivers like that.”
TJ Carpenter, on the play from the former Florida wide receiver who resided on the Chiefs practice squad last season, 810 AM

“Jonathan Baldwin. Suited up but did not receive a single target during team drills. Baldwin has been practically invisible during camp — two catches and three drops. A.J. Jenkins never was this bad.”
Grant Cohn, San Francisco 49ers beat writer, on the former Chiefs wide receiver who the Chiefs dealt for A.J. Jenkins, pressdemocrat.com
GH: The Egoli Virus has now infect the Niners franchise as well.

“I’m here to tell you that Dontari Poe is one of the best interior linemen in football. You cannot lose him.”
Steve St. John, 810 AM
GH: SSJ brought up Poe to back up his claim that Scott Pioli’s draft picks did contain some winners – especially in Poe who was roundly criticized by many after Pioli chose him with the Chiefs first draft pick. Read on for an assessment of Poe’s play midway through his rookie season…

“Fans love to make excuses for Poe. We have heard it all before. One line of thought was they had poor coaching at Memphis and that coach Romeo Crennel would bring out the best in him. Others said he played both tackle and it would be much better if he concentrated on just one position. Still other fans have said he is young and just needs time to develop, and rave about combine performances. … Poe rarely draws double-teams and gets stalemated by one guy. Not good, even for a rookie. When Poe recently played against Pittsburgh, he was blocked by one guy for almost the entire game. When he finally saw a double-team, he froze like a deer in headlights. He has other problems as well. His instincts for the game are poor. By the time he figures out what he is supposed to do, it's usually too late to do anything. … What bothers me the most is that he doesn't play the game mean, and when you are in the trenches you have to or you'll get pushed around by offensive lineman all day because that's what they expect. He may improve, but a ‘beast?’ I don't think so.”
Ron Temper, NFL writer, in a column written during Poe’s rookie season in November of 2012, BleacherReport
GH: Is Poe now a beast? He is at least close. If he can avoid wearing down the last six weeks of the season he could vault himself into elite status in the league.

“When you have this many injuries, you have to look at what was the training like in the off-season.”
Tim Grunhard, 810 AM
GH: I am of the belief that injuries are like the lottery – unpredictable and difficult to script. The Chiefs just seem to be in the crosshairs of the injury bug this summer – no matter how hard they did or didn’t work this off-season.

“Everybody is screaming that they need to give more relief to Jamaal Charles. That they need to save Jamaal Charles. I don’t think the Chiefs are in any mood to do that. He may have more work than he did last year. The Chiefs aren’t looking to rest him especially after doling out a fresh contract.”
Adam Teicher, in a conversation with Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Expect Jamaal to be treated like porcelain during the preseason and like the Chiefs ticket to the playoffs from September on.

“I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t think the Chiefs are going backwards this year. I think part of that is a residual from the meltdown in the playoffs against the Colts. Maybe I’m a little more bullish on the Chiefs than others.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“I think we need to temper our expectations for this team in this town. … If they get to a .500 season, that’s a pretty solid season.”
Marc Boerigter, former Chiefs wide-receiver in an appearance Monday on The Border Patrol, 810 AM
GH: Boerigter probably speaks the truth. No fan base signs up for a .500 season in August. But would that be acceptable for Chiefs fans? Are we a playoffs-or-bust kind of franchise? Or can we enjoy the four-month chase of a postseason sprinkled in with some titillating games and personal performances by our team and call it good even without the playoffs? Reality tells me we will need to this season.

 “I don’t want to say this and sound disingenuous because people say it all the time but the people here (in St. Joseph) are genuinely some of the nicest people you will meet. They will get you anything you need.”
TJ Carpenter, on his time spent at the Chiefs camp the past three weeks at Missouri Western, 810 AM
GH: St. Joe, MO is one friendly place. I hope the Chiefs renew their contract with Mo West. I cannot imagine things would be nearly as cozy if they move their camp to their Truman Sports Complex headquarters next July.

“What’s a raccoon?”
Rocket, the brains behind The Guardians of the Galaxy five-some, The Guardians of the Galaxy
GH: Loved this movie. One of the best romps of the summer season. My wife laughed loudest at this line and then nodded off to sleep for the remaining 90 minutes…at the 1:45 PM showing. It is difficult to teach art.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Royals do nothing at trade deadline

Written 7/31/14

“The Tigers added David Price. … Everybody around the Royals made moves. The Royals stood pat and Dayton Moore called a press conference.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Whether you were rooting for the Royals to be buyers or sellers as the MLB trade deadline loomed this afternoon, you came away disappointed when Dayton Moore decided to stand pat with his roster. It created some interesting conversations in the media and on Twitter. Read on.

“We’re not going to apologize for our market and what we can’t do. … It’s always a factor.”
Dayton Moore, when asked if finances factored into the Royals decision to not get a deal done, MLB trade-deadline presser
GH: What kind of an answer is this??? This is the definition of apologizing for your market size. What “can’t” the Royals do? Are their rules in place in MLB that handcuff the Royals more than the A’s? The Rays? The Tigers? Dayton Moore is so far in over his head in this job that it is embarrassing.

“Please stop saying the Royals did NOTHING. We got Downs, Frasor, Ibanez, and Kratz. What more did you want????”
Royals Review, @royalsreview, Twitter
GH: Read this tweet again with a HEAVY sarcasm font overlaid on it.

“James Shields said he was shocked to see David Price traded (from his former Rays team) into the division. He was not exactly thrilled about this development.”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, Twitter
GH: Price going to the Tigers doesn’t guarantee the Tigers will win the ALC, since that was probably a likely outcome of this season without the Rays’ ace. What adding Price does for the Tigers is make them even a more dangerous opponent of Oakland’s in the postseason.

“All I can say is...Thank you @DAVIDprice14 for all the wins and memories. Your character is unmatched.”
Evan Longoria, @Evan3Longoria, Twitter
GH: Compare this tweet from Longoria to the unflattering comments he made about James Shields when he left the Rays. I don’t know who the ass is in this feud but I do find it interesting.

“We’re going to continue to look for ways to improve our team. There will be opportunities. We’ll keep looking.”
Dayton Moore, MLB trade-deadline presser
GH: Not quite what you want to hear from your GM an hour after the trade deadline has passed. I am guessing the Tigers GM’s message was a bit different today.

“In a small way, it feels like we made a trade." - Dayton Moore at 4:15, probably.”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, Twitter

“They’ll add a few offensive guys in the offseason, I’m sure.”
Rex Hudler, when asked by Danny Parkins to say something to make Royals fans feel better, 610 AM
GH: That makes me feel happy that football is only a month away.

“We’re going to maintain our strength...which is our starting pitching. So it didn’t make a lot of sense to take away from that to add a big-time bat.”
Dayton Moore, on one of the reasons the Royals made no moves for a power bat, MLB trade-deadline presser
GH: What doesn’t make sense is maintain a GM who has not sniffed the playoffs in eight seasons.

“While the rest of baseball plays Chess, DM isn't even playing checkers, he's playing connect four.”
Jeff Herr, @TheJeffReport, Twitter

“The #Royals rank last in both OPS and HR and to boost the offense they did absolutely nothing.. In year 8. I'm done.”
Dr. Koppe, @TKoppe22, Twitter

“Not necessarily. When you look at it, it makes perfect sense. It’s not really a surprise.”
Dayton Moore, when asked if he was surprised by Oakland’s willingness to deal Yoenis Cespedes, MLB trade-deadline presser
GH: Moore is just too cool to be floored like the rest of us over an out-of-the-blue blockbuster trade like this one. Dayton is either a fool, phony or he thinks we are fools. Pretending to be on top of this trade also makes him look all the worse for not being in the middle of it by offering the A’s James Shields, Billy Butler and Sluggerrr.

“We were prepared to make moves with prospects. There was nothing presented to us that made us uncomfortable, but certainly not out of the running. … It wouldn’t have been significant upgrades over what we had.”
Dayton Moore, MLB trade-deadline presser
GH: Prospects? We’re talking about PROSPECTS? Jim Mora is even chuckling over the Royals offering prospects instead of Dayton’s untouchable roster.

“When you look at the players that were available…we just couldn’t get ‘em.”
Dayton Moore, MLB trade-deadline presser
GH: Finally. A statement that rings of some truth. Dayton could have skipped his presser and tweeted this comment out to the media and gone and scarfed down a rib dinner at Oklahoma Joe’s. (I had my second such there meal this week today.)

“Dayton Moore is always a likeable guy but that was not – I repeat – that was NOT his best news conference. He stumbled and stammered and had to correct himself. … That was not Dayton Moore’s best moment.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK knows an uncomfortable conversation when he hears one and this was definitely one of those.

“I felt good about this group from the first day on and I feel good about them now.”
Ned Yost, 810 AM
GH: Translation: “My sense of ‘feel’ is broken. It’s spinal.”

“If you’d have seen the effort to try and improve the club. … It wasn’t for lack of trying.”
Ned Yost, on the Royals inability to add offense via a late trade, 810 AM
GH: Translation: “Dayton locked himself in the toilet and I could hear him whimpering in there.”

“All the moves ... today makes me want to quit the #royals season more than any losing streak.”
Curtis Kitchen, @curtiskitchen, Twitter
GH: But few of us will quit this mismanaged franchise of David Glass’. They may not win, they may not provide the proper number of t-shirts and they may not be wily traders. But they are ours. Be glad there is next year. Be Royal.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Does Billy want to get off his DH ass?

