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Greg HallOff the Couch

by Greg Hall
Landmark columnist

 
 

How dare anyone complain about the streaking Royals?

Posted 8-2-13

“Just because you dated every lemon in the garden of love doesn’t mean you can’t recognize Mr. and Mrs. Right! This is Mr. Right! Enjoy it!”
Karen Kornacki, Channel 9’s sports reporter, in an interview with Bob Fescoe, urging Royals fans to buy into the last two months of the Royals’ season and get aboard their bandwagon, 610 AM
GH: There seems to be a contingent of Royals fans and KC media who think if you have anything negative to say about the 54-51 Royals you are akin to being Robinson Cano eating St. Louis barbecue. Karen Kornacki and Bob Fescoe spent some time Friday morning telling Royals fans to quit complaining and enjoy the ride. Read on.

“This team is above .500 and by god, I’m going to jump onboard and enjoy the ride!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe went off on Rany Jazayerli and Rob Neyer, alluding that now that the Royals are winning they have become irrelevant curmudgeons who are never happy with what the Royals’ do.  A number of Royals fans agree with Fescoe. I don’t know if there is a bigger Royals’ fan anywhere than Rany. The guy has made the Royals his second career – and he’s done it during the franchise’s leanest decades. Being a “good fan” does not mean not complaining. In fact, it means the exact opposite.

“When I write about the Royals, or at least when I write anything (shall we say) less than optimistic about the Royals, I hear from Bill Carle. … I think Bill and I share one desire: for the Kansas City Royals to win. But where we part ways is the importance we place on winning today. And it really doesn't have anything to do with the Royals. For me, it's simply about how a baseball team should be run. I believe that if a team has no legitimate shot at winning a championship this season, management should concentrate on winning a championship next season.”
Rob Neyer, baseballnation.com
GH: I find nothing negative or anti-Royals in Neyer’s above message. But Fescoe read excerpts from his column (and the comments below) and acted like Neyer was the new Charlie Finley. Read on.

“I would love to see the Royals win tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. But what I would love even more? To see them have a chance to win a championship next year, and the next year, and the year after that. My best guess? With Ervin Santana and Greg Holland, the Royals have a 1-percent chance of making the playoffs this year, but a lower chance of making the playoffs next year. Without Santana and Holland, the Royals have an even smaller chance this year, but a significantly greater chance next year, and in the following years.”
Rob Neyer, baseballnation.com
GH: Neyer is just speaking intelligently about how the Royals should have an outline to follow for their success. Neyer, Jazayerli and I all root for the Royals each night. I am just as excited about their sudden success as you. I just don’t think it is wise to not take advantage of the opportunities they could have had by trading Santana and Holland. And to those who have said there are no GMs willing to part with power-hitting prospects for established pitching – you mean besides Dayton Moore?

“We got a huge sign from the (Royals’) ownership when nobody was dumped at the trade deadline. Instead they added!”
Karen Kornacki, 610 AM
GH: Kornacki is the perfect media dupe for KC’s professional franchises. She sees the Royals’ actions at the trade deadline as something to cheer…as we all will for the next few weeks. But reality comes calling soon when the Royals are looking at how they are going to compete for the playoffs in 2014. Moore and Yost will still have their jobs and the Royals will still be looking up at Detroit and Cleveland. But we’ll have Maxwell to platoon with Lough in right. Yippee.

“It is not embarrassing baseball anymore.”
Karen Kornacki, 610 AM
GH: I can see the Royals’ marketing team turning that into their 2014 slogan.

“Every time Detroit comes to town I want to see this stadium filled and people booing (Miguel) Cabrera. He thinks this is a cowtown! He thinks I don’t understand his Spanish, but I do. I don’t let anybody know I understand some of that, that way they keep going.”
Karen Kornacki, 610 AM
GH: Karen, are you sure you’re Spanish isn’t a bit rusty? Maybe Cabrera was saying he was going to eat a cow in this town. 

“This is absolutely fact – nobody in the media is going to work every day trying to make the Chiefs lose football games. Nobody’s doing that! Nobody gets up in our business and thinks, ‘Okay, I’m going to go and really stir the pot! I’m going to do this and this and boy I’m going to get them and I’m going to cause trouble and make that team lose games. It’s not our job. The winning and losing is not our job.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman is being a bit ingenuous here. I agree that the media rarely tries to make a team lose but it would be a mistake to think that some in the media do not wish evil on the teams they cover. Does that ill will spill over into how they do their jobs? Sure. Did you ever watch Jack Harry or Kietzman cover the Chiefs during the Carl Peterson years? The paranoia that permeated the Peterson and Pioli years at Arrowhead was truly goofy but not at all unfounded.

“Are we all trying to get a story or get information? Sure we are. … Getting information to the fans is our job. Sometimes commentary is our job – which is a totally separate beast.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Why is commentary a “totally separate best?” It is the commentary with which most organizations take exception. Look at it from another perspective – how does Kietzman and those who regularly appear in my OTC column treat my commentary? Professional organizations understand what the media’s job is. They just don’t respect it.

“The feeling now with the Chiefs now is, I think they pretty much look at everyone as there is nobody here (in the media) that is going to affect us and make us lose. We’re going to deal with the media.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This has been the prevailing opinion about how Andy Reid and John Dorsey will treat the media. But I think it’s far, far too early in their regime’s to be handing them the media congeniality award.

“I like Dexter McCluster, man! Watching him one-on-one, he’s looked really quick, really good to me. I think he’s adjusting to being purely a receiver – particularly a slot receiver – very well.”
Jayice Pearson, when asked what wide receivers have stood out at Chiefs’ practice, 610 AM

“If I had to pick one [player who stood out], for me not knowing much about Dexter McCluster and coming in knowing that he was kind of the running back/receiver and seeing how fluid he is going in and out of those roles is really impressive for me to watch," Smith said, via comments sent out by the Chiefs. It's easy to talk about in the meeting room, to say, ‘Hey let's put the slot receiver and run routes and be natural and then put him back in the backfield.' To be able to do a multitude of things, it's another thing to see it live. He's a special guy, and I think he's really taking it on.”
Alex Smith, on the Chiefs’ undersized wide receiver, ArrowheadPride.com
GH: Dexter might be the greatest Chiefs’ camp player in the franchise’s history. Each July news filters down from the north of how new games plans will take advantage of Dexter’s unique skills and how much he will add to the offense. Then the season starts and he falls down a lot.

“I'll say this, (Tyler) Bray can make throws the other QBs can't. Smith and Daniel aren't placing the ball with strength like Bray.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, on the Chiefs undrafted QB out of Tennessee, Twitter

“A sleeper that has flashed for me is that (Tyler) Shoemaker (out of Boise State), number 14, that kid from Florida State. That kid has made some plays out there. Watch him. He’s got quick feet and it looks like he’s got very good hands. He could be a sleeper.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM

“A lot of people were thinking (Eric Fisher) was just going to walk in and be the best thing since sliced bread. But for a guy to just walk in and be great? That very seldom happens. You know the talent’s there. The potential’s there. He’s just got to work on his footwork. He’s got to work on his punch. Everything is much faster and much better than he’s ever seen in the MAC. He’s got a ways but I’m sure he’ll get there.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: Does anyone feel sorry for the lofty expectations put upon Fisher? The guy was the first pick in the draft and he’ll cash a $14-million bonus check sometime this month. He better be a lot better than sliced bread.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Tweets from Chiefs camp---quality vs quantity

Posted 8-2-13

“Jamaal just dropped a screen pass!”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: There are a number of members of the local media who are live tweeting from Chiefs camp in St. Joe. One of the perks of Twitter is getting fresh info from the source of an event like a Chiefs’ practice or the MLS All-Star game. But the quality of these tweets varies widely. Fescoe for example tweets a lot but sacrifices quality for quantity and speed. His tweet above about a JC drop came in first on my Thursday morning timeline but it told just a quick synopsis of the story. And the tweet was what he saw of the play. Read on how other members of the media tweeted that same dropped pass.

“Jamaal drops it in the flat. Awkward catch.”
@ArrowheadPride, Twitter
GH: While Fescoe’s tweet attributes all of the blame on Charles, ArrowheadPride tell us the pass was not an easy catch. But AH calls it a pass in the flat while Fescoe called it a screen – which would be designed to be caught behind the line of scrimmage. Read on.

“Smith overthrows Jamaal Charles on the screen pass. Otherwise TD in the Redzone.”
Nick Jacobs, @Jacobs71, Twitter
GH: Metro Sports’ Nick Jacobs is an excellent tweeter. His tweets contain detail and depth that others lack. His assessment that Alex Smith overthrew Charles differs greatly from Fescoe’s take that Charles dropped the ball. All the more reason to be careful what you believe when reading live tweets.

“Jamaal Charles continues to look great carrying the ball and not so great attempting to catch it.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenter, Twitter
GH: Carpenter chose to ignore the last play but rather lump his comment into Charles overall play at camp.

“Ricky Stanzi with a rifle on the deep out to Jamar Newsome. Tipped by Conroy Black. Newsome gets the deflection and houses it.”
Nick Jacobs, @Jacobs71, Twitter
GH: Jacobs again gives us a detailed read on the play in a concise tweet. His tweet is easily converted to video in my mind’s eye. Read on.

“Stanzi's deep ball is short, Newsome tips it, catches it and runs it 60 plus yards for 6. TD.”
@ArrowheadPride, Twitter
GH: AH also does a good job with detail and even adds that he believes Stanzi’s pass was underthrown.

“Stanzi to Newsome for like 70 yards.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: Fescoe again goes for the quick, short tweet that tells us what happened but little else. Fescoe’s tweets are useful but only if you don’t have access to someone who is a better writer/typist.

“Offense is having a terrible practice. In 2 minute drill, Baldwin dropped td pass and Kelce lost a fumble after making a catch.”
Adam Teicher, @adamteicher, Twitter
GH: Teicher doesn’t tweet often and when he does it is usually to make an overall assessment of the day or a player’s performance. Sometimes fewer tweets means more meat per tweet.

“Great run by Charles but phenomenal downfield block by Bowe.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: Fescoe was again first tweeting this play and it looks to be informative…until you read Nick Jacobs’ tweet on the same play.

“Smith hits Charles in stride on the drag route. Nothing but open space. Bowe with a nice seal block to get Charles an extra 10 yards.”
Nick Jacobs, @Jacobs71, Twitter
GH: Jacobs lets us know this was a pass thrown by Smith to Charles – something Fescoe left completely out of his tweet. Nick also adds the detail that Bowe’s downfield block was a seal block to spring Charles for an additional 10 yards. Jacobs wins the day in that while all of the media tweets were informative, he was able to convey more detail and still stay well inside Twitter’s 144-charactere limit.

GregHall24@yahoo.com Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Which is KC's most popular team?

Posted 8-2-13

“Missouri is having some sort of freaky Friday scenario. Cardinals have lost 7 in a row. Roys on the verge of eight in a row.”
Brian McGannon, @BrianMcGannon, Twitter
GH: While Cardinal fans are wringing their hands over their seven straight losses, they can take some comfort in still being 18 games over .500. Yes, 18 games. And the Birds are still 2.5 back of the Pirates. I am having as much fun as anybody watching the Royals rack up wins this late in the summer but the reality is this club lost their chance at the postseason in May. Read on.

“Not much upside. Good in field, locker room. But has never come through in MLB. Surprised Royals gave anything up."
Brian T. Smith, @ChronAstros, Astros beat writer for Houston Chronicle, on the Royals trading for the Astros’ outfielder, Justin Maxwell, Twitter

“The Royals traded for a big, oft-injured 29-year-old outfielder named Justin Maxwell with power potential and a .222 career average. They didn’t give up much — Kyle Smith is in Class A and projects, maybe, as a middle reliever — which makes it like trading shoulder shrugs when many fans wanted a grand speech.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I heard Buster Olney tell The Border Patrol today that the Royals did exactly what they should have done at the trade deadline. What? Somehow neither SSJ or Nate challenged Buster to explain this nonsense. So Buster thinks the Royals can win the ALC by basically standing pat? The Royals want us to believe they will be able to resign Santana if they don’t trade him to improve in 2014? Did we all forget that this is a business? Believe me, Santana and his agent will remember that fact come the off season.

“On baseball’s busiest day, when franchises unofficially declare their intentions, the Royals abstained. They did not go all-in on this year, and they did not improve for next year. They are, basically, betting the players that have shown themselves to be everything from hot garbage (4-19 stretch in May) to something resembling a playoff team (30-19 since June 5) can continue being their better selves. There are logical reasons for this, but logic’s got nothing to do with following the Royals. They are asking for your hope. Royals fans have put their hope into much less.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger is going all Pollyanna on us in thinking the Royals are asking for anything from their fans besides money. The reason the Royals didn’t try to improve their franchise by dealing Santana or Holland is simple – they want to sell season tickets in 2014. It has nothing to do with asking us to hope. It has to do with them asking us to be a dope.

“I love Tejada starting again (Wednesday night). Best option we got at 2B. Just ride him until the wheels fall off & hope he makes it to the end.”
@MerleTagladucci, Twitter
GH: Tejada is back in the Royals’ lineup again this afternoon for the finale in Minnesota. How inept is Moore at his job that Tejada is the Royals best option at second base? Christian Colon (and Moore) should be embarrassed.

“The only place you can hear the #royals go for a sweep of the Twins today is on @610SportsKC.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: How in the hell can this be? The Royals are in the midst of their best winning streak in a decade, they are over .500 in August for the first time in Moore’s era as GM – and the game’s not on television??? Yep, this sure ain’t St. Louis.

“Multiple reports... Ryan Lilja agreeing to 1 year deal w/Broncos. Chiefs had better not have low balled Lilja & the line better be great.”
@theprogram, Twitter
GH: How can this be a bad thing for the Chiefs? I know Lilja is a local guy who we all like but his playing days are over – even he called it quits by retiring. If the Broncos need Lilja to shore up their offensive line, Peyton Manning is in real trouble. I hope Lilja starts all 16 games for Denver.

“Guess who's no longer inside the circle of trust, Ryan Lilja.”
Johnny Coltrane, @Chief_Wildcat, Twitter

“The debate continues in the chat room - Chiefs, Sporting KC or Royals? Which is KC's most popular team?”
@kmbc, Twitter
GH: Debate? I sat in a packed 54th Street Grill Wednesday night and positioned myself to have a great view of their 90-inch HDTV and the Royals/Twins game. It appeared to me that me and one other guy in the entire room were paying any attention to the game. It is no longer the Kansas City we knew in the 1970s and ‘80s. If this would have been a Chiefs game? The place would have been living and dying with each snap.

“Steve Spurrier told me ‘If we paid (college FB players) what they’re worth, they’d be making $200, $300, $400K.’”
Jim Rome, @jimrome, Twitter
GH: I would just like to see college coaches get paid what they’re worth. Can I see Turner Gill in my office, please?

“If u understand how I felt about sitting out and the pain I went through then u would understand how excited I am.”
Henry Josey, @I_AM_HJOSEY20, who is returning to the Mizzou backfield after missing last season with a devastating knee injury, Twitter
GH: I am rooting for this guy. Josey is the kind of story that college football all too often forgets once he blows out a knee. The game can be ridiculously cruel to the athletes who play it while paying average coaches millions. Maybe that’s why they call it an education.

“I would respect Riley Cooper if he came out and said ‘I really don't like black people. Wide nose having, breathing all the white man's air.’”
Carrington Harrison, @cdotharrison, after a drunken Cooper apparently was videotaped yelling the n-word at or about a security guard, Twitter

“Riley Cooper quickly apologized but there are some things you can't apologize for. And that's one of them. Goodbye and good riddance.”
Jim Rome, @jimrome, Twitter
GH: The deeper question is why is this act so grievous that Cooper is not allowed to apologize for it? That is the topic that Carrington and Jayice should tackle as two black men talking to a predominantly white audience. Or do they disagree with Rome? Whitlock would steal every listener with an IQ above single digits with this topic.

GregHall24@yahoo.com  and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Over .500 this late in season is new territory for Dayton Moore

Posted 7-31-13

“It's July 30th, the Royals are above .500, and if you're not a Royals fan, you probably don't understand just how momentous this is.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: I have been reluctant to attach must significance to the Royals being a team that simply wins more games than it loses. Maybe I have misjudged how important this is to the franchise and its fans. Jazayerli is as ridiculous of a Royals fan as I have ever come across. The man is a dermatologist who lives with his family in Chicago – and yet he has built such a reputation as a Royals expert that his blog, his tweets and his frequent media appearances hold as much credibility (or more) than anyone this side of Bob Dutton. If Rany is calling a 52-51 record momentous – maybe it is.

“You don’t trade Wil Myers unless you say, ‘Alright, let’s go for it.’”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM

“This is the first time since 2003 that the Royals have had a winning record, for even a moment, at any point from May 21st on. But aside from 2003, the Royals haven't had a winning record at any point from June 17th on since *1995*.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: Geez, what an incredibly inept POS franchise the Royals have been. This is the first time in Dayton Moore’s seven years with the Royals that the club has been above .500 after Memorial Day! How utterly ridiculous is that stat!

“You are what your record says you are = The #Royals are winners.”
Josh Vernier, @JoshVernier, Twitter
GH: Technically – today – yeah. But can’t we up the bar just a bit? I know we are downtrodden Royals fans but .500 seems like such a public school mentality. Do the Royals get blue ribbons for finishing third in the ALC with a winning record? #GregFocker

“Just talked to two #Royals officials. Both said all quiet on trade front. ‘Crickets,’ said one.”
Bob Dutton, Royals_Report, Twitter

“My guess is (the Royals) don’t end up with anybody today but I don’t know, maybe they will.”
Danny Knobler, MLB insider, when asked by Steven St. John if he thought the Royals would make any moves before the trade deadline, 810 AM
GH: Knobler had about as much insight into what the Royals are thinking as Dan Glass – which is zip. He was able to tell us that if the Royals do make a trade it would likely be to improve their talent at second base or right field. Well thank you Nostradamus! I don’t know why local shows invite these national media people on and expect them to know more about the Royals and Chiefs than the people who cover them 10 hours a day. If you want to know what’s happening with the Royals, get Bob Dutton on the phone. If you want to know what the Chiefs are thinking, call Adam Teicher. You can save the national media takes for SportsCenter.

“I hop in my car at 7:01am , I have an hour commute to work. NOT ONE WORD ABOUT THE ROYALS ON 610 or 810 FOR AN HOUR! I do not want to listen to dumb chatter about Chiefs training camp, Andy Reid, Percy Harvin’s hip problem, and Nate Bukaty’s bowel movements before a marathon. Stupid. I need to complain. The Royals are winning for once, over .500 and what the heck, M-O-U-S-E hits two dingers last night. Nothing. Stupid.”
Reader Brad, OTC Mail
GH: Filling four hours of radio time every day is a tough task for every local sports talk show. Both 610 and 810 probably spent the 6:00 AM hour of their show talking nothing but Royals – but what good does that do the listener who has an hour commute from 7:00 AM to 8:00 AM? In my opinion, these guys all get bored with discussing the same games and get lazy with their programming. Kietzman never does this. His show is scheduled down to the minute with what he wants to cover, say and discuss. But The Border Patrol sounds like a runaway train most mornings. Fescoe’s show just isn’t smart enough to hold my attention for very long. So they’ve got that going for them.

“Three teams playing very good baseball! All we can do is keep winning...”
Ervin Santana, @ErvinSantana_54, on the Royals inability to make up any ground on the Indians and Tigers, Twitter

“It is going to be a grind. Some of these young guys might hit a wall the likes they have never seen before.”
Denny Matthews, on the Royals playing 44 games in the next 44 days, Royals Radio

“By winning.”
Rex Hudler, when asked how the Royals players could keep their energy level up over the next 44 days, Royals Radio

“His career earned run average against the Royals is an unsightly 9.72.”
Denny Matthews, on Mike Pelfrey, the Twins starter, Royal Radio
GH: Matthews can be maddeningly sober during the most exciting parts of a broadcast but his understated tone can also be quite humorous at times – like this one.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Media's early observations at Chiefs' camp

Posted 7-30-13

“I’m just going to go ahead and say it; if the Royals make the playoffs (this season) I’m going to shave my head.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: BaseballProspectus.com puts the Royals’ chances of making the playoffs at 1.7%. That’s a better than 98% chance that KK will not have to shave his dome. You can check out the odds for all MLB teams by clicking this link. So what book is Dayton Moore reading that he thinks it’s a good idea to NOT deal Ervin Santana? I believe it might be his checkbook – the one where his Royals’ paycheck gets deposited.

 

“I don’t think the Royals are going to make the playoffs but I’m not shaving my head.”
Danny Clinkscale, after KK’s attempted to have his sidekick join him in his pledge, 810 AM

 

“I don’t think (Dayton Moore) has the guts to do the right thing – and that is to deal Santana to make a difference for next year and beyond. I don’t think he has the guts to do that. And I don’t think he has the stomach for a trade.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman was emphasizing the word guts while making this statement. I don’t think Moore lacks guts – he did trade the Royals’ best minor league prospect since Carlos Beltran last season when he swapped Wil Myers for James Shields and Wade Davis. I just think Moore is trying to save his job by finishing better than .500 this season – with little thought to how a trade could help the Royals in 2014 and ’15.

 

“(Santana) likes it here (in Kansas City). That surprises me as much as anything. There have been guys who have come here who seem like they have no interest in being here.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: About a month ago, Santana went on a Twitter splurge and started following every Kansas City sports media person on Twitter. Even me. I can’t tell you how odd this is for professional athletes – especially a one-and-done free-agent like Santana. My first thought was he was looking for any insight to where he might be traded. But then he tweeted out the funny FX video from the Royals’ locker room and has continued to be a source of positive energy for the Royals’ playoff push. It makes almost no sense but the Royals just might have a chance to resign this guy.

 

“Santana doesn’t seem to have the same attitude as Rick Ankiel.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Ankiel is now with the Mets were he is hitting .182. It doesn’t look like it was the Kansas City skyline that was keeping the former Cardinal down.

 

“I want to see a remix of the KC Chevy Dealers ad, where instead of Hos/Moose -- the Vinson Mortgage dudes get out of the truck.”
Brent Scholz, @brentbeats, Twitter
GH: If the Royals had a sense of humor – which they have kept hidden despite their hiring of Rex Hudler – they would have some fun with their TV advertisers. I’d like to see Ray Vinson pop up in the backseat of those Sonic dudes’ car and sell them mortgage insurance. Or have Kia Jen model the latest T-Shirt Tuesday giveaway. What Royals advertiser remix would you like to see?

 

“I'm still trying to get comfortable seeing Andy Reid in Chiefs gear.”
Daniel Jeremiah, @MoveTheSticks, Twitter

 

“From what I have seen of this (Chiefs’) offense, there are a lot of dumps to the running backs and tight ends. You’ve got to have that home-run threat.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM

 

“I’m sitting here watching Alex Smith dinking and dunking a lot.”
Kevin Kietzman, as he observed passing drills at the Chiefs’ practice last week, 810 AM

 

“The question is Jamaal Charles and the receiving corps. Right now the biggest question on the Chiefs is what are they going to do when Dwayne Bowe is double teamed?”
Stan Weber, on Alex Smith, 810 AM

 

“This is a huge camp for Jonathan Baldwin, Dexter McCluster and Tony Moeaki.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Don’t we say/hear that every July for these three guys?

 

“Jonathan Baldwin could go anywhere from being the Chiefs’ number-two receiver to unemployed in the next five weeks.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

 

“So far we’ve not seen many deep balls by the Chiefs. I can recall two deep passes in four days of practice. You’ve got to be able to stretch the field.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe has been at camp since it opened and he and others have commented how the Chiefs’ wide receivers are all having trouble getting off the line of scrimmage. Jonathan Baldwin has been especially singled out as having a problem with press coverage.

 

“I think there are a lot of people around that look like Alex Smith. I stopped to get gas and I saw a guy who looked like Alex Smith. I went to a sandwich shop; I saw a guy looked like Alex Smith. Is he very common looking? It seems like I’m running into a lot of people who look like Alex Smith.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: It seems like I’m running into a lot of people who think KK’s running out of material for his four-hour afternoon show. He’s now talking about the number of people in Kansas City who look like Alex Smith? KK needs to spend more time cruising east of Troost and then he will be amazed at the number of guys who look like Tyson Jackson and Dexter McCluster.

 

“(Alex Smith) doesn’t look like Danny Clinkscale. I don’t know if I’ve ever run into anybody who looks like you.”

Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This segment had me longing for more Cookie Diet talk.

 

“Bob Sutton raved about Tyson Jackson. Maybe they think he can be a better fit for what Bob Sutton wants to do. Maybe he’ll have less pressure on him and he’ll have his best year this year.”
Steven St. John, on the Chiefs’ highly drafted and even more highly disappointing defensive tackle, 810 AM
GH: Jackson’s best year yet wouldn’t take much.  It is easy to see why Sutton likes his looks at practice – Jackson is a mountain of a man. Let’s hope Sutton finds a way to get that mountain to do more than look impressive.

 

“I think Dontari Poe is special. In a wash of a season last year, I watched this guy and he can do some amazing things. He got overlooked just because he’s a grunt and he’s in the middle. … The sky’s the limit for this guy. I’m really anxious to see how he goes from year one to year two. I think this could be a big season for him. From what I saw last year, the things he can do are freakish!”
Bill Maas, on the Chiefs second-year nose tackle, 610 AM

 

“He’s not got a lot of tread used. He’s refreshed.”
Stan Weber, on the Chiefs’ new quarterback, Alex Smith, 810 AM

 

“Colin (Kaepernick) looked outstanding (at 49ers’ recent practice) - was accurate, throwing absolute lasers... Can't imagine 5 guys better than him right now.”
John Middlekauff, @JohnMiddlekauff, Twitter
GH: Kaepernick just might be so good that Alex Smith was an expendable Super-Bowl-quality quarterback. At least that’s what Andy Reid and the Chiefs are betting the next four seasons on.

 

“Eric Fisher was getting dominated in one-on-one situations (Monday).”
Bob Fescoe, on the Chiefs’ first-round draft pick, 610 AM

 

“Is this an SEC trend? Nico Johnson says the plays are less complex and Tyler Bray says the speed is about the same in the NFL... I buy Nico.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, Twitter
GH: Something tells me Eric Fisher thinks the pace of the NFL is a tad quicker than the MAC.

 

“If our gr8est accomplishment is winning games then our success will b very hollow. Our Gamecock Culture is a lot deeper than just w's & L's.”
Frank Martin, @FrankMartin_SC, Twitter

GH: Father Frank is so full of BS I am surprised he’s not leaving a trail of turds all over the Columbia campus. Does he really want us to believe USC hired him not to garner wins but to instead deepen the Gamecock Culture of which he has been a part of for a little over a year? Sounds like Frank is setting up his fan base for another long season of hoops.

 

“That’s something I don’t really understand. As a kid growing up, I always wanted to play in that championship game. I feel we should get it back.”
Unnamed Big 12 football player, when asked if he would be in favor of reinstituting the Big 12 Championship Game, Scout.com
GH: Some of the media polled 28 of the Big 12 players who attended media days in Dallas and 100% of those players said they wanted the title game to be reinstated. You can check out the other survey results here.

 

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Should the Royals be buying or selling? Depends whom you ask

Posted 7-29-13

“However misguided the motives, it is exciting to not be sellers at the deadline.”
Michael Smith, @prezmike25, Twitter
GH: Should the Royals ride the wave and roll the dice on trying to catch Detroit or gain a wild-card spot this season? Or should they be pragmatic and reasonable about their slim chances of making the postseason and start to build for the 2014 season? That is a hotly debated topic on Twitter, radio and just about anywhere else Royals baseball is spoken. Read on.

 

“Finishing .500 (or better) is vitally important to this franchise. That’s kind of where I stand with the Royals – just stand pat.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Is it really? Does a .500 and a third-place finish in the ALC really set the stage for a better tomorrow? I see it as far more vitally important to the futures of Dayton Moore and Ned Yost than the Royals’ future success.

 

“You know what article I really want to write in late September? ‘I Was Dead Wrong About This Team.’ ”
David Lesky, @DBLeskey, of pinetarpree.com, Twitter

 

“Royals back to .500 for first time in over a month…still 7 back…haven't finished a season over ,500 in 10 years…pathetic.”
Frank Boal, @realfrankboal, Twitter

 

“Royals now 8-2 since the break and they've picked up one game. Dayton, please build for next year!”
Kevin Kietzman, @kkwhb, Twitter
GH: Kietzman’s stance is not at all popular with a number of avid Royals’ fans – like Fescoe – but I have to agree with him. By standing pat and hoping for a miracle finish this season, the Royals could be costing themselves three or four years of successful Septembers.

 

“We need to quit being Randy Quaid from Major League and saying, ‘They’re gonna blow it!’ Enjoy the ride. … We should be looking at six more wins coming out of this road trip (to play the Twins and Mets). And you never know what’s going to happen. It could be a lot of fun coming into September.”
Mike MacFarlane, after the Royals climbed back to .500 with a sweep of the White Sox, 810 AM
GH: Mac wants to win now. “Wild Thing, you make my butt sting!” Here is a link to a couple of Quaid’s better moments in the classic Major League.

 

This is the latest the Royals have been .500 in a decade. @ErvinSantana_54 called for a second-half pennant push. Maybe ...”
Joe Posnanski, @JPosnanski, Twitter

 

“Sources: Royals are not dumping. If they trade Santana or Hochevar, they want pieces for this year.”
Jeff Passan, @Jeff Passan, Twitter

 

“It always seems impossible until it’s done. #NelsonMandela. The second half is ours!!!”
Ervin Santana, @ErvinSantana_54, Twitter
GH: For a pitcher who is a hot trade prospect and will be a free agent at the end of the season, Santana sure has bought into Royals mania – especially on Twitter.

 

“We wanted to see how things shook out the first ten days after the All-Star break. I think they answered that unquestionably and they’re still in this thing. The fact that it’s August and we’re still talking about this is just fantastic. I’m glad they’re not going to trade Santana – especially now.”
Mike MacFarlane, 810 AM

 

“Wouldn’t it be nice for them just to hold onto Santana and try to resign him? It would really send a great message to the fan base that you’re serious about 2014. Make that year the year the Royals take the next step they need to take.”
Frank White, 810 AM
GH: It will take about $40 million to resign Santana to a three-year contract. Maybe more. If the Royals were to make this move now – I don’t think there would be many Randy Quaids left here in Kansas City. But what are the chances of David Glass taking this leap? About the same as the Royals catching the Tigers.

 

“Royals are 6-0 since #RoyalBaby.”
Bradley Hope, @Brad_Hope, after the Royals got back to .500 with their current win streak, Twitter
GH: And 5-0 since George Brett went back to his golf game.

 

“Starting today, a special weeklong series of stories and interactive features on KansasCity.com will commemorate the 40th anniversary of George Brett’s first game as a Royal.”
Kansas City Star, front page of Monday’s edition of The Star
GH: Like all Royals’ fans, I love what George Brett did for this franchise and what he still means to this city. But can we stop with the constant roll out of anniversaries to commemorate Brett and the rest of the old Royals? It’s boring enough when the Royals beat us over the head with this nostalgic theme but does The Star really have to give is a weeklong series on George? How much more is there that do we NOT know about him? How about a series on the best trade prospects to fill the Royals’ needs at second base and a power-hitter?

 

“Can we finally stop with the trade-for-a-right-fielder talk? I'll go to war the rest of this season with Lough, Dyson, Cain, and Gordon.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: How did the Royals allow Lough to languish in the minors until the age of 27 – being blocked by Frenchy? Lough reminds me of Jim Eisenreich in both his build and production. And I liked Ike a lot.

 

“We shouldn’t let any pitching prospects prevent us from taking care of second base. At one time, think about Mike Montgomery. We would have never considered trading him for a second baseman. (We were saying) ‘Are you kidding me? (Montgomery’s) going to be a stud!’ And in retrospect, that would have been ridiculous. I know we all love the (Royals’) prospects when they’re on the Baseball America Hot Sheet, but shouldn’t we know better? I feel like I should have learned my lesson that pitching prospects are exactly what they are? And turn that into a solution at second base when you feel like you have a real window to do something?”
Steve St. John, after trade rumors surfaced that the Angels may be considering trading their second baseman, Howie Kendrick, to rebuild their starting pitching 810 AM
GH: If the Royals are truly in it to win it this season, acquiring Kendrick would sure send that message to the fan base. What will he cost? Probably one of the Royals best pitching prospects – yeah, trades can hurt.

 

“You know all that sabermetrics stuff and all that? I’m more on the eyeball test.”
Mike MacFarlane, 810 AM

GH: Please keep Mac away from the dugout – but I’d love to have him do some games in the Royals’ TV booth.

 

“Someone just told me they like Rex Hudler (because) he is a straight shooter who calls it like it is’ and isn't a cheerleader. That just happened.”
Craig A. Brenner, @craig_a_brenner, Twitter
GH: Was it Dan Glass?

 

“How many kids? @wtalley Why do some people treat you like someone who doesn't let kids walk on his lawn? You do don't you?”
Bob Dutton,@Royals_Report, Twitter

GH: If you are on Twitter you need to follow Bob Dutton at @Royals_Report – and if you’re not on Twitter sign up and start following him.

 

“The Mets needed Carlos Torres on Sunday, but instead got Carlos Danger, complete with an early climax. Wilson Ramos’ third-inning grand slam against the right-hander all but ensured the Mets of a brutal finish to their weekend in the shadow of the Capitol. Torres was knocked out after allowing eight runs on nine hits in three innings, and the Mets never approached recovery in a 14-1 loss to the Nationals.”
Mike Puma, writer, NYPost.com
GH: Tully Corcoran tweeted a link to Puma’s game story saying, “One of the great ledes of all time.” I’m always glad to see a writer take the time to make his/her game stories more than just the facts.

 

“Here's full video of the David Ortiz outburst: fakes.pn/18HEWBW.”
The Fake ESPN, @TheFakeESPN, Twitter
GH: My favorite part of this video is that the phone still works even after Big Papi tries to turn it into mulch.

 

“Once the pads go on-the NFL has no equal. Today Eric Fisher gets his NFL 1st practice in pads and  has to go 4 straight times v JHouston!”

Mitch Holthus, @mitchholthus, Twitter
GH: I would really appreciate an August where the Chiefs and their all-but-worthless preseason games were not the lead sports story in Kansas City. Can the local media even handle covering two franchises at once? I’ll bet they would like to find out who does the job the best.

