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Greg HallOff the Couch

by Greg Hall
Landmark columnist


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