Written 7/28/14

“Call it a coincidence, but Billy Butler’s recent hitting surge has coincided with his return to first-base duty in place of Eric Hosmer.”
Randy Covitz, kansascity.com
GH: I have never understood why a healthy 28-year-old MLB player would be satisfied with a fulltime DH role. Maybe Raul Ibanez’s fitness and fire have embarrassed Billy into looking at his future and wanting to get off his DH ass.

“Sometimes you get your mind off just hitting, and you go out there and play. It takes a little pressure off you. That’s what I’ve done my whole life. I didn’t DH when I was growing up.”
Billy Butler, kansascity.com
GH: How great would it be if Butler got in shape and became the Royals answer in right field?

“He’s been late on balls. The last two days he’s been right on them.”
Ned Yost, on Billy Butler’s hitting Friday and Saturday, Fox Sports KC

“As the trade deadline looms, perhaps the Royals have already added a bat to their lineup with a productive Billy Butler.”
Joel Goldberg, Fox Sports KC

“I would like them to make that move. I would like them to make that acquisition. I would like them to make any move.”
Steven St. John, on reports that the Royals are interested in acquiring Alex Rios before the trade deadline, 810 AM

“If this team makes the playoffs it’s going to be because Billy Butler gets things going. It’s going to be because Eric Hosmer gets things going. I’m not going to get too excited or too depressed if they do or don’t make a move.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Sometimes the best moves are no moves at all. Ever hear of that one, Stan? I’m with Nate on Rios and just about any late trade that the Royals can/will afford. They need to win or lose with the guys who are supposed to be getting the job done.

“If you believe in KC, the 5-game winning streak was delightful. If you don't, then it just means they won't sell when they should have.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: Jeff Passan made this point as the club limped into June. The spurts of success this team has experienced might be what kills their hopes in 2015 and 2016. But with a 29-year-playoff drought looking to turn 30 this October, I understand why the Royals want to keep paddling upstream. Their chances are small but they are more attractive than all of Dayton’s other late-season runs.

“It seems that when this team gets down to the big games, the games they have to win, this team can’t get it done.”
Frank White, 810 AM
GH: Frank hit this one out of the ball park. This Royals team needs to stop getting crushed every time they pull close to a contender. Is that Nervous Ned’s influence?

“When I heard that James Shields was the leader of this ball club I had my concerns. On my ball club, we would never let a pitcher be the leader. Good teams don’t allow pitchers to do that.”
Frank White, 810 AM
GH: Frank made some killer comments in his interview with Kevin Kietzman on Friday afternoon. I hope somebody posts them in the Royals play…I mean locker room.

“This is such a young group of guys that they are telling each other what they want to make them feel good – not what they should be telling them. I want you to tell me the truth, not what you think I want to hear. You don’t get any better by patting each other on the back after you’ve had a bad outing and saying, ‘It’s okay.’ You have to get better by saying, ‘What can you do to fix it? How can you get better?’ We had guys who would go sit in a player’s locker and say, ‘You need to pick it up a bit.’ Then they know their teammates aren’t going to be so kind when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do.”
Frank White, 810 AM

“I think the Royals are a hapless organization, so you know I'm being honest when I say this: they have the best uniforms/logos in baseball.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, Twitter
GH: The Dodgers, Yankees, Cardinals and Orioles are my top  for great looking MLB uniforms. Who you got?

“There was absolutely nothing out here. Now look at it! It’s like a freeway out there!”
Disgruntled KCK Farmer, when asked about his opinion of the USA Soccer building their national training center off of Parallel Parkway, 980 AM
GH: This KCK farmer was not pleased to hear that Wyandotte County may yet again be growing and leaving behind it’s “absolutely nothing” kind of reputation. Let’s hope he becomes extinct as well.

“We all knew that this was bullshit. We knew that UMKC was not better than MIT and Stanford.”
An anonymous UMKC professor, on the 2011 findings that UMKC was the top university for innovation management research, Kansas City Star
GH: I don’t think I have ever seen the word “bullshit” printed in The Kansas City Star – on a Sunday no less! This might be the best sign yet that the daily newspaper is on the way back! Now if the sports section will begin to allow the printing of “suck,” we will be on the edge of evolutionary progress.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Two years ago Butler was the toast of the All-Star Game in KC

Written 7/15/14

“The Royals sixth-inning song now this year has been Journey’s Don’t Stop Believin’. And that is exactly what the fans here need to do. They need to stay behind this ball club and believe it can happen. And maybe the players, they’ve got to believe it! I think they do.”
Rex Hudler, as the Royals enter the All-Star break at 48-46 and 6.5 games behind Detroit, Fox Sports KC
GH: Let’s hope the players at least believe they can repeat their second-half surge of last season. As fans, we don’t have much of a choice other than to watch, hope and wait to see if this Royals team can end the 29-year playoff drought.

“They shouldn’t be second-half guys. They should be full-season guys. I think the best baseball’s ahead of us that we’re going to play. … I think all of our guys – Moose included and Hos included – are second-half guys. So all the signs are pointing up for us on offense in the second half.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: I have no idea why any manager, player or front office person would think it takes a team 90 games to have their offense pointing up. And if the only “sign” is that these are second-half players, Ned needs to get a new speech writer.

“I think you can kiss the division good-bye. But that second wild card is still in play.”
Carrington Harrison, on the Royals chances of catching the Tigers in the AL Central, 610 AM
GH: MLB has added the second playoff spot to now make falling out of the playoff race almost impossible before mid-August. Being around .500 allows teams to pretend that a miracle might happen. And it might. But I see more signs with injuries and the pitching rotation that the Royals are headed backward instead of forward in the second half.

“I hear people saying, ‘It’s over! They’re out of it!’ They’ve got to get hot but it really is possible for them to catch the Tigers. It really is.”
Brad Fanning, 610 AM
GH: With 70 games left it’s possible for just about anything to happen. What else are we going to do besides watch it unfold and hope?

“All of (the Royals) prospects are at the major league level so it’s understanding that there’s going to be kind of a lull.”
Nate Bukaty, attempting to explain why the Royals do not have any immediate answers in their organization for their offensive woes, 810 AM
GH: I do not understand this excuse. This is Hosmer’s and Moose’s fourth season in the big leagues. It is Salvador Perez’s third. I don’t see a reason that Dayton Moore should not be expected to have major-league ready position players for James Shields’ final season with the Royals. It is kind of his job.

“Since 2009 (the Royals) have drafted one player who is contributing at the big-league level.”
Andy McCullough, 810 AM

“They like their guys (in their farm system). They believe in their player development.”
Andy McCullough, when discussing the chances of the Royals trading some of their prospects for possibly 33-year-old Ben Zobrist or similar immediate help, 810 AM
GH: The Royals have no business trying to win anything this season by trading away prospects. This team is simply not worthy of the risk.

“You have to beat the best. Detroit’s the best. And (the Royals) aren’t doing that.”
Les Norman, 810 AM

“The Royals are probably a lot more like Cleveland, Chicago and Minnesota than they are Detroit.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“He's the hardest worker I've ever met in my life. There's not a close second.”
Danny Duffy, on Alex Gordon, Omaha World Herald
GH: This quote comes from a well-written story from the Omaha World Herald’s Dirk Chatelain. Click on the link to read his account of just how far the Royals All-Star and Gold-Glove left fielder has come since he was sent down to Omaha to learn a new position and battle the label of being called a bust. Chatelain is a skilled storyteller as this reflective piece demonstrates.

“More than 360 plate appearances into his season, Butler has hit three home runs. Three. Eugenio Suarez hit three homers in his first eight games in the big leagues. Butler has hit three all year. Two years ago, he slugged .510. This year, he's slugging .353. In the 42-season history of DHing, there hasn't been a single "regular" DH (i.e., a guy who DHed in 75 percent of his games) who was given 500 plate appearances without hitting at least five home runs and slugging at least .350. But that's where Butler is heading -- toward a season in which he reaches neither of those pedestrian plateaus.”
Jayson Stark, MLB writer, on why he named the Royals DH as the AL’s Least Valuable Player at the All-Star break, ESPN.com
GH: Two years ago Billy was the toast of the Kansas City All-Star game. How did this happen to one of the game’s most natural hitters?

“Look what the Royals have done – developing a closer like Greg Holland. Making himself and the Royals look like a star!”
Rex Hudler, on the success of the Royals 10th-round draft pick, Fox Sports KC
GH: Is there any chance Physioc and Hudler can take the second-half of the season off? I sure would like to know what the Royals survey results are about their broadcasters. Do you think we’ll get a press release on that one, Stan?

“There has never been a more perfect man created in the world than Derek Jeter. It is hard to find a person in the history of the world that was created better than Derek Jeter. I can’t think of a better male than Derek Jeter. The guy’s done everything. I think it will be very, very, very, very entertaining to see how they honor Derek Jeter tonight at the All-Star Game.”
Bob Fescoe, 810 AM
GH: You can take the Yankee fan out of New Jersey but you can’t always educate them.