 

“Philadelphia has cheesesteaks. Kansas City has barbecue. Reid has tried them all, but his favorite is Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue. On his way home from work earlier in the offseason, Reid would call in an order and park his truck out front, and someone would bring him dinner to go. ‘How great is that?’ Reid said.”
Ashley Fox, ESPN.com
GH: I know the politically correct thing to do for local celebrities is to not declare a favorite BBQ but I like when somebody goes bold and picks a favorite. Whitlock was a Gates guy – still is. How about Mayor Sly? Julia Kauffman? Ida McBeth? Phil Witt? Lazlo? Barb Shelly? Declare your Q! I gotta go with Oklahoma Joe’s number one but Jack Stack is damn close.

 

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Weis hands his team's opponents a big ugly club to use on his players' heads

Posted 7-23-13

“It may have been unexpected, but the Kansas University football program captured the media’s attention on Monday, the opening day of Big 12 media days at the Omni Hotel.”
Matt Tait, writer, KUSports.com
GH: How does a one-win team from a year ago that is picked to finish last in the Big 12 dominate the conversation in Dallas? Two words – Charlie Weis. The second-year head coach of KU delivered a line to the media that will live on in infamy – unfortunately – whenever Kansas football is discussed. Read on.

“Everyone wants to play. There’s no one that wants to not play. I said, ‘Have you looked at that pile of crap out there? Have you taken a look at that? So if you don’t think you can play here, where do you think you can play?’ It’s a pretty simple approach. And that’s not a sales pitch. That’s practical. You’ve seen it, right? Unfortunately, so have I.”
Charlie Weis, KU’s head football coach, when asked how he has been able to recruit to Kansas, Big 12 Media Days
GH: Honest? Stupid? Attention getting? Yes, all of those things. You just don’t find a head football coach at any level calling his team “a pile of crap,” – especially BEFORE the season starts! But Weis is different. And arrogant. He still appears to think the Kansas football program’s problems are someone else’s. How the media reacted to Weis was also interesting. Read on.

“My opinion is the truth will set you free. I don’t have any problem with (what Weis said).”
Nate Bukaty, who covers the KU football program as the sideline reporter for their radio broadcasts, 810 AM
GH: Bukaty is a KU grad and a Jayhawk through and through. Other Jayhawks in the media were not as happy with Charlie’s line of crap. Read on.

“In other words, I’m Super Bowl champion Charlie Weis and I’m pretty great and if I’m not winning it must be that the players are REALLY bad.”
Tully Corcoran, writer, foxsports.com

“I understand Charlie Weis using that sales pitch a year ago…but is that the proper way for Charlie Weis to be pitching the Kansas (football) program? … Is he now calling the people he recruited a pile of crap? That has to be the last time Charlie Weis talks so demeaning about his football team. Those are the people he recruited. Those are his coaches. That’s his name on the program. If he keeps calling it a pile of crap, that’s an indictment on him. It’s becoming your pile of crap.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe is as Kansas as corn – despite being from New Jersey. He has Weis on his program as a regular guest. Hopefully, he makes his feelings known to Weis during their next on-air chat.

“You can’t throw everybody under the bus and call them crap.”
Josh Klingler, who works for the KU radio network during basketball and football seasons, 610 AM
GH: Not only can he do that, he did it. And he did it in a way that left no doubt about his opinion of the talent level he has to coach at Kansas. I just don’t see where that makes anybody (including a player’s parents) who chose to cast their lot with the KU football program feel real good about their decision to come to Lawrence.

“I know his words are somewhere between rude and incendiary to many, especially with his 1-11 record. But, frankly, I find the candor refreshing. Some are taking offense that he shouldn’t say such things after winning one game. Well, when else should he say it — and what else should he say now, anyway? Besides, ultimately, the proof will be in the pudding, as Weis says: If he wins, this stance will be a memorable platform of his administration’s success. If he doesn’t, well, he told the truth, didn’t he, even if it was unpalatable. Not wanting to hear it doesn’t make it any less true.”
Vahe Gregorian, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: What Weis did with his candor is feed every opponents’ imagination when it comes to derogatory signage, Internet posts and any other form of communication when it comes to the Kansas football program. And this kind of abuse is homegrown! Right from the mouth of the head of the KU football program. Weis just handed KU’s opponents a big, ugly club to beat his players over the head with for this season and beyond.

“That’s going to rub a lot of people the wrong way. There’s no question about it. But you know what? It’s the unvarnished truth.”
Todd Leabo, who is covering the Big 12 media event for 810 AM

“Let me just get one thing straight. I’m talking about what they saw last year. We have yet to play this year. And we have 12 games, at least, for them to change that impression. Hopefully I can’t use that this year.”
Charlie Weis, in an interview after he left the podium, KUSports.com
GH: Does that sound like Weis is backtracking from his “honest” comments? Sure does to me.

“Sarcasm is part of who I am. I’m not trying to be funny when I use it; it’s just part of who you are. When I say these things it’s not to show how witty I can be. I’m going to be sarcastic five years from now. Hey, newsflash: I’m gonna be sarcastic in five years. When kids know you’re going to treat them honest they’re going to respect you”
Charlie Weis, attempting to explain his “pile of crap” comment, sbnation.com
GH: The dictionary defines sar’ kaz’ em: “A cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound. A form of wit that is marked by the use of sarcastic language and is intended to make its victim the butt of contempt or ridicule.” I think Weis performs in front of the media to show how smart, witty and shocking he can be – regardless of the damage he might cause to his team, his school and his profession. I think Charlie thinks he is incredibly witty. What he is not is proficient at explaining his mistakes – like his pile of crap comment.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Mellinger hasn't yet shown a willingness to dive in

Posted 7-23-13

“Our philosophy isn't going to change just because we're six games under. We're not going to back off. I don't like the term 'sellers.' If and whatever we do (in terms of trades), it will be done with the interest of winning more games now. We're going to keep pushing in all areas to make us a better overall team and ultimately to compete better now."
Dayton Moore, last week in an interview with Jeffrey Flanagan, FOXSportsKansasCity.com
GH: How does David Glass read Moore’s comments and not fire him? Moore is basically saying he is driving this franchise off yet another cliff –but this time he’s hitting the accelerator.

“(Earvin Santana’s) trade value is going up. If he pops another game like that Dayton Moore really, really think about (trading him before the trade deadline).”
Mike MacFarlane, after Santana shutout the Tigers 1-0, 810 AM
GH: Santana’s trade value will never be greater than it is the next few days. The Royals need to trade him before his next start for an excellent prospect with power. Somebody like Wil Myers would be nice.

“Obviously, the ultimate goal is a world championship. But how many winning seasons have we had in the last 20 years? Two? We have to overcome that hurdle first and then move past it, and we're trying to do it as quickly as possible.”
Dayton Moore, FOXSportsKansasCity.com
GH: Moore has had seven years to get this franchise to be competitive. And he is still making excuses and talking about “as quickly as possible.” The media is starting to notice. Read on.

“I feel confident saying that Allard Baird was a better general manager than what we’re seeing now. Allard Baird had five first-round choices – three of which have now been in the All-Star game.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM

“Losing is no longer a problem (Dayton Moore) inherited. It’s one he’s prolonging. … In this universe — the one where the Royals are on their third record payroll and have lost an average of 92 games in Moore’s six full seasons in charge — a continued plea for patience after seven years on the job is plain silly. … Moore can talk about needing 10 years. But it’s delusional to think he will or should get that long without winning soon. And right now, Moore is in charge of a big-league team that’s underachieving in a critical season.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansas City Star
GH: Neither Petro nor Mellinger have called for Moore’s job. I’m not sure what else they need to see from Moore or maybe they are reticent to publically call for a man’s firing. Why I don’t know. Firing incompetent people is a good thing when you consider the health of an organization. Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler took Mellinger to task for not calling for Moore’s job. Read on.

“So what’s (Mellinger’s) solution to this problem? At least you and I come up with solutions. They may not be attainable but… Our solution last week was for David Glass to fly out to California and meet with Tony La Russa. I was looking for something like that at the end of Sam’s column but I did not find that. Was he calling for Dayton Moore’s job or was he just laying out a case where in a court of law he would be convicted guilty? Does he want Dayton Moore fired? I don’t know what side Sam stands on.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: A columnist can be direct, indirect or downright confusing. But ultimately a columnist should aspire to be read. I get the feeling Mellinger is still in that trying-to-acquire-readers mode. Kansas City wants to read Sam and be moved by him. He has just not shown a willingness to dive in and get dirty.

“I don’t know where (Mellinger) stands. I don’t know if he’s advocating that Dayton Moore be fired or not.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: As I listened to Fescoe and Klingler criticize Mellinger's Sunday column, I wondered if they would be this harsh if Sam was still a part of 610's paid contributors. I hope they continue to be as frank with the other members of the local media.

“I wish he would have gone one step further and tell us what he thinks needs to happen to Dayton Moore but he wasn’t willing to do that. I hope folks know where I stand on this. I hope folks know where you stand on this. They’re not winning. It’s time to make a change.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM

“(Mellinger’s column) says Moore needs to be gone without saying it.”
Text from a listener to Fescoe, 610 AM

“This is the group of players that is going to get us there, and we'll continue to add whatever we can to this group to help.”
Dayton Moore, FOXSportsKansasCity.com
GH: Translation: This is the last group of players I am going to be allowed to acquire unless they start winning these next two months. In order to save my job, I am willing to gamble we could cripple the Royals for the next three years. .500 or bust!

“I listened to Joel (Goldberg on the Border Patrol Friday morning). He reminds me of a boxer that’s broken both hands and is trying to slip every punch coming his way. He is trying to defer to reasons why it could work. At some point it’s just overwhelming. Across the board there are just all these mistakes. We’re getting to the point where there is just no defendable reasons for all the decisions that have been made.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The entire Royals broadcasting crew and front office appear to be in save-Dayton’s-job mode. Incredibly, no one with a Royals’ paycheck seems to think the team should be looking to trade Santana. In October, after Moore and Yost have been fired, we will then hear from them how much better things will be in 2014.

“This is a good sign that they haven’t given up and laid down. They’re going to come out and fight.”
Jeff Montgomery, after the Royals won two of three from Detroit over the weekend, Fox Sports KC
GH: How low are our expectations that we should be happy to note the Royals have not given up or laid down? Monty is such a shill. And a boring one at that.

“You could sense (last week) a lot of people feeling like, ‘Oh boy, here we go. It’s over.’ So I think the Royals were able to go out there this weekend and show that they’re very much playing good baseball and staying in this thing.”
Joel Goldberg, after the Royals won two of three from the Tigers, Fox Sports KC
GH: It’s almost like Goldberg didn’t watch the series. Playing good baseball? The 1-0 win was all Santana. The 6-5 loss had enough dumb plays in it to frustrate even Ned Yost. This team is NOT playing good baseball.

"Absolutely ground-breaking. We've never seen that in the history of baseball. Guys who played in the 1920s and 1930s would have absolutely freaked out! Technology has taken this game to a level it has never seen before.”
Rex Hudler, on the use of the Phantom Camera for the Tigers/Royals series this past weekend, FOXSportsKansasCity.com
GH: The Phantom Camera reportedly shoots between 3,000 and 5,000 frames per second. The results for the viewer are stunning – and just another reason to stay at home to watch the game. Can you imagine the impact this kind of technology will have on the NFL? The big money for all of sports comes from their television contracts – but those same contracts are working to empty their stadiums and kill off their season-ticket holder base. Stadium upgrades just cannot keep pace with the technology that is available in our homes. How far away are we from these 80K-seat stadiums becoming decaying artifacts?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Once again Royals are irrelevant after the All Star break

Posted 7-18-13

“Despite their best efforts, have the Royals managed to become irrelevant yet again after the All-Star break?”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The Royals are 43-49 and 8 games behind the Tigers and another 6.5 behind the Indians. It is July 18th. Is it over? Not mathematically. Is it over Royals-atically? Oh, yeah. As Captain Sum Ting Wong might say – Bang Ding Ow.

“We’re close to being .500. We have a chance to be buyers rather than sellers for the first time in a long time. … I think that’s the decision you need to make of whether or not you lock him up rather than get rid of him.”
Jaime Bluma, a little over one week ago when asked if the Royals should consider trading Greg Holland while he is at the height of his value, 810 AM

“I think we’ll sell. I think we’ll end up trading Santana.”
Jaime Bluma, a week later after the Royals limped into the All-Star break broken, 810 AM

“I think they need to be sellers.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The Royals approach the mid-summer trade deadline and post-All-Star break as sellers so often it could become their new nickname. The coffee is for buyers. Let the Royals drink lemonade.

“You don’t sit here for 180 games and watch Mike Moustakas playing like this without finding somebody else to play third base. But these Royals?!! Oh no, we don’t admit mistakes! ‘I’ve never been wrong,’ Ned said. I can’t wait to see Moose line up and play the Tigers Friday night. This is what’s wrong with the Royals. Rex Hudler is the same thing! ‘We made a decision, he’s our guy. This guy was on TV in the second biggest market for 11 years. There’s our guy. He’s a character now. We’ve got some animation on TV. He’s our guy!’
No! He’s not your guy! He wasn’t your guy last year and it’s not any better this year. He’s not going to work out and everybody knows it. The joke is on the Royals! Because they can see it but they don’t do anything about it!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: The Royals front office might have even more patience than their beleaguered fan base. But is it patience or ignorance – by both the front office and fans? Here is the sobering fact that the Royals will again be faced with in just a few days – the Chiefs open camp. And with that, the summer turns to fall in Kansas City.

“K-State is picked the lowest in the preseason league poll of any Big 12 team coming off a season in which it hoisted the Big 12 trophy.”
D. Scott Fritchen, @DScottFritchen, after K-State was picked to finish sixth, Twitter
GH: I often chide the KSU fans for their overt paranoia but it sure is well earned. Is there a college football team, coach and program that has enjoyed as much success as the Wildcats yet suffered the annual lack of respect from those who know them best? Maybe the Cats are the sixth best team in the Big 12 this year but I sure as heck aren’t picking them to not be in the hunt for the Big 12 title. Bill Snyder’s still alive, right? Top three till he’s not.

“I don't know anything, but I'd bet a lot that #KState will outperform its preseason Big 12 pick.”
Sam Mellinger, @mellinger, Twitter
GH: Not sure which statement is less bold there, Sam. And no, Kent Babb did not make me write that…

“Alabama placed 16 players -- including 2 that have yet to start a game -- on the preseason All-SEC teams.”
Stewart Mandel, @slmandel, Twitter
GH: The SEC picks three-deep on the All-SEC preseason team. Mizzou didn’t fair all that well. Read on.

“CB E.J. Gaines is a third-teamer, only Missouri player to crack one of the teams. Tigers picked to finish 6th of seven teams in the East.”
David Morrison, @DavidCMorrison, MU beat writer for Columbia Tribune, Twitter
GH: Mizzou’s home schedule is a ticket-broker’s dream – Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee and A&M come calling from mid-October on. If Tiger fans don’t fill up Faurot, those rapid SEC fans will.

“243 media voted for All-SEC team: 20 did not vote for Jadeveon Clowney on first team. Please identify yourself.”
Brett McMurphy, @McMurphyESPN, Twitter
GH: Clowney is a heckuva athlete and deserved to be a unanimous preseason All-SEC pick. But…has a player ever garnered more respect over one hit? It was a great helmet-bending hit but still – it was one hit. I am just not sure he’s Lawrence Taylor yet. Maybe he is but I’d like to see him play his junior season first.

“It will be interesting to see what happens to the Manziel phenomenon if A&M loses to Bama. America has a short attention span.”
Dan Wolken, @DanWolken, Twitter
GH: There sure are a lot of folks eager for Manziel to dry up and blow away. I thought he was the most exciting player in college football last year. I kind of expect him to be again this season. Bama better come to College Station with their helmets buckled or these Aggies just might gig ‘em again.

“(Manziel) is giving the perception that he’s not being the responsible person that he should be as the Heisman Trophy winner.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: You mean like OJ? Johnny Rodgers robbed a gas station at gunpoint as an underclassman. Read on.

“I grew up in the era of morals. You couldn’t do all these things.”
Jayice Pearson, while discussing Johnny Manziel and his off-the-field issues with Carrington Harrison and Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Pearson’s younger cohosts took exception to his above comments. Read on.

“I just want to know when this era of morals was?”
Carrington Harrison, responding to Pearson, 610 AM

“Doc Ellis threw a no hitter on LSD.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM

“You guys are just showing your young immature selves!”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: It sounded to me like Parkins and Harrison were making sense.

“Tom Watson finished the first round (of the British Open) +4. Shot a 75. 3 birdies. 8 pars. 7 bogeys.”
Danial Logston, @daniallogston, WDAF TV video editor, Twitter
GH: Watson is 64 and still shoots within four strokes of par in The Open. I know we all have our own lives to lead but if I had to trade places with a guy, Watson’s life wouldn’t be a bad one to have led.

I will be heading to Omaha Friday to play in the 38th annual Red Man two-man scramble golf tourney. A dozen or so of us  started this annual tourney when we were just out of college and living in the same swinging-singles apartment complex in Omaha. We all hailed from different parts of the Midwest but quickly bonded through pick-up basketball games, softball and late-night disco hopping.

The Red Man started as a shirtless, talentless, drunken golf outing and has progressed into a field of 144 “golfers.” We have a Championship Flight, a First Flight, a Second Flight and then four Turd Flights. Yes, four Turds to house all of the awful golf that most of the field exhibits. We named the four Turd Flights in descending order – Baby Ruth, Floaters, Sinkers and Pluggers. I will be lining up in the Pluggers with my brother Geoff – trying to break 80. Enjoy your weekend.

GregHall242@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Those videos on Pinkel's website are outdated

Posted 7-16-13

“Gary Pinkel has a ridiculous reputation of character. You ask around about him, and almost the first word anyone says, and I’m telling you, in the Big Ten especially when I talk to people, it’s the guy has a lot of character.”
Mike Hall, Big Ten Network broadcaster, GaryPinkel.com
GH: News that Missouri’s head football coach had launched a website filtered out just yesterday. No big deal there, these coach’s sites are usually nothing more than extended recruiting rhetoric. But the odd video that is currently (or at least was yesterday) playing on Pinkel’s website is at best uncomfortable and at worst incredibly unfair to those in the media who agreed to the interviews – two years ago when Mizzou was still in the Big 12 and Pinkel’s DUI arrest hadn’t yet occurred. But the videos don’t make that very important distinction. Read on.

At the time, the Tigers were coming off a 10-win season and still members of the Big 12 Conference.”
Dave Matter, writer, on the timing of the taping of the interviews posted on Pinkel’s website, STLtoday.com

“I think it’s always easy for fans, and that’s why they call us fans, to think the grass is always greener somewhere else. And we get kind of full of ourselves thinking we’re all that. But there’s something to be said of a stable force. And I think he’s doing a fine job.”
Linda Cohn, ESPN anchor, GaryPinkel.com
GH: Cohn’s comments about Pinkel sounded almost pleading – as if she was admonishing any Mizzou fans who might question Pinkel’s future at MU. To learn that she made these comments after a 10-win season sounds kind of weird.

“What the video leaves out is that the interviews took place during a celebrity golf event in July 11, 2011, more than two years ago. The celebrities had gathered at Country Club of Missouri for a charity event hosted by ESPN SportsCenter anchor John Anderson, who like Kim, Hall and Hamm is a Missouri graduate.”
Dave Matter, writer, STLtoday.com
GH: That’s a pretty big hole to leave in the story – especially coming from a school with a reputation for exemplary journalism. Read on.

“Regardless of why the media recorded these interviews (about Gary Pinkel) a few years ago, what’s up with Pinkel refurbishing them after a DUI and a divorce? … It’s just totally inappropriate for media to be doing that, or unwittingly used in that way. Busting out quotes from two years ago to underscore that when they were made before those happened is weaksauce.”
Andy Glockner, @AndyGlockner, writer for SI.com, Twitter
GH: I had the same reaction as Glockner to this misuse of video for Pinkel’s website. I doubt it was Pinkel who posted the video but he has to be aware of what goes on a website with his name on it. If that video hasn’t already been removed, it needs to come down today.

“I think it’s a huge year for (Gary Pinkel). The money in the SEC is just too big. The SEC is all about money. The expectations are to go to bowl games.”
Jay Binkley, who is covering the SEC meetings in Birmingham this week, 610 AM
GH: Maybe GaryPinkel.com was created to hopefully ease some of that pressure and expectations. It won’t.

“Missouri’s schedule is set up to go 4-0 at the beginning of the season. You’ve got to do something. I think the pressure is on Gary Pinkel. I think seven wins is realistic for the Tigers this season.”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM

“I think it’s going to be a really, really fun season for Mizzou. I don’t think they’re going to get their ass kicked in, I think they’re going to be in a lot of those games. I’m going to say 6-6. Anything worse is a disappointment.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM

“In case you haven't noticed, the (SEC) Strength Everywhere Conference has quietly become the new NCAA. Not in any official capacity, but it might as well be. Without all the, ahem, baggage that has weighed down college sports' governing body. The SEC long ago came in from the backyard, wiped its feet and donned a suit. Despite keeping the past seven glass footballs below the Mason-Dixon Line, it has become more than rich. It is worldly and sophisticated. … The SEC is a leader in football, yes, but the league has done more for college athletics as a whole in the past decade than the NCAA. It has had better ideas, been more decisive and stayed largely untainted -- which is more than we can say about the kingdom in Indianapolis.”
Dennis Dodd, cbssports.com
GH: This is a helluva column by Dodd. Whether you agree with his stance or not, he does what a columnist should do – state his opinion in an entertaining manner and challenge you to consider his viewpoint. Well done.

“Alright Johnny Football enough is enough this is your last wake up call STOP BRINGING SHAME TO THE GAME !”
Mark May, @mark_may, ESPN college analyst, after the Heisman Trophy winner was allegedly booted out of Peyton Manning’s QB camp this last weekend for showing up late and hung over, Twitter
GH: Shame to the game? Isn’t Johnny Manziel just following in the footsteps of football greats like Joe Namath, Max McGee and Paul Hornung?

“As a Badger alum, I will love every minute of watching @BretBielema go 4-8 in the SEC this season.” @BradMiller87, retweeted by Bret Bielema, @BretBielema, Twitter
GH: Bielema might be the second-most hated guy in the SEC behind Manziel – and I like them both. I like guys who get it done on the field and aren’t afraid to be human off of it – entertainingly human. I like that both hear their critics and smile.

"(Lee Corso) has done more for the sport of college football over the last 20 years than almost anyone. And the beauty of Coach is you see him once a week for two hours. He's not here and there, on SportsCenter or First Take and PTI. I think about it from time to time, but he is irreplaceable. Someone will take his seat but you are not going to replace Lee Corso. Just even to think about it gets me bothered.”
Lee Fitting, ESPN Senior Coordinating Producer, on the soon-to-be 78-year-old former Indiana head coach, SI.com
GH: Wow. I don’t even know how to start in phrasing how much I disagree with Fitting and his glowing assessment of Corso’s contribution to the game of college football. Corso was a clown as a coach. He is an even bigger clown as a TV analyst. I understand that clowns serve a role. But Fitting suggesting that Corso is some kind of college football deity is the real joke here.

“Saw Lindy's Magazine picks KSU sixth in Big 12. Had to smile. We know better.”
Howard Richman, @Howard_Richman, Twitter

“When I was dismissed from the KU football team after the 2011 season, I was in good academic standing. I’d made some mistakes. I’m going to be up front with you – like I’ve always been – I was dismissed for off-the-field stuff. I’m responsible for what happened, and Coach Weis has given me the opportunity to rejoin a team that I believe is going to do some great things. … I can’t wait to get back to playing for KU in the Big 12. I never thought that would happen. Coach Weis and Coach Mitchell made it happen, and I owe them a lot. I’m never going to let either one of them down again.”
Darrian Miller, in an interview with Bill Althaus of The Independence Examiner
GH: Talk about a comeback. Weis released Miller – a Turner Gill recruit -- when he took over at KU. How often does the coach who released a player offer him a second chance at that same school? Althaus reports that Miller signed a grant-in-aid agreement and is rejoining the Jayhawk football team as a redshirt sophomore with three seasons of eligibility remaining.

 

“We constantly research special situations concerning transfer students. Each situation is unique. Occasionally through our due diligence we find a player who fits. (That) was the case with Darrian. We believe (he is) prepared to thrive at Kansas on and off the field.”
Charlie Weis, kuathletics.com

GH: Miller is one of the tougher high school running backs I’ve watched play in the KC area over the past 25 years. He’s physical, fast and has a great sense for daylight. But he has much to prove to all who had high expectations for him coming out of Kelly Donohoe’s excellent Blue Springs program. I am glad Weis gave him the second chance. My hope is that Miller takes it and runs.

 

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Dayton Moore needs to go; Gregorian is JoPoLo

Posted 7-15-13

“I didn’t like how (the Royals) limped into the All-Star break. … The thing I need to see from this ball club is to come out and play with a little more fire. That’s something we didn’t see last week.”
Mike MacFarlane, former Royals’ catcher, after the Royals entered the ASB with a five-game losing streak, 810 AM
GH: The Royals are eight games behind the Tigers with a 43-49 record as they wait out the All-Star break. Yeah, they lack some fire but the Royals shortcomings are far more glaring than the team’s collective desire to win. Back in April I called this Royals team and the early success is displayed “different” from previous false starts. I was wrong. These are the same old Royals run by the same old clowns.

“Had been wondering what the new battle cry would be in the post-Frenchy era. @JonBlumenthal Two words. Ned. Yost.”
Bob Dutton, @Royals_Report, Twitter
GH: Ned Yost isn’t the only problem with the Royals – as Dutton alludes to. The Glass boys need to make some decisions – and the sooner the better. Their first decision should be to fire Dayton Moore – today. Why allow Moore to make another decision to impact the future of this franchise? He has shown himself to be incredibly incompetent over his seven year reign as the Royals GM. He just needs to be gone. Today.

“The louder the calls are from the fans for Dayton Moore’s job the more likely (ownership) are to make a change. More next year than this year.”
Soren  Petro, 810 AM
GH: Petro thinks the Glass family will make their decision on  Moore based on the volume of unhappiness registered by the fans. Why? Seven years of bad baseball isn’t due to bad luck. And why wait even a day? With potential trade bait in Ervin Santana, James Shields and Greg Holland – Moore should not be allowed to even be in the room when these decisions are made. It is time to start over – again. And that means a house cleaning.

“Royals and Chiefs combine for 9 Pro Bowlers/All Stars, which has to be a record for two such insignificant/mediocre/bad teams.”
Gabe DeArmond, @GabeDeArmond, Twitter
GH: Insignificant. A perfect word to describe the Kansas City professional sports landscape in the NFL and MLB.

“On the day the Royals' dreams of 2013 relevance died, Chris Davis did something by the ASB (37 HR) that no Royal has done in a full season.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: Throw in the word “embarrassing” along with insignificant to describe the Royals and the Chiefs.

“Royals are now 8 games behind Detroit, the most games out of first they've been all season.”
Pete Grathoff, @pgrathoff, Twitter
GH: Carl Peterson would refer to the Royals as a “descending” player.

“This Royals team either crushes or blows chunks for long stretches. No in between.”
Jeff Rosen, @jeff_rosen88, Twitter
GH: Far too little of the former to make up for the landslide of the latter.

“(Bubba) Starling broke a zero-for-25 skid with a ninth-inning single Saturday and added an RBI single on Sunday to bring his average to .215 for the Lexington Legends of the South Atlantic League. Saturday, the flare to right off a finesse lefty was a nice piece of hitting on a night when Starling made decent contact on his other plate appearances, a couple of ground-outs and a fly to left.”
Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star
GH: Kerkhoff did his best to make a flare single to the opposite field by a projected power-hitting first-round draft pick in a Low-A game to break a 0-25 slump read like progress. It did not work.

“(Bubba) is right where we want him to be. He has a little over 500 at-bats now and he's progressing well. He's growing as a baseball player.”
Dayton Moore, in an article by Jeffrey Flanagan posted last Friday on FoxSportsKansasCity.com
GH: Moore told Flanagan that Bubba had five hits in the three games he saw the center fielder play. That must have been before his 0-25 slump. Regardless, how can Moore think we are buying he’s happy with his $7.5 million second-year specimen who is hitting .215 for the Lexington legends? The Royals are so full of BS that the entire organization needs an enema.

“KC has a floundering franchise in the Royals that wants to sneak into the night under the shroud of the chiefs. DON'T LET IT!”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenter, Twitter
GH: Apathy is a coping mechanism practiced by some Royals and Chiefs fans for a generation or more. Many have just given up and moved on to other interests. But this city is large enough to house a great many fans who care – despite the ridiculous amount of failure by these two franchises.  I doubt even Dayton Moore can kill it.

“Pepsi signs Robinson Cano as the face of its MLB marketing campaign. It's Cano's first endorsement deal under Jay-Z.”
Darren Rovell, @darrenrovell, Twitter
GH: Boo.

“Please give (Vahe) Gregorian some credit for his column (Sunday). He has pretty much sucked, but his work today was very solid.”
Adam Leitel, @aleitel, on Gregorian’s Sunday column on how Max Scherzer’s family has dealt with their younger son’s suicide, Twitter
GH: Gregorian went the Mitch Albom route with his Sunday column – which is not a bad plan. Find a heart-wrenching story with a local twist and make people feel pain and sympathy. I guess we are seeing what kind of a columnist Gregorian is going to be for The Star – JoPo light. That’s not an awful path just a disappointing one – for me as a reader anyway. I wanted an informed Whitlock and instead we got JoPoLo.

“All them jurors should go home tonight and kill themselves for letting a grown man get away with killing a kid.”
Roddy White, @roddywhiteTV, Falcons wide receiver, following the not guilty verdict in the Zimmerman trial, Twitter
GH: Professional athletes and Twitter. A match made in TMZ heaven.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24


Mellinger on the White-Royals feud

Posted 7-12-13

“We know how good we are. I guess we need somebody to lead us there – the right person.”
Jamaal Charles, in an interview on a podcast on Grantland.com that Bob Fescoe replayed for his morning audience earlier this week, 610 AM
GH: Charles and Chiefs Nation is hoping Andy Reid and Alex Smith are the  right leaders to end the Chiefs’ playoff-win drought . We are just a couple of weeks away from St. Joe, MO becoming Arrowhead North. It’s not Sharknado but under Andy, pigs will definitely fly! Bob Fescoe played some audio clips on 610 AM from Chiefs’ players who have been popping up with some regularity on network shows. Read on.

“Man, from day one when (Alex Smith) walked in – he won’t tell you this – but I think he’s got a chip on his shoulder. … I think he’s taking us where we need to go.”
Brandon Flowers, on the Chiefs new quarterback, NFL AM / 610 AM
GH: Alex Smith might be one of the most watched players in the NFL next season. Few credit what success he’s had to his own talent. Most point to Harbaugh as the reason for the 49ers’ wins under Smith. The Chiefs are an opportunity for Smith to lose that chip and rewrite his legacy.

“We want to be the team that nobody wants to play this year. I think we’ve got the pieces to be the best secondary in the NFL.”
Brandon Flowers, Chiefs defensive back, NFL AM
GH: Has there ever been a more confident NFL team coming off a 2-14 season? Is this madness or bad-ass-ness?

“You never know what the season will hold for us. I want to play in the Super Bowl. That’s why I play this game – not for fun but to make history and win Super Bowls. That’s what I really want.”
Jamaal Charles, 610 AM
GH: I think I just heard a whistle! DAMN I am ready for some football!

“The Kansas City Chiefs are very, very visible now. They’re no longer being cooped up like they were with (the Pioli regime). I think the Chiefs are going about it the right way. The mindset of this team is really different than it was a year ago.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: The NFL understands they are losing season ticket sales to our 56-inch flat screen TVs. Having the Chiefs’ players more available and more visible and just more real – is a good thing. We only have these players for a short while before they are either hurt, move on to another team or retired. The quicker and more we know them – the quicker we love them. And when they go on a radio show or talk to a print journalist, screw the gag orders and let them talk!

“Could Jon Baldwin be on the ‘overrated list’ if he doesn’t perform this year?”
Jay Binkley, on the Chiefs’ wide receiver, 610 AM
GH: Baldwin isn’t just on the overrated list, he is the headliner. I do not remember watching an NFL receiver who displayed an almost total lack of the basic football instincts that Baldwin did at times last season. He cannot be as bad as he looked…can he?

“Isn’t that very Royals of this ball club? Just as they start to look like they’re going to turn it around they yank it away from you.”
Josh Vernier, after the Royals won their first two against the Yankees and then dropped the final two games of the series, 610 AM
GH: This has been quite the yo-yo season for the Royals. The first month we think they’re going to challenge for the ALC, the next month they look worse than last season. Here in mid-July they are teasing us with good nights and bad nights…staying just close to .500 to appear to be competitive. But are they really? Read on.

“If you go back to March and April, what were we asking this club to do? We were asking them to be right around .500 and give us entertaining baseball in August. And right now they’re on pace to do that.”
Josh Vernier, 610 AM
GH: What we want from the Royals is to be in a pennant race in August and September. I don’t think they are on pace for that this season. If they sweep the Indians in Cleveland this weekend…well, we can talk.

“There’s an effective gag order on anyone (in the Royals’ organization) speaking publicly about (Frank) White, adding to the absurdity —but neither side is willing to take simple steps to end this. It’s an ugly look for both. … Each side could put on their big-boy pants and do something about it, but instead, they continue a Cold War built on pride and self-righteousness.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger used the anniversary of last year’s All-Star Game here in Kansas City to revisit the ridiculous and damaging public feud between the Royals and one of their few icons. I like what Sam had to say. Read on.

The solution is so simple, really. This is mostly a fight between Frank and Royals president Dan Glass. Get them in a room, together, and if each man has enough maturity and respect for the greater good they can work this out.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansas City Star
GH: This might be the first time that anyone in the know has so directly pointed the finger at Dan Glass as the party on the Royals’ side responsible for White’s firing. It will not do much to improve Dan’s already unpopular reputation with Royals’ fans. That Dan Glass is in line to inherit the Royals once his father dies is just a depressing, depressing thought. We might all have to become Cardinal fans.

“Each side has made mistakes. Glass is the current face of what White sees as an organization that long took him for granted, the last straw being when he was forced out as a team broadcaster. Glass and many others inside the Royals see White as perpetually unhappy with an organization that retired his number and built a statue and gave him six-figure jobs in retirement. White has never admitted it and has been emboldened by self-serving apologists, but he has his own share in this: His problems with the Royals have spanned many managers, front offices, decades and even ownerships. It can’t always have been the other side’s fault.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansas City Star
GH: My favorite line of Mellinger’s column is this; “White has never admitted it and has been emboldened by self-serving apologists.” This can be said of all of us at some time in our careers but more so for bigger-than-life sports heroes like White. Famous people just attract gooey friends who tell them only what they want to hear and never what they need. Frank needs the Royals – or at least deserves the Royals and to live his remaining years as a beloved member of the Royals family. Dan Glass might be a simpleton but he’s not the first rich boss who didn’t have a clue. Frank’s friends should be pushing him toward the Royals, not away.

“I asked him to dump the sycophants years ago.”
Frank White III,
@FrankWhiteIII, responding to a tweet about Mellinger’s column about his father, Twitter
GH: I would count Kevin Kietzman among the sycophants who enable White to continue his feud with the Royals. KK is always propping White up and tearing away at the Royals for firing him. Well, the truth is that people get fired in baseball all the time. Really, really popular people – even as popular as hometown Frank White. It’s called a business, Frank. Time to mend this mess and allow your immense popularity to reach another generation of Royals’ fans.

“Even the staunchest company man understands the Royals will never win a PR battle with White.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansas City Star
GH: The Royals look like the bad guy in this and they always will. Why David Glass has allowed this to happen on his watch tells me more about him than I want to know. Great men of business do not allow their most popular products in the company’s history to become an embarrassment for all time. And that is exactly the path that White and the Royals tread.

“Greetings, Kansas City. It’s been a slogging yet dizzying few weeks of trying to get the lay of the land here after 25 years in St. Louis, which I’ve learned might be in the same state but evidently is not in the same galaxy, since the two seem entirely unrelated.”
Vahe Gregorian, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: A great lede by Gregorian. It led me to believe he was about to write on about what he’s experienced here on the west side of the state compared to his many years under the Arch. But no. Instead we got a Gusewelle-ian tale about walking into a tree while walking his dog, a trip to Hunt’s Suptropolis, an outing at a Sporting KC match, and trips to meet Mizzou and KU brass. Little or no details about these encounters or day trips, mind you. Just a list. Kind of what your fourth -grade teacher would expect from your, What-I-did-last-summer essay. Vahe, you have got to be more interesting than you are letting on. Come on, guy. In the almost words of Centralia High’s own, John Riggins, “Come on Vahe, baby! Loosen up! You’re too tight!”

“OK, I apparently missed #SharkNado last night while sitting on the back deck enjoying the great weather. Someone fill me in!”
Karli Ritter, @KarliRitter, Fox 4 weather gal, on The SyFy Channel’s  over-the-top campy made-for-laughs movie, Twitter
GH: Where were you when you found out about Sharknado? I was on the couch watching Pawn Stars with our 16-year-old son. I flipped open my iPad to check Twitter when I noticed my timeline being consumed by the hash tag #Sharknado. When I saw that @heycameraman had tweeted about this SyFy event twice. Well, @heycameraman almost NEVER steers me wrong when it comes to Twitter so I got my son to look up what channel SyFy is on U-verse. I thought it was like a “Shark Week” nature show. So when I saw it was a movie, I was a bit disappointed. Then a mansion atop a mountain gets flooded by ocean water and a mechanical shark. The worst actor in the movie (and this was a difficult, difficult category) gets eaten and everybody bolts for the dry driveway and drives off while breaking a dozen laws of nature and common sense. And then Twitter went NUTS! Read on.

“That was Twitter gold last night. I was dying!”
Frank Boal, on watching Sharknado while monitoring Twitter, 810 AM
GH: Twitter has changed how America watches television. When I was a kid we all sat around the living room and exchanged opinions and comments about Bewitched or Hogan’s Heroes or The Beverly Hillbillies during the commercial breaks or the next day at school. With Twitter, the world is your living room. If you tweet you get what I’m saying. If you don’t – start. Remember when you thought computers were a waste of time?

“Nooooo! I don’t even gargle (Google)!”
Denny Matthews, when asked by Jack Harry if he was on Twitter, KSHB TV 41

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


810's reports from Tahoe will be equal to grilled watermelon salad

Posted 7-11-13

“How about this – grilled watermelon salad!”
Kevin Kietzman, introducing his grilling show Wednesday afternoon, 810 AM
GH: How about this – click.

“This is the last slow week of summer in these parts I have concluded.”
Kevin Kietzman, on the dearth of sports stories to discuss in the middle of summer, 810 AM
GH: One of the reasons KK mentioned for his optimism that sports talk radio would begin to be more interesting next week was the fact that 810 will take their annual trip to Tahoe to interview celebrities as they come off the gold course. I always considered WHB’s annual Tahoe junket as one of the main culprits when it comes to slow summer sports talk radio. I’m sure Petro, KK and Chad enjoy this trip to paradise but as a listener, it ranks right up there with talking about grilled watermelon salad. I have an idea if Kietzman wants a lively hour to add to this dead zone time of the year – open up the phones and let unscreened callers weigh in on what they think of the Tahoe interviews. Talk about grilled!

“Everybody’s just filling time until football starts unless you’re in a market where there’s no relevant baseball. This is the most relevant the Royals have been in July in a decade.”
Danny Parkins, on the slow summer period for sports talk radio, 610 AM
GH: I hear this complaint every summer from the sports talk guys. Jack Harry also mentioned how he struggles to fill his short sports segment on KSHB TV 41 each night. How lazy can you get, guys? Okay, so you just can’t pick up the morning newspaper this month and have it fill your show’s content. (And don’t pretend that’s not a large part of your show prep – despite how much you malign the day-old news in The Star.) Use this “slow” period for some innovative and outside the box ideas. 610’s The Drive at least tried to get creative Wednesday with a game-show format pitting their afternoon hosts in a white/black music challenge. It was off the wall but I’m sure it had listeners interest. (Props to Jayice for getting that Beatles song.)

“Wade threw the ball fine. The numbers weren’t good, but the numbers don’t always tell the story.”
Ned Yost, after Wade Davis gave up eight earned runs in five innings to collect his eighth loss in an 8-1 beat down by the Yankees, Kansas City Star
GH: This comment tells all of the story you need to know about Ned Yost – he’s not a numbers guy. He’s a seat-of-the-pants guy. He refuses to use raw data that screams at him to remove Davis, one of baseball’s worst statistical starters, from his lineup. He refuses to remove Alcides Escobar from the two spot in the batting order despite the fact the guy is a gift to opposing pitchers. Ned hates numbers almost as much as he hates a solid question – because he doesn’t have any answers.

“At least we finished the homestand .500.”
Ned Yost, as the Royals started their road trip in New York, Royals Radio
GH: Ned will never be accused of shooting for the moon – or even the ALC title.

“The Kansas City Royals announced today that they have placed right-handed pitcher Wade Davis on Paternity Leave List and recalled left-handed pitcher Donnie Joseph from Triple-A Omaha to take his place on the roster.”
Mike Cummings, Royals Assistant Director of Communications, Press Release
GH: How convenient is that? No wonder Davis was getting clubbed – the guy was nine months pregnant!

“That’s certainly something I wouldn’t say on the air. … I knew the potential of how that could be twisted and I did my best to point him in a different direction.”
Ryan Lefebvre, when asked on WHB’s The Border Patrol about Rex Hudler’s comments imagining Salvador Perez in Yankees pinstripes, 810 AM
GH: Lefebvre made a live appearance on WHB’s Border Patrol Thursday morning and he was very frank in discussing the controversial exchange between him and his TV analyst, Rex Hudler. Ryan is starting to get it. He didn’t crucify Hudler during this segment but he didn’t go out of his way to make it sound like there was no reason for anyone to get upset over Hudler’s comments. It was good radio. It also made Kietzman goofy rant from a couple of days ago moot. KK went on and on about how he wanted to call Lefebvre but how unfair it would be to ask him to discuss this issue. Maybe it’s a good thing The Border Patrol boys don’t have much of a conscience.

“This is my team.”
Ryan Lefebvre, on his commitment to the Royals a broadcaster and a fan, 810 AM
GH: Booyah! Score a big one for the Beav. I tweeted out a comment from Lefebvre during the broadcast when Billy Butler’s home run was tossed back onto the Yankee Stadium turf. “It still counts, buddy!” was Ryan’s response to the act. The Beaver just might be coming around.

“Ryan Lefebvre was put in a terrible position (by Rex Hudler) Tuesday night. What you will hear in this (audio) clip is that Ryan Lefebvre is one of us. … I think he’s a lifer. I don’t think he’s going anywhere. I think he’s going to broadcast his entire career with the Kansas City Royals. He is one of us.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“You’d be ten times as good as this as Steve Physioc is. This whole thing is flawed. There are plenty of ex-Royals who can do this job. Monty can surely do it. I’m a big fan of Les Norman. You’d be way better at this than him.”
Kevin Kietzman, as he talked to Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: I sure as heck am not a fan of Physioc’s formal and floral work on the Royals broadcasts – but would Danny Clinkscale be an upgrade? I don’t see the personality there that I want in a nightly play-by-play guy. And Monty and Les Norman? Who is KK kidding? Monty is just stone-cold boring and Norman has zero feel for broadcasting. The topics for his one-hour evening show would put Bill Snyder to sleep.

“Some of these Royals PR types have gotten their swagger back. Most of them don’t want to deal with reporters. They want cheerleaders, cut from the mold of Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc – two of the biggest homers when it comes to broadcasting games.”
Jack Harry, KSHB.com
GH: Who are the biggest homers in the Kansas City sports media? Here are my top five; 1) Bob Davis, KU 2) Mitch Holthus, Chiefs 3) Bob Fescoe, KU 4) Stan Weber, KSU 5) Jack Harry, MU

“When we were playing we couldn’t go over there (after getting a hit) and talk to you at first base. We would get fined. There was somebody up in the stands watching and they’d fine us. It was unbelievable, man. They kind of kept us away from each other.”
Willie Wilson, 610 AM
GH: Wilson seemed to infer that MLB teams used to forbid players from interacting with the opponent to minimize player movement from team to team. It is an interesting premise and one that sounds plausible. These same owners would like you to think that you’re a “fair-weather fan” if you don’t support the team with positivity even when the team stinks. I prefer to think you’re just smart.

“What they do now when they make that little gesture after they get a hit? In our day I felt like someone was going down. But now everybody seems like all family and friendly now.”
Willie Wilson, on the Royals’ players waving, winking, hand-jiving and whatnot to celebrate a base hit, 610 AM
GH: I was hoping old-school George Brett would have put a stop to that sophomoric reaction to expected success. Man, I think it looks bush.

“I think the fact that Eric Hosmer almost looks like the hand gestures after singles and doubles is a nuisance at this point is a good sign. Hosmer's hitting SO WELL right now his own shtick is becoming annoying to him. GOOD SIGN.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenter, Twitter

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter /@greghall24

 


The media reaction to Hudler's comments about Salvy in pinstripes

Posted 7-10-13

“All it was, was fodder! It’s just preparation and doing a little bit of homework.”
Rex Hudler, in an interview Tuesday with Danny Parkins, Carrington Harrison and Jayice Pearson, attempting to explain his comments about why he asked the Royals TV audience to imagine the Royals’ Salvador Perez in Yankees’ pinstripes, 610 AM
GH: Day Two of Hudler’s odd comments regarding Perez was even more ridiculous than Day One. The explanation made even less sense than his original blathering. And how the Kansas City sports talk radio media reacted to Hudler’s words was split right down that wide line that separates 610 and 810. Read on.

“Me and Ryan were having fun. … It was kind of a tongue-in-cheek thing.”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM
GH: Is Hudler really this dense? I believe he might be.

“I don’t think (Hudler’s) the sharpest tool in the shed. For him not to realize how this would be perceived…even with the best of intentions (Royals fans) are not going to take it the right way. He was clueless about that.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM

“Ryan’s tongue-in-cheek I thought was great! He said, ‘Hud, the only pinstripes we’re going to see on Salvy is when he’s accepting that MVP award after a World Championship with the Royals.’ It was beautiful!”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM
GH: I have a feeling the shed is sharper than Hudler.

“When you understand the source – I’m not a controversial figure guy. I’m a straight-up, straight-forward, I’m-gonna-tell-you-like-I-see-it guy. And sometimes tell you what’s on my heart.”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM
GH: For some reason Hudler thinks this is an excuse for him to make ridiculous comments during Royals broadcasts. Hudler is a buffoon. That’s not a tell-you-like-I-see-it guy. That’s a clown on a mule with a microphone. Should we expect more? Yes. A helluva lot more.

“I was surprised at the outrage on Twitter. I didn’t think anything that Rex Hudler said was that bad. I didn’t think it was a huge deal.”
Danny Parkins, prior to having Hudler on his Tuesday show, 610 AM
GH: Surprised? Could Parkins underline the fact that he’s a recent Kansas City import more profoundly? This is where the media can show their true mettle. Hudler is a weekly guest on Parkins’ radio show and 610 even uses a Hudler drop from a Royals’ broadcast where he is promoting Parkins’ and Carrington’s show. But Parkins whiffed. He either is out of touch with the KC fan base he serves or attempting to soften the blows being rained on Hudler. Both are bad moves for a young guy trying to make it in this market.

“Kansas City hates to see their home-grown stars going to play in another market. You just don’t go down that road – especially in their house.”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM
GH: Harrison is a Kansas City guy who understands this city, their fans and the history between the Royals and Yankees. He also appears to know that critiquing Hudler fairly is the smart move here – even if it makes his next conversation with the Royals’ broadcaster a bit uncomfortable.

“Hud gets in the way of Rex Hudler … Hud gets in the way of Rex Hudler. I think that’s the way to put it. It was not the best piece of broadcasting the Royals have ever seen.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Sidestep, Petro. Soren did not seem to want to take a side in this one. I was disappointed.

“I can understand why there might be some people who might be a little bit upset about that but it’s coming from a guy, I have none of that (Yankee) bitterness in my heart. I don’t have any thoughts that are going to lead to something else. I simply do homework and hang out and I share and talk about the grand game of baseball.”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM
GH: So maybe it’s not Hudler’s fault that he is an outsider who was hired to broadcast baseball games for a long-suffering fan base that he has zero relationship with or understanding of their pain. But it sure as hell is somebody’s fault that Rex is in front of a microphone every night.

“In this particular instance, do you regret saying it at all and even bringing it up?”
Jayice Pearson, in a question to Hudler, 610 AM

“No! No! Not at all! It’s what people were talking about yesterday (in New York)! My job is to share with the people and the audience what they were talking about. How popular there in the Latin community Salvy would be. That was it! If I have any information as a broadcaster that’s being talked about, I bring it up. I feel it’s my responsibility to share that.”
Rex Hudler,  responding to Pearson’s question, 610 AM
GH: But Hudler didn’t relay his “information” in that manner. He didn’t say, “The Yankees were saying today can you imagine Perez in pinstripes?’ Unfortunately, the 610 crew never called Hudler out on this point.

“Did you hear from anybody with the Royals about what you said?”
Danny Parkins, to Hudler, 610 AM

“No. Not at all. Why should I? I don’t see what I said was – outside of maybe the history of the Royals losing players to big-market teams. I can understand that. You know what’s beautiful? No one from the organization ever calls me or ever says, ‘Don’t say this, don’t do that.’ What I have is a creative position. It’s a wonderful, wonderful job.”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM
GH: Since Hudler is so ignorant of the Royals’ history, I am guessing he’s never heard of the guy he replaced in the Royals TV booth, Frank White.

“I think (Hudler) dug his own grave. I don’t think they’re going to fire him right now but I don’t think they’re going to renew his contract. I’m not sure he can say he’s sorry for what he meant. I’ve never heard of anybody else like Rex…and we don’t want this here.”
Frank Boal, 810 AM
GH: This was about as opinionated as I have ever heard Frank Boal be while publicly discussing another member of the media. It says just how far outside the local media Hudler’s orbit circles.

“If I’m a homer and people say I’m a homer, well too bad because I cover this team for 142 games and I get attached to our royal blue! I hope it doesn’t come across that way but I’m certainly pulling for Billy Butler to hit a Billy Bomb with some barbeque sauce on it!”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM

“I just want people to understand that I’m real. I do make mistakes. I don’t have a great command of the English language, obviously. I’m a baseball-educated human being. … Look, I don’t have any idea what’s going to be said when it comes out. I just say stuff.”
Rex Hudler, 610 AM
GH: Sounds like the perfect guy for the job of broadcasting 142 games without a script. Nicely done, Royals.

“That just made me sick last night.”
Kevin Kietzman, on Hudler’s Salvy in pinstripes comments, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman is a huge Frank White fan and has the former Royals’ Gold-Glove second baseman on his show weekly. He aggressively supports White and has scolded the Royals for firing him from their TV booth. Parkins and Carrington have Hudler as a weekly guest and they tilt toward supporting him and overlooking his shortcomings. Would the two radio stations react differently if White was a regular on 610 and Hudler was a regular on 810? Sure. It’s radio. They change their pinstripes at the drop of a sponsor.

“By the way, @kkwhb if you're going to call for a guy's job and you have his phone number, call him and invite him on the show. Radio 101. But I forgot, @kkwhb throws stones from his ivory tower. I've been in KC for over 2 years and I've seen him at exactly one event. ONE!! Apparently. He's a coward. And when you’re not accountable for your opinions you can say ridiculous, unsubstantiated and sometimes untrue things a la @kkwhb. Rant over.”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, Twitter
GH: Two years into his career in sports media in Kansas City Kevin Kietzman was covering all the same events that Parkins brags about attending. Why does Kietzman need to personally confront Hudler? Because he has voiced negative opinions about his work? KK is stating his thoughts on a 50K watt radio station. It’s not like he’s hiding. I just don’t understand the media’s temper tantrums when they think one of their own has been besmirched. Was Parkins this upset when KK went after Mark Mangino? Or John Currie? Or a hundred other sports figures? The media could use a tougher hide.

“Moustakas and Hosmer both strike me as guys who would go to the Yankees as fast as they can get there.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: You want to talk about a controversial statement?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Hudler dreams of a pinstriped Perez

Posted 7-9-13

“Imagine what it would be like if he wore the pinstripes here (in New York).”
Rex Hudler, Royals TV color analyst, as he discussed how much more popular the Royals All-Star catcher, Salvador Perez, would be as a Yankee than as a Royals player, FSKC
GH: Boom! With that sentence Rex Hudler went from harmless bumbling comedic broadcaster to scorched earth outsider. A Royals broadcaster publicly dreaming about a beloved young Royals All-Star player dressed in Yankees pinstripes? Rex reached another level of dumb with this boner.

“You go ahead. You spend the rest of the night imagining that and I’ll think about something else.”
Ryan Lefebvre, in response to Hudler’s foot-in-mouth disease, FSKC
GH: Lefebvre tried (unsuccessfully) to prevent Hudler from his historically bad gaffe. The Beav twice said “NO!” while Hudler was attempting to articulate his nonsense. But dumb just can’t be cured when mixed with a microphone.

“What’s a video-machine guy? Are you saying he’s like a cartoon character?”
Ryan Lefebvre, who appeared to take some pleasure in poking fun at Rex Hudler about his lack of command of the English language, FSKC
GH: Lefebvre sounded like he wanted nothing to do with Hudler after he made an ass out of himself and alienated the Royals viewing audience. It sounded to me like Hudler’s comments gave Ryan a chance to publicly air some pent up frustration he has housed while having to work with the denseness that is Rex Hudler. Ryan used his intellect to slice Hudler into little pieces and watched them shrivel and squirm. It was a priceless moment in Royals TV the likes of which of which we rarely are treated.

“Don’t go there, Rex. Whatever you were trying to do you can’t go there. … (Rex) is kind of like that friend you bring along with you but you don’t know what he’s going to say, but he’s there and you’re just waiting for that spark to go off.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: And this is the guy the Royals signed to broadcast their TV broadcasts?

“Hearing Rex Hudler hint that Salvy Perez would look good in pinstripes made me want to throw up. And they fired Frank White for this guy?”
@fox4sports, Twitter

“Seriously? HUD suggested that Perez would look good in pinstripes? What a moron- more than I had already thought. Fire him.”
Robert Sigrist, @DocSig, Twitter

“Please don't quote Rex anymore. He is now on the NoFly list after his ‘Sal would look good in pinstripes’ comment.”
Eric Clarkson, @Eric_Clarkson, Twitter
GH: Who wants to bet the Royals have Hudler make a formal apology on tonight’s broadcast? They better write it out word for word for this clown because if he is allowed to go off script he might trade Alex Gordon to the Mets.

“This is why I didn’t like the Royals going out and hiring Rex Hudler and bringing him here. He has no understanding of the fan base and he doesn’t have any knowledge of this team’s history.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Gordon, Salvy get All Star nod but no video of announcement this time

Posted 7-8-13

“I was more nervous than I’ve been all year long wanting to win that game (Saturday) so we could celebrate this in the right fashion. We were gonna celebrate this -- win, lose or draw. It is such a special accomplishment… Thinking about these two guys and how special they are not only to me and to our organization and to this city, I was almost overwhelmed a couple of times during the game.”
Ned Yost, on knowing but not being able to tell Alex Gordon and Salvador Perez they had been selected as All Stars prior to Saturday’s 4-3 win over Oakland, Kansas City Star
GH: We rarely see much emotion from Yost except his gruff, grumpy reaction to the media and their questions. It says something about the Royals’ manager that his public persona has been formed by his demeaning responses to WHB’s Nate Bukaty.

“In 10 years of doing this, I’ve never not gotten emotional."
Ned Yost, on becoming emotional as he announced to the team that Gordon and Perez had made the All-Star team, Kansas City Star
GH: Last July Fox Sports was allowed to capture Yost’s speech to his team when Billy Butler was selected to represent the Royals in Kansas City’s All-Star game. It was a rare look at Yost being more than a cold, arrogant baseball lifer. Click here to watch the video from last season.

“Cameras were not allowed in (the Royals’ locker room) this year like they were last year.”
Nate Bukaty, on there not being any video of Yost announcing Alex Gordon’s and Salvador Perez’s selection to the All-Star game, 810 AM
GH: Bukaty’s choice of words here are telling. “Cameras were not allowed…” Bukaty explained that the reason there was video of Yost talking to his team last year when he announced Butler’s selection was because the All-Star game was in Kansas City. So did the Royals not allow cameras this year? And why not? This is a franchise that needs all the feel-good stories it can muster.

“I’ve had the opportunity to be (involved) with five All-Star games. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
Ned Yost, 810 AM
GH: Kind of sounds like a five-times-in-a-life experience, Ned.

“Major league baseball is as dying a sport as we’ve ever seen! It’s dying!”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Fescoe made the comment that NFL.com’s online tournament to pick the best all-time NFL jersey has captured the attention of more fans than MLB. What was disappointing about Fescoe’s rant was not his inane comment (of which we are well accustomed), but the fact that his cohost, Josh Klingler, barely challenged Fescoe’s nonsense. Here are some quick facts. MLB has 30 teams that play 162 games. 17 teams are averaging 31,000 in attendance or more through this week. All but four average 21,000 or more. The worst attendance is in Miami with 17,196. The Royals are averaging just under 22,000 this season – and haven’t made the postseason since 1985! I continue to be blown away by how many people go to MLB games every night. A standing-room-only ticket for a Twins game is $25 – and that’s for no seat! It might be time for Fescoe to take another vacation.

“As for what (Eric Hosmer’s) done with (George) Brett and (Pedro) Grifol, Hosmer vaguely explains, ‘We’ve installed an approach that we stick to every day and a routine that we’ve created and stick to, so that basically when you’re in the box you let all the work you’ve done and all the talent take over.’ That doesn’t explain much, which is perhaps testimony to it all still feeling like a work in progress. Maybe getting his groove back is too fresh or fragile to potentially jinx or subject to possible paralysis by analysis.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star

GH: I am still trying to get a feel for Gregorian’s style as a columnist. His “column” on Hosmer in Monday’s Kansas City Star and his column on Davis Lough Sunday and Woody Widenhofer on Wednesday read more like feature stories than columns. That’s okay if The Star wants Gregorian to write in-depth feel-good JoPo-lite columns. But Vahe isn’t near the storyteller that JoPo was and is. I believe your sports columnist should be a reason you don’t want to miss reading the morning newspaper. He/she should be the catalyst for office conversation on their column topic. Am I picking on Gregorian? Yeah. I expected more. A lot more.


“I don’t think you’re going to get much for (Ervin Santana) I’d probably just hold onto him and roll the dice.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: If Gregorian wants a column topic to sink his keyboard into and take a side – the trade-or-keep Ervin Santana discussion is a good one. If I was Dayton Moore I would keep Santana and see if the right hander could save my job. If I was David Glass, I’d be telling Moore to shop him over the All-Star break and get me a couple of power-hitting prospects. Wonder what Vahe thinks the Royals should do?

“(Dick Kaegel) doesn’t want to talk to the broadcast people. He’ll make little digs at sport talk radio people. ... If people are asking too many questions he’ll kind of roll his eyes and huff. For the most part I leave Dick alone and he leaves me alone.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Dick Kaegel, the 73-year-old Royals’ beat writer for MLB.com, isn’t just old school. He was in class before moveable type. I’ve always liked Kaegel but he’s about as relative to today’s sports media as ticker tape. If anyone’s questions deserve an eye roll and a huff, it’s Kaegel’s fluffy donuts.

“Here's the good thing about today's game, no players have been stabbed and none of the umpires have had their head chopped off.”
Mike McCarthy, @mikemccarthykc, PA voice at The K, on the Royals 10-4 loss to Oakland Sunday, Twitter
GH: Did you read about or see the video of the Brazilian soccer referee who stabbed a player to death and then was chopped into pieces and beheaded by fans? Sports and religion – some people need a bit more of a healthy perspective when it comes to both.

“Max Scherzer goes for win 14 tonight vs CLE. Tribe hitting .143 in two starts vs Scherzer this year with 14 Ks, 1 walk.”
Dave Matter, @Dave_Matter, on the former Mizzou hurler’s pursuit of a 14-0 start, Twitter
GH: Scherzer versus Cleveland is a top-billing matchup. Detroit looks to be rolling.

“Media applaud (Andy) Murray as he walks into interview room.”
Greg Couch, writer, @gregcouch, on the media reaction to the men’s champion at Wimbledon, Twitter
GH: Is it proper for the media covering an athlete or event to applaud in a post-game press conference? No. But even the media are human. And the human side of anyone is something that cannot be governed by what you learned at Syracuse or Mizzou.

“I really like the ‘over’ on Kansas this year. I think they win five games this year. Maybe six. I think they not only get one conference win but two conference wins.”
Soren Petro, on his optimism about Charlie Weis’ Jayhawks this season, 810 AM
GH: Five wins by KU football would be a lot. Six wins and a bowl bid would have thoughts of Mangino dancing in Jayhawk fans’ heads. (Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!)

“I’m going to say this again. You better watch out if you get rid of Gary Pinkel (at Missouri). Better watch out for what you wish for.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Wasn’t it Kietzman who was warning KU football fans about their criticism of Turner Gill? Pinkel will need to get to a bowl game this season or his motorcycle seat is going to be SEC hot. Mizzou is not spending all this cash on their stadium and facilities to end their football season at Thanksgiving every fall.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Grifol sheds light on Royals' new approach to hitting

Posted 7-5-13

“All  of a sudden (the Royals) get down by five runs and they’re not out of the game.”
Nate Bukaty, on the Royals coming back from a 5-0 deficit against Cleveland Thursday, 810 AM
GH: How many of us watched Thursday’s Indians/Royals game and thought that 5-0 hole and started scrolling through the afternoon movie schedule? Could this be the Royals we thought we might see out of spring training?

“In Eric Hosmer’s last 19 games, he’s got 8 homers and 15 RBI; since the start of June, he’s batting .311, with 9 walks.”
Buster Olney, @Buster_ESPN, MLB writer for ESPN, Twitter
GH: It was not long ago that Nate Bukaty and Steven St. John waged a bet on the air on what would happen first – would Eric Hosmer homer or would Mike Moustakas get his average over .200. Things looked that bad for both. I would cringe when Hosmer would come to the plate with runners on and the game in peril. All that has changed – at least for Hosmer. Read on.

“He’s a very talented kid. This very well could be who he is.”
Pedro Grifol, Royals hitting coach, in an interview with Nate Bukaty, on Eric Hosmer’s recent power numbers, 810 AM
GH: So how did Hosmer go from a guy who could not hit the ball in the air or anything to his pull side except a weak grounder to second? Is it George Brett? Maybe. But a guy named Pedro Grifol has also had some effect on the Royals offensive explosion. Read on.

“We want these guys swinging the bat with some authority. We don’t want them guiding the ball to the opposite field.”
Pedro Grifol, 810 AM
GH: Huh? This is as much of a non-Royals a statement as saying, “Parking is free tonight!” The Seitzer-ized approach the Royals have taken for decades is an inside-out swing approach to hitting. Hit the ball where it’s pitched. Singles to the opposite field were treated to rave reviews by Royals’ broadcasters – it showed an intelligence to hitting. Remember Jack Maloof’s approach?

“There is just no reward here to try and hit home runs. We try to stay down on the ball, be more line-drive oriented, and do more situational hitting at least through the first two or three rounds (at home) here. That's why I'm not overly concerned because I think we'll lead the league in fewest home runs again this year.”
Jack Maloof, former Royals hitting coach, just before he was demoted to Omaha,
foxsportskansascity.com
GH: Maloof must have been beside himself watching that Cleveland series with the Royals hitting two grand slams and then three rally-killing dongs on Thursday. Hope Jack’s enjoying the excellent Mexican restaurants in Omaha because he’s not going to be getting any good KC BBQ again until the off-season.

“I don’t like working on these guys’ weaknesses. I like working on their strengths. … If you continue to work on your weaknesses you’re going to forget and not work on your strengths. We really focus on our strengths.”
Pedro Grifol, 810 AM
GH: Listening to Pedro was like listening to the hitting coach from Mars. He basically said everything backward to what we have been taught, told and preached to when it comes to hitting. I loved every word of it.

“Competing is the most important thing (to hitting). If you’re thinking about anything other than competing between the lines you’re not going to have success.”
Pedro Grifol, 810 AM
GH: This sounds like something Brett preaches. No hitter competed better than Brett. If George can get these guys to focus like he did in the batter’s box, the AL pitchers are going to start to fear this Royals’ lineup.

“It looks to me like Eric Hosmer has a drastically different swing (than earlier this season). Am I wrong?”
Nate Bukaty, to Grifol, 810 AM
GH: Hosmer has a big loopy swing. It has been the target of much criticism as his power numbers disappeared. But Pedro had another surprise answer for Nate. Read on.

“The swing and the bat path has remained the same.”
Pedro Grifol, 810 AM
GH: So what’s different? Glad you asked…

“What (Hosmer) did not understand and what George and I have explained to him is you elevate a baseball with your legs. You don’t elevate a baseball with your swing. You don’t want to change his swing. I think that’s what he’s done so well. He’s able to grasp the fact that your swing stays the same but your drive and the power and the leverage comes from the legs. And we’ve explained to him how to use the legs.”
Pedro Grifol, 810 AM
GH: So that’s why I was a singles hitter for 30 years! With my marathon legs I should have been Dave Kingman!

“(Hosmer and Moustakas) tend to get a little too vertical. When you get too vertical you tend to lose your legs and you lose your power. … But don’t forget to compete. It’s all about competing and being in the right state of mind.”
Pedro Grifol, 810 AM
GH: Confidence cannot be overstated when it comes to hitting. Hosmer looks like he KNOWS he’s going to rip the ball now when he steps into the box. If Moose ever gets that same look, this summer could get really special.

“It’s been there; this is no magic, no big fluke. Now, (the players) are starting to believe. … These kids are starting to feel what a good swing feels like.”
Ned Yost, on the Royals offensive surge, Kansas City Star
GH: So where the hell has it been? Isn’t it Yost’s job to find this non-magical power that’s always been there before July? I still think Yost is far too easy on his players. There just doesn’t seem to be any penalty for failure.

“Who knows what it will mean come September — or maybe even a few days from now — but, at this moment, the Royals are riding a blue wave that beckons with all sorts of marvelous possibilities.”
Bob Dutton, in his lede for Thursday’s game story, Kansas City Star
GH: Pinch yourself Royals fans. It’s July and the Boys in Blue still have a pulse. And what is different about this July is the pulse isn’t fading – it’s growing.

“We had a meeting before the game to (make sure we) play hard every day, no matter what happened yesterday. We ended up where we got today.”
Salvy Perez, Royals catcher, Kansas City Star

“For the Indians, these four games with Detroit at Progressive Field are more than a big series. It's huge series. It's a series that can set up the entire second half of the season. … These four games with the Tigers comprise the most important weekend of the Tribe's season. Part of the reason is the last two games, losses by scores of 6-5 and 10-7 in Kansas City. Bullpen blowouts, both times.”
Terry Pluto, writer, Cleveland Plain Dealer
GH: Scoreboard watching in Kansas City…in July? Be still my heart.

“(Lorenzo Cain) kept fouling them away, fouling them away, then I hear the bat. He hits it well [into] left center field. I went crazy.”
Debbie Hassid, on Cain hitting a grand slam in the Sonic Slam Sixth to win her $25,000, Fox 4
GH: I listen to a LOT of Royals games on the radio. Some of the in-game promotions they have appear to me to be tougher to win than the ping pong toss at a parking-lot carnival.

“It was a great feeling you know. Like I said, to win somebody $25,000… that’s an awesome feeling.”
Lorenzo Cain, Fox 4
GH: Fox 4 reports that this is only the third time since the promotion began in 2004 that a contestant has won the $25K.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Billy and Moose could take a fitness lesson from Lough

Posted 7-3-13

“I really, really take care of my body. We’re athletes, I think we should take care of our body. … I wanted to take control of (my body). I’m actually a certified trainer. Yeah, I take care of my body to a ‘T.’ And I’m careful with what I eat.”
David Lough, when asked by Nate Bukaty how he goes about maintaining his fitness, 810 AM
GH: Let’s hope Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas were listening in to The Border Patrol for Lough’s comments. Can you imagine how good Butler and Moose could be if they got as serious about fitness as Gordon, Lough and Gio? Billy needs to get rid of that BBQ sauce and start pimping Grandview Granola.

“Me and Johnny (Giavotella) have come up through the (Royals’) system together and we’ve been roommates at almost every stop we’ve made. He’s one of my best friends.”
David Lough, 810 AM
GH: I am not sure when I’ve rooted harder for two Royals to produce and make it. Both Lough and Gio play ball like they were college kids trying to make the travel squad. I see some Jim Eisenreich in both of them – and who didn’t like Ike?

“It’s all about being patient – especially at that Triple-A level.”
David Lough, on being a 27-year-old rookie with the Royals, 810 AM
GH: It is my opinion that the minor leagues teaches discipline. Moose has a lot of talent but is missing some of that discipline that a player develops when his production is the result of work rather than talent.

“He was a great mentor. You can’t ask for a better guy than Jeff Francoeur, I’ll tell you that. Jeff goes out of his way to come talk to you and point you in the right direction.”
David Lough, 810 AM
GH: If there is anybody who has an unkind word to utter about Frenchy, I have yet to find them. His interview with The Drive on 610 almost made you miss him…in the dugout.