“I fear for Missouri football after Gary Pinkel is gone. I truly do.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Truly? How fearful is Kietzman about K-State football after Bill Snyder is gone? It would appear to me that Snyder is the most important person to any one DI program. Kietzman also made a point to a caller and his listeners that he is not backing down from his stance that Missouri made a mistake in leaving the Big 12 for the SEC. It would sure be interesting to have a Missouri representative on KK’s show live to debate this topic…someone besides Jack Harry.

“I think Missouri has lost a lot by not playing Kansas anymore.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: The Missouri and Kansas fans have lost a great rivalry but the two schools are far from hurting. The schools are as popular and financially successful as maybe ever before.

“I think what’s exciting about the Missouri football season this year is that you have such a wide range of what Maty Mauk can be. He could be a Heisman Trophy candidate or he could flame out. Every other quarterback they’ve had has been very predictable. Maty Mauk will always have four or five plays where you say, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ But sometimes that mindset works out very well.”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM

“If you go strictly with the talent on the field, Georgia will win the (SEC) East running away. They return literally everybody on defense. But it’s not decided strictly on talent.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Carpenter picks South Carolina to win the East, Mizzou second and Georgia third.

“It's also great seeing guys who paved the way for me. I wasn't the first good big man KU has had. Been many more before me like @Trobinson0.”
Tarik Black, @TarikBlack25, Twitter
GH: This tweet is so true it did not need to be posted.

“There's no reason or cause for worry on his part because Andrew's not going anywhere, as far as I know and as far as the club has expressed. I would think for a guy like Andrew, to have the opportunity to play with arguably one of the best players of all time, and to learn from him and to be tutored by him and to play alongside him -- which he will -- I gotta think that's a tremendous boost to his confidence and his comfort level and probably his motivation.”
David Blatt, Cleveland Cavs’ head coach, ESPN.com
GH: The NBA is going to be fun to follow with Wiggins playing alongside LeBron and Doug McDermott testing his college skills with the Bulls.

“(Bill) Self says other teams use lack of NBA All Stars against KU in recruiting so for perception, it matters how Wiggins & Embiid are as pros.”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, Twitter
GH: I don’t think Bill Self is going to have any trouble recruiting the nation’s best talent to KU – no matter what Wiggins and Embiid do in the NBA. And I think both are going to do very, very well.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Tigers rock the Royals

Written 7/11/14

“The Royals drew only 21,000 (Thursday) night and that was smaller than every other announced crowd in baseball except Seattle.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: The Royals will be close to a sellout tonight and Saturday night at The K. Yes, it’s Dollar Night and fireworks night tonight and Saturday’s fans will be lured in part by the Salvy bobblehead giveaway. But that’s what happens when you smother the heart of a baseball town for 30 years with promises and slogans.

“Let’s see if the Royals fans show up tonight. This is what they said they’ve always wanted. ‘Just show me a winner and we’ll be out there (at The K),’ is what they’ve said. Well, here’s your chance. They won 86 games last year and they have the Tigers in town for a big four-game series this weekend. Time to show up.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I pretty much detest when members of the media snarl at the paying public for not showing up to a sporting event. And KK was snarling and baiting and chastising Royals fans Thursday prior to the game about supporting the team by buying tickets. MLB, the NFL and big-time college sports cannot have it both ways. You don’t get to make billions off of TV contracts and then complain that your fans prefer to watch the game via their $200-per-month cable/Internet provider.

“I’m not going to tell anybody that they’ve got to go out to the stadium to support this team. It’s not pretty out there.”
Steven St. John, after the Royals were bounced 16-4 by Detroit in the series opener, 810 AM
GH: SSJ made this comment the morning after Kietzman made his snarling remarks about Royals fans showing up. Were the two related? I can only hope so.

“You cannot go through the second half of the season with your designated hitter popping two or three home runs. This team has to have a second half from Billy Butler, and I’m a firm believer in that this team is a second-half team. That’s not going to happen if Billy Butler doesn’t start hitting. I hate to put it on him but it is on him. He is the veteran bat in that lineup.”
Mike Macfarlane, 810 AM
GH: I love Macfarlane’s optimism about Butler and the Royals. I just don’t see much of a reason to think this version of the Royals is going to repeat last season’s dramatic turnaround in August and September. This organization is thin on talent. The Royals have been able to avoid injuries until now – and still find themselves 5.5 games behind Detroit. Look at last night’s lineup and tell me how that collection of castoffs, underachievers and Ned’s pets are going to hold up over the next two months? I so want this summer to be different but a 16-4 butt kicking has me crying in Brazilian.

“He’s absolutely exceeded my expectations. He is incredibly engaged in the things he does in our community.”
John Currie, K-State’s AD, when asked by Kevin Kietzman if Bruce Weber had exceeded his expectations, 810 AM
GH: Bruce Weber has been so much more than I thought he would be at Kansas State that he deserves my apologies and a deep bow. I used to think of Weber as Bill Self’s caddy but the guy can coach. Maybe he’s not the greatest recruiter but that merely accentuates his coaching prowess. He makes it easy to like Wildcat basketball once again.

“We have three SEC teams on our (basketball) schedule.”
John Currie, on KSU playing Tennessee, Texas A&M and Georgia this season, 810 AM
GH: We are getting closer and closer to a truce between Missouri and their former Big 12 mates from the Sunflower State. The groundwork is being laid with these SEC/B12 battles. I just  hope I’m still typing when they decide to get it back on.

“I’m at 9-7 right now without seeing them but I’m leaning toward 10-6. I want to see how the offensive line responds is what it is.”
Tim Grunhard, on his prediction for the Chiefs’ record this season, 810 AM
GH: Without seeing or knowing much of anything new from last season I have the Chiefs at five wins this season. I desperately hope their schedule doesn’t prove to be nearly as tough as it looks on my monitor.

“If he can be like Evan (Boehm)…he’s on the same track. He’s got three more years to get there He’s a good kid and he works hard. The only kicker is how tall is he going to get and if he can get up to 6’2. One of the positives of me going back over to Miege is that I’m going to be able to work with him the next three years and give him an opportunity if he wants to play in college. He’s on his way to do it. He’s a really good kid. As much as his dad is an ass, he’s a really good kid.”
Tim Grunhard, on his 15-year-old son, Colin, who is a 250-pound center for Bishop Miege, 810 AM
GH: Evan Boehm, Mizzou’s All-American candidate at center this season, is one of the great local success stories of a high school kid who was coached by his father and succeeding at a high level. I enjoyed hearing Grunhard talk about his son not only as a father but also as a coach. There was a lot of pride in his voice but also a lot of coach. It will be fun to watch Colin grow over the next three seasons.

“Other stations dabble in Chiefs. That’s cute. We’re going nuts!”
Promo for 610 Sports Chiefs coverage, 610 AM
GH: Another 16-4 Brazilian waxing by the Tigers this weekend and we will all be tuning in for nutty Chiefs coverage.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Salvy's 3-run homer saves Royals

Written 7/10/14

“What was going through Jarrod Dyson's head as Salvador Perez's homer approached the foul pole: ‘Mother[expletive], get out!’”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, on the Royals catcher’s three-run eighth-inning homer to beat the Rays 5-4 Wednesday night, Twitter
GH: I sat on my couch Wednesday night half watching the Royals head toward another loss as the ninth inning rally looked to be nothing more than another disappointment. Then Perez lifted a ceiling-high pop up toward the cozy left-field corner at Tampa’s Trop. The 320-sometihng fly ball would have been an unceremonious out at The K. Instead, it turned the Royals road trip from a loser into a winner. In what may be the biggest win in Ned Yost’s Royals’ career, the Royals did what they so often have had done to them.

“I’ve never seen Ned like that! He went out there to give Salvy a chest bump! That’s a big win.”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: Ned looked almost human last night after the Royals’ surprising comeback win. Why can’t he act like this more often in front of a camera or microphone? He is making millions coaching grown men play a game. Enjoy the cushy life you have stumbled into, Ned. There are far worse lots in life.

“I think Sal Perez is steaming toward being the face of this franchise.”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: The Royals signed their young catcher to a franchise-friendly seven-year contract for a paltry $20 million two years ago. He might be worth $20 million A YEAR right now. You have to wonder if Salvy continues to be the AL All-Star catcher for the next few years just how happy he will be watching bad middle-infielders make more than he is as the game’s best catcher.

“I think this might not only be the biggest win this season but it might be the biggest win all of last season too!”
Henry Lake, 610 AM
GH: Last season ended with a feel-good story that went where the last 28 Royals seasons have gone in October – nowhere. This season still has hope – at least here on the eve of a four-game series with Detroit.

“This (four-game series versus Detroit) is maybe the most important series for the Royals up to this point.”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM

“I am not going to be freaking out with a split (with the Tigers). Lose three out of four and I’m going to be disappointed and wondering where the team is going.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM

“Don’t be afraid to give some credit to a guy who had a hell of a road trip. A little applause when he comes to the plate might be nice.”
Soren Petro, on Eric Hosmer hitting .400 and showing some pop in this last road trip, 810 AM
GH: Hosmer’s numbers took a dramatic upturn on the Royals road trip but have the Royals fans at The K ever been less than supportive of any of the current Royals players? The last Royal I remember getting booed at home is Kyle Farnsworth. I don’t recall ever hearing that Hoz or Moose were the target of anything but cheers.