“If (the T-Bones) would really like to pull a great stunt they’d sign Frenchy.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“We’ve identified five candidates for (MLB All-Star) selection, and we’re conducting an online poll at www.kansascity.com to determine who you, the fans, believe is the most deserving candidate.”
Bob Dutton, KansasCity.com
GH: The Star’s candidates are in alphabetical order; Billy Butler, Alex Gordon, Greg Holland, Salvy Perez and Ervin Santana. This might be the most obvious poll since Coke pitted New vs. Old. Greg Holland will be wearing a Royals cap at the All-Star game. Love what Santana has done too but Holland is maybe the best pitcher in the AL right now. Yes, I wrote pitcher, not just closer.

“Every dog has its day twice, I guess. It felt good to do it front of the Cincinnati fans.”
Homer Bailey, who is 5-6 for the Reds, after pitching his second no-hitter for the Reds over the past two seasons, Kansas City Star

“You lose your rooting interests covering sports but you can root for moments. That no-hitter by Homer Bailey was awesome to watch.”
Richard Deitsch, @richarddeitsch, after the Cincinnati pitcher tossed his second no-no last night in ten months, Sports Illustrated writer, Twitter
GH: I have found this fact to be true of most people in the media who cover sports for any length of time – they stop being fans and become cynics. It is just the way the business of sports is. A guy or gal gets into the biz because they love the games and the players but then soon sours on the reality of what he/she is exposed. I would argue though that the sports media loses interest in this order; 1) Print – the quickest to drop the fan face 2) TV guy/gal – not sure they were all that much a fan to start, except of themselves 3) Radio sports talk guy – these guys are hardcore sports fans and tough to convert to skepticism or reality.

“That (KU) crimson helmet with the WWII era Jayhawk is sick. I also hope they will be a free DLC update on NCAA 2014 like they did with the updated uniforms that came out after development on last year's NCAA 2013.”
texashawk10, regarding KU’s new football helmet designs, in a reader comment on KUSports.com
GH: When I was in high school I called the KU sports offices and tried to buy a blue KU helmet with the Jayhawk on the side. No dice. I also wanted a USC bonnet at the time. I still think both are two of the best lids in college football. I always thought Michigan’s headdress was a mess of stripes and I never liked all those buckeyes on the OSU helmet. What college helmets did you favor as a kid?

“Are we trying to compete with Oregon?”
KU_Dude, regarding KU’s new football helmet designs, in a reader comment on KUSports.com

“My son's second-favorite football team is the Ducks and the uni's have a lot to do with it. A team needs to go one of two ways with uni's: All-Time Classic or Modern. Unfortunately, we've almost always been in the middle. Nothing replaces winning, but sharp uni's don't hurt.”
Kingfisher, in a reader comment on KUSports.com

“No…except maybe if I’m poolside.”
Steve Spector, 610 producer, when asked if he wears his assortment of NCAA and NBA basketball jerseys he has collected, 610 AM

“I’ll say this – a grown ass man wearing a jersey looks stupid. But this is America…”
Brad Fanning, KCTV-5 sportscaster, responding to Spector’s pool attire, 610 AM

“There’s a couple of gals in (the Nathan’s hot dog eating contest). She’s really good too.”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: Binkley is a walking, talking Google search when it comes to almost anything sports related – and apparently even hot-dog easting celebrities. He ripped off the names and resumes of the contestants in Thursday’s contest like they were NFL running backs. Impressive…kind of.

“What are you going to do if you’re standing there with your wife and a jeweler tells you that it’s going to be $500 to repair your ring and it’s not safe to wear? What are you going to do as a husband?”
Gary Joslin, in a radio ad for his jewelry store, 810 AM
GH: I love this radio commercial by Joslin. Is he suggesting that I would be embarrassed to decline paying for a $500 jewelry repair simply because my wife is beside me? Maybe Joslin’s married clientele is different from my wife and I – but we’re both laughing at the jeweler as we walk out the door of that tin shop.

“It would be safer for all of us if you observed with brats and pork steaks rather than guns and fireworks.”
Francis Slay, @MayorSlay, Mayor of St. Louis, Twitter
GH: St. Louis has Mayor Slay and KC has Mayor Sly. Both are wishing you all a safe Fourth.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Royals entering important stretch of the schedule

Posted 7-1-13

“I don’t think anybody is surprised.”
Dayton Moore, on the Royals’ decision to release Jeff Francoeur, Kansas City Star
GH: Is Dayton Moore that clueless to the Royals’ fan base? Royals’ fans, bloggers and the media have been calling for Friendly Frenchy’s release for two seasons but almost no one thought the Royals would admit their mistake and walk away from his $5-million salary. So yes, Dayton. We were pretty much floored that you acted like a real MLB franchise and placed winning over your budget.

“I think everybody is so afraid to say, ‘Boy, I’m glad we got rid of Jeff Francoeur (because he’s such a nice guy). It’s okay to say finally they made the move they should have made.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: I am not sure who the “everybody” is that SSJ is referring to but I haven’t heard of anyone who is bashful about applauding the Royals’ for this long-needed move. If Twitter could dance, it would have been doing a jig.

“WOOOOOO-EEEEEEE! <Puts Ode to Joy on full blast.> <Dances awkwardly.> <Pulls hamstring.> <Doesn’t care>. And I thought the Royals forgot my birthday.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, in his tweet once he learned of Francoeur’s release, Twitter

“Who deserves credit that they walked away from Jeff Francoeur?”
Nate Bukaty, in a question to Mellinger, implying either David Glass or Dayton Moore deserved credit for designating Francoeur for assignment, 810 AM
GH: Do we assign credit for finally correcting a mistake that was so long ignored? Nixon finally got the U.S. out of Vietnam but I don’t think he added it to his resume.

“If there is a major weakness that this franchise has had I would call it a blind spot for certain players.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: If? This franchise hasn’t made the postseason in 28 years. The Royals have more major weaknesses that the Kansas City sewer system.

“I’ve been telling you about my wife’s amazing Lasik surgery. Hell, even she can see that Jeff Francoeur needed to be released.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: Can you imagine the great screenplay that is being written by the Royals’ front office over the past few weeks?

Dayton: “We need to do something quick or this 4-19 record is going to cost all of us our jobs. What about bringing George Brett back to play third?”

Ned: “Do you think he’d do it? I could bat him third! Or first! Or second! Or ninth! Oh, just think of the lefty-righty lineups we could screw up with George in there!”

Glass: “Ya damn fools! The man is 60 years old! He can’t play third! Maybe first, but not third!”

Dayton: “What if we fire Seitzer again and hire George to replace him?”

Ned: “How about firing another base coach? That always stirs things up! That Rusty Kuntz has been acting a little shifty if you ask me…”

Glass: “You two are dumber than my son Dan reading a French menu to Jim Wooldridge. Hire George as a hitting coach. That should shut the fans up for at least a month. Then if things keep going south we can send Getz down. The fans hate him more than $8 beers. If we get to July and need another boost, cut Frenchy loose. Hell, they’ll hold a parade on that one!”

Dayton: “Okay, okay, got it. So what happens if we get to the All-Star break and we’re 10 games back?”

Ned: “How’s Frank White’s range at second? Any chance we can patch up that little dust up and get Frankie back to hit second? Or fourth? Or eighth?”

“Johnny’s the sparkplug for our team.”
Eric Hosmer, in a postgame interview Sunday, when asked about Giavotella’s contribution to the 9-8 win, Royals Radio
GH: Gio goes 3-for-4 in his first game back and David Lough gets four extra base hits and adds his name to a Royals’ list that includes George Brett, Hal McRae, Johnny Damon and Lonnie Smith. I sure would like to see these two career minor-leaguers play out the season. Their appreciation for being on the roster is such a contrast to the way Moose has moped around for the past three months. Maybe these two will remind Moose just how lucky he is to be a ball player.

“If Eric Hosmer continues to hit it out of the yard, we could be in for a fun August – a fun July and August! I think there are reasons to be optimistic.”
Johnny Kane, KMBC TV 9 sportscaster, 610 AM
GH: Hosmer looks like a completely different hitter the past three weeks. And he’s getting better each night. Score one for George and Pedro.

“Wade Davis sure had a lousy outing (in Minneapolis) but I don’t think we’re ready to write him off yet.”
Johnny Kane, KMBC TV 9 sportscaster, 610 AM
GH: I’m already off the Wade Davis train. The Royals should be too after that effort in Minneapolis where it took him 69 pitches to record three outs. St. John made a brilliant suggestion to move Davis to the late-inning bridge role (where he excelled in Tampa) and replace him in the rotation with Danny Duffy or Yordano Ventura. The Royals are only 4.5 back. It is time to act like a contending team. Sending Davis back out for another start is what the old Royals always did.

“I’m not a full believer but I’m not out.”
Josh Klingler, on his belief in the Royals’ chances to compete through the summer, 610 AM
GH: I don’t think even Ned Yost is a full believer. This is the Royals after all. But what the hell? Football season is still over a month away.

“Tom Hallion, the home plate umpire, and boy he is just scared to death of the corners. Everybody has to be patient when you’ve got a strike zone like this. Basically, you’re watching two guys play catch – the pitcher and the catcher.”
Denny Matthews, commenting on Hallion’s strike zone Sunday in Minneapolis, Royals Radio
GH: Denny may have been more upset with Hallion’s strike zone than any home-plate ump I have ever heard him curse. He must have said, “teeny tiny strike zone,” a dozen times in bemoaning the length of the game and the number of base runners.

“I hope (Hallion) misses his flight tonight! It would serve him right.”
Denny Matthews, as his frustration with Hallion’s strike zone grew in the bottom of the second inning, Royals Radio
GH: Physioc just kept feeding Denny’s anger by agreeing with him and ripping Hallion himself. Strike zones like Hallion’s make the game a joke. The game is so much more enjoyable to play, watch and broadcast when the hitters are made to be aggressive at the plate. Maybe then we would get Denny to make a home run call that sounded like he gave a damn that Eric Hosmer hit one deep. Instead, I get the feeling he’s pissed because it extended the game another minute or two.

“We are joined now by Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: Mellinger, who was a regular on 610 in years past, announced his appearance on 810’s The Border Patrol via Twitter but with little fanfare. Read on.

“Going on 810 in a minute…”
Sam Mellinger, @mellinger, Twitter
GH: So has 810 taken control of The Star’s staff away from 610 as their insiders? Adam Teicher, Blair Kerkhoff and now the floppy-haired Mellinger appear to have exclusive deals with 810 AM. Was this a move made by 810 or did The Star approach 810 in an effort to align their people with 810? Mellinger’s conversation with SSJ and Bukaty was all business. There was none of the familiarity and jocularity that was evident during Mellinger’s appearances with Nick Wright, Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison. Soren Petro of The Program has a great rapport with Kerkhoff and Teicher. Hopefully The Border Patrol will warm to Mellinger’s quirky wit as well.

“I think I’ve set a record for saying the word ‘gauntlet’ today on a radio show.”
Josh Vernier, as he repeatedly discussed the importance of the Royals’ next 13 games against quality opponents, 610 AM
GH: The Royals play six against Cleveland, three against the A’s and four at the Yankees – with no off days over the next 13 dates. That is a gauntlet.

“They could get buried in this next stretch and that’s what they need to avoid.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: Let’s see if the new kids on the block can take advantage of their opportunities.

“David Lough and Johnny Giavotella are part of that group that came up together. You hope there is some chemistry there.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Hope. It’s pretty much all we’ve got.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Petro points out Billy Butler is getting a free pass

Posted 6-28-13

“Haith on Oriakhi as defender/rebounder: ‘All the time we tell guys, ‘Just do you.' ... He didn’t go out there and jack up a bunch of shots.’ … Haith was clearly choosing words carefully on Pressey. I thought his comments on Oriakhi were more telling of what maybe held back Pressey.”
Dave Matter, @Dave_Matter, after Oriakhi was drafted by Phoenix with the 57th pick and Pressey went undrafted, Twitter
GH: Pressey has now signed with the Celtics as a free agent. Is that enough of a reason to give up a free college degree and another year of being pampered as a college basketball star at Missouri? I guess it is for Flip and his family. I just never understood their eagerness to leave a good thing. And call what Haith and the Presseys had at Mizzou what you will – but they will have a difficult time duplicating the comfortable environment the Tigers offered them for his three years there. Work is hard. College life is far more fun.

“No school (laugh). No study hall. You just get to do what you love, and that’s play basketball. It’s a fun experience; I’m not going to lie.”
Phil Pressey, when asked by Terez Paylor what was the best thing about going through the pre-draft process, KansasCity.com
GH: If Pressey was dreading study halls at Mizzou, maybe that is an indication he didn’t understand that he might want to have an alternative plan to a career in the NBA. Flip is a great role model for every young baller out there who thinks the NBA is a given for them. It ain’t. Use the system to your advantage. Get your free degree and then maybe you get lucky. Maybe.

“I’m curious to know what kind of success Kansas fans think Ben McLemore is going to have in the (NBA).”
Soren Petro, after the KU shooting guard went seventh overall to Sacramento, 810 AM
GH: LeBron James thinks McLemore is going to have a great career in the NBA. King James was paying attention during the draft and tweeted out while Ben was still waiting in the Green Room…

 

“They sleeping on Ben McLemore. Just watch.”
LeBron James, Twitter

“I love Jeff Withey going to Portland because I think they are a really good organization.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The Kansas shot-blocking machine when 39th to Portland – not in the top 20 like some experts were predicting. But I don’t think Withey’s draft order will matter to his NBA career. He has 10-year sub written all over his wingspan.

“I would like to call (Bill Simmons) an idiot but I’m too classy for that.”
Doc Rivers, the former Celtics head coach, after he was told the Grantland.com columnist said he quit on the Celtics by taking the trade to the Clippers, ESPN
GH: Doc didn’t sound all that classy to me with this retort. Rivers is a good head coach but he’s out of his league attempting to have a war of words with a wordsmith like Simmons. I would advise Doc to back away from the camera and wave.

“When he sticks to the story I’ll believe the truth. … Just own it.”
Bill Simmons, responding to Rivers’ comment, ESPN

“I love what (Bill Simmons) is doing on Grantland(.com) but I can do without him on TV. He does nothing for me there.”
Josh Vernier, 810 AM
GH: I think Simmons is a brilliant writer. As an NBA analyst on television…he makes a great writer. His voice alone is enough to get me to change the channel. After many, many years I have finally come to accept the geeky John Clayton – despite his voice and wimpy appearance. Simmons offers much of the same physical limitations on camera. All the more reason to keep some writers wring and not on camera.

“At 1 am last night, there wasn’t one headline among the top 4 most read on ESPN.com that involved the NBA Draft.”
Darren Rovell, @darrenrovell, Twitter
GH: The NBA draft is interesting for about 10 picks – and then it becomes a localized event for a few college fans who care about “their” guy. So few of these picks ever make an NBA game it’s just not comparable to the NFL draft. Although watching David Stern revel in being bathed in boos al night was highly entertaining.

“All-time #CWS record crowd of 341,483 this year. Tonight's crowd of 27,127 is the largest in three years at TD Ameritrade Park.”
Mitch Sherman, @mitchsgerman, for the final-game crowd in Omaha to watch UCLA and Mississippi State, Twitter
GH: The Royals will draw about 1.6 million for their 81 home dates this season. The CWS drew over 21% of that gate in a little over a week – in Omaha. There are plenty of baseball fans here in Royals’ country. They just need a reason to show up.

“Last night (in the 3-1 loss to the Twins) was typical of what we are going to see from this (Royals’) team offensively three or four times a week. … If they really thought they had a chance to contend they would have made some moves and they haven’t done it. I don’t think they really see this team as a contending team right now.”
Brian McRae, 810 AM
GH: McRae is one of my favorite Royals’ analysts. He speaks bluntly and realistically about his former team. McRae is the opposite of Joel Goldberg – who says almost nothing of value and takes forever to say it.

“You can tell the guys are all working hard.”
Nate Bukaty, when asked for his assessment of what he sees from the Royals when he covers them during their homestands, 810 AM
GH: This is not necessarily a good thing. If the Royals’ players are putting in the work and still scoring runs at a putrid rate and running the bases like blind men – something is very wrong with the talent level of this team. And how hard are Billy Butler and Mike Moustakas working to be in their 20s and look like softball players?

“Billy Butler is one of the biggest case studies that needs to be examined – because he has got to hit! Somehow we are giving Billy Butler a free pass. It is one of the biggest problems this team has. Are they pitching around Billy Butler? Yes, but that’s part of the game! The reality is this – he absolutely has to hit better.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: One of the biggest free rides Butler has received from the media is from Kevin Kietzman. KK, who has referred to Butler as a friend, seems to constantly overlook Butler’s stats in favor of ripping Alex Gordon. Who do you think deserves more criticism?

“I think that’s going to be a really frustrating day – when the Royals trade Ervin Santana. I think that’s going to be a signal that this season is over. I couldn’t bring myself to do it if I was Dayton Moore.”
Danny Parkins, 810 AM
GH: I disagree. This Royals team is going nowhere this season unless Butler, Moose, Hosmer, Cain and Ned Yost do a 180 over the next month and carry that through September. I don’t see that happening. Moore should shop Santana now while he is at his most attractive and see if the next Wil Myers is out there somewhere.

“I wish I could know Clark (Hunt) like I knew his dad.”
Neil Smith, discussing how much he respected Lamar Hunt and how personally involved Lamar was with his players, 610 AM
GH: I enjoyed Neil Smith’s extended appearance on The Drive Thursday with Jayice Pearson, Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison – and not for the usual reasons I enjoy listening to Neil. He was articulate, insightful and spoke with passion. Read on.

“I’ll tell you what man, (Norma Hunt) is the backbone of that family and she knows it. Any player who has ever encountered her will say the same thing.”
Neil Smith, 810 AM
GH: Interesting. We know so little about Mom Hunt. I wonder if she would do a radio interview? Seems like someone at 610 or 810 should check that out.

“I still hold my two (Chiefs season) tickets. My kids go. And every blue moon I slide in there to see a game.”
Neil Smith, who said he prefers to watch the Chiefs game on television rather than at Arrowhead, 610 AM
GH: Neil made a point of how much he enjoyed mixing with the former Chiefs’ players when he was playing for Marty Schottenheimer. He talked about how they’d meet for pizza and beer once a week. Those close ties with the current players were severed under Scott Pioli and Smith would like to see them repaired. I hope John Dorsey and Andy Reid agree.

“We can definitely find something for you to do during football season.”
Carrington Harrison, when Neil Smith expressed an interest in doing some radio, 610 AM
GH: The Bill Maas and Neil Smith Show. Done.

“I’m never NOT working on material. Ever. I’m always thinking, ‘Could I do something with that?’ I’m looking for material all the time. … Making jokes is not work. It’s a gift.”
Jerry Seinfeld, in an interview with Howard Stern this week on Sirius XM

“Howard, what else do I have to do?”
Jerry Seinfeld, when asked by Stern how he manages to remember all of his stand-up jokes and routines, Howard Stern Show
GH: Seinfeld was a great contrast to Stern’s paranoid persona. Where Howard see everything as a hassle and his life as drudgery, Seinfeld laughed off almost every query that was meant to dig into his psyche. I think Jerry is a lot like the guy we got to know who hung around with George, Elaine and Kramer. Just a lot richer.

“I know that if you’re a comedian and you’re playing golf you’re going nowhere in this business.”
Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern Show
GH: Golf. Love the game, hate the time it takes to play it and be good at it. Marathon training has replaced my golf game for the most part. While training to run marathons is time consuming, it is nothing compared to playing two rounds of golf a week. Love the game, hate the waiting.

“Being a stand-up comedian is brutal…but your blessing in life is when you find the torture that you’re comfortable with. Find the torture you’re comfortable with and you’ll do well.”
Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern Show

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Phil Pressey's draft stock

Posted 6-27-13

“(Phil) Pressey has come out of school a year early to make himself eligible for Thursday’s NBA draft, and like plenty of his decisions on the court, this one seems a brazen curiosity, too. Does he somehow see something few others seem to, or is this just another careless foray? There’s no way to know yet, of course, and Pressey has the potential to prove doubters wrong and disappoint the believers. But this much is clear: No matter how Pressey fares from here, it’s best for all concerned that he made the choice he did and that MU now will be navigated by Tulsa transfer Jordan Clarkson and four-star recruit Wes Clark.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star
GH: I guess I’m the anomaly in this but I think both Pressey and Mizzou basketball would have benefited from him staying in school and playing his senior year in the SEC. Was last season maddening? Oh, yeah. But that’s why you have coaches – to help players and their games mature. Being a college basketball star is sure a lot more fun than chasing minutes or 10-day contracts in the NBA.

“Phil Pressey had hoped to use the past six weeks to prove he belonged in the first round of (Thursday) night's NBA draft. … It doesn't appear that Pressey accomplished that goal.”
Steve Walentik, Columbia Tribune
GH: There is no real reason to exit college early if you are not going to be drafted in the first round. Mario Chalmers is the exception to that rule – the rarest of exceptions.

"What (Pressey) did at the combine is he got away from the things that he's good at. … I think he's definitely going to get drafted considering how pick-and-roll heavy the NBA is now. I think he's a good-fit pick, maybe for somebody like Indiana who can bring him off the bench for a few minutes every game and let him get other guys involved and hope that he develops the scoring ability to be something more.”
Matt Kamalsky, director of operations at
DraftExpress.com
GH: Somehow I just don’t think Flip’s NBA dream consisted of coming off the bench for a few minutes every game. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a well-paid occupation. But Pressey is such an unfinished player. He needed to bake in college ball the entire four years.

“The biggest thing is he's got to be who we all know Phil to be, and that is a playmaking point guard. I think if Phil gets out of that element in trying to be something else — and maybe say like a Nate Robinson — I think he struggles."
Frank Haith, Columbia Tribune
GH: Pressey played outside his element most of the time he was on the court for Haith last season. Haith just did not know what to do to help Phil be better – and Phil never seemed to understand how much he needed to improve.

“He's not going to be a first-rounder. If he gets second round, that's just good for the ego, but if he's a free agent, I know he'll be coveted by more than one team.”
Ryan Blake, the NBA's senior director of scouting operations, Columbia Tribune
GH: There is a real chance that Pressey goes undrafted. That will open up more possibilities for him but that is still difficult to count as a positive.

“If you can shoot you can play. I’d rather have to teach a guy a lot of other things than how to shoot. … I really believe that whoever takes (Ben McLemore) that by February on he’ll be averaging 13 a game.”
Bill Self, 610 AM

“Just met a Mizzou fan in KC who named their son Felix Kayce Uland!! GREAT INITIALS!!”
Kim English, @Englishscope24, Twitter
GH: Sooooo, it appears this MU/KU rivalry lives on. I feel a bit sorry for any baby named Felix, though.

“No. No. That would never come up. And I don’t think Texas would ever play Texas A&M either.”
Bill Self, when asked if there is a possibility of Kansas being scheduled to play Missouri in the Big 12 / SEC basketball challenge, 810 AM
GH: Yeah, who would want to watch KU/MU or Texas/A&M? I continue to be flabbergasted that Self is allowed to make these statements and retain the complete backing of most of KU Nation. It all sounds so juvenile.

“A lot!”
Mike Alden, when asked by Kevin Kietzman how much money KU and MU could make if they scheduled an annual basketball game at Sprint Center and an annual football game at Arrowhead, 810 AM

“Lawrence ranked 10th on list of America's smartest city! Columbia, Mo ranked 41.”
JiaoJiao Shen, @ JiaoJiaoShen, of KSHB TV41, Twitter
GH: All the more reason these bright people in Lawrence should be leaning on Bill Self and Sheahon Zenger to renew the Missouri rivalry.

“You just got a good feeling about Alex. He started the game off with the homer and ended up with a base hit and he’s come up clutch in those situations for us and he did it again tonight.”
Ned Yost, after Gordon did everything but clean the stadium Wednesday night for the Royals 4-3 win over the Braves, Kansas City Star

“Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas can’t be Alex Gordon. That’s not good enough!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman just doesn’t think much of Alex Gordon. Put me on record as saying I’ll take Hosmer and Moose maturing to be the equal of the Royals’ two-time Gold Glove  left fielder and I’ll be more than happy.

“Visit from Dr. Kelly over the weekend, who gave me the best news - the green light to play games again!”
Alex Rodriguez, @AROD, Twitter
GH: ARod’s tweet got a surprising reaction from the Yankees’ GM. Read on.

“You know what, when the Yankees want to announce something, [we will]. Alex should just shut the fuck up. That's it. I'm going to call Alex now."
Brian Cashman, ESPN New York
GH: The Royals need a bat. Anybody for bringing ARod over to KC to play some third base to help chase the Tigers?

“My elbow feels great. I’ll tell you right now, once I get back I’ll never take it for granted. Baseball has an innate ability to humble one’s self. I’ll be the first to admit that I was taking it for granted at the start of last year. When you get a little bit cocky things are taken away from you. And I was definitely getting to that point. I’m definitely excited to have a new perspective for this game.”
Danny Duffy, Royals pitcher who is back with Omaha after recovering from Tommy John surgery in an interview with The Border Patrol, 810 AM
GH: Duffy might be the anti-ARod. He is so easy to root for.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Grandma's Marathon--Duluth, MN

Posted 6-26-13

Grandma’s Marathon    Duluth, MN June 2013

Part I

The open aisle seat on the yellow school bus was one of the few remaining. I slid into it and quickly nodded to my college-aged seat mate as I plopped my bag of runner’s gear between my feet. He too was on his way this morning to run the 37th Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, Minnesota. His dress was odd for the 22nd day of June. His thin frame was covered in heavy sweat pants and a thick hoody. His attire matched mine and most of the other fat-free occupants on the bus.

The temperature on this morning was hovering just under 50 degrees with a tuba-deep fog hampering our view of the Lake Superior shore. A northeast breeze at 12 mph made us glad this 26.2 mile point-to-point course was north to south. The dark swollen clouds looked ready to burst at the slightest provocation. It was not a good day for tourist. It was an excellent day for a marathon.

My seat mate was a student at Minnesota Duluth and had not been back to town since school let out a month ago. “Almost nothing’s changed,” he smirked as he pressed his nose against the bus window. “It’s gotten greener but the weather was just like this in May – except there was more snow then.”

Attempting to describe with words the unique weather we encountered in Duluth during our three-day stay would take a far more accomplished wordsmith than I. We left Kansas City Thursday morning as the weekend heat was building. We watched my son run in Des Moines at the USATF Junior Nationals that same afternoon as the sweltering sun took its toll on the field of 19 runners in his 3,000 steeplechase race. (Shannon finished ninth – just two seconds from claiming an All-American spot in the top six.)The high in Minneapolis when we arrived that night topped 90. None of this weather was overly remarkable considering it was late June. A day later all that changed.

We parked our car in downtown Duluth Friday afternoon to walk toward the DECC Arena to the packet pick-up building. We could see our breath as we quickly donned sweatshirts and jackets grabbed from our bags in the trunk. The fog that hung over downtown obscured the view of anything taller than a couple of stories. It was like we had stepped into Rogers and Hammerstein’s fabled hamlet of Brigadoon.

“Summer doesn’t start here in Duluth until August,” my bus seat mate explained. “And then it’s gone.”

We had not wanted to believe our good fortune as we obsessively checked the Weather Channel app on my iPhone as we drove north from Minneapolis. Could it really be 52 degrees in Duluth when it’s 90 just two hours away? This had to be wrong, right? It was. It was 48 in Duluth.

I made the trip to Duluth with five other Kansas City runners. We are all a part of a group of aging local runners who have been meeting to run Blue River Road in South Kansas City every Sunday morning – some for three decades or more. The numbers in this group swell and shrink depending on the time of year but the core people are there almost every Sunday unless they are off somewhere racing. I joined up with this band of running brothers in November of 2011.

Ken Beach is the mayor, godfather and historian when it comes to this Blue River Road running contingent. Ken ran in high school at Raytown High and has been one of the dominant age-group runners in Kansas City for much of the past 20 years. He is now 60. This would be his 63rd marathon. Ken was running sub-three hour marathons into his 50s but since he’s turned 60 he has been chasing a sub 3:30. The flat, fast Grandma’s course would be his shot at that barrier.

Ken’s former Raytown High classmate, Dan Hall, has been running Blue River with Ken since the early 80s. Dan has come agonizingly close over the years to qualifying for the Boston Marathon but had always fallen short. We all saw this race as his chance. He would need a 3:55 since turning 60 last month.

Yael Aboulhalkah, the Kansas City Star op-ed columnist, is also a member of the BRR team. Yael qualified for Boston in his first marathon a couple of years ago and then had the misfortune of running (more like surviving) Boston in 2012 when the temps were in the 90s. The Boston bombings did for Yael what they did for a lot of runners – made him adamant that he would run Boston again in 2014. He needed to run under 3:40 at Grandma’s to BQ in time to register for Boston in 2014.

Two of our younger BRR group, Peter Clune and Chris Oldham, flew to Minneapolis and drove over to Duluth Friday to meet up with us at the DECC Arena. Peter and Chris are Rockhurst High grads in their early 40s. They are about 20 years younger than us four older BRR chaps on this Duluth tour and they add some needed impulsiveness to our party. The two stopped at an Indian Casino on their drive over from Minneapolis and each of them won $300 at the blackjack table. Those funds became mutual petty cash for our weekend.

Peter ran Boston for the first time last April and just like Yael or anyone who has run Boston – he desperately wants to return in 2014 to show the bombers they can’t crush what drives the Boston Marathon. He qualified in 2013 by the narrowest of margins. He needed to run 3:15 and he ran EXACTLY 3:15 at Orlando’s Disney marathon in 2011. But you have to qualify anew for Boston each year. Peter needed at least a 3:15 in Duluth.

Chris Oldham is new to running, new to the marathon and new to the BRR gang. At 40, he is late to getting bit by the running bug but he shows promise. He started training with us on Sundays on BRR last winter. He had run one marathon at around four hours and had planned a trip to France to run the Paris Marathon in early April. Chris stumbled around Paris and posted an ugly 4:24. The BRR club has not let him forget this. We immediately dubbed him “Paris.” Paris would need to run a whole lot better than 4:24 at Grandma’s if he wanted to shed his nickname.

Yael and I shared a dorm room at Minnesota Duluth while Peter, Paris, Dan and Ken were staying at a resort up near the start in Two Harbors, MN.

Grandma’s Marathon is Duluth’s Super Bowl every June. It is also an excellent example of the American supply and demand – especially when it comes to hotel rooms. Downtown hotels in Duluth demand $300 to $400 A NIGHT during marathon week – with a two night minimum. Even the cheap hotels like the Comfort Inn or Best Western are getting close to $300/night with a two night mini. Welcome to Duluth…suckers!

Our dorm at UMD was $95/night with a two-night minimum. This was college living in its basic sense. Our room was industrial clean, with a vinyl floor and painted cinder-block walls. We each had a freshly-sheeted single bed and a small desk. We would share a communal bathroom with seven other dorm rooms on the fifth floor.

We were ecstatic that our dorm room was only a few steps from our shared bathroom. Our giddiness quickly faded though once it was lights out. UMD built this dorm to last. They built the doors on the rooms and especially the bathroom to last through the next ice age. The bathroom door was big, heavy and ridiculously LOUD. And there were two of them. One that opened to a vestibule and one that opened to the common bathroom.

Swoosh – BANG! Swoosh – BANG! Every time one of our floor mates needed to go to the bathroom, use a sink, take a shower – we were reminded of what a cherry bomb sounded like; Swoosh – BANG! Swoosh – BANG! And then again when the bathroom goer exited; Swoosh – BANG! Swoosh – BANG!

This went on from 9:00 PM until I gave up and headed to the showers myself at 4:00 AM. No one sleeps great the night before a marathon as it is – nerves, anxiety, anticipation, excitement – all work to keep you awake and rob you of much-needed rest. But these bathroom doors and the doors to the dorm rooms banged a symphony all night that left Yael and I staggering to the bus line that would drive us north to the start.

As we disembarked the buses in Two Harbors, we were again taken by the cool weather and northeast breezes that would help push us south the next 26 miles.

Minnesota native Dick Beardsley set the Grandma’s course record 32 years ago with a blazing 2:09. No one has come close to that mark since. We attended his seminar the day before where he stated the conditions were perfect for his record to finally fall. “We heard one of the Africans say it’s going to fall,” said Beardsley. “There is talk it might go as low as 2:03!”

Grandma’s is a fast course but it is not overtly flat. Chicago is a flat course with a 200-meter bump at mile 26. Grandma’s is slightly rolling with some very gradual up hills and down hills. But there is absolutely nothing to fear when it comes to the course. It deserves its top-ten ranking as one of the fastest marathons in the country.

Deena Kastor, the last American female to score an Olympic medal in the marathon (bronze medal at Athens in 2004 and the U.S. record holder in the marathon with a 2:19:36), also spoke at Friday’s marathon symposium. “The 50-degree temperatures and the high humidity are excellent conditions for running a fast time tomorrow,” she told the assembled Grandma’s entrants. Frank Shorter calls these conditions, “no-excuses weather.”

The race starts just a mile south of the touristy but pretty downtown of Two Harbors. A large Ford dealership sits up on the hill to the right. A railroad track runs adjacent to old Highway 61 on the left. Some of the runners opt to take the train to the start rather than the cavalcade of buses. It is not the most scenic part of the course. The 7,000 or so marathoners kill time before the start by standing in the long porta-potty lines or trying to stay warm huddled between new Fords or on the muddy grass hill.

Duluth is home to 86,000 extremely hearty folks. Two Harbors – where Grandma’s starts – houses just under 4,000 – and I think they are counting some of the moose in that number. A loud train whistle sends the runners off as we head south to one of the more non-ceremonial starts I have ever experienced for a road race.

I was about a hundred yards are so behind the start line but I had no idea the race was on when the mass of runners began jogging ahead of me. I had just taken a photo of the runners behind me and sent it out in a tweet when we started moving. I quickly tucked my iPhone back into my zippered back pocket and joined the dance.

There were no crowds to cheer us off. Just rows and rows of unsold F-150 trucks and that bleating train whistle. Into the foggy morning mist we trudged.

Part II

A fast, flat, course, cool weather and a 12-mph tail wind. Why not shoot for a low time? I picked up a pace wristband for a 3:20 marathon at the expo the day before. I looked at the splits to accomplish this and I laughed. I needed to average 7:38 a mile for 26.2 miles. Sure, I had run 3:18 in Chicago last October but I had dubbed that run The Miracle on Michigan Avenue. My training runs are paced at closer to 8:40 per mile. And I feel pretty darn stressed when running that pace every morning.

But you don’t get a low time in the marathon by being hesitant. I lined up with the 3:15 pace group at the start and figured I would hold on until I couldn’t.

Lake Superior isn’t much farther from Highway 61 for much of the early miles than I can hit a sand wedge. But the omnipresent fog was so thick on the North Shore that I never got a peek at the great lake until after mile six.

Great bodies of water are just completely foreign to Nebraska-born and Kansas City-placed yokels like me. The massive expansiveness of Lake Superior rolling over itself just off to my left was a mesmerizing sight as I tooled down Highway 61. The lake looked dark, angry and not at all welcoming. But homes were tucked up against the coastline on both sides of the narrow highway to capture a view of the lake.

What kind of a person chooses to make their home here just a few feet from Lake Superior and a few miles from Canada? Are these people the remnants of generations of Minnesotans who have known no other life? What does this road look like in winter? These are the kinds of questions I pondered as I ran along with my 3:15 pace pack.

Running at a 7:20 pace did not seem too difficult through the first few miles. I held up with the 3:15 group without having to push myself. My plan was to see how long I could last and then back off once it got too quick. My fear was that I’d blow up and have to struggle to finish.

A chatty 40-year-old gent was talking up a group of us who were positioned just behind the sign-carrying 3:15 pace leader. He was explaining how he had just missed his Boston Qualifying time by a mere 14 seconds in his last marathon. He needed to go under 3:15 here to BQ today.

“The secret to qualifying for Boston is to get old,” he flatly stated. Inferring that the easier qualifying times as you age made it easier to BQ. This brought a chuckle from a number of the other runners in the 3:15 group. Being a tad older than most in this pace group, I was not one of the chucklers.

“I disagree with that,” I not-so-timidly stated. “While the qualifying standards are definitely easier once you hit 50, one of the unfortunate byproducts of aging is slowing down. You can’t run as fast at 60 as you did at 40.”

An older guy piped up and answered me with his own opinion on the subject. “That’s not true,” he offered. “You don’t have to slow down as you get older.”

“So you’re as fast now as you were when you were 30?” I queried. He did not answer my rhetorical question.

“The trick to it is to not start until you’re 50,” said another runner. “Then you don’t remember when you were fast!” This guy I could relate to.

The 40-year-old who wanted to be 50 – let’s call him Bizarro Peter Pan – also was urging the crowds to cheer at every intersection where people stood. He would drop both hands to his side and then raising them together with his palms upward – kind of a Jesus gesture if you will. These kinds of guys are more than a bit annoying during a race. I have been guilty of raising my fist and acknowledging the cheering crowds in Chicago and Boston – but there are hundreds and hundreds of fans along the route of these big-city marathons. Bizarro was trying to whip up a roar from three guys in camouflage jackets and two hunting dogs.

While Grandma’s is promoted as having great crowds along the 26-mile course, this was not the case over much the first half on this cool, foggy morning. The crowds were remarkable considering so few people live along this route and access by vehicle (due to the marathon) was almost impossible. What the crowds lacked in numbers they made up in creativity.

One hunter stood in front of his small home with his dog dressed from neck to tail in a bright orange hunting vest. Neither hunter nor dog barely moved as our pack strolled by. One couple dressed as skinny and fat Elvis – the husband played the role of Thin Elvis – or at least relative to his short portly wife’s Fat Elvis. One local spectator was dressed as Yeti (chained to a stump in his front yard). Across the street from the Abominable Snowman was a black bear who looked far more real in his costume that the Yeti.

In Chicago you see yuppies on the sidewalk sipping Starbucks and dressed in flannel PJs. In Duluth you see people wearing flannels but it’s the kind you get from LL Bean and wear in November. Guys with plaid hunting jackets and ear-flapped hats. Women wearing fur-lined boots to keep their feet warm, not score fashion points.

These folks are just an entirely different breed of Americans. I got the feeling they saw us marathoners more as a curiosity than a reason to cheer. They are a practical bunch up here on the North Shore and running 26.2 miles along a perfectly good paved road didn’t make a lot of sense to them. I could see them asking themselves, “Why not take the bus?”

The names of the towns, rivers, parks, roads and just about anything else that required a sign here are a great part of Americana. I loved reading these signs as we continued our march south. Hawk Ridge, French River, Flood Bay, Gooseberry Falls, Split Rock Lighthouse, Pine Bay, Knife River, Gitchee Gumee, Moose Hill Park, Lemon Drop Hill… This is why you need to cover a new road on foot or by bike. The romance of a community is just lost from the other side of a windshield.

Still feeling fine at the 10-mile mark, I was approached from the rear by a tall, angular, older gent. “How old are you,” he spat out gruffly.

I turned to my right and saw that my new running companion was of a similar age. “I’m 58,” I smiled.

“Okay,” he answered in a crusty businesslike tone. “I’m 61. I just wanted to check to see if you were in my age group and if I was going to have to beat you.”

Most road races and almost all marathons award age-group awards in increments of five years. My current age division is 55-59. Crusty’s age division is 60-64.

“I placed second in this age group last year,” Crusty informed me. “I ran 3:19 and beat the guy in third place by only second.”

“Well, you don’t have to worry about me,” I assured him. “I’m a bit out of my league up here with the 3;15 pace group. I’m just trying to see how long I can hang with them.”

“You know, some people don’t like it when I ask them how old they are,” Crusty offered. “They get offended.”

“Well, isn’t that kind of one of society’s norms,” I countered.

Crusty cocked his head and looked at me like I was a bit touched in the head. We then debated whether or not all runners should wear their age division on their backs. I was adamantly against this practice while Crusty was all for it.

“The one way you can be sure to win your age is to beat everybody,” I said.

“Okay,” he said. “I’m going to let you go and drop back now.”

I checked Crusty’s finishing time after the race and he came in at 3:35. He may have expended too much early energy chasing down old-looking 58-year-olds.

The fog had lifted between miles six and 11 but it was back heavy as ever by mile 14. This is also the point in the race where I lost view of the 3:15 pace group. I had been playing visual tag with them since the 11-mile mark and their steady pace finally took its toll on my legs.

I spent about four seconds contemplating chasing them down one last time but rational thought quickly squashed that thought. I took comfort in knowing I had stayed with them through the first half of the race and hoped those early quick miles would help my finishing time as I tired over the last few miles.

The rain began about mile 20. The humidity was so high – as you would imagine running through a cloud – that I was sweat-soaked after the first three miles. By 20 I was drenched from sweat and from pouring cups of water over my head and neck. Even with temps in the low 50s, I was warm. The rain didn’t bother me a twit. Rather, it refreshed and distracted me.

While this cool foggy weather was a godsend for the marathoners, the locals were tired of never seeing the sun. One local who was weary of the London weather was St. Scholastica College’s volleyball coach, Dana Moore. I met her at UMD where she was hosting a spectacular hospitality room for us runners the day before the race.

Dana was born in California, but had graduated from Stevens College in Columbia, MO. She married a guy who was then transferred to Duluth. This will be here 17th season at the Jesuit College. As I was commenting on how the weather was perfect for the next day’s marathon, she interjected how much she was ready for it to end.

“We hate it!” Dana exclaimed. “We are so sick of this weather! We had snow piles around until just a few weeks ago and now this fog.”

The weatherman was holding out some hope for next week, though. “It’s supposed to burn off on Monday,” she added. I checked my weather app Monday and saw that Duluth had clear skies with a high in the mid-70s. You can bet Dana was smiling.

Saw Bizarro again about the 22-mile mark. He wasn’t raising his arms to elicit cheers from anyone – and he was barely raising his two feet as he shuffled along still four miles from the finish. The runners had thinned out considerably at this point and it was just him and me on the road.

I passed him on his right side way too closely – especially since no one else was near us at the time. I know he got a good look at this old man who only needs a 3:40 to get into Boston. I didn’t even glanced his way as I used much of my remaining composure to look as comfortable as possible. I never saw him again. I have a feeling I won’t see him in Boston either.

When I hit the brick-paved streets of old downtown Duluth, I knew I was in decent shape to break 3:20. I wasn’t having any major issues and the cool rain kept my core temp down enough to where I was comfortable.

My Garmin Forerunner 10 watch had stopped recording my location at some point and gave me a bit of a start when I saw 23.5 miles on its face when I expected 25.5. Few things are more disconcerting to a marathoner than to discover they haven’t run as far as they thought.

I glanced at my Garmin watch again as we closed in on the finish and saw my time at 3:16. I wasn’t sure how much further to the finish but I pumped my arms to try and get under 3:20. I made it in 3:18:06 to post a new PR. Not long after, Yael and Ken came in at 3:29 – a PR for Yael and a new low for Ken as a 60-year-old.

Peter had beaten us all with a 3:14:03 – good enough for his BQ – by almost a minute this time! Paris may have stricken his nickname for good by posting a 3:37:36 – a PR by 19 minutes! Dan Hall finished off the day by finally getting his first BQ with a 3:53:24. “And that included a 90-second bathroom break,” Dan added. Six BRR runners and five BQs with Paris knocking 19 minutes off his PR. Not a bad run through the North Country.

Shortly after stopping and posing for post-race pictures my body temp started to drop. I didn’t notice the cold while I was running. I noticed it big time standing and walking to retrieve my bag of clothes. With teeth chattering, I headed for the large white changing tent. I entered the side that was segregated for male runners.

The stench that seared my nostrils upon entering the men’s changing tent was a rare mix of body odor and diarrhea. Not the happy smell of a fart but rather the pungent, bitter, cheesy smell of a sick green dump. And the guy who was sitting next to the only open chair in the changing tent smelled like he was the source of much of this aroma. I gingerly sat in the open seat and checked it for brown streaks.

My plan was to change as quickly as possible and exit this tent of hellacious odors. But nothing happens quickly after a marathon. I dropped my dry shorts on the rain-soaked asphalt and then spilled by bag of dry clothing onto the wet street as well. Chucky Cheese was not looking up and he was not talking. He was too busy stinking.

“This is exactly what it smells like in a hockey locker room,” the big guy to my right said to his tall friend who had not been “lucky” enough to grab a seat. I struck up a conversation with these two 30-something guys from D.C. Both were fairly new to the marathon but had obviously been athletes all their lives. I remember thinking how glad I was for my nose that I grew up playing football, basketball and baseball in Nebraska rather than hockey in Minnesota.

Just as I was gathering my wet clothes, my bag and checking for my keys and wallet, a new voice with an Irish brogue entered the tent and cracked the place up. “Ohhhhhh!” he exclaimed with all the passion of a climaxing moose. “This place smells like ROSES!”

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Are the Royals too Country Club soft?

Posted 6-24-13

“The Royals have a lot of soft white suburban guys who look like they should be coaching soccer at the Blue Valley Rec complex.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Are the Royals too country club soft? Are they just too Jeff Francoeur nice? Does Kansas City need more players like the hard-sliding Hal McRae and fewer sweethearts like Chris Getz? Read on.

“I just look at Dayton Moore’s drafts and he’s doing something wrong.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Okay, so this isn’t the boldest statement Kietzman’s ever uttered. You can look at Dayton Moore’s drafts and wonder if he isn’t supposed to be working at Wal-Mart.

“Something’s wrong here. Is (Moore) drafting guys that are too nice? These are not the gritty guys that the Cardinals have.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Would the Royals players appear to be more “gritty” of they won more games or does it take more gnarly and nasty players to win more games? And why do the darn Cardinals seem to turn turds into bids almost every season?

“(Moustakas) needed to go down (to Omaha) not as a punishment but to learn how to hit again. If there are no consequences to being a bad player, I think that’s a bigger issue.”
Rany Jazayerli, 810 AM
GH: Moose is the poster child for either the Royals’ organization’s patience or catatonic state. Or it simply might be that Moore’s drafts have left them with no other options than to suffer through Moose being Moose – an incredibly streaky player who appears to have lost his power stroke and much of his confidence.

“I’m starting to believe in myself again. I’m starting to become what I used to be as a hitter. I’ve been trying to get back to who I am as a hitter instead of trying to do things I’m not used to doing. I’m trying to get back to driving the ball to the right side. Staying focused on the middle but using my strength to that pull side of the field.”
Mike Moustakas, who now has four straight two-hit games and has upped his average to .207, Kansas City Star
GH: He’s trying to do what he used to do instead of things he’s not used to doing? Sounds like him and George Brett just said – “forget what you have been taught and go up there and use Music Man’s think Method.” Okay. Nothing else has seemed to work.

“I can’t lie about (losing my confidence). It was down. It wasn’t too far down because everybody in that clubhouse kept boosting me. … It’s hard to get too low with your confidence with all of that (support from teammates and family). But, absolutely, my confidence was definitely down for a while.”
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Star
GH: Somehow though, Ned Yost missed this.

“You used the term ‘sacred cow’ before. And unfortunately, this organization has a whole barn full of them. Francoeur, Chris Getz…”
Danny Clinkscale, after Jazayerli talked about the Royals’ penchant for treating undeserving players like sacred cows, 810 AM
GH: This might be my favorite line of the week.

“This is something like an agonizing way of life around here, like the summer humidity. The Royals and Chiefs usually stink, of course — it’s been nearly 20 years since either won a playoff game. But over those last two decades, each franchise has given us a few flashes of promise. In hindsight, it has been more like mediocrity cloaked in sparkles but, hey, stale bread is delicious if you’re hungry enough.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger does a nice job below of simply stating what the Royals need to do but apparently have no desire to do. Read on.

“The Royals’ pitching is good enough to win a World Series. Think about that. This isn’t ‘Greinke is good enough to be a division winner’s ace,’ or ‘Alex Gordon is one of the better corner outfielders in baseball.’ Pitching is, roughly, half of the sport. And the Royals have it licked. The best ERA in the American League, and it’s not a fluke. Very good rotation, great bullpen, the whole bit. Maybe this pace won’t keep up — only one AL team has had a lower ERA in the last 30 years — but the pitching staff is good enough to win a playoff series. But they need help. There are too many holes in the lineup. Right field, most nights. Second base. Shortstop. Third base. The Royals appear committed to seeing it through with Mike Moustakas, and Alcides Escobar isn’t going anywhere. That means a team that is two bats short of being a legitimate contender needs those bats at second base and right field.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: The St. Louis Cardinals seem to always find a solution for these dilemmas. David Glass’ Kansas City Royals never do. Never is a word I try to refrain from using – except when discussing the Royals and success.

“The alternative is maintaining a team good enough to aim at .500, and to be remembered as another in an agonizing line of Kansas City teams whose enormous flaw undermined a significant strength. We’ve seen that too many times already.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: The Royals went halfway in acquiring the pitching they needed to compete. They have simply sat and hoped things would improve with their bats. That is not the Cardinals’ way. That’s the Royals’ way.

“Wil Myers is in a unique position, one that few rookies in baseball history have encountered. His progress will be closely watched by fans of two franchises. Myers, who made his major-league debut on Tuesday for the Rays, hit his first home run Saturday. There was nothing ordinary about the blast. It was a grand slam off CC Sabathia at Yankee Stadium. Not bad for the 22-year-old, who is Tampa Bay’s top prospect.”
Pete Grathoff, writer, Kansas City Star
GH: I listened to Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty debate whether or not Royals fans should or would root for Myers to succeed or fail. The consensus opinion seemed to be we hope Myers fails just enough to not make us pine for him. I am rooting for the kid and the Royals. And I don’t think I’m alone. 

“Would I have given up a draft pick for Andy Reid? Yeah!”
Josh Klingler, on the LA Clippers trading a first-round pick to the Celtics for their head coach, Doc Rivers, 610 AM
GH: My reaction? Hell no. I sincerely hope I am wrong but I think there are a lot of great coaches out there who just have yet to be discovered. It is a GM’s job to find those jewels – not some other team’s fired head coach.

“The Clippers will not be unprepared for clutch time situations, they'll know what they're running and how to run it. But behind all that is the fact that the Boston offense was putrid under Rivers. Not bad. Putrid. Awful. Horrid. Sucky. Whatever word you want, it's negative, that was the Boston offense.”
Matt Moore, NBA writer, cbssports.com

“Yeah, I’m going to work for WKOW in Madison.”
Lance Veeser, @lanceveeser, KSHB sport anchor, Twitter
GH: Veeser has been in KC with TV 41 for seven years? Wow – I had no idea he’s been here that long. So why does KSHB let a young, energetic and fun sports reporter get away and keep Jack Harry? Because the public is not bright. The public thinks Jack Harry has substance and makes sense and therefore he scores ratings. The media is simply a joke when it comes to how people keep their jobs and how they lose them. Enjoy Madison, Lance. It is a beautiful (if chilly) place and one sports-crazy town.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Withey moving up on NBA draft board

Posted 6-20-13

“(Jeff) Withey was somewhere between 25 and 35. Now, 15’s not crazy. A lot of people are thinking why not go for a big man who has some experience and can fit the system. I don’t think he’ll go that high but he’s definitely one who has gone up (the draft board) considerably.”
Matt Moore, 810 AM
GH: The NBA draft is next Thursday and the Kansas Jayhawks have more than Withey to watch. Some believe Ben McLemore has a chance to be the number-one overall pick. Read on.

"According to FOX Sports Ohio sources, abundant discussions are taking place in the Cavs’ front office about the possibility of drafting McLemore (with the first overall pick), and how things might unfold if he indeed became the pick.”
Sam Amico, NBA writer, Fox Sports Ohio
GH: McLemore looked more like Xavier Henry down the stretch of last season than he did Derrick Rose. No question he has talent, though. Just not sure he has the ego to make his talent soar.

“I'm not so sure it's the Cavaliers' love for McLemore as it is their hesitance with (Nerlens) Noel. Gilbert surely doesn't want to risk wasting a No. 1 overall pick.”
Jonathan Wasserman, NBA writer, bleacherreport.com

“He’s a kid that’s not ready for the NBA and not ready for the grind.”
Carrington Harrison, on McLemore, 610 AM

“If the Cavaliers do trade their pick, my money is on it going to a team that's targeting McLemore. Minnesota, according to Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN, has been rumored to be interested in moving up, as it's a team in need of an athletic 2-guard. Amico also wrote about the Cavs looking to target Danny Granger of the Pacers, a team that could use McLemore if it decided to move into the top spot.”
Jonathan Wasserman, NBA writer, bleacherreport.com

“Next year’s NBA draft could be the best we’ve seen since 2003.”
Matt Moore, CBSsports.com NBA expert, in an interview with Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Could KU score the number-one overall NBA pick in back-to-back drafts? I sure hope Andrew Wiggins is that good. But is he good enough to get you and me to switch back to Time Warner?

“Handful of K-State fans tweeted me the last couple days that Manziel's tweet (that he can’t wait to get out of College Station) makes him unworthy of the Heisman. A simple ‘Come on’ to that.”
David Ubben, @davidubben, Big 12 writer for ESPN.com, Twitter
GH: The key word here in Ubben’s tweet is “handful.” Okay, so a few obsessed KSU fans continue to hate Johnny Football because they wanted Collin Klein to win the Heisman. Do most in Cat Country even care?

“I don’t see (Bill Snyder) retiring until he can convince someone at K-State that his son Sean is the right guy for the job.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Is that what is taking so long?

“This is my moment...I waited all my life.”
Maty Mauk, @Miz_Mauk7_Zou, redshirt freshman quarterback at Mizzou, just the other day, Twitter
GH: Man, I love this tweet! The battle between Mauk and James Franklin should make Columbia one very hot town this August.

“I think by the line, Missouri will be picked to go 5-7. Maybe 6-6. Florida and South Carolina are the two games that can take this (2013 football) season from an okay season to a great season – depending on what you do.”
Gabe DeArmond, 810 AM
GH: Is this Gary Pinkel’s most important season at Mizzou? It is if he wants to coach there in 2014…and I’m not all that sure he does.

“In our never ending quest to improve we must understand that the better we get the harder it becomes to improve. Job gets harder not easier.”
Frank Martin, @FrankMartin_SC, South Carolina’s head basketball coach, Twitter
GH: Am I the only person following college athletics who thinks Frank Martin is full of BS? His sanctimonious crap is just so hard to swallow.

“Judging from what I've seen and heard, (Jets) rookie Geno Smith hasn't blown anybody away, the way Russell Wilson did last season when he walked into the Seahawks' facility. It's still early and things could change, but the way this is headed, it'll be (Mark) Sanchez versus the Bucs in Week 1.”
Rich Cimini, NFL writer, ESPNNewYork.com
GH: And to think the Chiefs could have had Geno…

“The Chiefs are going to block, block, block!”
Kevin Kietzman, continuing to express his unhappiness with the Chiefs for drafting an offensive tackle over Geno Smith, 810 AM
GH: I prefer an extended grilling segment over listening to KK verbally browbeat the Chiefs for not drafting a quarterback with their first pick. But I don’t think I can stand even 30 seconds of whatever Jim Colbert is trying to say during his weekly spots.

“You know what they call (Mike Moustakas) out there behind closed doors, don’t you? They call him Eddie Haskell. Because he’ll tell you one thing and do another.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“They don’t call him Lumpy?”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM

“Vin Scully has called games for Dutch Leonard (b. 1909) and Johnny Mize (b. 1913)...and now Yasiel Puig (b. 1990) and Bryce Harper (b. 1992).”
Dave Haller, @HallerDave, Twitter
GH: Vin Scully. Sometimes people are so good at what they do they are allowed overtime.

Greghall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


It's tough to see the benefit to KU in the Time Warner deal

Posted 6-19-13

“This is one of the top 2 or 3 games I've ever seen in NBA history. Whether I was involved, or watching as a fan.”
Magic Johnson, @MagicJohnson, on Miami’s 103-101 OT win over San Antonio to force a game seven on Thursday, Twitter
GH: I don’t know if that one ranks in the top three like Magic thinks but it was one helluva NBA game. After watching blowouts for the last four games, this series went nuclear in game six. I stayed up until past midnight to catch it and the postgame comments…as did Twitter. You are never alone if you have Twitter.

“LeBron has 24 minutes to stop an avalanche of criticism headed for his home in South Beach. Avalanche has already destroyed Bosh's home.”
Jason Whitlock, @WhitlockJason, Twitter
GH: You can’t blame JW for doing what every Heat hater was doing right up until the OT – gleefully dancing on LeBron’s as well as Wade’s and Bosh’s NBA title graves. They were more dead than Miami Vice. But somehow, someway…well, that’s why we all love sports.

“Lebron James might want to keep that headband off for Game 7.”
Linda Cohn, @lindacohn, Twitter
GH: LeBron lost his trademark on a dunk and it just disappeared. I mean like “poof.” Gone. He immediately got hammered on Twitter for being bald. That’s what Twitter thinks is bald? Me and George Costanza call that “thick lustrous hair.” Flowing even.

“You don’t deserve to get back in (the Spurs/Heat) game. Get the heck out of here! I’m outraged by that! How much money do those tickets cost? And you’re going to leave?”
Nate Bukaty, on the Heat fans who left the game when it looked like it was lost but then tried to get back in the arena once it was tied, 810 AM
GH: People went NUTS over the Heat fans who left the arena early. Why? Leaving, coming, watching, not watching – who gives a damn? If somebody has a ticket to any overpriced sporting event – I say leave whenever the heck you want. And they should be allowed back in whenever they want. Leaving a game early is no more of an indication that you are a “bad fan” or that the city “doesn’t deserve the franchise.” What a bunch of nonsense. Professional sports has brainwashed the public into thinking this way. Be a smart consumer and laugh at these dolts…especially if it’s on your way to the parking lot in the third quarter.

“He’s not going to put the stop sign up until Lough’s already touched third base. He’s coming hard! Lough knows this time of the game – now the stop sign is up and Eddie is way down the line! Lough just couldn’t pick him up – and he’s got a full head of steam coming. He’s going to score on this play easily. So you wonder why you would hold him in the ninth inning with the tying run there? He’s not perfect.”
Rex Hudler, attempting to explain why the Royals’ third base coach, Eddie Rodriguez, would signal for Lough to stop at third, Fox Sports KC
GH: Hudler gave this commentary while viewing a replay of the botched play that likely cost the Royals the game. Hudler is trying too hard not to be critical of both Rodriguez and Lough. It is why Hudler is a weak baseball analyst. He is obviously holding back what he really thinks – and if he isn’t he just doesn’t understand the game he played at the highest level. So I’m going with Rex biting his tongue. It’s a poor way to do your job as a broadcaster.

“Sometimes that happens.”
Rex Hudler, on the Lough / Rodriguez mess of a play, Fox Sports KC
GH: This comment was just ridiculous. Sometimes that happens? Is that an excuse? An explanation? Yeah, sometimes that happens and people get their rear ends chewed, or benched or even canned. Rodriguez and the Royals would have been better off if he would have not come out of the dugout in the ninth. That’s not a good thing if you are the third base coach.

“Sometimes you run through stop signs. With the game on the line like that, you just keep coming. I’ve seen guys run through stop signs and they were safe! You can’t hesitate in situations like that!”
Rex Hudler, Fox Sports KC
GH: Lough and just about any ball player with average speed is thinking score as soon as the ball clears the infield. I have no idea what Rodriguez was thinking. Why was he 70 feet away from third base? Why was he still signaling for Lough to STOP when he was 20 feet from home? Was a cluster…

“If you run through a red light, you don’t stop in the middle of an intersection. You either stop or you just zip through.”
Ryan Lefebvre, Fox Sports KC
GH: Rodriguez’s stop sign was like seeing a red light appear on I-435 between exits. It created chaos.

“An extremely disappointing outcome for the Royals.”
Joel Goldberg, after the Royals blew a 3-1 lead in the 8th to lose to Cleveland, Fox Sports KC
GH: You have to love the carefully worded statements from the carefully chosen Fox Sports KC talking heads after a loss. Click.

“He would have scored easily on that play. But when you’ve got the stop sign up – you’ve got to stop.”
Jeff Montgomery, Fox Sports KC
GH: So who is Monty criticizing? Stop Sign Eddie? Lough? Monty and Goldy are just worthless when it comes to cogent conversation that carries some bite.

“I’m expecting Lough to go back to Omaha, honestly. I think the Royals are going to protect inventory here. I might write more about this later in the week.”
Sam Mellinger,
TwitterTuesday, when asked to predict the outcome of how the Royals make space on the roster when Dyson returns, Kansascity.com
GH: Mellinger posted this before Lough got stopped by Eddie. That mess in Cleveland did not help the hard-working outfielder’s cause.

“This is going to be tough (for the Royals). The Tigers have a chance to be the best team in the whole sport! The Tigers are going to win the division. Getting to .500 just puts them in position to fight the fight.”
Jayson Stark, in a conversation with Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Detroit just doesn’t scare me. Their defense is not good and their pitching is better when viewed from 2011. But the Royals are going nowhere unless they start scoring runs with extra-base hits.

“77 wins is what I said (for the Royals) in March and I’m still on 77 wins.”
Brian McRae, who is not as impressed with the Royals’ recent win streak as others, 810 AM

“(Mike Moustakas) has hit under .200 in all three months (of April, May and June). So this has been consistent bad play.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM

“I don’t know what’s going to happen here guys, let’s give it a try. Let’s see if we can talk him out from under that bridge.”
Kevin Kietzman, as he attempted to conduct a cell phone interview with Brian McRae as McRae was traveling through South Dakota with a number of noisy ex-Royals, 810 AM
GH: This radio interview between KK and BMc was painful. McRae is or was a part owner of WHB – he should have some understanding of how sound works on radio. The background conversations in the van were bad enough but the cell connection out of SoDak was just awful radio. It was so bad made me want to listen to NPR.

“This is much more about exposure for the other (KU) sports than it is about revenue.”
Jim Marchiony, KU’s assistant AD, in an interview with Kevin Kietzman, regarding KU’s new alliance with Time Warner, 810 AM
GH: This is an interesting agreement between KU and TW – but I don’t really see the benefit for KU. Sure, some Olympic sports will get more air time but who watches Olympic sports besides the athletes’ parents and me? Read on.

“Right now we’re talking about one football game, four regular-season basketball games and two exhibition basketball games.”
Jim Marchiony, 810 AM
GH: Marchiony sounded like he was attempting to downplay the significance of the games that would not be seen by non-TW subscribers. But we all know there are NO insignificant men’s basketball games to KU fans.

“Around the country, you will be able to see those games as you’ve always seen those games on ESPN Full Court. So that’s not an issue (nationally).”
Jim Marchiony, 810 AM
GH: Around the country? Who in KC cares about around the country? They always could see the KU games around the country? What about in Leawood, Jim?

“Locally, if you don’t have Time Warner and Metro Sports, as it stands right now, you’ll have to go to a friend’s house who does.”
Jim Marchiony, 810 AM
GH: That is not a positive. I just don’t see the gain for KU in giving TW an exclusive on some games just to broaden the stage for their minor sports programming. That Longhorn Network is about as popular in Texas as Oklahoma Joe’s.

“People are going to switch! There are going to be Kansas basketball fans who are going to switch even if those aren’t high-profile games. Time Warner knows that!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Some will. But Time Warner has a nasty rep in these parts. There is a reason their slogan is “come back.”

“Are you tied to that if subscriptions move over?”
Kevin Kietzman to Marchiony, 810 AM
GH: I thought this was a brilliant question from Kietzman. If KU is getting paid per subscription, it makes a lot more sense…or cents. But nope. Read on.

“It doesn’t mean anything to us if they switch except more fans will be able to see the games in their living room. It doesn’t mean anything financially to us.”
Jim Marchiony, 810 AM
GH: Well, obviously Lew Perkins is gone.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Moose is now a Mouse

Posted 6-18-13

“Twice Mike Moustakas has made the final out with a runner in scoring position. He hasn’t had an RBI since May 23rd. He’s tried to do everything he can to stay positive but maybe the frustration is starting to settle in.”
Ryan Lefebvre, as Moustakas grounded out weakly to first base to end a bases-loaded threat in the seventh inning, Fox Sports KC
GH: Moose was 0-3 and is now hitting .183. He plays a power position on a club that might – just might – have a chance to compete in August and September for the first time since, since…well, too damn long. When he dropped his head and jogged a few steps before giving up it signaled to all who understand the game that the Moose is now a Mouse in serious need of more than George Brett as his personal cheerleader. Read on.

“Three steps out of the (batter’s) box you don’t even complete the play and run to first base. To me, that looks like he gave up.”
Rex Hudler, on Moustakas hanging his head and jogging to a stop on his ground out to first to end the inning, Fox Sports KC
GH: When Hudler is taking a Royals’ player to task on the air, you know that player is dogging it.

“Body language is big in this game. When you’re struggling, that’s when you want to pick it up and hustle through the base! Give your pitcher that’s has been putting himself on the line night after night – not getting any runs. That’s the effort you’re going to give James Shields?”
Rex Hudler, Fox Sports KC
GH: I would have liked to see Shields jump out of the dugout and kick Moose square in his pudgy ass the rest of the way down the first baseline. My question is did anybody even rip him for his selfish slug act?

“We’ve seen a lot of (camera) shots of George Brett mentoring (Mike Moustakas) but we didn’t see that shot last night of George Brett maybe getting into him.”
Henry Blake, 610 AM
GH: Many believe Brett is going to be the guy to get in the face of these Royals and set them straight when they dog it or forget to play the “Royals way.” I never saw Brett as that kind of a leader. That was Hal McRae.

“Don't anyone tell me the Royals are running harder because George Brett is in the dugout.”
Soren Petro, @theprogramkc, Twitter
GH: I love that George Brett is now in uniform and around the team I grew up with. But his effect on this team is not any more evident than the dads being on the travel squad this past weekend.

We’re real resilient as a team. We never gave up. And that’s the bottom line. We never gave up (after falling nine games under .500). We’re going in the right direction.”
James Shields, Kansas City Star
GH: I thought Shields comments were ironic considering Moustakas’ lope down the first baseline. Moose needs to get an all-expense-paid trip to Omaha to spend July reflecting on how he needs to attack the opportunity the Royals have given him.

“(James) Shields has not won a game since April 30. In his last nine starts, he's 0-4 with a 2.53 ERA.”
Paul Hoynes, writer, Cleveland Plain Dealer
GH: That stat should embarrass every Royals player in uniform.

“I feel terrible for (Shields). It’s probably in the back of his head that he needs to pitch a shutout when he goes out there. Hopefully, we’ll get him a good lead next time, and he can relax out there.”
Alex Gordon, Kansas City Star

“I was watching Greg Holland (Monday) night and he just cut it loose, man. That was awesome. That’s one of the best things to watch in sports – when a pitcher decides, ‘I’m not screwing around with this.’ Game’s on the line, runner on third, if (the batter) gets any kind of contact that runners probably going to score… He dialed it up He just blew him away. He just BLEW. HIM. AWAY!
Steven St. John, as the Royals’ closer hit 99 mph and then 100 on successive pitches to strike out Mike Aviles in the bottom of the ninth, 810 AM
GH: Greg Holland might be the Royals most valuable player. I love the guy’s talent – but if the Royals are looking to acquire a bat for the second half of the season, he is the most likely candidate to draw the most interest from other teams. I wonder if the Rays would be interested in Holland for Wil Myers?

“Seriously. At 23-32, how much money would you have bet that the Royals would never see .500 again this year, much less by June 17?”
Kurtis Seaboldt, @KSeaboldt, Twitter
GH: Mucho.

“They’re four games out of the postseason right now at .500. Considering where they were at the start of this month that’s unbelievable. I just want to have a reason to go home tonight and turn on the television and be fired up to see Ervin Santana pitch in a game that seriously matters for this team.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: I’ll be mowing grass at the same time Santana is hopefully mowing down Indians.

“I got way too low during that losing stretch and I don’t want to get too high now that they’re going through this (winning) stretch. I don’t want to get all pumped up again and then watch them lose 10 games.”
Jake Gutierrez, on his reluctance to get excited about the .500 Royals, 810 AM
GH: Jake is not alone in his refusal to get excited about the Royals’ latest surge. But why not enjoy the good times? We have so few as Royals fans.

“I am terrified that they are going to let down now that they are at .500.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Petro expressed his concern that the Royals have no accountability when it comes to failure. Moose is allowed to keep his job despite his horrid hitting. If this team is satisfied with .500, there are far more serious issues with this franchise than Moose’s body and body language.

“It was the day after Father’s Day on Monday at Progressive Field when the Royals staged a certain highlight to their first fathers’ road trip. The dads — there are 21 on the trip — took batting practice against interim batting coach George Brett (aka Hall of Famer George Brett).”
Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star
GH: I get on the Royals for a lot of their front-office decisions and marketing moves – but this one is just fantastic. Dayton Moore and Ned Yost are being credited with this idea that they got from an NHL team. I hope it becomes an annual tradition with the Royals each Father’s Day week.

“George was throwing to all of them. That’s right around their era. It was a pretty cool experience to take batting practice against George Brett.”
Eric Hosmer, on Brett tossing BP to the players’ dads, Kansas City Star

“I think Chen’s dad can hit the ball farther than Chen can. There were three that were pretty good. Bruce’s dad, Hoch’s (Brian Hochevar) dad, and Mendy’s (Alfredo Mendoza) dad.”
Ned Yost, Kansas City Star
GH: Interesting that the best hitting dads are all fathers of pitchers. I wonder if Butler’s dad can pitch?