“Absolutely. Wait until he gets home and he gets his swing fixed.”
Mike Boddicker, when asked if he is sticking by his prediction that Raul Ibanez is going to be a productive pick up for the Royals in the second half of this season, 810 AM
GH: Boddicker believes that KCK’s David Segui is a hitting-coach savant and holds the fountain of youth for Ibanez’s swing. I think Ibanez’s swing looks fine – it’s just too slow now to catch up to MLB pitching. Unless Raul turns into Barry Bonds, 42-year-old players just don’t get better with coaching.

“I cringe at what people would be saying about Bill Self if Mario Chalmers’ shot would not have gone in and they wouldn’t have won that game in overtime.”
Eamonn Brennan, college basketball writer for ESPN.com, in an interview with Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: No Mario Miracle, no Bill Self national championship. Would it make Self any less of a great coach? No. But it would change everything from his salary to his ranking amongst today’s great college coaches.

“On vacation so I missed the DGB to OU talk, but I'll be shocked if he ever plays a snap for them. Reminds me of Josh Gordon to Utah.”
Matt Miller, @nfldraftscout, Twitter

“I don’t think there is any chance of that happening. If it does, I take back everything I’ve said about DGB turning his life around.”
Stan Weber, on DGB possibly entering the 2015 NFL draft, 810 AM

“I feel sorry for you. I can’t even tell whether you’re in charge or whether you’re a minion (to the universities). If you’re merely a monetary pass-through, why should you even exist?”
Claire McCaskill, as she questioned NCAA president Mark Emmert Wednesday on Capitol Hill about the alarming statistics of sexual abuse on campuses across the country, Kansascity.com
GH: In what might have been McCaskill’s finest moment in politics, the former Missouri State Auditor embarrassed the head of the NCAA with facts, figures and outrage. If only our government examined their own work with such tenacity. 

“I had to turn off the mic and ask what state she represents, for god sakes.”
Soren Petro, on watching Senator Claire McCaskill question Emmert, 810 AM

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Hosmer catching heat, Kietzman on being the butt of jokes

Written 7/9/14

“I think you would have to say that Dayton Moore is putting his job in the hands of Eric Hosmer.”
Soren Petro, on the perception that the Royals have decided to strap their 2014 postseason hopes onto the back of their first baseman no matter his offensive numbers, 810 AM
“I’m sorry, but Eric Hosmer is a six-foot-four, 220-pound first baseman singles hitter! I have to have better than that! At first base you have to have some pop! Not a number-two hole singles hitter. He doesn’t want to change. He thinks he’s doing fine. And the Royals want to make sure that he believes he’s doing good.”
Mike Boddicker, 810 AM
GH: Some believe Eric Hosmer is the key offensive player to the Royals playing in the postseason this October or not. Ned Yost and the Royals continue to treat Hosmer like he is George Brett and some of the local media and fans are starting to question their parenting skills. First it was Moose and now it’s Hoz.

“Eric Hosmer, frequently – not always – plays the game like an airhead.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“It’s good to know its Billy Butler with the ego, not the guy who stubbornly hits Eric Hosmer second every night.”
@royalsreview, Twitter

“He likes to eat and he doesn’t like to work out. That’s not a good combination.”
Mike Boddicker, on Billy Butler’s less-than-athletic physique, 810 AM

“I complain about the Royals philosophy, focus, work etc, but if I didn’t, the alternative would be to acknowledge they just aren’t any good.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, Twitter
GH: I refuse to believe the Royals aren’t any good. Their lineup is full of talented players who in my opinion too often underperform. If the Royals do stink, I am sure wasting a lot of summer nights bathed in their questionable cologne.

“I didn’t really go out and tell people (I made the All-Star team). I guess they just kind of figured it out on their own.”
Greg Holland, in an interview with Jay Binkley and Henry Lake, 610 AM
GH: With the number of likable personalities on the Royals’ roster dwindling with each pay-per-view fight night, Holland is as refreshing a local celebrity as this town has seen in some time. He is wildly underappreciated by MLB because he plays for the Royals. He is just as underappreciated as an interview. I think Holland could one day have a great second career as a color analyst on TV or radio. He is simple yet deep.

“I don’t really concern myself with (what music is playing when I walk in from the bullpen). The only thing I concern myself with is throwing strike one and making sure we’re still winning when when I get out of the game.”
Greg Holland, when asked why he allowed James Shields to pick his walk-in music, 610 AM
GH: This was just an enjoyable interview by 610’s midday crew of Lake and Binkley. You can listen to the entire interview by clicking here.

“I really wasn’t going to do anything, so getting to go to Minnesota to play in the All-Star Game is really kind of a treat.”
Greg Holland, when asked about his plans for the All-Star week if he had not been selected, 610 AM
GH: How can you not like this guy?

“With 35.6 million Tweets, #BRA v #GER is the most-discussed single sports game ever on Twitter.”
@TwitterData, on Germany’s 7-1 throttling of the host country, Twitter
GH: How does Brazil overcome this embarrassment? They have won more World Cup titles than any other country except Germany but this loss may be what haunts the home of Pele the rest of this century. It was that embarrassing.

“Andrew Wiggins shoe deal with adidas is worth about $2M a year (over five years). Slightly short of the $14M-$18M projections made last year.”
Darren Rovell, @darrenrovell, Twitter
GH: I hope Wiggins is expecting a phone call from the Williams Fund asking him to help pay for that new basketball dorm in Lawrence.

“Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports previously reported (Wiggins’ adidas) contract as being worth close to $100 million over 10 years, but that Tweet was subsequently deleted. Spears later reported that it is a five-year deal worth approximately $12 million to $13 million.”
Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick, USA Today

“Most KU fans don’t care about how good Andrew Wiggins is in the NBA.”
Frank Boal, 810 AM
GH: Is this true, KU? I think all alums are very proud of their former athletes once they succeed in the professional ranks – but they lose interest quickly if the player is a bust or also-ran in the pros. Paul Pierce versus Greg Ostertag.

“I would be really mad if I was on a game broadcast some night that made me the butt of a joke. It would anger me, Danny, to no end!”
Kevin Kietzman, after discussing a fan who is suing the Yankees for showing him sleeping in his seat, 810 AM
GH: If you have ever wondered why Kevin Kietzman’s voice never appears as a humorous drop for The Border Patrol or The Program, you no longer need to wonder. KK does not suffer being made fun of lightly. I don’t really understand this kind of person but it takes a special kind of guy to be able to dish it out but refuse to be on the receiving end.

“(Collin Klein) got the best deal of any college football player ever! He got to make a run at a Heisman Trophy, play for a legendary coach and win a conference championship. Now they hired him to have a job as a coach. What’s wrong with that? He became famous and got a look (from the NFL) just because of that, when he never really had the ability to play quarterback in the NFL. Trust me, John Currie could go run an NFL franchise!”
Kevin Kietzman, to a caller who argued that the K-State quarterback was not adequately compensated in college for his contributions to the Wildcat football program compared to Currie and the coaches’ salaries, 810 AM
GH: Collin Klein is the most important reason that Kansas State has been able to spends the millions of dollars in facility upgrades the past few years. His play for four years was worth millions to KSU. History tells us that the beatings he took as the Wildcats quarterback will likely haunt him as he ages. For Kietzman to say that Klein was adequately compensated for his contributions to Kansas State is embarrassing.

“He stopped short of agreeing with me but I could tell he wanted to.”
Kevin Kietzman, when he suggested to K-State’s AD, John Currie, that scholarship college athletes on K-State’s campus are the one percenters, 810 AM
GH: This might be one of my favorite KK quotes. Kevin knows what you’re thinking even when you’re not thinking it.

“I think most of the basketball coaches want to give these kids the world and football coaches want to give them a little. Football coaches want to say, ‘You’re not entitled to anything! You have to work for it!’”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Translation: Bill Snyder is a far better man than Bill Self.

“I don’t want anything I do or say here on the radio show to be taken by someone else and have them make a profit with it. We are protected by copyrights.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I find it interesting that Kietzman and his sports radio station make a living off of reporting on, critiquing and goofing on what athletes, coaches and front office people do while performing their jobs, yet he abhors the thought of his work being turned into profit by another business. Maybe now he understands why Ned, Hosmer and the Royals treat the media like they do. They have the same view of people using their copyrighted work for profit as Kevin.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Critiquing the Voices of the Royals

Written 7/7/14

The Voices of the Royals

With the baseball season passing the halfway point in the season, here is my review the broadcasters, writers and media who cover our Kansas City Royals.

Denny Matthews, Royals Radio play-by-play voice
Denny is The Voice of the Royals. He is also known as the Voice of Summer by generations of Kansas Citians like me who hear Denny and immediately think baseball. I have been a loud critic of Denny for his grumpy on-air nature and his trademark refusal to express excitement. Denny believes you save the excitement for when it really matters. I believe that is a convenient excuse for a guy who stayed too long in his job and no longer can muster the daily energy it takes to be a MLB play-by-play voice. Denny is now coddled by his audience and boss instead of held to the same standard as the team’s much-maligned GM and manager. I don’t think Denny cares anymore…except if the game is going to be over in less than three hours.