“My dad is having a great time. I’ve been playing for so long, but we’ve never had anything like this. Sometimes, you have a wives’ trip or a family trip. The dads’ trip is definitely a highlight. My dad gets to come to the clubhouse, take pictures, go to the field, take batting practice, be with me on the road, take the plane, take the bus … see what it’s like. But being able to take batting practice, and to have George Brett throwing batting practice to him? Oh, my goodness. It’s like the best trip ever for every single guy. And the best part? We’re playing well.”
Bruce Chen, Kansas City Star

“The #rallysauce will be back on shelves later this week! The first 10,000 bottles already sold out! Order online at hititaton.org.”
Billy Butler, @BillyButlerKC, Twitter
GH: Has anybody actually tasted Billy’s BBQ sauce? Zarda is manufacturing it so I am wondering if it is just as ordinary as their typical juice.

 

“The games blow but the series is intriguing.”
Soren Petro, on the NBA finals where San Antonio leads Miami 3 games to 2, 810 AM
GH: I would prefer the exact opposite to be the case.

“NCAA says the typo on the third-base dugout -- the one with ‘College’ spelled with 3 L's -- will be fixed by tomorrow #CWS.”
Eric Olson, @ericolson64, AP writer covering Nebraska/Omaha, Twitter
GH: Cue the “N” is for knowledge jokes…

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Are you rooting for or against Myers?

Posted 6-17-13

“We felt like now was the right time. He made some real adjustments in the last six weeks and that really stood out to us. It was something we were monitoring very closely."
Andrew Friedman, the Rays' executive vice president of baseball operations, on the Rays’ decision to call up Wil Myers from the Durham Bulls, baseballnation.com
GH: One of the Royals most celebrated prospects who was dealt to the Rays in a seven-player trade last off-season will get his MLB debut at Fenway on Tuesday at noon (CT). After a two-game series in Boston, Myers and the Rays head to Yankees Stadium for a four-gamer. Wil may have had to wait to get to the show but he does not have to wait to get to center stage. As a Royals’ fan, will you be rooting for Myers to succeed or fail?

“He's going to play in the outfield and we'll probably hit him lower in the batting order to begin, just to take a little pressure off of him. We'll try not to place the expectations too high, although I know it's going to come from outside, not from within. He's another one of our players. I'm going to try to ease him into the whole thing.”
Joe Maddon, Rays’ manager, baseballnation.com
GH: Myers has a lot of fans in the Royals organization – a number of them in Arkansas and Nebraska who watched him develop up close. I hope he’s the stud we always dreamed he’d be here in Kansas City. One reason is I like the kid and the other is I want to see that the Royals’ can draft and produce All-Star caliber players.

“I'm not sure how much he's going to help them now. He might not hit well enough to mash against right-handers, and he's probably a liability in the outfield. Oh, and did you notice that small spread between his batting averages and his on-base percentages? Myers used to draw a lot of walks, but the Royals beat his patience out of him before they traded him. It's not yet known if he'll routinely be victimized by major-league pitchers for a while.”
Rob Neyer, writer, baseballnation.com
GH: A lot of unknowns follow every prospect to the major leagues. What makes their journey entertaining is watching to see if they fulfill expectations, underwhelm or completely blow us away with how easy they make the game look. Eager to see what path Myers’ career takes.

“(Myers) has to become a great player for this (trade) to become a disaster because (James) Shields has already been so good. James Shields has been awesome! He’s been awesome!”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Off topic here but – the word “awesome” is one of those words that my 50+ old ears have just never warmed to. It has to be an age thing. I know people in their 40s who use it as often as my college-age son. I get (and use) “dude” and “my bad” but “awesome” just sounds so…so…well, dumb. It’s not as grating as hearing the word “like” seventeen times in a sentence or that goofy sing-song tone so many young girls use to make the end of each comment sound like a question –but it’s not at all awesome. Oh, and get the hell off of my LAWN!

“(Mike Moustakas) is down in Yuniesky Betancourt territory as an overall player right now. Coming from me, you know how cruel an insult that is. But that’s just the reality of it.”
Rany Jazayerli, 810 AM
GH: Moose’s stats as of today read like this; .186 BA (that is for 194 at bats!), 4 HRs and 12 RBIs (12 ribbies in 194 ABs? Just awful!). His OBP is .252. His OBP was terrible last season at .296 – he’s 44 points under that this season. Moose is in danger of becoming Mouse. He needs Omaha more than the CWS.

“I think Eric Hosmer could be on the verge of breaking out. Maybe I’m wrong, but I haven’t felt t that way in a long time. I think he is ready to bust out.”
Joel Goldberg, 810 AM
GH: We have heard this before. We have wanted to believe this before. But the signs are there – at least the line-drive non-power signs are there. Gordon, Hosmer, Perez, Butler and Cain could make for a real major league threat to score runs if Hosmer is back to his rookie ways.

“Of course I had my phone out in the (church) pew, watching every pitch that was thrown.”
Ned Yost, on how he kept track of the Royals/Rays game Thursday night during his daughter’s wedding, Royals Radio
GH: That had to really be special for Ned’s daughter – not to mention his wife who was sitting next to him during the wedding. Did anybody mention to Ned’s daughter that the Royals have an off day this Thursday – that’s been scheduled since last off-season?

“There is no team that has a better pitching staff than we do. That’s starting rotation and bullpen – no one can top that! These guys have pitched better than I can remember any Royals’ team ever pitching since I’ve been here. It’s just been phenomenal to watch.”
Mike Macfarlane, former Royals’ catcher, 810 AM
GH: Talk about George Brett bringing back a swagger to the Royals all you want – and I like Brett – but the real reason this Royals team is still within sniffing distance of Detroit and Cleveland is maybe the best staff (top-to-bottom) this franchise has ever had. The pitching has just been…awesome.

“If other teams are smart, (George Brett) is on their radar. Other teams would be foolish not to have him on their radar if they are in the hunt for a good manager. The Royals better be the leader in saying. ‘Hey do you want to manage?’ ”
Les Norman, former Royal, in a conversation with Kevin Kietzman about Brett possibly being a hot prospect as a MLB manager, 810 AM
GH: This conversation between Norman and Kietzman was one of the more ridiculous dialogues I’ve heard on Between The Lines – and we have all heard plenty of those! Brett spends a month as the Royals’ hitting coach after NEVER coaching at any level and he’s now a hot prospect for a managerial job???

“If two or three teams are calling George Brett to see if he wants to manage, (the Royals) cannot let this happen. They would have to fire their own manager and hire George Brett. That would be terrible if George went to manage someplace else like, I don’t know, Toronto. Oh my gosh! I can’t even imagine what would happen!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I know topics dry up a bit in the summer for sports talk radio but KK should revive his Mizzou-back-to-the-Big 12 talk before he rolls out this legless fiction again. Brett is not going to manage in Kansas City, Toronto or Shawnee Mission East. If anything, this exposure to coaching as the hitting instructor will hasten his return to the golf course rather than take over Ned’s seat.

“It was the first time the Royals have been associated with anything supernatural since Bo Jackson retired.”
Rany Jazayerli, on Superman wearing a Royals’ tee-shirt in the movie Man of Steel, 810 AM
GH: I did not get to see Man of Steel this weekend due to a lot of tree cleanup and some landscaping. I hear it is disappointing but I’d like to see for myself. I did catch Tom Cruise in Jack Reacher on DVD and really liked it. Arnold’s The Last Stand was worth exactly the $1.50 it cost to rent it.

“I am evaluator by nature so I wanted to spend time taking it all in to make a thoughtful decision. I decided this would be a great, new opportunity. Evaluating in my old job the things I did well and the things I did not do well, I certainly believe understanding the media and what their job is was something I did not do a good job of. I thought this was a good opportunity to learn and grow, and get better in a lot of different areas.”
Scott Pioli, on his decision to take a role on NBC’s Sunday Night Football show, SI.com
GH: Pioli is publically acknowledging he did not understand the media as the Chiefs’ GM? Progress, right? Read on.

“While Scott (Pioli)was pretty terrible with the media, especially that last year or so, too much focus there can distract from the fact that he was bad at other parts of his job, too. And not just the head coaches he hired, or the drafts he blew, or that the best personnel moves he made in four years were signing guys who were already here to long-term contracts.”
Sam Mellinger, Don’t Kill The Mellinger,
KCStar.com
GH: As bad as Pioli was with the media, he was organic chemistry terrible with the draft and free agency.

“Scott talked a lot about creating ‘a championship environment’ in the (Chiefs’) organization, but mostly it turned into an environment where too many people were scared for their professional lives. He tried to do way too much himself, especially things that didn’t matter — right down to limiting the number of color copies employees could make, and making sure pens didn’t go to waste — which had much more to do with Scott’s failure in Kansas City than “understanding the media. I just don’t know that that’s something you can un-learn.”
Sam Mellinger, Don’t Kill The Mellinger,
KCStar.com
GH: I am amazed that a person who has been discovered to be so inept at his profession – and Pioli was found to be a zero as a GM – can continue to find employment as an “expert” in that field. Professional sports are often called the fantasy world of life and Pioli’s life is solid evidence of that fact.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter @greghall24

 


Frank White calls out George Brett

Posted 6-14-13

“The next night we lost again, and I just … give it a try. So I’m going to give it a try. … When Dayton asked me to do this, I said, ‘Dayton, I’ll do it on an interim basis.’ … I’m planning on staying at least a month. Hopefully, more.”
George Brett, at his first press conference after being hired as the Royals hitting coach, Kansas City Star
GH: The end of June will mark Brett’s first month as the Royals’ hitting coach. Will he stay? Will he go back to the golf course? What’s he thinking? Frank White, one of Brett’s former All-Star teammates, thinks Brett needs to go all in for this team and drop the wish-washy interim nonsense. Read on.

“You’ve got a hitting coach in the dugout who says I’ll let you know in 30 days if I want the job, a catcher who takes nine days to attend his grandmother’s funeral and a manager who misses a game to attend his daughter’s wedding on a Thursday night. You could say they just don’t care. … Tell your daughter that’s not a good day.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“I just think it goes back to commitment in some areas. I would like to see more of a commitment out of (George Brett). Saying you’re going to give it 30 days and then evaluate it every two weeks – I don’t think they’re ever going to get comfortable. I just think more of a commitment out of everybody would really help this team a lot. To a player, that doesn’t feel like you’re all in. You know what I mean?”
Frank White, 810 AM
GH: White was a guest on Kevin Kietzman’s Thursday afternoon show and his words about Brett were direct. Few in this city or even nationally can get away with calling out George Brett. Frank White is one of those few. Read on.

“I know (Brett) cares about the ball club and wants to win with this team, but that’s got to be more than just showing up for 30 days and talking the talk. I think they’re going to need more of a commitment out of him than 30 days.”
Frank White, 810 AM
GH: Is Brett merely “talking the talk?” White paid his dues with the Royals as a minor-league manager and as a member of the Royals’ coaching staff. He understands the day-to-day commitment it takes to travel and put up with the grind of coaching. I think Brett does as well – and it’s one of the reasons he is reluctant to commit to more than an interim tag.

“I think (Brett) needs to come out and say, ‘I want to be the hitting coach for this ball club until the end of the season. Then I think people would buy into it a lot stronger.”
Frank White, 810 AM
GH: Brett will hear of White’s comments, if he hasn’t already. Will they spur him to remove his interim title and go “all in?” I’m with Frank – I think he should.

“To me if you’re going to accept the title of pitching coach or hitting coach and be on that staff, you’ve got to be all in until the end of the year. And the players need to know you’re all in with them. That would really go a long way.”
Frank White, 810 AM

“There is just no reward here (in Kansas City) to try and hit home runs. We try to stay down on the ball, be more line-drive oriented, and do more situational hitting at least through the first two or three rounds (at home) here. That’s why I’m not overly concerned because I think we’ll lead the league in fewest home runs again this year. We don’t have a 40-homer guy in the middle of the lineup.”
Jack Maloof, Royals demoted hitting coach, a day before he was reassigned to Omaha, in Jeffrey Flanagan’s column on FoxSportsKansasCity.com
GH: Well, at least Goof Maloof isn’t here to kick around anymore. Wonder what he thought of those home runs and that 10-run outburst in Tampa last night?

“Every Missouri fan I’ve talked to is happy with the move to the SEC.”
Jack Harry, in a conversation with Kevin Kietzman on Wednesday, 810 AM
GH: Read on for some excerpts from a very entertaining exchange between Mad Jack and KK.

“There are a lot of (Mizzou fans) I talked to Monday (at the Missouri golf outing in Kansas City) who weren’t (happy with the move to the SEC). They say things like, ‘I’m an old Big 8 guy. I kind of miss it.’”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Really? Did any other Mizzou fans who attended this golf outing get that feeling from the MU fans who attended? I think KK would like to think a lot of Missouri fans regret the move to the SEC but that’s just not the reality I have witnessed here in KC, Columbia or St. Louis. I am sure there are some MU fans who were never for moving to the SEC but I don’t know of many who have now changed their minds.

“From everything I’m hearing (about the quarterback situation at Mizzou), it should be Maty Mauk. (Pinkel) will make that decision in August.”
Jack Harry, 810 AM
GH: What I hear is that it won’t be James Franklin. I’m not completely sure why but Pinkel and he don’t seem to have the same relationship they had prior to Pinkel embarrassing Franklin by saying he didn’t want to play against Arizona State.

“Missouri fans are a tough bunch. I’m hearing grumblings like, ‘We need an SEC coach!’ I’m not saying I’m saying that but…”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK goes to the oldest (and one of the least attractive) tricks in the sports talk radio book – saying something that some nameless nobody said but divorcing himself from that comment with a lame disclaimer.

“Missouri probably by 13.”
Jack Harry, when asked by Kietzman what he thinks the betting line would be if MU and K-State were scheduled to play at Arrowhead in September, 810 AM
GH: KK followed Mad Jack’s line on the MU/KSU game with howling laughter. “Why? What are you looking at me like that for?” Harry asked him. “You’re serious?” KK responded. “Yes, I’m dead serious,” Jack answered. “What would be your point spread,” asked Jack. “I think it would probably be a pick ‘em or K-State by 3,” said Kevin. “You don’t have much confidence in your team then, do you?” Jack responded. “You asked me and I told you,” said Jack.

“So you think (Mizzou) is going to be like 9-3?”
Kevin Kietzman, after Jack’s bold point spread, 810 AM

“No. No. They’re playing in the SEC. When you’re in the SEC and you’re playing a Big 12 team, come on. You better beat them by two touchdowns.”
Jack Harry, 810 AM
GH: Jack was having some fun with KK with his last comment but it did sound like he was bullish on Mizzou being able to beat a rebuilding K-State team this fall. Maybe the two will get together in a bowl game and settle this debate.

“Kansas fans don’t care about Missouri anymore. It’s time to move on.”
Jack Harry, 810 AM
GH: I think both KU and MU still care a great deal about each other…neither though is willing to admit it. Kind of like when FNL’s Tim Riggins and Tyra broke up and pretended not to still care about each other while she was dating Landry.

“Only (Frank) Haith, his accuser — the convicted felon and former Miami mega-booster Nevin Shapiro — and perhaps two others truly know what Haith did or didn’t do. Anyone else is only guessing. But the evidence against him, anyway, seemed curious from the start and dubious by the end.”
Vahe Gregorian, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: By my count we are two columns into Gregorian’s new gig at The Star and he has chosen to stretch himself not at all. The KU/MU rivalry and Frank Haith’s legal problems? I sense a common theme here – write what you have known the last 25 years – Mizzou. Readers all across KC are hitting their snooze buttons. What the heck, Vahe? We waited two months for old MU takes? If you’re going to mine your former beat, make it titillating. What happened the night Gary Pinkel was arrested? How did that play into his divorce? How did his personal troubles add to the demise of his 2012 SEC football team? Did those jumbo wines put him on the 2013 hot seat? What is the real story behind Pinkel’s relationship with his quarterback, James Franklin? Better yet, get out from under the coziness of your Mizzou comforter and challenge yourself. Attack the many Kansas City-area stories that await your talents with your newly granted license to vent, expose and entertain. Take to heart the words the great Vince Lombardi echoed often to his teams, “I am not remotely interested in just being good.”

“Father’s Day gets a bad rap. I would say in general, Mother’s Day is much more celebrated than Father’s Day.”
Dana Wright, 980 AM
GH: What do you dad’s expect or want on Father’s Day? If you’re like me, not a whole heckuva lot. I view it as a weekend where I don’t get yelled at a lot by my wife about menial things and I can pretty much spend the day however I want. Kind of what I thought being an adult would be like when I was a dumb kid.

 

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Even Denny Matthews sounded juiced

Posted 6-13-13

“That was a boring-ass game for eight innings.”
Steven St. John, on the Royals being shut out for 8 2/3 innings before Cain’s dramatic two-run homer, 810 AM
GH: What a difference a “rally-killing” home run can make – not only on a game but a series, a home stand and maybe – just maybe – a season. The Royals again looked completely lost at the plate. Alex Gordon went 0-4 and is now slumped his way to under .300. Billy Butler just continues to disappoint in clutch situations striking out twice – once against the very hittable Tiger closer, Jose Valverde. Cain was down to his last strike with two out in the bottom of the ninth. I listened to the ninth on my radio like I was 12 years old again. And everything changed with one beautiful crack of Cain’s bat. Read on.

“The Royals have Hosmer, Perez and Butler coming up in the bottom of the ninth, so don’t go anywhere.”
Denny Matthews, cautioning Royals fans to not lose faith as KC trailed Detroit 2-0 heading to the bottom of the ninth, Royals Radio
GH: Maybe it was because this was a day game or Denny got some extra sleep the night before – but he sounded juiced for the final inning of this get-away game against Detroit. Denny usually is more concerned with counting outs and turning the broadcast over to Physioc or Lefebvre for the totals than a Royals’ rally. But here Denny was, actually rooting for and almost predicting a comeback for the local nine. Read on.

“With Valverde, you always have a chance.”
Denny Matthews, as the Tigers brought in their closer after Hosmer singled to open the ninth, Royals Radio
GH: The Royals were still scoreless but Matthews has about as much respect for Valverde delivering as I do for my old Toro mower – that is taking up valuable space in my garage. I loved that Denny sounded like this game meant something. That just happens way too infrequently on the Royals radio broadcasts.

“The Tigers are in shock.”
Denny Matthews, following Cain’s game-tying two-run home run and Prince Fielder’s error that allowed David Lough to reach second after appearing to have been picked off, Royals Radio
GH: It wasn’t over but it felt like it was over.

“It looks like Eric Hosmer got smacked in the head in the celebration. I’m not sure if that’s ketchup or blood but he’s got a lot of red on the side of his head.”
Steve Physioc, describing the post-game on-field celebration by the Royals, Royals Radio
GH: Physioc had the play-by-play call in the tenth and his voice is just too FM to elicit goose bumps on the radio. Hosmer was later found to have been doused with Billy Butler’s Hit It A Ton BBQ sauce. I am betting the clubhouse guys doing the Royals’ laundry would really like to see them come up with a different postgame tradition.

“To me it comes down to energy and it comes down to confidence. Something changed in this team almost instantly (after George Brett was named the batting coach).”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM
GH: The Royals are 7-4 AB (after Brett). Their offensive numbers are down, Gordon and Butler have gone into the tank, Moose is as bad as ever, but the pitching has been the best in the AL. Is it Brett or does Dave Eiland, the Royals pitching coach, deserve a million-dollar bonus and his own Wal-Mart?

“I tend to believe Valverde just threw a bad pitch and Cain did what a good hitter does, he crushed it.”
Danny Parkins, disagreeing with Harrison about Brett’s impact on the Royals’ win streak, 610 AM

“No one believes me but I believe (Mike Moustakas) could really become a leader on this team if he ever becomes good. He’s accountable, he’s fiery, he’s willing to fight. I think he would be a leader and a fan favorite if he would hit.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Frenchy would be a team leader and fan favorite if he would hit! Royals fans aren’t picky! We’re starving!

“Baseball can be funny like this. A week ago, we were deciding who needed to lose their job. And the list was long. The Royals were sputtering, again, one more season’s promise buried under one more soul-numbing stretch of losing — 19 in 23 games, a full month between wins at home. Did anyone outside this room think this feeling would come back? … This is such an important season for the Royals. Jobs and reputations and major decisions are at stake, even more than a typical year in the big leagues. This has created a lot of overreactions, in both directions. We expected the Royals to be around .500 this year, and here they are — three games under.”
Sam Mellinger, KC Star
GH: I don’t think you can overact when a team tanks like the Royals did in May. They lost 19 of 23. They brought 60-year-old George Brett back in uniform for criminy sakes! None of this may last but I am going to enjoy the good times when and however infrequently they happen with the Royals.

“Prepare to be disappointed. (David) Lough is going back to Omaha.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM

“How (Lough) makes a play like that (Wednesday) and you’re not going to keep him on the roster is beyond me.”
Bob Fescoe, 810 AM

“I don’t think sending Lough down would be an outrage. There are guys who are playing well that get sent down. He came up and did his job. I’m just saying that does happen.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM

“95% of the teams in baseball make the same move.”
Buster Olney, MLB writer for ESPN, on the likelihood of the Royals retaining Jeff Francoeur in order to not have to eat his salary, 810 AM
GH: It would be a Lough down dirty shame to see D-Lo sent down. He’s the most exciting .260 hitter we’ve got.

“I’ll be on my phone following every pitch.”
Ned Yost, who will miss tonight’s game in Tampa to attend his daughter’s wedding, 810 AM
GH: A couple of questions here; Why would the daughter of a MLB manager schedule her wedding in June? How “special” can this day be for his daughter if dad is checking his iPhone on every pitch? This wedding looks to be about as well thought out as a Ned Yost lineup.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Dutton shines on as beat writer

Posted 6-13-13

“The silver lining, if you look hard enough, is Billy Butler’s now ubiquitous barbecue sauce could get a boost in sales from those who prefer their condiments shaded toward Hades-style hot. If the heat Butler flashed Tuesday in the ninth inning — prior to and following his ejection for arguing a called third strike — comes in a bottled … warning labels should specify a cold pitcher be nearby when consuming.”
Bob Dutton, Royals beat writer for The Kansas City Star
GH: You know who else is Hades-hot? Bob Dutton. Royals fans and The Kansas City Star are blessed with one of MLB’s best beat writers. Dutton gives his readers all the facts of the game and manages to inject personality into his game story without bias. That is one tough task to do anytime but add a deadline and it is darn near impossible. Dutton appears to do it nightly with ease – or at least I envision him sitting back in the press box typing one handed while nursing a sweaty Arnold Palmer.

“The ejection brought Butler sprinting (well, sorta) from the dugout in a fashion not seen in blue since George Brett’s famous 1983 pine-tar charge at Yankee Stadium. (No, it didn’t quite rise to that level, but it was still zestfully spiced.)”
Bob Dutton, Royals beat writer for The Kansas City Star
GH: There are not enough beat writers with Dutton’s talent around anymore. We are lucky to have him.

“I didn’t think it was close when it got called. I went and looked at it on video, and it was even more in(side) than I thought it was. He told me it was on the plate.”
Billy Butler, on the called third strike in the bottom of the ninth, Kansas City Star
GH: I think the pitch was a ball. I would have called it a ball. I would have been just as chapped as Butler if it were me who was left at the plate taking the third strike in a one-run game in the bottom of the ninth with the tying run at second. But I don’t think I would have taken that pitch. Butler should not have taken that pitch. But he did and his reaction was justified. But what I think Butler was really upset about is the belt-high fastball the pitch before that he just missed and fouled off. THAT was the pitch that should have tied the game.

“I made a pitch and I made the umpire call it. That’s it. I don’t care what (Butler) was doing.”
Jose Valverde, Tigers closer, Kansas City Star
GH: I think Valverde is a has been but you talk about a guy who gets it done on pure confidence – it’s the Tigers closer. He never thinks he’s going to get beat.

“By the standards of umpiring in 2013, that call was almost excusable. Almost.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: Ironically, Denny Matthews spent much of the first two innings complaining about the small strike zone. But Denny spends much of every game complaining about the small strike zone.

“I loved everything about Butler’s reaction to a crap call. I'm tired of watching Royals players, coaches and ownership accept losing.”
Tim Larson, @tlars13, Twitter
GH: Butler’s rant was a bit too self-serving to me. The Royals still had two outs to get the tying run home from second when Butler went off, got tossed and disrupted Cain’s at bat. I am all for showing emotion but Butler acted like the game ended when he struck out. It did not.

“Does anyone doubt if George Brett was manager he gets tossed from that game?”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, Twitter
GH: Uh, yeah. What good would George getting tossed do? I don’t think people understand George Brett. He is not the Pine Tar Guy. That was an anomaly. Brett is now 60. I doubt very much that his fire burns anywhere near as brightly as many believe. I think he wants to win but he is far more reserved than those old video clips.

“Billy Butler tells us in clubhouse that the bad strike 3 call ‘can't happen’ in a situation like that.”
Jeffrey Flanagan, @jflanagan, Twitter
GH: I agree with Billy – but for a different reason. Your clean-up hitter cannot go down looking in that situation. That just can’t happen.

“No chance.’’
Robinson Cano, when asked if he would pick Butler, for this year’s Home Run Derby at Citi Field, New York Post

“I can tell by listening to how Ned Yost’s answers questions whether or not the Royals are winning or losing. His demeanor is different when they are winning.”
Kevin Kietzman, on how Yost is far friendlier to the media when the team is losing, 810 AM
GH: KK made a point of how Yost abruptly disregarded the fact that the Royals now lead the AL in team ERA. Yost rudely downplayed the point and remarked something like, “It doesn’t do us any good tonight.” Yost is just really rotten at media relations – I mean Bob Boone bad. It is debatable whether or not a baseball manager has much to do with how many games his teams wins over the season. But one thing a manager can do is present a likable image to the fan base that fans want to root for and feel good about. Yost swings and misses at this task with the same aggressiveness as Frenchy chasing a slider in the dirt.

“I’m not gonna tell you. No. No. We’re still evaluating.”
Ned Yost, when asked if any roster decisions have been made as to how the Royals will make room for Jarrod Dyson when he returns to KC, 810 AM
GH: Dyson has looked great his last two games with Omaha. He’s ready to return to KC and take over the lead-off spot and play centerfield for the Royals. So how does Dayton Moore make room for Dyson? The leading candidate to get lanced is Jeff Francoeur – but his guaranteed salary and lack of options makes him almost untouchable by Royals’ standards. But he so needs to go. This is Day 2 of my Fire Frenchy rant. Please show us the Royals care more about winning than salary this one time.

“Can we just please leave Gordon at leadoff for at least the rest of the season? I wouldn’t mess with the top five in that order (of Gordon, Hosmer, Perez, Butler and Cain).”
Nate Bukaty, while discussing where Dyson would fit into the Royals batting order, 810 AM
GH: If there EVER was a batting order that cried to be messed with it’s the anemic Royals. This team just doesn’t score runs – and they are even worse since George Brett came aboard. I would put Dyson at the top of the order, bring up Johnny Gio to play second, demote Moose to Omaha and play old-man Miguel Tejada at third. The pitching staff has to be getting sick of giving up three or less runs and losing.

“LeBron hasn't looked this passive, detached and aloof since his final hours as a Cavalier.”
Mike Vaccaro, @MikeVac, writer for NY Post, after San Antonio took an easy 2-1 lead in the NBA final series, Twitter
GH: The Heat look dead – which means they’ll win game four by 20. That is the NBA as we know it.

“Customer service is everything.”
Slogan on the back of a landscaping truck
GH: I LOVE great customer service. The Taco Bell on Hwy 152 & Flintlock Road near Liberty, MO has great customer service. Whoever trains their counter and drive-thru people does an exceptional job. Almost every Quik Trip is manned by efficient and helpful folks. I mean every one of them! What I don’t need is everyone in the store platonically yelling, “Welcome to Firehouse,” at me upon entering their restaurant. Gates sets the standard for poor service with their “HI MAY I HELP YOU” threat and scrawny ribs. Where do you get great and not-so-great customer care?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Lefebvre sounds like a shill for Moore and Yost

Posted 6-11-13

“It's pretty clearly the easiest week of the season (home for 6 vs. MIN & HOU). If KC goes 5-1, it doesn't mean everything's magically fixed.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, prior to the Royals’ homestand featuring the lowly Twins and Astros, Twitter
GH: The Royals did go 5-1 and with their win Monday night over the Tigers they are on a six-game win streak. Should we be excited? Probably not. Are we excited? Hell, yes!

“Look: the Royals were 21-29 overall and 4-19 over the previous 3 1/2 weeks before (George) Brett was hired. And look: they are now 28-32 overall and 7-3 since he was hired. Magic! Brett fixed the team! His aura and his awesomeness have fixed the Royals, turned them (back?) into something resembling a playoff team! Except not really. … Look: the Royals were hitting .261 with a .314 on-base and .375 slugging percentage while averaging 4.0 runs before Brett was hired. And look: the Royals are hitting .236 with a .303 on-base and .325 slugging percentage while averaging 3.5 runs in 10 games with Brett.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansascity.com
GH: The moribund offense of the Royals is reason enough to consider the past six wins an aberration in another lost season. This team just doesn’t score runs. But their pitching is on a ridiculous professional roll – and now leads the Al in ERA.

“We probably hit too many balls in the air, to be honest with you. We hit some balls good. We pitched good. We played pretty good. We got beat.”
Jim Leyland, Tigers manager, on Detroit’s 3-2 loss in Kansas City, freep.com
GH: How about that for a short and sweet postgame critique?

“Going up there and taking pitches is much misunderstood is my point. It’s misunderstood in that you have to be a good hitter first before you can have a high on-base percentage and walks. … You don’t draft Hunter Dozier because he can walk. You draft Hunter Dozier because he can hit.””
Ryan Lefebvre, 610 AM
GH: Lefebvre was interviewed by Danny Parkins Monday and he took the opportunity to defend the Royals’ indefensible history of ignoring the importance of working an at bat, taking pitches and scoring runs by extending a pitcher’s pitch count. Lefebvre sounded like a shill for Dayton Moore and Ned Yost. A really embarrassing shill. Read on.

 “Is the answer just that simple – they haven’t had enough good hitters?”
Danny Parkins, responding to Lefebvre’s above statement, 610 AM
GH: Parkins homered with this direct-hit questions. It appeared to stun Lefebvre for a moment and he paused before he answered. It placed Lefebvre in the position of having to call the Royals’ hitters not good – just as he stated in his explanation of why the Royals don’t draw more walks.

“They’ve had a lot of young hitters.”
Ryan Lefebvre, answering Parkins, 610 AM
GH: I would have liked Parkins to fire back with something like – “So then how do you explain Jeff Francoeur?” Or “How long are the Royals going to use the excuse that Hosmer and Moustakas are young?” Parkins let Lefebvre get away with this one but not before he inflicted at least some damage to Lefebvre’s attempt to educate us on why the Royals don’t draw walks.

“Now, on base percentage is a very important statistic. I’m not going to deny that.”
Ryan Lefebvre, 610 AM
GH: Thanks for that bold statement, Ryan.

“Visiting with World Series hero, George Carter. We'll be right back."
Ryan Lefebvre, as he misspoke at the end of an inning where Joe Carter was in the Royals' television booth, Fox Sports KC 
GH: Maybe Ryan was thinking of George Washington Carver?

“Normally, at least for me, when I do something like that it's because I'm thinking about somebody with that name or we're talking about somebody with that name. We weren't even talking about somebody with that name! That came out of the sky! Who is George Carter? Is there a George Carter?"
Ryan Lefebvre, after he called Joe Carter George Carter, Fox Sports KC 

“(Cater) got a kick out of it. He was cracking up leaving our booth. He signed our wall. He said he signed it 'George Carter.’ ”
Rex Hudler, Fox Sports KC

“(Yordano Ventura) is probably the most exciting guy to come through (the Royals organization) since Zack Greinke came through. And he has a better fastball than Zack had.”
Mike Jirschele, manager of the Omaha Stormchasers, on the 22-year-old righthander who was recently promoted to Triple A, Omaha World Herald
GH: So how long do the Royals wait to promote a 22-year-old phenom? I sure wish he was starting at The K today against Detroit rather than Wade Davis.

“They can’t say they are trying to win games if they send Lough down and play Francoeur every day.”
Nate Bukaty, anticipating the return of Jarrod Dyson, 810 AM
GH: We will all be watching to see how serious the Royals are about winning this season with how they handle their roster move to add Dyson. There are plenty of obvious moves to be made. Releasing Francoeur and just being done with the free-swinging out-making machine would be a very unRoyals-like move. It would signal so much to this team and their fans. But the Royals just don’t do what’s obvious when payroll is involved. They could send Moustakas down for a much-needed head adjustment. They could send Getz down. If they send Lough down, Glass should fire Moore and Yost before Lough gets to the bus station. 

 

“Apathy finally claimed the (Detroit) Pistons with their latest coaching search. Joe Dumars spun the revolving door one more time, and it spit out Maurice Cheeks. The Pistons announced the hire Monday night. There’s nothing about Cheeks that excites. There’s nothing about Cheeks that irritates. There’s nothing about Cheeks that draws even a casual shrug. There’s just nothing. It’s not the man’s fault. The Pistons have fallen so far off the public radar that few care deeply right now about what direction they’re headed in or even who’s steering the ship.”
Drew Sharp, columnist, freep.com
GH: I included this from Sharp’s column in the Detroit Free Press because it fits so well with the Royals’ organization. How much longer can the Royals expect their fans to care despite their losses? The Royals’ fan base is one of the more resilient in all of sports. But how much longer before  we become like Pistons’ fans?

 

“I'm bouncing back better every start. It feels like I've got a new arm — and basically I do. I didn't realize how it felt to be healthy, really since high school.”

Danny Duffy, Royals lefthander, on his rehab from Tommy John surgery, Omaha World Herald
GH: Duffy had a rough outing for Omaha recently but he’s a year away from really seeing how his surgery helped. He should be fine next spring.

 

“KU Boobs has been ordered to cease and desist by the University of Kansas by June 12, 2013.”
@KUboobs, Twitter
GH: This tweet started quite a bit of Twitter traffic and media speculation Monday night. Read on.