Ryan Lefebvre, Royals TV and Radio play-by-play
Lefebvre replaced Fred White in the Royals radio booth in 1999 and he was awful. I started a “Held Hostage by The Beaver” campaign and updated the growing list of days Beaver was allowed to remain on the Royals air. Ryan took the criticism that I and others leveled at him as blowback from him replacing the popular Fred White. This was not the case. It was time for Fred to go. I was excited that the Royals had hired a young voice to add to Denny’s deep Royals knowledge. But the young Beaver was as bland and forgettable as a drive through West Lenexa. But the Royals are nothing if not loyal. They stuck with Lefebvre through bad and worse, and after 15 years they have themselves a professional if not memorable play-by-play voice.  Lefebvre is now my favorite voice on the Royals broadcasts – which should be a big hint as to what I think of the others in this lineup.

Steve Physioc, Royals TV and Radio play-by-play
I was actually excited when the Royals announced they had hired the former Kansas State alum and broadcaster who had spent so many years calling games for the Reds, Giants, Padres and Angels. I was always impressed with Physioc’s innate broadcast-quality pipes. His voice purred like a DJ from the 1950s. It is that same melodic, saccharine-sweet voice that makes me cringe when I tune into a Royals game now. Physioc is definitely a talent that is appreciated from afar – like seven-states-away far. He is a sickeningly sweet glob of gosh-gee-super-dooper-ness that my baseball-loving ears treats like a Billy Butler double play ball. And Physioc’s speech pattern might even be slower than Butler’s gait. It takes him so long to form a thought or complete a sentence that I am sure Denny takes his bathroom breaks during his conversations with Phys. 

Rex Hudler, TV color analyst
Rex came with Physioc as part of a package deal from California. The Angels had canned the pair and the Royals picked them up off the wire for the price of whatever out-of-work MLB TV broadcasters are making nowadays. You can bet it was Walmart cheap. And just like that plastic laundry basket you bought for $2 at the local Wally, the Royals got what they paid for – a cheap imitation. Hudler is who he is – a goofy, life-loving man child who fashioned a successful career with his body not his mind. So why place him in front of a live mic and tell him to be informative and entertaining? Rex is about as prepared for his job as @feministstripper is for a job in marketing. There is a portion of the Royals fan base who love Rex’s quirkiness, goofy sayings and his friendly egoless demeanor. But people in the media all have a portion of their audience who loves them. Fescoe even has fans. Having fans is no reason to be a homer of Ruthian proportions. I just think Royals fans deserve so much more than Physioc and Hudler. My wife, who knows less about baseball than Whitlock, hears Hudler’s voice on TV as she passes through the room and says, “That guy just sounds stupid. Who is he?” That’s the guy the Royals think their fans deserve.

Steve Stewart, Royals radio play-by-play
Stewart might be the most forgettable guy in the Royals franchise. And that’s a franchise where I am counting Aaron Brooks. His role on the Royals radio broadcasts is to give score updates during the broadcasts and to fill in for Denny when he doesn’t want to make a road trip to Minnesota, Cleveland or Detroit – you know the teams in the Royals division. Stewart is a decent sounding play-by-play guy who is utterly safe – which is exactly what the Royals like in their broadcasters. Stewart has few opinions and those he does have he keeps to himself. He’s just a guy. He’s that C-minus you got in that math class you had to take. Nothing more than something to step over to get where you’re going.

Andy McCollough, Royals beat writer for the Kansas City Star
The new kid on the Royals beat had some big shoes to fill when Bob Dutton retired to Tacoma, Washington to tweet about the Mariners. Dutton had a Bob Newhart sense of humor in how he interacted with his Twitter followers – and I miss that dearly. But McCullough is a capable young writer who I would take far more seriously if he didn’t look like the paper boy. This is Andy’s first season with KC, the Royals and Ned. He is just trying to survive and not get Nate Bukatied by the Royals. He plays it far too safe for my taste but the guy’s got to eat. I am hoping he gets a bit hungrier as this season progresses and starts in on some backside.

Joel Goldberg, Royals TV pre- and postgame host and on-field reporter
I like Joel. He seems like an easy-going kind of guy who has never raised his voice in anger. He is perpetually upbeat – even after the Royals get their butts beat. No matter the score, you can bet Joel will find a nugget of positivity to mention to the Royals faithful. I am trying to remember a memorable interview of Goldie’s with a Royals player. They all kind of sound the same, don’t they? “Well, you had a pretty good game tonight, right?” Sideline reporters are all pretty much dreck when it comes to watchability and so Joel’s job is not an easy one. The guy is basically Sluggerrr without the costume.

Josh Vernier, 610 Sports Royals postgame radio host
Vernier is the guy Nick Wright accused of being a nepotism hire by his old boss when he was brought here from Milwaukee to be the anchor host of 610 Sports afternoon drive show that also included Jayice Pearson and Jay Binkley. That show never worked and Vernier was left hanging when they cut Jayice and moved the football-loving Binkley to midday. To Vernier’s credit, he has found a niche as 610’s Royals insider. Is he any good? Meh… He does show up every night. I will give him that. He’s in a tough spot in that he is a twenty-something nerd who has to go face-to-face with Ned Yost and the players on an almost nightly basis. We are not going to get Bill O’Reilly out of him. Vern is ultra-protective of Ned on his show and readily shouts down callers who criticize the manager’s mistakes. The Royals probably love Vern’s show. I do not.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter @greghall24


Covitz and Mellinger on the selfie by Sporting's Dwyer

Written 7/7/14

“After great steal and goal, bush-league move by SportingKC Dom Dwyer taking selfie. Yellow card well deserved.”
Randy Covitz, @randycovitz, after Dwyer scored to give Sporting a 1-0 lead over Chicago and then ran to the sideline to snap a staged selfie with the CK crowd in the background, Twitter
GH: Covitz called out Dwyer for being “bush-league” for staging this selfie. I don’t want to get into a whole debate over the merits or lack thereof between MLS soccer versus the futbol played elsewhere in the world but…isn’t MLS soccer the definition of bush league? We play minor-league soccer here in the states. That should be no surprise to anyone. Is it a big deal to Kansas City that Sporting won the MLS title last year? Yes! But it’s no different than Japan’s World Series. Is it a big deal when the T-Bones win? It is to them. So let’s not confuse an MLS match to the mania we have witnessed at the World Cup. If Dwyer or anybody in the league is creative enough to draw some national attention with a selfie – I am all for it.
“Sporting KC forward, Dom Dwyer, drew a yellow-card on this goal celebration, but first.. he took a selfie!”
@SportsCenter, Twitter
GH: Having ESPN run this video on SportsCenter and tweet out the selfie is proof enough for me that Dwyer’s actions were not only fun but marketing savvy. Maybe the Royals could hire Dwyer to help with those lame in-game promotions they broadcast on the video board.
“Just not a fan of taunting and poor sportsmanship. Dwyer is better than that. Taunting should be forbidden. Dwyer is better than that.”
Randy Covitz, @randycovitz, KC Star writer, responding to multiple followers who thought Covitz’s criticism of Dwyer’s selfie was get-off-my-lawn grumpy, Twitter
GH: I don’t understand Covitz’s criticism that Dwyer “is better than that.” What did he do that was so awful? This was not an act of taunting. It was an act of celebration. Goals are so rare in this game that there SHOULD be some kind of parade after someone scores. Who was the guy with the Wizards who did the centipede crawl after scoring? Soccer is not dignified. Soccer is fun and passionate and goofy haircuts. Did Covitz think he was covering the No Fun League?
“That's a yellow for using a prop, but it should be for ‘crappy celebration.’”
Sam Mellinger, @mellinger, KC Star columnist, after Twitter
GH: Et tu, Samte? At least Covitz can be excused for his brain having fossilized…but you still have hair!
“I don't understand how something can be so bad that it's penalized yet the league celebrates the action on its official twitter account.”
Michael Smith, @prezmike25, after the MLS tweeted out a photo of Dwyer’s selfie, Twitter
GH: Maybe the MLS learned their backdoor marketing from the NFL.
“Decent performance, but would have liked 3pts tonight! thank you @KCCauldron and all, loudest of the season so far!”
Dom Dwyer, @Ddwyer14, Twitter
“I'd put our club up against the majority of clubs in the world. Obviously, we maybe don't compare in the fact that we don't have the same pocketbook they do, because of our salary cap. But outside of that: the facilities, the stadium, the game environment, fans, city to live in – this is the best country in the world, the United States, and you're living in Kansas City. You think about it. It's a great place.”
Peter Vermes, talking to reporters after Friday's training session about the possibility of Graham Zusi and Matt Besler remaining with Sporting Kansas City instead of being traded to an overseas club, mlssoccer.com
GH: If Covitz and Mellinger want to get serious about MLS soccer, here is a great topic to tackle. I love Kansas City as much as the next guy but Vermes must be smoking the net if he thinks Sporting KC can retain any player that an overseas club covets. The Yankees are going to get every T-Bone player they want.
“And then the final piece that you evaluate when you go somewhere – yeah, maybe I'm going to go somewhere and make some more money, but am I playing on a regular basis? I look at it like this, why would they want to leave? All their success has been found here. Why do you want to move on if you're here, you make a good living and you have all that opportunity?”
Peter Vermes, mlssoccer.com
GH: When was the last time Vermes was drug tested?
“MLB catchers in Missouri not looking too bad. Cardinals Molina starting for the NL and Royals Perez starting for the AL.”
Megan Rice, @MRice_Sports, Twitter
GH: Missouri – Catch Something!
“Worse case is if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. … I really think they have been missing a veteran player in the clubhouse.”
Joel Goldberg, on the Royals acquiring the 42-year-old Raul Ibanez, 810 AM
GH: How can the Royals be missing a veteran in the clubhouse? Billy Butler has been around long enough to age two decades.
“It’s already worked! … If I’m the Skipper he is playing right field every day!”
Kevin Kietzman, on Ibanez’s first two games with the 2014 Royals, 810 AM
GH: KK gets a little goofy when he sees something he likes. If the Royals need a 42-year-old in right field to make them better, football season cannot get here fast enough.
“I don’t understand the Shieldsenfreude that grips a certain segment of this fanbase, but, either way, another wretched outing (Tuesday night).”
Andy McCullough, @McCulloughStar, after the Royals lost 10-2 to the Twins, Twitter
GH: There are maladies that grip certain parts of any fan base that are unexplainable but I don’t know a lot of Royals fans taking a great deal of glee in Shields’ misfortunes. Andy might need to upgrade his Twitter follower list. He can start by muting Covitz.
“There’s no level of concern. That’s the wrong word. He’s just not sharp right now.”
Ned Yost, after James Shields again had a poor start in the Royals 10-2 loss to the Twins, 610 AM
GH: Maybe Shields is just going through his “dead-arm phase.” Whatever it is, the Royals need him to be Big Game James for three more months if there is any hope of October being anything more than another early offseason for the Royals.
“I don’t think he plays another down of college football.”
Danny Parkins, on former Mizzou wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham transferring to Oklahoma to sit out one season before he is again eligible, 610 AM
GH: If DGB is serious about getting his life straightened out he will stay in Norman for two more seasons and leave their as an All-American. Jumping to the NFL after a season on the Sooners’ scout team looks to me like more of the same smoke.
“(DGB) is a top-ten talent in my opinion.”
Carrington Harrison, on where DGB would stack up in the 2015 NFL draft, 610 AM
GH: Maybe. I am rooting for the kid to use his second chance as a ladder and not a slide. You know we will be watching.
GregHall24@yahoo.com and @greghall24


Wiggins and Embiid drafted 1 and 3

Written 6/27/14

“It doesn’t even feel real. I’m just embracing the fact that I’m here, man.”
Andrew Wiggins, in a radio interview shortly after he was drafted number-one overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers, ESPN Radio
GH: Wiggins has to be one of the most humble and likeable one-and-done college superstars to play the game. But is he an NBA superstar? In a draft that some believe the deepest in years, he will need to be to justify the Cavs’ pick.

“(Wiggins) didn't rack up absurd scoring numbers like Kevin Durant or propel his team to a national title like Carmelo Anthony, but the one-and-done star still flashed enough upside to merit being a top pick. Wiggins showcased an ability to defend multiple positions, an explosive secondary jump around the rim and a knack for finishing with aplomb in transition. The top criticism of Wiggins: he wasn't assertive enough to take advantage of his physical gifts. In Kansas' stunning NCAA tournament loss to Stanford, he scored just four points and attempted only six shots, inexplicably floating around the perimeter. There's no doubt Wiggins has a tendency to coast, but he still has the ability to make an instant impact and get better in years to come.”
Jeff Eisenberg, Yahoo.com
GH: Reading Eisenberg’s evaluation of Wiggins brought back some bad memories of his too-often disappearing act at Kansas. But we all saw that photo his agent tweeted of his vertical jump…

“That’s what I wanted to be and I finally achieved it.”
Andrew Wiggins, when asked about being the first player taken in the 2014 NBA draft, ESPN Radio

“The kid started the year as the No. 1 prospect and finishes the night as the No. 1 prospect. He seems genuinely thrilled to join the Cavaliers and playing on a team with talent and a superstar means he'll be able to develop at the pace he needs.”
Matt Moore, NBA writer, CBSsports.com
GH: I will be rooting for Wiggins to be great in Cleveland. But it is so damn difficult to be great in Cleveland.

“Andrew Wiggins was asked if he could lure LeBron James back to Cleveland: ‘I want to win. If he wants to win, we'd be good together.’”
Alex Kennedy, @AlexKennedyNBA, Twitter
GH: I would be decent paired with LeBron. The number-one pick needs to be LeBron-like and carry the Cavs with or without another elite superstar.

“Hello Philly!!!! This is my real ‘just got drafted’ face. Couldn’t be happier to be a 76er!!!”
Joel Embiid, defusing a mini-controversy over his satellite-delayed somber face shown on ESPN after he was picked by the Sixers, Twitter
GH: ESPN cut to a close-up shot of a very unimpressed Embiid just as he was drafted by Philadelphia. What viewers didn’t realize is that they were seeing Embiid seconds before the pick with the satellite delay. ESPN corrected this miscommunication shortly after by showing a smiling Embiid – but the Twitter damage had been done. Embiid’s stoic face had been frozen forever by social media. This likely won’t have legs but it does point to how easily photos, video and words can be misinterpreted. ESPN didn’t portray Embiid negatively on purpose but we got a good sense of how powerfully manipulative the media can be when they want to mislead. 

“It’s different. I’m disappointed not to be there. I wish I could be there. I’m excited the Sixers took me. I still can’t believe it. I started playing basketball so late. Just being here means anything is possible.”
Joel Embiid, on having to watch the draft in LA as he recovers from his foot surgery, ESPN

“Had Embiid not added to concerns about his lingering back problems by also fracturing his right foot last week, he had a good chance of being selected No. 1 overall by the Cavaliers. Instead the 7-footer instantly became the lottery's biggest boom-or-bust gamble and slid to the Sixers at No. 3. The list of 7-footers derailed by foot and back injuries is long, but Embiid's upside had to make it difficult for general managers to pass on him despite the fear of drafting another Greg Oden.”
Jeff Eisenberg, on Embiid going third overall to the Sixers, ESPN.com
GH: Embiid story has just begun. To think he is only three years into his basketball career should make even the surliest of Sixers fans smile.

“Even though (Marcus) Smart shoved a fan, earned a reputation as a flopper and failed to lead his team to a single NCAA tournament victory this past season, the Oklahoma State guard's decision to return to school for his sophomore year really didn't hurt him. He still went nearly as high as he would have last June despite the draft being much deeper and stronger. What makes Smart worthy of a high pick is his strength, quickness, smothering defense, leadership and ability to attack the rim. He isn't a pure point guard and he doesn't shoot as well from the perimeter as most wings, but he'll work hard at turning those weaknesses into strengths.”
Jeff Eisenberg, on the 6’3 Oklahoma State guard going sixth to the Celtics, ESPN.com
GH: Marcus Smart – the most hated player in the Big 12 – didn’t hurt his draft stock one iota by coming back for his sophomore season and flopping on a court near you. I am a Marcus Smart fan – sans the flops. He will be a fun pro to watch as he develops a jumper and hopefully manages to stay upright when they open the doors at Boston’s Garden.
“They don’t need the goal but it would have been nice.”

JP Dellacamera, play-by-play voice for the USA World Cup game against Germany, as team USA missed a chance for a shot on goal in the final minute of their 1-0 loss Thursday, ESPN Radio
GH: Never has a loss by a USA national team been celebrated more fervently than the Yanks’ loss to Germany. Team USA did not even scaring up a shot on goal. Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!

“I love this team!! I love my country!! USA USA USA!!! We're still hungry....”
Matt Besler, @mbesler, following USA’s advancement out of the Group of Death, Twitter

“At the 810 Zone there were a lot of fans going crazy like they were having heart attacks. I don’t get that. … It is hard to think of them as a winner today but they are a winner.”
Kevin Kietzman, on the celebrations by USA fans after their loss to Germany secured them a birth in the round of 16, 810 AM
GH: I was far more pleased with the USA effort and heartbreaking 2-2 tie against Portugal. But what do I know? It is on to the Round of 16 for the Red, White and Blue and games that will need to have a winner.

“I don’t think we are anywhere near soccer’s ceiling in this country.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Soccer in the states is a lot like the Winter Olympics in the states – it’s popularity peaks every four years with the World Cup. I am far more into futbol this summer than I will be next summer. Not that there is anything wrong with that, right?

“No (I’m not worried about the Royals 1-6 slump). You’re going to have these ebbs and flows. This team is a second-half team. I’ve said that all along and I fully believe it. Let’s get to September and let the Royals get hot when it matters the most.”
Mike Macfarlane, 810 AM
GH: Macfarlane looked like a savant last week when the Royals were wining ten in a row. He again is refusing to back off from his belief that this Royals team is going to win the ALC over an overrated Detroit. I enjoy Mac on the radio but he and the Royals need to understand that the games in June and July mean just as much as the games in September.

“If you do one good thing in that game you played, you've had a tremendous game. Even for everyday players. If you've done one good thing you've had a good game."
Rex Hudler, after the Royals rarely used Brett Hayes threw out a runner at second, Fox Sports KC
GH: One good thing equals a tremendous game? This is a good example of why Rex just doesn’t resonate with savvy baseball fans. He’s a fun cartoon to watch as an anvil drops on his head nightly but intelligent fans expect so much more than cheerleading. Maybe this says something about Royals fans. Maybe there are far more fans like KK’s mom than KK.