“For the uninitiated, the @KUboobs account has more than 50,000 followers on Twitter, and mostly specializes in collecting, and then disseminating, photos of KU fans in low-cut shirts. (We’ll pause for a moment to recognize how ridiculous this all is.) The account caught fire this past basketball season and inspired a so-called “boobment” of similarly-themed accounts. The Royals? Missouri? Yeah, they all have similar sites.”
Rustin Dodd, Kansas City Star
 
GH: So now you know what we are gawking about…

“You may have seen a tweet from @KUboobs saying "KU has ordered KUBoobs to cease and desist." That tweet is not accurate. … We've asked them to stop selling that merchandise, not to shut down the Twitter account. Rock Chalk!”
Jim Marchiony, @jmarchiony, Associate KU athletic director, Twitter
GH: You have to love that Marchiony was compelled to address this issue with a crisis-mode like response. You just don’t mess with free boobs.

“San Antonio is a tremendous hang-around team.”
Jeff Van Gundy, ESPN Radio
GH: The winner of game three of the NBA finals wins the title 93% of the time. Game three is at 8 PM (CT) tonight on ABC.

“Bitches, man.”
Zombie Marcus, to his Zombie buddy R, in the movie
Warm Bodies
GH: Watched Warm Bodies this weekend and loved it. This line from Marcus deserves an Oscar all by itself. Why doesn’t the academy have a “Best Line” category? Make this happen!

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Gregorian's debut as Star columnist

Posted 6-11-13

“I’d studied (the KU/MU rivalry), interviewed people about it and been here enough over 25 years that I thought I had a sense of that pulse. Yet it’s evident I’ve got a lot more to learn about the depths of that — not to mention plenty of other things about the area.”
Vahe Gregorian, new sports columnist for The Kansas City Star
GH: Gregorian chose the topic of calling for reviving the MU/KU rivalry for his first Kansas City Star sports column. An excellent choice when you consider the role of a sports columnist is to invoke conversation, opinion and buzz about the columns he writes. But it seemed too easy and too vague for my acerbic tastes in columns. This column could have waited a week – and added more punch from his St. Louis perspective. His first column needed to make me care about who I am reading. Tell me who you are, Vahe. What’s with that name? How does Kansas City look from up close as compared to your longtime view from St. Louis? Are you a fan of any teams or has the journalism business dried all your sports passion from your fingers? Why did you make the move? What do your STL peeps think about you heading west? What are your goals as a KC sports columnist? Who is the big cheese at the Star’s sports desk – you (as the old guy) or Mellinger (as the established guy)? I have lots of questions. You up for an OTC interview? Let’s talk.

“Still, this much I can tell already: Something fundamental is missing from the Kansas City sports scene right now, and not just because the Chiefs haven’t won a playoff game since 1994 and the Royals haven’t since beating the Cardinals in the 1985 World Series.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star
GH: If you have not read Gregorian’s column,
here is the link. As a Nebraska guy with little blood in the Border War, I LOVED the sucker! I missed it when it went away and I still miss it now. I pine that my Missouri-born boys will never really comprehend what that sports rivalry meant for so many generations. But the KU and MU fans I know are not as bothered by its sudden ending. Both schools are too proud to state they need (or want) each other when it comes to scheduling. So, is something “fundamentally missing from the Kansas City sports scene?” Not really. MU is very, very happy in the SEC and KU is adamant that the state of Missouri no longer exists.

“Like each other or not, Mizzou and Kansas have to start playing each other again. Soon. It’s bigger than the institutions themselves, or the current leaderships and decisions they’ve made. It’s about the very underpinnings of the area, essential to the tapestry and part of the DNA in sports and beyond.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star
GH: I hear you, Vahe. But each season that passes where these two stubborn rivals refuse to acknowledge they need to play each other in all sports – not just football and hoops – it will be easier to let this once great border war morph into what Nebraska and Oklahoma has become – nostalgia.

“No matter who or what you want to blame for the rivalry abruptly going dormant, all the fan teasing and taunting and hatred and humor that had a tangible epicenter simply rings hollow now.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star
GH: I don’t think there is anything hollow about the taunts and teasing between the fans of these great schools. What made the Kansas / Missouri rivalry a 365-day-a-year event is they enjoy each other’s failures almost as much as their gains. Mizzou’s stumbles out of the SEC gate has fueled Kansas fans like news of a Bill Self five-star recruit. The same for Mizzou fans when it comes to KU not winning a Big 12 football game and basically stinking in just about every men’s sport not called basketball. These two schools don’t need to play each other to taunt each other. They just need to exist and the barbs will fly.

 

“Nothing’s ever easy,” said head coach Stanley Redwine, who joked that not long ago the women’s team was finishing 13th in the Big 12. “But we knew we had a team with the potential to win championships, and that was our goal. We all knew we had to come together and do it because it’s not about one athlete or one coach. It was a total team effort.”
Matt Tait, writer, on the KU women winning the outdoor track and field national championship, KUSports.com
GH: I believe this is the first national championship for a KU women’s team. That is very, very cool.

“The history of KU track is great. It’s old. And it needed to be updated. KU track’s back on the map. I think people know that. And I’m wearing this (national championship) hat everywhere so people will recognize me.”
Andrea Geubelle, KU’s top point scorer, a senior who contributed 16 points to the team total of 60 with second-place finishes in the long and triple jump, KUSports.com
GH: Kansas is building a state-of-the-art outdoor track and field stadium on campus. Part of the reasoning is so they can renovate the football stadium and place the stands closer to the field. But this national title combined with a new track stadium should bolster KU’s resume as a place where great track athletes can come to win championships.

“We were joking when we saw the tweet. We were like, ‘Well, I hope it’s free because nobody’s gonna pay.’ So when we walked in and we saw people we didn’t know, that was huge. It was great that there were more than five people.”
Andrea Geubelle, on the gathering of “nearly 500 fans” inside Allen Fieldhouse Sunday to greet the national champs, KUSports.com
GH: I attended the Missouri Relays, The KU Relays and The Drake Relays all within the last few months. The Missouri Relays need a serious overhaul in every phase. They went off like a JV dual meet. The KU Relays are well run but the attendance is awful. The Drake Relays were in a word spectacular. People will come to watch track and field if the events are packaged with the same effort you would expect from a big-time football or basketball game. It will be interesting to see if KU’s women’s title revives that interest in the sport.

“I think we’ll handle it fine. The game got away and there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s one you just flush away pretty quick. Hopefully we can put it behind us.”
Coach Brad Hill, on his K-State baseball team dropping the second game of their Super Regional match with Oregon State 12-4, CJonline.com
GH: A trip to Omaha and the CWS is on the line tonight in Corvallis when the Cats take on the Beavers at 9:00 PM (CT) on ESPN2. After watching the game last night, it does not look good for K-State. But isn’t that kind of how the Wildcats like it?

“People ask me all the time if Bob (Fescoe) believes some of the stuff he says. The good thing about Bob is that he believes them. Whether he is way out there or wrong, he believes it.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Is that really a good thing?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Andy Reid lucky to be in KC

Posted 6-6-13

“Andy Reid is comfortable in his own skin. He knows what it’s like to have the heat put on him as an NFL coach.”
Stan Weber, on the Chiefs head coach, 810 AM
GH: How much heat will Reid feel here in Kansas City compared to the firestorm of media that he faced for 14 years in Philadelphia? Are we just happy he picked us? Kind of like the homely guy who finally gets a date with the cheerleader? Read on.

“This is just a great place to be. It’s refreshing to him. This is a great football city. Philadelphia is great, too, but it’s tough. In Philadelphia, they’re passionate and intense. In Kansas City, people are just as passionate but not quite as intense.”
Dick Vermeil, on why he promoted Reid for the Chiefs’ head coaching job, Kansas City Star
GH: I am not a great fan of Kansas City being a “not quite as intense” kind of place when compared to Philly. I hope Reid sees his new town as a place that demands winning every bit as much as they do on the east coast.

“The whole thing feels so much different than the past four years that it’s incredible! Now I don’t know if that’s going to help on the field but it can’t hurt.”
Todd Leabo, on the difference he sees at the Chiefs’ minicamp compared to Romeo Crennel’s practices under Scott Pioli’s regime, 810 AM
GH: The media almost to a person have remarked positively about Reid and his practices. I still can’t get the photo of a grinning Steven St. John posing with Reid back when he was hired. It is great to be excited about Reid and what he might bring to Kansas City – but we need to be just as tough on his Philly-fired ass as Philadelphia was both in the media and in the stands.

“There were a lot of people walking around on egg shells here the last few years and I think that’s kind of gone away.”
Todd Leabo, on what he’s observed at Reid’s practices, 810 AM

“Andy’s having a lot of fun. He’s rejuvenated! … You’re very, very fortunate to have Andy Reid.”
Dick Vermeil, on the former Eagles’ coach’s new life as the Chiefs’ head coach, 810 AM
GH: Reid is also very fortunate to have Kansas City and one of the NFL’s most resilient fan bases. In Dick Vermeil’s words, it’s time to take the diapers off, Andy. Don’t expect to be babied here in Kansas City. Our expectations are just as high as every other NFL city.

“Andy Reid loves to throw the football. (The Chiefs) are going to throw the football 50 times a game.”
Dick Vermeil, 810 AM
GH: Can Dwayne Bowe catch 35 passes a game?

“What you can’t sell, you can drink.”
Dick Vermeil, after saying his wine business is at about a break-even point financially but he never expects it to be very profitable, 810 AM

“We’re visiting with Dick Vermeil once again and you know I find it interesting coach too that with your mind, your thought process about quarterbacks and you’re not the only one who a lot of people could have money invested in a previous quarterback so maybe you’re not seeing what you could see in a younger guy and those type of things. I remember it was awesome. You used to have lunch with us in the media after your weekly news conferences on Tuesdays and I remember actually sitting down with you one time and talking with you the opportunity to draft a quarterback versus the opportunity to trade for a proven quarterback. And here in Kansas City we’re still going on there hasn’t been a drafted Chiefs’ quarterback to actually win a game I think since Todd Blackledge. It has been 30 years since this organization drafted a quarterback in the first round. I remember you saying back then that hey, you want to draft that quarterback but rarely does the head coach that drafts that young quarterback get to coach him when he’s finally good. How much of a fear has that maybe dictated what’s happened with the Chiefs at the quarterback position over all these years?”
Nate Bukaty, is a question to Dick Vermeil on 810’s Border Patrol
GH: It continues to amaze me that Bukaty has never fixed one of his most glaring problems as a broadcaster – his run-on questions. I listened to the above question from Nate on Thursday morning and wondered what a college broadcasting major would think of it. We rip MLB players who don’t take walks, we critique college hoopsters who can’t create their own shot. So why do we put up with talk show hosts who seem to never work on their weaknesses?

“You know, I don’t think it’s been a factor. I really don’t.”
Dick Vermeil, responding to Bukaty’s question, 810 AM
GH: Okay. Next question…

“Coming up after the break, an interesting police story about Pop Tarts…”
Henry Lake, cohost of The Day Shift, 610 AM
GH: Man, I am still trying to find this show’s direction, theme or purpose. Is it a local show trying to cover national stories? Is it still too early to expect some chemistry between Lake and Bink? Is it not supposed to be entertaining? Something is missing from this duo and it’s not just listeners.

“This event is very important to me, and I want to play as long as I can.”
Tom Watson, on his participation in the Watson Challenge, the KC-area tourney to determine the area’s best golfer, Kansas City Star
GH: Decades from now when Watson is just a legendary memory to those who knew of him or heard stories of his fabled career, people will marvel that he once played in this very Kansas City event. This Friday, Saturday and Sunday a few scattered folks will take in the tourney at Parkville’s The National and have a chance to tell some of those future tales. How I wish I was good enough at the game of golf to test my swing against our local living legend. Enjoy him while we have him, folks.

“Way too much.”
Dwight Gooden, former Mets’ superstar pitcher, when asked how much cocaine he was doing at the peak of his drug use, NPR
GH: Gooden said he has been sober for two years as of March 8, 2013. I remember when he burst on the scene and every one of his starts was like an event – even in my office in Omaha. We followed his starts like he was Sandy Koufax. What an unbelievable talent he was.

 

“I can’t guarantee what’s going to happen next week or next year. It’s a lifelong commitment. The main thing is that I don’t carry the guilt and the shame that I had before.”
Dwight Gooden, NPR

GH: Gooden has a new book out titled, Doc. I hope he keeps it together and beats his addiction. He has already lost much.

*****

I am out of town the rest of the week attending my mom’s funeral in Omaha. What a great lady she was for all of her 93 years. She and my dad raised 15 children on a mailman’s salary over parts of five decades. Dad once told me when he signed the mortgage on our family home they purchased in South Omaha for $10,000 in 1952 that he had no idea how they would pay off that mortgage.

Dad was a hard-working provider and one very tough disciplinarian, but mom was the emotional rock of our family. She buried two sons, a daughter and her husband – and all the while never questioned her maker’s plans for her life. She didn’t just roll with the punches. She taught her kids to look beyond their problems for solutions. Her attitude was that while life isn’t fair, it is more important what you make of it. I am very proud to have been one of her brood.

I am sure many of us have similar stories about the women who raised us to be men and women. Our goal should be to do our job as parents so that someday our children will remember us as fondly. It is a tough but rewarding life-long job. I am very glad my mom was there to accept it.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Kietzman thinks George Brett sounds like next Royals skipper

Posted 6-6-13

“If you haven’t heard (George Brett’s press conference) you need to go listen to the podcast on our website. It is amazing! George Brett sounded like he is the manager! … How in the world is Ned Yost going to take what I just heard today?”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: You can hear Brett’s press conference with the Kansas City media by clicking here. Judge for yourself if George Brett sounded like he was usurping the role of the Royals’ managerial job from Ned Yost. I didn’t hear any of that from Brett – but it would not be the first time KK and I listened to the same audio and came away with polar-opposite opinions. Read on.

“George Brett already taking credit for the better effort on this team and (he said) that ‘he’s 2-2.’ It will be interesting to see how the other coaches and Ned Yost take this.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman enjoys reading more into a storyline than actually exists – at least that’s my opinion of his work. He does call his show “Between the Lines” after all. But there is a difference between uncovering hidden truths and uncovering a pile of manure. Read on.

“It already is. I think the writing is on the wall. Ned Yost is not going to be the manager of this team a whole lot longer.”
Les Norman, former teammate of Brett’s, when asked by Kevin Kietzman if this is becoming George Brett’s team, 810 AM
GH: It’s not like KK doesn’t have enough yes-men inside his studio during the hours of 2-6 PM – so why subject the audience to the walking, talking, nodding, live bobblehead that is Les Norman? Kietzman and Norman might be right and the Royals will announce Brett as the new manager – but this situation looks completely different to me. Brett sounded like he was scared, clueless and completely unsure what to do in his new role as the hitting coach. He sounded more to me like a guy who was questioning his decision to take on this task and very glad he’s got a 30-day-out clause.

“George Brett doesn’t know if this will work. He might be terrible. Might be wasting his time. Might be making a bad situation for the franchise he adores even worse. That part freaks him out. Scares him to the bones. In an honest moment, he’ll tell you he’s not sure how to do this new job.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger witnessed the same George Brett news conference that I did. I’m not sure what KK was listening to.

“I just don’t think there is any long-term deal here as far as (Brett) being the hitting coach or being involved in the front office. It’s just my theory of knowing the guy and knowing that type of person.”
Brian McRae, while talking to Danny Clinkscale Tuesday night, 810 AM
GH: McRae would make a much better debate partner for KK than Les Norman. Not only does he have a differing opinion, he’s not Les Norman.

“I don’t think George Brett is a yes man. … If you’re Leslie Brett and you’re sitting there at the dinner table and you ask George Brett, ‘What do you think of David Glass as an owner?’ There’s no way you’re going to say you think he’s great.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Where else but on KK’s Between the Lines are you going to get exclusive made-up dinner table conversations between George and Leslie Brett?

“George Brett’s not a hitting coach to me, he’s a confidence coach.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: One thing I have always considered to be an essential partner to confidence – success. These Royals’ players have experienced so little in the big leagues that confidence is a rare commodity in that dugout – and you can add Ned Yost and Dayton Moore to that list.

“If they truly are playing harder (now that Brett’s the hitting coach), that’s a terrible indictment on Ned Yost. That’s the worst thing you can say about Ned Yost!”
Kevin Kietzman, after Brett stated he’s noticed a better effort by the team, 810 AM
GH: I think one of the worst think you can say about Yost is that he’s managed to put together back-to-back seasons with a 10- and an 11-game losing streak at home. Both accomplished in years where the club was supposed to be serious about competing for the first time in a long time. How do you lose 10 and 11 games at home every season? Just mind-numbing stuff.

“In a year that was supposed to be different the #royals have set a franchise record for consecutive losses at home with 11.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: The Boys in Blue go after number 12 tonight against the Twins. How do Yost and Dayton Moore survive the week? And this is our brain trust for the MLB draft starting on Thursday???

“Unfortunately, I think Step One (to fix the Royals) is to admit 2013 is over. Demote Hosmer and Moose. Trade Santana. Blow it up. Look to 2015. Which is to say, I don't think anything gets accomplished unless and until a new front office is put in place.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
GH: Man, was I wrong back in May about this Royals team. I was Ned wrong. It’s not “here we go again.” It’s “here we are again.”

“This is a great baseball town that loves its team and has its heart broken every year. Perfect for talk radio.”
Ernie Webb, @Ernie_Webb_3, Twitter
GH: Well, I guess we at least got that going for us…

“I told him, ‘I can play any day this week but I gotta play at 9:00 (AM). I can’t play at 1:00 because I gotta go to work!’ So I’m making some sacrifices.”
George Brett, repeating a conversation he had with a friend at his golf club about scheduling a match, 810 AM
GH: There are few things more humorous to me than the world viewed through the mind of a ball player.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Will the Royals be cleaning house soon?

Posted 6-4-13

“This year feels like the first year we have a chance to compete from the first day to the last day... The starting rotation certainly gives us hope and a lot more consistency.”
Dayton Moore, prior to the start of spring training, Royalsreview.com
GH: As the Royals open an important home stand against the Twins, Astros and Tigers, it again appears that the Royals’ season is in the balance – and that is being kind. Many have already written off the Royals after an 8-20 month of May. It is panic time for the Royals. They need to win six of the nine home games to even feel good about themselves. A poor homestand should result in major changes. Read on.

“Many thought that Kansas City was ready to compete in the American League Central. Thus far, that has not been the case, as the team has gone 8-22 since a 14-10 first month. Ranked ninth in the ESPN Power Rankings in early May, the team has declined steadily, and this week finds itself ranked a lowly 24th. General Manager Dayton Moore has stressed patience before, but if the team can't pull out of its tailspin in the next month or so, it will be time to pull the plug on the Moore era in K.C. … Kansas City should look to clean house with an eye toward the future.”
Paul Swydan, MLB writer, ESPN.com
GH: You want sobering? The thought of the Royals cleaning house – a very real possibility – and looking “toward the future,” should get the attention of even the all-too-quiet Glass family.

“After being No. 2 in each of the past two weeks, the St. Louis Cardinals grabbed the top spot for Week 10.”
ESPN.com
GH: Maybe the Royals mid-season slogan should be, “So close and yet so far,” considering the franchise’s proximity to St. Louis but the vast distance between the two teams’ histories.

“Most young players, especially when they’re put all in the lineup together, they have their times they’re going to struggle. And this is one of those times.”
Danny Knobler, MLB writer for CBSsports.com, on the Royals, John Feinstein Show
GH: George Brett was brought in to help the Royals’ young players cope with their lack of success. Or is he there for more?

“It’s less likely that he wants to than they want him to.”
Danny Knobler, when asked if Brett would be the next Royals manager, John Feinstein Show
GH: I am still surprised that Brett took the job as the team’s batting coach. Maybe he is interested in being the manager now that he’s older and his kids are about grown. Ned sure seems to be handling it well if his replacement is in the dugout.

“(Alex) Gordon is eighth among outfielders (for the AL All-Star balloting) with 522,483 votes, which puts him nearly 240,000 behind Detroit’s Torii Hunter for the final starting spot in the AL outfield. … The Royals have not had a player voted to a starting position since outfielder Jermaine Dye in 2000.”
Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star
GH: Is it any wonder why Damon, Beltran and Dye wanted out of Kansas City? Gordon would be one of MLB’s biggest starts on a winning team. The club hasn’t had a player voted in since 2000??!! This franchise just finds new ways to embarrass itself.

“Right-hander Kyle Zimmer, the club’s No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, continues to struggle at Hi-A Wilmington. Zimmer is 0-5 with a 5.54 ERA after yielding five runs in six innings Sunday in a 5-3 loss to Frederick. Picollo admits the Royals find Zimmer’s ongoing struggles to be ‘a bit baffling at times’ because he continues to exhibit plus stuff and plus command.”
Bob Dutton, on the Royals top draft pick from the 2012 MLB draft, Kansas City Star
GH: What’s baffling about a Royals top draft pick floundering? Read on.

“From a delivery standpoint and a stuff standpoint, it’s everything and then some. Right now, we have to be a little more patient than we anticipated. But that’s OK. I think in the end it will speed up (his development).”
J.J. Picollo, Royals assistant GM, on Zimmer, Kansas City Star
GH: With the MLB draft set to start Thursday, it is sobering to note that the Royals are once again preaching patience about yet another top pick. Maybe the team should change the name from the Royals to Job.

“Opinion: Roger Twibell peddles popular putters”
Headline online for Tom Keegan’s column in the Lawrence Journal-World
GH: I know the summer months can be a slow time for a college town columnist but did Keegan have to resort to pimping putters for Twibell? Read on.

“A collection of decorative putters leaning against the wall in the corner of his office inspired longtime broadcaster Roger Twibell to come up with a product that merges the loyalty aspect of those impractical door prizes with a golfer’s desire to trim strokes. Twibell pulled it off. He markets logo putters from the website logoputter.com. A number of universities, including Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State, licensed him to sell putters with their logos.”
Tom Keegan, columnist, KUSports.com
GH: This “column” was akin to a Kevin Kietzman grilling segment. Just an awful use of space in a newspaper’s sports section reserved for their columnist.

“You know, with all our breaking news (about George Brett’s hiring), we didn’t get to do our grilling segment with Jim Cotty.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: George Brett to the rescue yet again…

“We’re infinitely stronger and infinitely in a better place than we were four years ago. We’re in a better position to move forward”
John Currie, K-State AD, when asked by Kevin Kietzman if all the conference realignment was just a waste, 810 AM
GH: While Kietzman and others are still upset with the severed limbs and new transplants realignment caused to every BCS conference, Currie makes a great point – realignment strengthened the Big 12 – especially for Kansas State, Kansas and Iowa State. The Big 12 was a festering mess of paranoia and deceit before Colorado, Nebraska, Missouri and Texas A&M moved on. Adapting to your environment makes businesses stronger and keeps species from becoming extinct. Were there some mistakes made in realignment? Yes. I believe West Virginia erred in joining the Big 12 and the Big 10 whiffed in inviting Rutgers. But I like the choices almost every other school has made. It sure makes the KC market a more diverse and interesting place to be to follow college athletics.

 “Fred’s (Hoiberg) position at Iowa State opened up, and he wasted no time in coming after Doc Sadler). Doc will be a huge asset for their team not only from a recruiting standpoint, but also as an on-the-floor coach. He’s a terrific coach that loved what he did last year but missed getting a chance to work with the guys in practice. I think this is a win-win for everybody.”
Bill Self, on Sadler leaving his position as KU’s head of basketball operations, KUSports.com
GH: The former Nebraska basketball coach appears restless but not so restless he wants to leave the old Big 12 North. Doc will have spent stints at Nebraska, Kansas and Iowa State over the past three seasons. I like Doc but I think he peaked at Nebraska as far as head-coaching opportunities. Self had a spot open on his staff when Joe Dooley took the Florida Gulf Coast job but it doesn’t appear Doc was seriously considered for it.

“’Michael (Dixon) arrived at Memphis this morning for an official visit but has not committed,’ source close to Dixon told ESPNcom.”
Jason King, @JasonKingESPN, Twitter
GH: Dixon was rumored to be close to signing with Baylor last month. It appears he remains a wanted man.

“The top ten other things Jose Canseco predicted.”
Bob Fescoe, urging callers to contribute to the show’s daily top ten list, 610 AM
GH: There was a time I thought Fescoe’s top ten segment was a good idea. That time was long ago. It is an automatic channel changer for me now. And listening to Josh Klingler promote it for three hours every morning makes it all the more grating.

“Jason (Kidd's) value to the Knicks and the National Basketball Association cannot be quantified by statistics alone. Everyone here in New York saw firsthand what a tremendous competitor he is and why Jason is considered to be one of the best point guards, and leaders, the game has ever seen.”
Glen Grunwald, Knicks general manager, on Kidd retiring after 19 years in the NBA, USA Today
GH: I saw Jason Kidd play inside Allen Fieldhouse his freshman year at Cal in 1993. His hype at the time was legendary. I walked down onto the court during the pregame drills to stand next to Kidd and see what all the fuss was about. He didn’t strike me as all that special. Nice handles and a great passing touch but he couldn’t shoot at all. Let’s just say he improved quite a bit. 19 years in the NBA? Legendary is right.

“I’m not going to watch any basketball. … I think you’ve got to cleanse yourself a little bit.”
Kevin Harlan, who said he has it in his contract that he is done working the NBA after the second round of the playoffs, 810 AM
GH: Kind of ironic that when Harlan stops watching the NBA is when I and many others start.

“I haven’t read a book since the end of July last year. I’ve got a couple of books I want to read.”
Kevin Harlan, 810 AM
GH: I have three books on my bedside stand that I have yet to crack – Gone Girl (which everyone tells me is an absolute page turner), Unbroken (which my wife read and loved) and Again to Carthage (John Parker’s sequel to Once a Runner). What’s on your reading list this summer?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


John Currie pulls a Bill Snyder in 12 months time

Posted 6-3-13

“K-State in the last 300 days: Olympic Silver, 3 Big 12 titles, 3 Big 12Coach Of Year, Heisman Finalist, NCAA Tourney, Big 12 baseball Player Of Year, Super Regional.”
D. Scott Fritchen, @DscottFritchen, Twitter
GH: The academic school year doesn’t get much better than this past year for any school than the one Kansas State just posted – and it ain’t over yet. K-State heads to play Oregon State in the Super Regional this weekend. Was it only just a year ago that so many were calling for John Currie’s head? In the short time that Frank Martin left for South Carolina and Brad Hill has his BatCats one series win away from a trip to Omaha – a LOT has changed. Let’s look back at March of 2012 for how ugly things were getting locally for Currie.

From March 2012

“You would have to think this is a fireable offense for John Currie for letting Frank Martin go.”
Carrington Harrison, 610 AM

“Frank Martin’s exit for SC should end at least 1 career: John Currie’s. One word sums up letting him leave for that program: Unacceptable.”
Bill Reiter, @foxsportsreiter, Twitter

“I’ve heard that Bill Snyder isn’t that pleased with [Currie] either.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Santa Claus was probably pissed as well.

“John Currie becomes the most hated man in Manhattan since Bob Huggins.”
Text from listener to Danny Parkins Show, 610 AM

“Wow, this is a disaster for K-State. This sucks. Big loss for the Big 12 too. While I get the sense that most of this is the administration’s fault, I have a bit of anger towards Martin too. Fans were very loyal to him.”
Nate Bukaty, @nate_bukaty, Twitter

“Martin to South Carolina is good for who? Frank has a complete rebuild and Currie looks awful. All ego. How quickly money changes people.”
Kevin Kietzman, @kkwhb, Twitter
GH: KK had Currie on his show just a week ago and could not have gushed more effusively over the success that Currie has brought to the Wildcat sports programs since last spring. Kietzman called him and the KSU athletic program a model for what other schools should be pursuing – both on the field and financially. We all know the resurrection effort that Bill Snyder is credited with at K-State – but how about Currie’s turnaround? It has been Snyderesque.

“The only reason I’ll be watching the (Royals) games is if I’m doing the pre-game because it’s not worth watching with what they’re rolling out there right now.”
Brian McRae, 810 AM
GH: I don’t have much to say about the Royals except that their offense makes the games almost unwatchable. If this is what we are left with for the summer, I am going to be reading a lot of books I’ve put off for far too long and checking box scores the next morning. The Royals have been that boring to follow.

“The Royals have no safety net here, and are operating accordingly. Hosmer and Moustakas are important enough and scuffling enough that in the last eight months the Royals have fired three hitting coaches and this is where their new baseball lives are interesting. … This is all directed at Moustakas and Hosmer, and these are drastic measures because the Royals know the inconvenient truth. Nothing else matters if these two continue to flounder.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansas City Star
GH: Mellinger states it as well as I have seen it stated. If these two Royals cornerstones don’t get it done, we could very well be looking at another decade of futility. It is serious enough for even George Brett to risk his reputation to try and save this mess of a franchise. We will know this summer. There is no next summer for these two here in Kansas City – not as far as false hopes anyway. Ken Harvey anyone?

“I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be malicious, but I can't take Joel Goldberg. Anytime he's on I either mute it or turn the Channel.”
Tim Scott, former in-stadium master of ceremonies for the Royals, @timscott411, Twitter
GH: Scott has some experience with not being well liked by Royals fans. He could be loud, sweaty and fake as the between-innings screamer on the Jumbotron. But he was also witty, funny and entertaining much of the time. Goldberg’s role is different from Scott’s old job but he is a bit of a stiff when you consider he is on television. He seems like a nice guy but that job could use a makeover. Anybody in the farm system?

“It was my first experience at an Andy Reid practice and it was awesome!”
Jake Gutierrez, 810 AM
GH: Okay, it’s just June but we are do for some good news.

“Let me tell you people, they are throwing the ball to Jamaal Charles a lot! And they are throwing it downfield!”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: SSJ obviously did not get the talking to that TJ Carpenter said he and others in the media received regarding discussing what they see at the Chiefs practices. SSJ can expect to be treated like Ned Yost at the Chiefs next practice.

“There’s just a different attitude and a different feel around the team.”
Dontari Poe, Chiefs defensive lineman, when asked about the new Andy Reid regime, 810 AM
GH: Different isn’t always good unless you are discussing Kansas City’s NFL and MLB teams. And Mizzou. And KU football. And the craptastic way Sporting KC played this weekend. Go Wildcats.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


George Brett is hitting coach, but for how long?

Posted 5-31-13

“This is the last move we’re making. Like I said… Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.”
Dayton Moore, when asked if the Royals were done making any personnel moves after demoting the two Royals hitting coaches and hiring George Brett and a guy named Pedro , 810 AM
GH: Moore’s lack of comfortableness while answering this question spoke volumes. The Royals GM HOPES this is the last personnel move this season. The next one will likely send him and Ned Yost packing.

“I don’t think (making Brett the hitting coach) was done for PR reasons.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: I can’t think of any other reason that makes sense than for the Royals to do this as a PR move and to buy Moore and Yost some time. The Royals have fallen into their annual abyss with more velocity than Jonathan Sanchez’s Lamborghini. Bringing Brett on removes the focus from Moore, Yost and the awful on-field results – at least for a few weeks. But this is nothing more than an iron-on patch on the Titanic.

“People said to me, ‘Well Vernier, they’ve got to do something!’ But isn’t that just like the Royals? To do something but not fix the problem?”
Josh Vernier, 610 AM

“The George Brett press conference was fantastic!”
Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: I understand how and why so many Royals fans got excited about the news that Brett was joining the team and how his words at the press conference inspired some. But the media needs to be better than just fans. Brett said all the right things for the fans’ ears and many of the wrong things when it comes to helping this team win. Read on.

“I’m not a big analyzer of film because I never did that.”
George Brett, on his approach to teaching hitting, 810 AM
GH: Brett looked old in the dugout last night and he sounded even older talking about analyzing “film.” Studying video with a hitter takes a lot of time. I did not get the feeling Brett is all that interested in using the myriad of tools and data that technology brings to MLB in 2013. Some may think “old school” is how you get things done. I think “old school” gets you fired.

“I knew what a good swing felt like. I’m gonna try and get these guys to know what a good swing feels like and to be themselves.”
George Brett, 810 AM
GH: Sure George Brett knew what a good swing felt like – he’s George GD Brett! I’ve never taken a good swing in my life – even with a hammer. Now Moose and Hosmer have better swings than me but I don’t see George Brett in either – and Frenchy’s swing doesn’t even look like he and Brett are of the same species. 

“A lot of times home runs kill rallies.”
George Brett, 810 AM
GH: WHAT? If the new batting coach for ANY major league team makes this asinine comment at his introductory presser, he gets lit up by the media like he was Luke Hochevar on opening day. But George got a complete pass from those folks in St. Louis. That will not last.

“You could just feel…you could just FEEL the presence of George Brett at this press conference. He just overpowered it – even though I wasn’t in the room.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: These comments from Kietzman just made me ill. Hey, we are all big fans of George’s career with the Royals but this kind of hyperbole is just goofy. KK could “FEEL the presence of George Brett at this press conference,” even though he wasn’t there? What kind of fan-boy ridiculousness is that? Hey, I hope I’m wrong and George gets this team hitting the ball, scoring runs and winning games. But I don’t see any reason to think that is going to happen just because #5 put his jersey back on.

“Honestly, I was shocked when George was named the interim guy.”
Kevin Seitzer, 610 AM
GH: Seitzer appeared on both 610 and 810 Thursday and he sounded like a guy who really, really wants to return to the Royals as their hitting coach. Read on.

“Well, I don’t know. He’s never done it before. I don’t think he’s going to have any magic pills or potions where home runs are going to start flying out of the park.”
Kevin Seitzer, when asked by Danny Parkins how he thinks Brett will do as the hitting coach, 610 AM
GH: Doesn’t sound to me like Seitzer is rooting for Brett to succeed. Brett is the interim hitting coach and he said he and Moore will evaluate his desire to remain after 30 days and again after six weeks. That’s not a guy who is dying to make a commitment to the Royals’ cause.

“I’ve been sitting by my phone hoping but… I know these (Royals’ hitters) like the back of my hand. … I feel like I’ve got a good relationship with everybody in that organization. Have they talked to me about coming back? No…but I’m always hopeful. … When George says he wants to remove his interim tag, I’ll be the one who wants to take his place.”
Kevin Seitzer, 810 AM

“There were probably some other circumstances that played into (Seitzer getting fired as the Royals hitting coach). There probably wasn’t a good working relationship between Seitzer and Yost.”
Brian McRae, 810 AM

“Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer are California kids who have been pampered their whole lives. They’re about to have their world rocked!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I don’t remember Brett being the hard-ass disciplinarian that Kietzman expects him to be with the Royals’ hitters. Brett strikes me as a guy who likes to pal around with the players and hope his encouragement helps them improve. I don’t see George rocking anybody’s world verbally. Maybe he’s different on the practice field and in the cage but I don’t think that’s his style.

“It’s gonna be awesome! It’s gonna be awesome! It’s George Brett, man! You can’t say enough good things about that guy!”
Mike Moustakas, when asked what he thought of Brett as the new hitting coach, 810 AM
GH: I think Moose agrees with me on Brett being a buddy more than a drill sergeant.