“So is now an appropriate time to acknowledge something's wrong with James Shields? He now has the highest ERA in the Royals' rotation.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, after Shields was again rocked in his start against the Dodgers, Twitter
GH: Shields has not looked like Shields for some time. There is no reason to panic, though. He is either going to get it turnaround or not. And then he will be gone. Unless the Royals get into this pennant race, there isn’t much use in expending the energy of concern.

“Also James Shields is pissed he keeps getting called for that balk. Yost plans to send footage to MLB office for clarification.”
Andy McCullough, @McCullough, after Shields balked in a runner from third for the second time this season, Twitter
GH: Shields is really good at getting pissed. I liked him better when he was getting pissed and getting batters out before they homered.

“There is only one way to succeed in anything and that is to give it everything...”
Dwayne Bowe, @DwayneBowe82, Twitter
GH: What if Dwayne Bowe played this entire season like he did in the Chiefs playoff game last January? It could happen. And what a season that would be.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter @greghall24


Royals rock Greinke

Written 6/24/14

“Fans want people that want to be here. I don't think they ever forgot that.”
Billy Butler, on why Royals fans remain upset with Zack Greinke for leaving Kansas City, despite Greinke’s success as a Royal, LA Times
GH: Fans and the media alike have reminded us this week how Greinke left Kansas City and how they have no love for him over his request to be traded. 810’s Border Patrol has been especially hard on the Royals former Cy Young winner. Steven St. John stated he is not a fan of any ex-Royals once they don another uniform. Nate Bukaty has held a personal grudge against the right hander ever since Greinke “stole” his latte at the Starbucks counter and then told him it was terrible. I have a hard time working up any anger for any former Royals who did not want to be stuck in KC and lose 100 games a season. Us Royals fans are kind of stuck. We are geographically bound to this team. I understand why a professional athlete would want more than 29 years of futility.

“I don’t know. I was pretty rude on the way out. They have every right to be mad at me. I didn’t want to be rude. I felt I had to be in order to get traded, and I wanted to get traded.”
Zack Greinke, in his postgame comments about being booed by his former fans at The K, LA Times
GH: There is a LOT here in these few sentences. Greinke wanted to win and he let everyone know that he did not see the Royals winning during his prime. He was rudely honest – but honest just the same. I like honest. Greinke is far more honest than the Royals will ever be. Like those $10 seats for tonight’s game they marketed over the weekend? They are actually over $13 each because of a “convenience fee” that somehow was not part of the marketing campaign.

“They’re playing good now. You knew it was going to take time, and now is the time, it seems like.”
Zack Greinke, on how his former team has improved, LA Times
GH: Our time?

“I’m not a psychologist.”
Zack Greinke, when asked after the game why he thinks Royals fans have both cheered and booed him as an opposing player, 810 AM
GH: My early pick for the understatement of the season.

“Zack Greinke being Zack Greinke, to me tonight he was somewhat ordinary."
Jeff Montgomery, Fox Sports KC
GH: Greinke explained that he thought he was too fine in his last outing, throwing 116 pitches in just six innings. He wanted to throw more strikes this time out and the Royals took advantage of this plate coverage. But Greinke has been anything but ordinary most of this season. Monday was the first time this season he has given up more than four runs in a game.

“Jarrod Dyson is one of my favorite interviews. He is steadily becoming one of my favorite players to watch. He's been dialed in lately.”
Johnny Kane, @johnnykaneKMBC, Twitter
GH: How does a member of the media balance enjoying interviewing an athlete he/she covers but also reporting and covering that same athlete critically? I think it can be done. I just think it’s a tough dance for most in the media.

“How many pitchers have thrown 2 no-hitters in a row? The Royals have that going for them.”
Johnny Coltrane, @Chief_Wildcat, on the Royals facing the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw tonight in his first start following his no hitter, Twitter

“In those three games against Cy Young winners so far, the Royals have scored 22 earned runs in 15 2/3 innings.”
Joel Goldberg, on the Royals beating Verlander, Scherzer and Greinke in the past week, Fox Sports KC
GH: If the Royals knock of Kershaw tonight, that has to be worth something historic, doesn’t it? Has any other MLB team defeated four former Cys in eight days?

“After Royals wins, they light a neon sign in the clubhouse of a ‘Texas heart shot,’ apparently the term for shooting a deer through the ass.”
Kent Babb, @kentbabb, Twitter
GH: When you get insight like this, are we sure we needed to change The K’s sing-along song from Garth’s Friends In Low Places? BTW, I don’t see a lot of people singing along during the playing of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing. I think they want to, it’s just a matter of the fact the song takes some upper register that most folks can’t scale. I also think we need Steve Perry to record some new lyrics – like replace “Detroit” with “Born and raised in South K. C.” I would sing along to that. It would also help to create a video to run with the song that paired local photos with the lyrics. It wouldn’t be too hard to match “Up and down the boulevard” with some photos and a sponsor. And the lyrics, “Some were born to sing the BLUES,” should be belted out at The K like Red Sox fans yell “Sweet Caroline.”

“I wonder where your scorn is for Eric Hosmer – because he just looks terrible at the plate. And they just moved him up to second in the lineup. If you listen to the talk shows, you don’t hear a lot of scorn for him. They treat him like the wonder kid. I would have to think if you were Billy Butler or Mike Moustakas, that would have to get a little bit old. It just doesn’t seem that Eric Hosmer has the same amount of scrutiny as those other guys.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Hosmer is now hitting under .250. He needs to be so much better than he is. He doesn’t attract the same criticism as Butler and Moose because he rarely is as bad for long stretches as these two have been this season. But Hosmer doesn’t have a magic invisibility cloak over his stats. If his play (and shoulder) continues to dip, he will be just as hunted by the critics as Moose.

“Eric Hosmer last drew a walk on Friday the 13th. That was 45 at bats ago. Memories.”
Jeffrey Flanagan, @jflanagankc, Twitter

“11 hits in 23 at bats for Bubba w/ 2-2b,3b and 2 HR in that stretch. Hitting .210 now.”
Clint Scoles, @ClintScoles, Twitter
GH: Come on, Bubba!  

“I’m not (into the World Cup). I would overload with sports I think if I added soccer to my list.”
Denny Matthews, radio voice of the Royals for 45 seasons, responding to Danny Parkins asking if he is into the World Cup, 610 AM
GH: Can you imagine Denny calling a soccer match in extended play? And these World Cup play-by-play guys think they can scream into a mic!

“World Cup ratings prove America embraces World Cup. Hasn't, and probably won't, translate to MLS, because World Cup is a separate entity.”
Ray Ratto, @RattoCSN, Twitter
GH: We have a skewed view of the MLS’s popularity here in Kansas City. Think back to the Wizards playing at Arrowhead. That is what too many MLS cities still experience when they talk about their MLS teams.

“If USA beats Germany on Thursday then win their first game in the knock out stage they then play on July 4th. Most patriotic day in history?”
@TheWorldCup2014, Twitter
GH: More patriotic than the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on Coney Island?

“They’re in the driver’s seat right now. Destiny is in their own hands.”
Tony Meola, former Wizards and USA team goal keeper, on team USA’s chances in the World Cup, 810 AM
GH: Thursday at 11:00 AM in KC’s Power & Light District should be a bit nutso for a workday. Can 10K soccer fans find a way to play hooky from work? I am betting so. 

“This is the 9th straight year the CWS attendance has surpassed 300,000 total. Thanks Omaha for your great support!”
Rob Anderson, @_robanderson, Twitter
GH: What a stunning success this college baseball tournament has been in the middle of nowhere. I am a bit biased, but Omaha might be the best sports town per capita than all the San Diegos and Denvers you can count.

“I know for the fans it’s more cosmetic. But for me, it’s more about safety, and I’m very pleased about both aspects.”
Charlie Weis, regarding Kansas removing the track around Memorial Stadium, Lawrence Journal
GH: Removing the track will move Jayhawks fans closer to the action. Hopefully, Charlie will give them something to look this season at that won’t have them shielding their eyes.

“Sources confirm there have been discussions between the Dorial Green-Beckham camp and the University of Oklahoma.”
Jordan Burton, @thejordanburton, Twitter
GH: Is Barry Switzer back?

“Two number-one seeds have already fallen! Maybe we didn’t do a good job of seeding these (events).”
Danny Parkins, reporting early upsets in the Missouri and Royals regions in their Summer Sadden bracket, 610 AM
GH: The early casualties to The Drive’s Summer Sadness bracket were the 1994 baseball strike falling to Bo Jackson’s injury and Mizzou’s decision to pick Quin Snyder over Bill Self knocked off Tyus Edney’s top-seeded drive and dagger.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter @greghall24


Royals streak reaches 10

Written 6/19/14

“These aren’t even your older brother’s Royals. These are your new Royals! This is all very new, very fresh. The Royals are sure to be buyers not sellers at the trade deadline. The high-flying Freddie Pateks were going for nine in a row – their best such streak in 20 years!”
Steve Levy, after the Royals won their third straight in Detroit to build their winning streak to a head-turning ten in a row, ESPN
GH: You win ten games in mid-June and people are going to notice. ESPN kind of people. The Royals and their mind-bending streak are now the hottest story in MLB – for all the right reasons for a change.

“KC started the series with the Tigers by pounding Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer. … They have hit 13 homers during the streak, while leading the majors in runs and slugging percentage. Prior to the streak, Kansas City ranked last with 26 homers in 61 games. And that’s not all! They were five games back tied with the Twins for last place in the AL Central prior to the start of the streak. Now they stand a game-and-a-half up with their eyes on their first playoff appearance since 1985.”
Steve Levy, ESPN
GH: What is happening right now with the Royals just might be the most astonishing accomplishment in the franchise’s regular-season history. Hyperbole? Maybe. But consider where this team was three weeks ago after having been swept in a three-game series at home by the lowly Astros. The season was doomed. Jeff Passan posted a column 17 days ago following this Royals collapse calling for the Royals to consider firing Ned Yost hold a fire sale and dump James Shields. And I and most right-thinking Royals fans were not arguing in the least with Passan’s premise. Read on.

“Their lineup is so chock full of mediocrity, so Glass Joe punchless that only someone blind to reality or naively optimistic could expect it to suddenly morph into something productive.”
Jeff Passan, in his June 2nd column on the Royals, YahooSports.com
GH: Passan then went on 610 Sports Radio and said the worst thing the Royals could do is have a successful June and just exacerbate the chronic problem. I am not quoting Passan to embarrass him or make fun of his words. I and others were writing the same kind of the-season-is-over columns. I am reliving this two-and-a-half-week old moment to highlight just how incredible, magnificent and unprecedented this ten game run has been for Kansas City. The Royals – your Royals – have bolted from an outhouse in Argentine, KS to the best table at The American Restaurant – all in less than three weeks! Is there anything in the history of the Royals 45-years that can compare to this fortnight? Congrats on living in what may prove to be the Royals most interesting times.

“Look, you don’t have to tell Royals fans that all this can disappear in a moment. There are stats that suggest the Royals have had a lot of luck this season, and luck rarely lasts all the way through. There are reasons to believe the Tigers are much better than the Royals, and that the Royals’ bullpen will not continue to dominate, and that the lack of power in the Royals lineup will lead to some bad stretches and that the starting rotation won’t hold up. You don’t have to tell Royals fans any of that because they’ve been living it for almost 30 years. But right now: The Royals are in first place. They are wearing their raspberry berets and listening to the cheers and going back to the future. You don’t question these things in Kansas City. You relish in them. Maybe it’s a dream. But if it is, let us sleep for a little while longer. But, yes, please do wake us up before you go go.”
Joe Posnanski, nbcsports.com

“You need to be at the game Friday or Saturday. Friday is going to be an Opening Day-like atmosphere.”
Carrington Harrison, on the Royals returning to The K Friday against Seattle secured as the leader in the AL Central, 610 AM
GH: Friday is fireworks night. Friday is also Buck Night. Friday is also the first time in a very long time that the home team will stand at attention for the national anthem as the hunted and not the slaughtered. Friday is going to be one of those rare Kansas City days and nights of which you and I deserve to partake. See you there. (I will be tweeting from the game – or as much as the antiquated technology at The K allows. Has Dave and Dan ever heard of a company named Google? I hear they can help with that Internet thingy.)

“I am just going to walk up to (Carrington) and slap him and then tell him who I am. Shame on you! You’ve all gotten a lot of entertainment out of me. … Carrington, I’m not crazy. I just love my Royals.”
Caller Shannon, who was upset with Carrington for laughing at her for sobbing during her phone call to Josh Vernier Tuesday night after the Royals slipped into first place by half a game, 610 AM

“Shannon, anytime someone says women are crazy, we now have a perfect example why people have that stereotype of women. Thank you for calling.”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM
GH: I enjoyed the heck out of this live exchange Wednesday afternoon between Caller Shannon, Carrington and Parkins. Shannon played her role well as the deranged caller who has no clue how ridiculous she sounds. Carrington refused to budge on his stance that she was over reacting and pimped her even further into hysteria. Parkins seemed content to know the show had a caller who knew their names.

“Speaking of happy fans these days, look no further than reports that Kansas City is scouting the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija.”
Steve Levy, on reports that the Royals are interested in signing the Cubs’ starter, ESPN

“Wait, what? … It is hard to see how (acquiring Samardzija) makes sense for the Royals. The asking price for a young pitcher with years of club control left will be quite steep, and the Royals seem to have larger holes to fill elsewhere, namely in the starting lineup at third and in right field. And with a starting rotation of James Shields, Yordano Ventura, Jason Vargas, Jeremy Guthrie, and Danny Duffy, there appears to be little room for a Samardzija unless you send the overachieving Guthrie to the pen as a long reliever. But as he is still owed $12 million beyond this year, it seems unlikely the Royals would admit that mistake and send him to the pen.”
Max Rieper, writer, Royalsreview.com
GH: How great is it to argue about whether the Royals should spend big money on a quality starter in June for their playoff run? I am not yet prepared for this kind of gaiety.

“I’ve worn this hat every day during the Royals winning streak and I refuse not to wear it.”
Jake Gutiérrez, on his lucky hat helping the Royals win ten in a row, 810 AM
GH: I have not done anything the same since the streak started in hopes that the streak will continue – so I am just going to continue to not do that. Anybody else out there riding a superstition along with Jake’s hat?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter @greghall24


Royals pound Scherzer to the max

Written 6/18/14

“I guess the most pertinent question is; will the Royals ever lose again?”
Denny Matthews, as he did the play-by-play for the Royals as they jumped to a 4-0 lead in the second inning Tuesday night against Max Scherzer in Detroit, on their way to their ninth straight win and sole possession of first place in the AL Central, Royals Radio
GH: Dare I say Denny Matthews sounded almost giddy? This is getting serious, folks!

“Listening to Denny enthusiastically struggle to find ways to describe how well the #royals are playing is new. And amazing.”
Curtis Kitchen, @curtiskitchen, Twitter

“I can’t explain it. The Royals are in such a streak that everything they do turns to gold. It’s been an amazing couple of weeks.”
Denny Matthews, Royals Radio
GH: And this was before one of the season’s more bizarre (and lucky) plays where Yordano Ventura unleashed a wild pitch over the head of the batter with such velocity that it struck the backstop and immediately ricocheted back to Salvador Perez, who whipped a strike to Mike Moustakas to tag out the base runner at third. Last month that wild pitch would have ricocheted back toward the plate, hit Salvy in the back of the head and put him on the DL for two weeks.

“Royals are ON FIRE. Kansas City tags Max Scherzer for 10, wins its 9th in a row, 11-4. Royals take over 1st place from Tigers in AL Central.”
@SportsCenter, Twitter

“The Royals are playing very loose. I mean this in a good way – The Royals are playing like a bunch of wet noodles! … They’re playing flawlessly, really! Defensively, pitching – everything is clicking. When you’re playing this way – and I was being facetious when I said, ‘Will they ever lose again?’ – but that’s the appearance that they give, that they’re never going to lose.”
Denny Matthews, Royals Radio

“What they did, who they did it against and where they did it last night is the most impressive thing.”
Steven St. John, on the Royals beating the defending Cy Young Award winner in front of 34K of his fans in Detroit, 810 AM
GH: I would also add, how they did it to SSJ’s list. The Royals clubbed Verlander and Scherzer like they were the last two guys in Omaha’s bullpen.

“Just how good are things going for the Royals? Denny & Ryan on radio are ‘synced up’ to HDTV broadcast.”
@fox4sports, Twitter
GH: If you are lucky enough to have access to cable TV during the noon hour the next two afternoons, try this out and let me know if Royals Radio has made this adjustment. If true, this could deal a blow to the Physioc/Hudler pairing on FoxSports KC.

“We’re embarking on a time where the Royals dominate this city – living and dying with each game, each pitch. Sports-wise, you don’t know nervousness until you’ve been in a pennant race.”
Josh Vernier, 610 AM
GH: A real pennant race in August and September? Here in Kansas City? It seems a lifetime ago that this was reality. Can you imagine people wearing Royals gear to Chiefs camp in St. Joe?

“I don't even know what to tweet about our @Royals, 20 plus years of the lovable losers vernacular does not apply. 1st place coming. Go Blue.”
Bill Maas, @BillMaas, Twitter

“The Storm Chasers announced that the Royals have moved into first place in the AL Central and the crowd erupted.”
Lee Warren, @OmahaBaseball, Twitter

“Man, if you thought I was insufferable when the Royals sucked, you're about to find out how insufferable I can be when they're good.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter

“So excited I bought a Twinkie at QT. Why? No clue. But who cares?! Royals are in first place and calories don't count when we're in first.”
Jimmy Faseler, @jimmyfaseler, Twitter
GH: I loved this tweet from the famous Fat Jimmy Fasler, he of the dancing belly fame. Anybody else cheat on calories after a big win? I have a Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Froyo in my freezer for just such an occasion.

“The All-Star Game’s coming up. Fans, go ahead and stuff the ballot box. We told you yesterday there is a young lady here in Detroit and she’s already done 4,000 ballots, punching in all Tigers. So we are encouraging all Kansas City Royals fans to do the same.”
Steve Physioc, Royals TV play-by-play voice, Fox Sports KC
GH: I hate this kind of approved ballot stuffing for the home team. Physioc and the Royals should be ashamed of themselves.

“Last night's Royals game at Detroit drew a 9.1 Nielsen rating, the highest-rated game of the season on FSKC.”
Jeffrey Flanagan, @jflanagankc, Twitter
GH: Winning is kind of sexy.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter @greghall24



For earlier columns, click here