“Mark my words! (Brett) will commandeer this baseball team away from Ned Yost the next two weeks. The guy who is running this baseball team is gonna feel like George Brett. (Moore) just brought in the henchman and he is going to do his thing.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Consider KK’s words marked. I think it is far more likely that Brett executes his escape clause in four or six weeks and heads back to the golf course.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Kietzman says K-State is more Kansas than Kansas

Posted 5-31-13

“Kansas is so basketball centric that it creates problems. I’m not saying it creates problems, it’s problematic.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Sometimes Kevin Kietzman is difficult to translate. I think he is saying that Kansas being such a basketball-first school creates problems – even though he says he is not saying that while saying that. Read on.

“The things that become troublesome at Kansas I think is that their fan base is so big and so many people are Kansas fans that the basketball (overtakes everything) and there’s kind of fake energy put into football. Come on, most people don’t care (about Kansas football)!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Can having too big of a fan base in basketball be a negative? I am not sure how that is possible. Does KU have a ridiculously successful big-time nationally-recognized basketball program? Yes. Does KU have an embarrassingly underperforming football program? Yes. Does the success of the basketball team hinder the success of the football team? I guess you could try to make that argument but I don’t see how the two are even remotely related. Has Nebraska football’s success retarded the success of their basketball program? No. Just like KU, Nebraska has dumped plenty of money into their underperforming big-time sport with little success.

“I’ll tell you where K-State has an advantage over Kansas – it’s in its Kansas-ness. Kansas State is Kansas through and through. They are salt-of-the-earth people through and through.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Is Kansas State more Kansas than Kansas? Maybe we need Bill Clinton to define just was Kansas is. Is Kansas wheat farmers and rural towns? Or is Kansas Leawood, Overland Park, Wichita and Olathe? Is Kansas a farmer or is Kansas a person of business and leisure? Many people in Kansas making their living from agriculture live very good lives of leisure. There are some very plush golf courses in the western parts of Kansas and Nebraska. Just what is a Kansas person? Is Kietzman a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy? KK’s opinion of what a Kansan is appears to be about a century old. Hard work, family values and Midwest character are not limited to dirt farmers.

“If you’re a Kansas State fan – you went to Kansas State. … (The University of) Kansas is more cosmopolitan and has people that are from places that are nowhere near here. It’s difficult to create that same kind of feeling that you have in a place like Manhattan.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman is experiencing Kansas and Kansas State from an incredibly biased viewpoint. He is a Kansas State graduate. He has long shown his distaste for anything Jayhawks. That is understandable and acceptable. It’s just how it is with the Cats and the Hawks. But he doesn’t seem to understand that what he feels when he is in Manhattan is EXACTLY what every Jayhawk feels in Lawrence – or any Tiger in Columbia – that familial pride of belonging to something so special it permeates your very essence. Kansas State is a great place. But so are KU, MU and Wichita State.

“That shouldn’t be a negative, just because people didn’t go to that school. Even if the fan base doesn’t give a rip about football, to the people doing their jobs that shouldn’t matter.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: Kansas has more fans outside the state of Kansas than Kansas State because they have been more successful on a national scale. Bill Snyder has built a national powerhouse football program – TWICE! – in Manhattan but he’s never won even played for a national championship. KU has been winning national titles in basketball since the ‘50s. Kansas State has Mitch Richmond and Darren Sproles – and no one loves Darren Sproles more than me – but those guys aren’t Wilt Chamberlain. Or Gale Sayers. Or Jim Ryan. Or Paul Pierce.

“There’s no explaining this. How do you explain the success (Kansas State) has had in so many sports?”
Kevin Kietzman, on the Wildcats Big 12 titles this year in football, basketball and baseball, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman is attempting to stick a knife into his KU listeners and twist it slowly. Yes, Kansas State has had an incredible year in sports. What they have accomplished cannot be overstated. But the snapshot of K-State’s recent sports success is not indicative of their history. The basketball team hadn’t won a conference title since 1977. The baseball team hadn’t won a conference crown since 1933. It took 69 years for K-State to win their second conference football title in 2003. Again, I applaud the Wildcats for their incredible year, but KK has gone off the deep end (once again) in overstating and misrepresenting the simple facts.

“I know this is crazy but I think it’s just as likely that Ned Yost gets an extension that he gets fired. … I think you could see Ned Yost get a year or two added onto his contract.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: I thought Parkins was crazy when he made this statement last week – but I’m not so sure now that the Royals have sacrificed their two faceless hitting coaches instead. It looks like it might take two more weeks of losing to flush out the real problems -- Dayton Moore and The Walking Ned.

“St. Louis is expected to be awarded the 2017 Southeastern Conference men’s basketball tournament, ESPN reported from the SEC spring meetings in Destin, Fla., citing an anonymous source. The Scottrade Center is expected to be the host venue. SEC commissioner Mike Slive told reporters Tuesday in Destin that the league hopes to eventually establish a primary site for the men’s tournament.”
Dave Matter, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
GH: It was just a little over a year ago or so when many were screaming how Mizzou’s departure to the SEC was a death knell to college basketball tournaments in the state of Missouri. Now it appears the Big 12, SEC, Missouri Valley and the NAIA will be bringing their fans to the Show-Me State every March. Move over Tobacco Road. It looks like college basketball lives here.

“Maybe when I wake up tomorrow, the Royals will be good.”
Kevin Scobee, @scobes15, Twitter
GH: I believe this is the Royals’ mission statement.

“I get the ball again Friday.”
Danny Duffy, @DannyDuffy805, on his start Friday with NW Arkansas, Twitter
GH: Not everything about the Royals has to be a bummer. Go get ‘em, Danny!

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 

 


Moore says Starling struggles due to his past in a cold weather climate

Posted 5-29-13

“I don’t know how much longer I can watch. I’d like to apologize to Kansas City fans – the ones who I said should go out and get season tickets at the beginning of the year.”
Mike Boddicker, former Royals pitcher, on the Royals disastrous month of May, 810 AM

 

“I didn’t think that could happen again after last year’s debacle – especially how the season started.”
Jaime Bluma, former Royals pitcher, on the Royals losing 10 in a row at home for the second straight year, 810 AM

“It saddens my heart because I know them so well and I know I can help but there’s not a lot I can do. … They’re like my own kids. I watch them pretty close.”
Kevin Seitzer, former Royals’ hitting coach, on the Royals’ hitting woes this season, 610 AM
GH: Seitzer was interviewed by Danny Parkins a little over a week ago and they discussed the Royals offensive problems. Some of Seitzer’s comments come off sounding like sour grapes but they are worth exploring. Read on.

“I see Hos still struggling with the same things he was struggling with last year. He’s late on everything and he’s not driving the ball. That just comes from being afraid of getting fooled and being late every time.”
Kevin Seitzer, 610 AM
GH: If Seitzer was unable to help Hosmer last season, why would the Royals think he could help him this season? This comment seems to back up the Royals’ decision to fire Seitzer.

“You can’t be afraid to let your hair down and get after it. I think Hos got tricked so much and pitched backward so much…nobody wants to look stupid in front of 30,000 people.”
Kevin Seitzer, on Hosmer being too cautious at the plate resulting in a late swing, 610 AM
GH: I am just flabbergasted that Hosmer has regressed since his rookie season. Did the league just get a book on him and now he’s been neutered? How did he go from Lou Gehrig to Wally Pipp so quickly?

 

“I wish I would have gotten to be the hitting coach when these guys got another year or two under their belts and we have the pitching staff that we have now. … That’s what would have been fun but it didn’t work out that way. It breaks my heart because you see the adjustments that Gordo’s made and Billy…”
Kevin Seitzer, 610 AM
GH: Seitzer is quick to take credit for Gordon’s and Butler’s plate success – but was it Seitzer or did the two of them just mature into major-league hitters? I think more the latter. I like Seitzer but I’m not a big proponent that a hitting coach makes much of a difference at the major-league level. MLB teams would be better off spending that salary on a psychologist.

 

“They’re going to be fine once they get that experience. Without question (it’s mental).”
Kevin Seitzer, on Hosmer and Moustakas, 610 AM
GH: I think there is a BIG question about whether or not these two guys can hit major-league pitching. And if it is mental, why don’t the Royals know what kind of psyche they are dealing with when they draft these Hochevar clones?

“No, not at all.”
Kevin Seitzer, when asked by Danny Parkins if any of the Royals hitters have reached out to him this season for help, 610 AM
GH: That might not be unusual but it’s also not something Seitzer should add to his resume.

“Yes I do. But without talking to (Moustakas) there’s no guarantee. … But I’ve got a pretty good stinking idea because I know how (Moustakas and Hosmer) are wired to get locked in and get hot pretty quick.”
Kevin Seitzer, when asked by Parkins if he believes he has the solution to Moustakas’ hitting woes, 610 AM
GH: I find it interesting that Yost chose to sit Moose over the holiday home series because of a “tight quad” but will play him tonight in St. Louis. Something tells me Yost was worried that his “Moose” call comments about the Royals fans would backfire on the “confident” third baseman.

“I don’t know. That’s Dayton’s decision. It’s all gonna play out. They have to win now.”
Kevin Seitzer, when asked by Parkins if Ned Yost is the right manager for the Royals, 610 AM
GH: Yost is the guy who got Seitzer axed. Moore wanted to keep him. Looks to me like all three will be unemployed shortly.

“(Bubba Starling’s) batting average is all the way down to .172. He’s actually gotten worse since his Lasik surgery.”
Danny Clinkscale, on the Royals 2011 top-draft pick, 810 AM

“Somebody told me that somebody made a comment that (Bubba) couldn’t hit local high school pitching. This guy was on the USA national team!”
Dayton Moore, 810 AM
GH: That “somebody” was Mike Boddicker, who coached against Bubba in high school. Read on.

“The safest bet in town right now is the Sonic Slam inning. I think they should give the $25,000 away if they hit a home run…anytime in the game!”
Mike Boddicker, 810 AM
GH: Why can’t the Royals have a GM like Boddicker who gets pissed when the team stinks instead of preaches patience?

“Bubba came from a cold-weather climate so it’s going to take a little time. … You gotta trust in the talent.”
Dayton Moore, attempting to explain Starling’s slow start to his career, 810 AM
GH: Bubba came from Gardner, KS. Just think how far behind he’d be at low A if he played his high school ball at Fort Osage where Albert Pujols used to freeze his ass off. 

“Our biggest challenge is that Bubba Starling doesn’t feel undo pressure on himself.”
Dayton Moore, 810 AM
GH: It appears the Royals philosophy is to simply fret about the fragile confidence and egos of their young players. And then fret some more. I hate that philosophy. I’d tell these guys to get the job done or we’ll find someone who can. It’s baseball for @#$%& sakes!

“Can we not accidentally get a stud?”
Jaime Bluma, on the failed draft picks during Dayton Moore’s reign as the Royals GM, 810 AM

“Wil Myers hit as many home runs tonight as the entire Royals team has hit in the last two weeks.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, on the former Royals prospect traded for James Shields and Wade Davis, Twitter

“What are you asking me to do? Take my belt off and spank them? Yell at them? Scream at them? What do you want?”
Ned Yost, when asked how he his players were being held accountable, Kansas City Star
GH: Yes. Yes. And yes. Whatever it takes, Ned. Because you are going to get canned this week if you keep your pants on.

“I want to go to Royals game solely to chant “O-M-A-H-A” when Moustakas bats. We need to start calling him MOUSE until he starts hitting….. Bullwinkle and his brethren I am sure do not want to be associated with Mike Moustakas.”
Reader Bradley, OTC Email

“Something has to be done. There has to be some changes. Isn’t this the year we’re supposed to win? And all of a sudden we’re supposed to be patient with these young hitters?”
Mike Boddicker, former

“Somebody better be fired tonight…it doesn’t even have to be Ned…hell, fire relish…he hasn’t won a race all week.”
Brett Reinhard, @itownhard, following the Royals tenth straight home loss, Twitter

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / @greghall24

 


Mellinger should be leading the charge to clean up the Royals, but he's not

Posted 5-28-13

“These things take time. … I understand everybody is impatient but I can’t be impatient.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: I happen to think a large dose of impatience might do Yost, Dayton Moore and the Royals organization a whole lot of good. Patience is great when rearing an infant but there comes a time in that child’s life when he or she needs their ass to be kicked. It is time.

“I think I was looking for a little more understanding.”
Ned Yost, attempting to explain his “third basemen don’t grow on trees” comment, 610 AM
GH: How ironic is it that Ned is asking US for more understanding? This guy is a troglodyte.

“I think we’ve got a very good team offensive team. We’ve just hit a rough patch.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: Ned thinks the Israelis and Palestinians have hit a rough patch.

“It’s just a matter of time before we start clicking on all cylinders. You wait it out. You wait it out.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: Anybody else tired of waiting? Anybody not named Dayton Moore and Ned Yost?

“We will find other things to talk about on this show…unless they get it turned around.”
Bob Fescoe, threatening to avoid talking Royals if they continue this slide, 610 AM
GH: Avoiding discussing the Royals is one way to approach the rest of the summer. But shouldn’t the local media be ramping up their Royals coverage and scrutiny to expose those at fault? Talking about a 90-loss team can be a show killer or a franchise fixer. Choose the latter, Bulldog.

“(The Cardinals) are sort of the Bizarro Royals. Everything they promise their fans they deliver on.”
Rany Jazayerli, on the Cardinals ability to draft and develop winning major league players and produce World Series championships. 810 AM
GH: David Glass has told us over and over how he detests losing. How can he sit inside Kauffman Stadium this week and see all that Cardinals red flaunt their success in front of his colossal failure of a franchise? Jazayerli points out that the Cardinals are doing it with homegrown talent they acquired with far worse draft picks than the Royals. Doesn’t somebody eventually get fired over that? Especially after seven years?

“I agree that it’s been three bad weeks but some would say it’s been seven bad years.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: SSJ said he didn’t have Nate Bukaty in studio this morning to “talk him off the ledge” over his Royals frustration. I think too many of us have been too patient. Count me in this group as I too wanted to give the Royals a chance to right their ship before firing torpedoes. But now I can’t believe Ned Yost is still willing to participate in post-game press conferences. He should have left every one of last week’s pressers with his rear end ablaze from the media’s probing.

“The Royals stink, and that’s not all Ned Yost’s fault. This is a team that can’t get on base, and that’s not all Jeff Francoeur’s fault. They can’t hit, and it’s not fair to put all of that on the new hitting coaches. Sal Perez is the only part of the newest wave of homegrown talent making a major impact, and that’s not all Dayton Moore’s fault. The Royals are tracking toward what would be The Most Disappointing Season in Franchise History, and that’s not all Mike Moustakas’ fault. But someone’s got to go.”
Sam Mellinger, in Tuesday’s Kansas City Star
GH: I hate these kinds of sports columns. Mellinger points out the obvious problems with the Royals, softens the blame on the most guilty and then tells us someone has to go but he doesn’t name who – but someone! Mellinger should be leading the Kansas City media in what players, coaches and front office personnel need to get canned and who the Royals should be looking at to replace and repair this once-again teetering franchise of flops.

“Yesterday I waxed eloquent about Chris Getz turning a double play while being dumped by Mike Trout, Monday Elliot Johnson did the same thing: he stepped into the sliding runner, made the throw, got his weight up off his feet and got dumped by Beltran. Same deal as Getz: plays like that win the admiration of other ballplayers.”
Lee Judge, online Royals columnist for
KCStar.com
GH: I have read Lee Judge’s Royals columns exactly twice. That is not enough of a sample size to form an opinion of a writer except in the rare case when said writer is as bad as Lee Judge. Reading his takes on the Royals is akin to reading your third grader’s essay on baseball. Lots of golly gee whiz stuff and mentions that he gets to talk to real major league players. It is abominable – and exactly the kind of media coverage the Royals (and any sports team craves). I am sure Lee is on Ned’s short list to invite to his Atlanta farm and party hardy with Jeff Foxworthy and some other baseball experts.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Moose sounds lazy; Petro says Yost is a PR nightmare

Posted 5-23-13

“It’s bad.”
Buster Olney, MLB expert for ESPN, when asked by The Border Patrol how bad was it for the Royals to lose a series to Houston, 810 AM
GH: The Royals went 1-2 in Houston and came darn close to getting swept by the Lastros. How bad is this Houston team? Let’s let Buster explain. Read on.

 

“(The Astros) are possibly one of the worst baseball teams in history. … They’re going to set an all-time record for strikeouts. They are on a pace to win about 46 games. They are on a pace to have a run differential of something in the range of minus 300 – which would be one of the worst of all time. So this is just an absolutely abysmal team that according to scouts might have four or five major league players.”
Buster Olney, MLB expert for ESPN, 810 AM
GH: But be patient, Royals fans. These things take time.

“When you’re 1-33 you have no confidence.”
George Brett, on the slumping Mike Moustakas, 810 AM
GH: Moose is now in a 2-41 tailspin that his manager thinks can be cured by patience. Maybe it can. But there has to be something the Royals can do to help this second-year player that is more than just watching and waiting. If not, why does David Glass pay these guys to be baseball geniuses?

“Last year, when he struggled. I mean (Moose) was a mess. There were times when you’d have to sit him for a ‘mental day.’ This year, he’s been in a great frame of mind. … He’s going to be fine.”
Ned Yost, on the same slumping Moustakas, Kansas City Star
GH: When I hear Ned talk about Moustakas or Hosmer or his team, I hear a man who is talking about himself and his job performance. Yost has no other options than to preach patience and more patience. He doesn’t know what else to do. Read on.

“He’s a PR nightmare.”
Soren Petro, on Ned Yost, 810 AM

“Moustakas has never been a big believer in studying videotape, and his latest struggles have only reinforced the notion that he needs to simplify his approach. Less analysis; not more.”
Bob Dutton, Kansas City Star
GH: When I read Dutton’s story on Moose in The Kansas City Star, one word came to mind – lazy. Fair or unfair, that’s what I think when I hear about a player who thinks less work will return better results. Your kids probably think the same thing when you tell them to mow the lawn. Sometimes a manager has to quit being a cheerleader and start being the bad parent.

“I’m different than a lot of these other guys. Some guys like to watch film. Like Billy (Butler), he gets in there and watches film all day. He’s able to break it down. Gordo (Alex Gordon) does the same thing. I’ll watch film from when I was going good. I don’t break down everything I’ve done. I just try to find a couple of at-bats where I look comfortable, see what I was doing and work from there.”
Mike Moustakas, Kansas City Star
GH: What a surprise that the Royals two best hitters wear out the video machine watching their at bats and Moose tries to find just “a couple of at bats.” This kid needs a coach not an enabler.

“Even though they’re big leaguers and they’re professionals, these last five games are tough to get amped up for! Very small crowds in Oakland. Very small crowds here (in Houston). Now that doesn’t mean the Royals aren’t prepared… Some teams play better in the bigger venues against the higher profile teams than they do in these venues against the lower profile teams.”
Ryan Lefebvre, attempting to explain the Royals poor play on this 3-6 road trip, Fox Sports KC
GH: Ryan went on and on and on about his excuses as to why the Royals are losing to bad teams in front of sparse crowds. It was one of the more pathetic displays of broadcast bullshit a Royals broadcaster has ever attempted to shower on this fanatical fan base. Twitter wasn’t buying ANY of what Beav was selling – and neither was Rex Hudler. I think we all know why Ryan stayed in the Royals booth and Frank White got canned.

 

“That’s what a good arm do!”
Steve Physioc, after Alex Gordon threw out yet another base runner from left field Wednesday night, Royals Radio
GH: In contrast to Beav’s display of ridiculous excuses for the pathetic play of the Royals, Steve Physioc has spent this road trip growing a spine in the radio booth. Physioc has first-guessed Ned Yost on personnel moves as well as pitching changes – and he’s done it with candor. Something changed in Phys this trip and I hope he leaves that switch flipped. He has been a joy to listen to on the radio of late…despite sounding like Rick Dees.

 

“There are so many guys who wear the powder blue (Royals jersey) around here. Come on! You look like a giant fat donut!”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Newsflash to all grown men who wear baseball jerseys – we all look like doofuses. Is there anything odder at a ball game than the 45-year-old guy in an Alex Gordon jersey hanging over the rail trying to snare a grounder with his $450 Rawlings Dual Core PRM1275H?

 

“When should the (Royals) fans get over it? When should they drop that part of it? I had a buddy who beat cancer. For four years you couldn’t go ten minutes without him telling you he beat cancer. I got it! When is it time for the fans to drop the ‘I’ve had baseball cancer for 25 years?’ When is it time to admit you’re healed?”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The Royals do not get a pass on our cynicism just because it is ongoing. The bitching doesn’t stop until the itching heals.

 

“I think (Ben McLemore) is very solid at number two. There are a lot of people who think Ben McLemore is going to be a bonafide superstar in the NBA. He’s got a perfect shooting stroke. You keep hearing the name Ray Allen. I think McLemore is a surefire number two guy. … I think McLemore has a great chance to go number one overall.”

Chris Mannix, SI.com writer, on the former KU shooting guard’s NBA draft chances, 810 AM

 

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


 

Parkins didn't follow-up well, allowed Ned to filibuster

Posted 5-22-13

“Listen, everyone’s going to criticize the interview. I understand that every Royals fan wants to interview Ned Yost. We did our best.”
Danny Parkins, after a caller criticized his interview with the Royals’ Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: Criticism. It is such a misunderstood tool. Too many see it as “hating” on an individual – especially when the critique is aimed at them. The media (like Parkins) who make their living critiquing athletes, coaches and front office personnel – need to understand that their work is also up for critique. It is one of the staples of my Off The Couch column. Parkins had the Royals skipper on the phone live for a 20-minute interview Tuesday afternoon and covered a variety of subjects. I have broken this interview into separate sections and decided to highlight how Parkins and Yost handled the questions about the Royals promising but struggling third baseman, Mike Moustakas – who is currently mired in a 2-for-38 slump. It gives a good overall view of how I think the interview was executed.

“Some of these things you just have to wait out. Like I said before, you’re not going to run and pick another third baseman off a tree. All-Star-caliber third basemen don’t grow on trees.”
Ned Yost, when asked to comment on Moustakas’ disappointing start to the 2013 season, 610 AM
GH: I was stunned to hear Yost breathe new life into his third basemen tree comment. Ned is supposed to be a high-tech junkie who can’t get enough of his iPhone/iPad and Apple products. He must not use any of them to read Twitter or the social media sites that cover and critique the Royals. It strikes me as incompetent that the Royals organization is not better at coaching or helping the members of their organization in how to handle the media. Is Ned so arrogant to think he is above being helped? The fact he is unaware (or has chosen to ignore) the backlash about his “tree” comment suggests so. I was disappointed that Parkins did not point this out to Ned.

“Well then what’s the problem? … It’s not just a slow start for Mike Moustakas.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: This was a good follow-up question from Parkins. He got Yost to acknowledge that Moose’s numbers were more serious than just an early-season slump. Where I thought Parkins failed was in not delving into Yost’s above answer about the third-basemen tree. It sounded to me like Danny had a list of questions in front of him and he was hell bent on getting as many of them asked as possible. This is a mistake too many live interviewers make. Twenty minutes is a long time allotment for a radio interview. Parkins too often acted like he had six minutes to cram in his questions.

“Everything is there. He just needs to put it together. … Once you get to the big leagues it’s more a mental game than a physical game.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: This is the kind of comment Kevin Kietzman writes on his legal pad so that he can refer back to it later in the interview – it is what makes KK a very polished and accomplished interviewer. If Parkins has that skill set, he didn’t display it with Yost. Moose’s mental state is in my opinion a HUGE point of contention between Yost and the Royals fan base. Yost thinks Moose is rock solid mentally, the fans and media think he’s in desperate need of some R&R at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo.

“Especially this road trip, I’ve seen great improvements in (Moustakas) plate discipline. Great improvements in him, um, uh, staying focused on getting a pitch that he can drive.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: Wow – just so many holes here for Parkins to explore. A good interviewer will repeat back the interviewee’s comments and ask how they came to their conclusions. Moose is showing great plate discipline during his 1-34 west-coast slump? How the hell did Yost come up with that? Moose is focusing on getting a pitch he can drive? By swinging and missing on pitches in his zone??? Moose has looked completely lost at the plate. How Yost can attempt to tell us otherwise is simply a manager trying to publicly prop up a struggling player. Yost is doing his job. Parkins’ job in this interview was not to allow it. That did not happen.

“He knows he’s struggling and he’s pressing – a bit – to try and make things happen. The best way that I can help him get productive is to stay patient with him.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: Yost caught himself here and added the “a bit” to soften his words about Moose struggling. We all know he’s struggling but Yost is adamant that he is going to back his third baseman, despite the awful numbers. This was another oppopportunity lost by Parkins when he didn’t seize Yost’s quote and get him to admit that Moose is indeed struggling and pressing.

“Have you considered sending (Moustakas) down to Omaha?”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM

“Um, no.”
Ned Yost, in response to Parkins asking if he had considered sending Moose down to work out his problems, 610 AM
GH: This was one of the very few short answers from Ned. Yost is very experienced at answering questions he is not happy answering. It showed during this interview. The questions he knew he could expound on and basically resort to coach speak – he took his time with and answered with great length and meandering thoughts. The questions that he did not want to address he answered crisply and quickly. Again, Kietzman understands a long drawn-out answer from an athlete or coach is often an attempt to eat up the clock. KK will bust in and stop these kinds of filibuster answers. KK also knows that a short answer means there is gold to be mined beneath the brevity. Parkins still has much to learn here.

“Can (sending a player down) benefit a player?”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Good question but it’s too vague. Parkins is interviewing the manager of the Royals and discussing his highly-touted but young and struggling third basemen. Go ahead and personalize the query. “So you don’t think Moustakas would benefit from being sent down, despite the obvious benefits that Alex Gordon gained from being sent back at a similar juncture in his career?” Questions are always better when names, places and details are attached. Questions and good writing are similar in that way.

“Sometimes it can but there’s a big difference in Triple A and the big leagues. When you’re playing in Triple A, you may face a major league prospect once, twice, three times a week. At the big league level you’re facing a major-league prospect every at bat. So the experience is far more valuable up here than any experience we can give him in Triple A. Now, it does benefit a player if they lose their confidence, if they struggle to the point of they don’t believe in their ability anymore and they just need to get back and have some success, get on a confident roll and have some success. But Mike Moustakas has not lost his confidence. He’s been very stable in terms of his mindset through this whole process.”
Ned Yost, 610 AM
GH: Again, lots of openings here for Parkins to explore but he declined Yost’s invitation. Yost’s entire argument here is based on his belief that Moustakas has not lost his confidence. Parkins needed to beat Yost over the head with this fallacy. If Yost is wrong, he has wasted valuable time that Moose could have used to regain his confidence in Omaha. Even more alarming, Yost may have broken the kid by forcing him to face major-league pitching each night and continue to fail so publicly.

“Also in The Star on Saturday you talked about that instant gratification…”
Danny Parkins, following up Yost’s above statement, 610 AM
GH: Zoom… Parkins zipped right past Yost’s above response and went to the next question on his list. Listening to the interviewee’s responses and asking poignant questions based on these responses is what makes an interview sound like a conversation…and not just another Q/A session. Which is what we got from Parkins.

Parkins: “Just a few more minutes here… How would you describe this team’s offensive philosophy?
Yost: “That’s a good question too. Blah, blah, blah… When you get your pitch, sit on it. Have a plan… Blah, blah, blah…”
GH: An awful question preceded by an even worse intro. When Parkins tipped Yost off that he had only a few more minutes, it allowed Ned to waste those precious minutes with a BS answer that droned on long enough to eat up almost all of the remaining time.

“I don’t know who gets offended to be honest with you. It’s the same thing we hear about Moose all the time. Everybody’s so upset with Moose! Everybody’s so upset with Moose! And then we go to the stadium and it doesn’t matter if there’s 15,000 people there, it doesn’t matter if there’s 35,000 people there. Every time he steps in the box, every time he makes a play the fans are yelling, ‘Moose! Moose!’ They’re not yelling, ‘Boo!’ So, you know, we can take it as far as you want to take it – people got upset, I’m sorry. But that’s just the way that it is.”
Ned Yost, who finally expressed some irritation with Parkins’ line of questioning near the end of the interview – and unfortunately Parkins was quick to back off and assure him he was not looking to argue, 610 AM
GH: This was the one time during the interview where Ned showed some real emotion. Parkins quickly backed off rather than challenge the skipper. “Oh listen,” said Parkins. “We had already covered that. I was just putting that out there on the record…” Parkins then thanked Yost and ended the interview. Boo.

“Ned never wants to say what is true anyway. … Why not say the truth occasionally?”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: Clink nails it here. Yost refuses to publicly admit what we all already know. It is his MO. Parkins failed to break through that façade. Instead of a memorable defining interview we got a safe forgettable interview. I was hoping for so much more.

“My argument there would be that he’s been asked about Francoeur more than anybody on this team. I don’t think there is a single thing on this team that’s been talked about than the right field position. That’s not what I was trying to do today.”
Danny Parkins, to a caller who was disappointed that Yost was not asked about the Royals ineffective right fielder, 610 AM
GH: Parkins used this answer a couple of times on Tuesday when callers asked why he didn’t touch on some of their hot-button subjects. If Danny thinks the Frenchy debate is overplayed and old news, he’s not as tuned into the Royals’ fan base as he thinks. A good interviewer always has a new way and a better way of asking an old question.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Parkins' interview with Ned could be a defining moment

Posted 5-21-13

“Get the feeling if I don't curse at Ned (which I won't) people will feel I screwed up. RT @bograble76 Don't screw this interview up Parkins!”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, after fielding tweets about his upcoming interview with Ned Yost scheduled for around 3:15 PM today (Tuesday), Twitter
GH: Danny Parkins and 610 have been promoting his live interview with the Royals skipper since it was booked and they can’t really hype it too much. The timing for this interview could hardly be more perfect for a new afternoon-drive sports talk show trying to capture some market share from King Kevin. This could be Parkins’ defining moment in Kansas City sports talk radio. Too much hyperbole? I think not. Read on.

“Won't happen. We'll ask fair questions and follow up. Should be fun. RT @DaRealMattOates i legitimately expect you guys to get hung up on!”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, Twitter
GH: David Glass walked out on Parkins when he interviewed him last year on a remote. It was difficult to tell listening to the interview if Glass was upset with the questions or just had to go to the bathroom. In other words there wasn’t a lot of verbal vitriol. Parkins’ goal with Yost should be to engage him in difficult questions which befit a manager who has steered his club from seven games over .500 to losing to maybe the worst team in baseball and a 20-21 record all in about two weeks. Yost should expect tough questions. Parkins should deliver tough questions. It should be good radio.

“I won’t ask that question.”
Nate Bukaty, when urged by Steven St. John to ask Ned Yost in his next interview if there is a manager tree, 810 AM
GH: I have long thought that our Kansas City pressers with coaches and athletes are just too damn cordial. Everybody plays too nice – except Ned Yost or another millionaire coach or athlete who thinks he can degrade or talk down to the media and fan base. Bukaty would be uncomfortable breaching that “professional” decorum that is expected here in Loserville. I say go Howard Stern on Ned, Nate.

“This (Houston team) is the worst major-league baseball team and collection of talent I have ever seen.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM

“You cannot lose this (Houston) series. With the team we’ve got, we should go in there and put it to them.”
Jaime Bluma, 810 AM

“Look, I don’t profess to have all the answers but it’s becoming more and more obvious that neither does Ned Yost.”
Jack Harry, KSHB.com
GH: Is tonight’s game in Houston the most important in Ned Yost’s career here in Kansas City? Does Dayton Moore think hard about firing Yost if his club loses the series to the hapless Astros? Does David Glass wipe out seven years of Dayton Moore’s building and just set fire to his entire front office if they can’t beat Houston? Tune into tonight for these answers and more Moose musings.

“Note to #Royals ... Snap out of it. Losing by 1 run, no matter the foe, plays tricks on the mind. Find ways to win. You're better than this.”
Dinn Mann, @dinnmann, Twitter
GH: The one-run losses eat at both a team’s psyche and the manager’s abilities. The manager is supposed to be able to make a difference in enough one-run games to halt these kinds of skids. Yost appears to fuel these slides with his decision making (pulling Shields continues to haunt us) rather than stop them.

“I can never recall Dick (Howser) getting frustrated and blasting at the media. But we never went through a stretch were we lost 9 out of 13 or 10 out of 13.”
George Brett, while discussing Ned Yost’s “tree rant” with Bob Fescoe and Josh Klingler, 610 AM

“I haven’t given up on Moustakas. I haven’t given up on any of them because I know what they are capable of doing. I just wish they would start living up to their capabilities a little sooner I guess.”
George Brett, 610 AM
GH: There might be some who are willing to “give up” on Moose but I don’t know of many. What I want the Royals to do is whatever is best for Moose to become who so many predicted he would be. Sending Moose to Omaha is not giving up. Rather it might be what saves him.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that (Moustakas) is a solid every-day major-league player. He’s just going through a funk right now. Sometimes these funks are a little hard to come out of.”
George Brett, 610 AM
GH: That sounds like George is backing off what I hoped Moose would be – an All-Star third baseman. A solid every-day ML player would be an improvement over what he is but not really the kind of guy you build your next five or six years around.

“Someone says, ‘Ned is short for Damn Fool.’”
Josh Klingler, reading a reader’s text as they were trying to determine Yost’s given name, 610 AM

“Ned Yost is being accused of never admitting he is wrong. I know what that’s like because I get accused of that here (on this show). … I was wrong about almost everything about Sporting Kansas City. I was wrong about the name change...”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Sporting Kansas City? Does anyone even remember what KK or anybody said about SKC? Kietzman tried to go into humble apology mode on his Monday show but it just didn’t come off as I am guessing he planned. Read on.

“I think it’s helpful to you and maybe helpful to me that I can come forward and say, ‘Boy, did I blow that one!’ I was giving up on Alex Gordon when other people weren’t giving up on Alex Gordon. Some fans were. The Royals weren’t. I was wrong. He turned out to be a better ball player than it appeared he would be.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: If Kevin would have stopped his Alex Gordon confession here he would have won the monologue. But he could not stop here. He is not built for admitting his mistakes. He is built to never be wrong. He and Ned Yost share that trait. Read on.

“I was wrong about Alex Gordon. … There was no reason to believe that Alex Gordon would be sitting here hitting .343. I do believe that the first quarter of this season will be his best quarter. I was really close to giving up on Alex Gordon. I was wrong.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: There were all kinds of reasons to believe Alex Gordon would become a great MLB hitter. He was the NCAA player of the year, the AA POTY and Billy Butler himself, Kevin’s favorite player, called Gordon the best hitter he ever played with or against. Gordon struggled mightily his first two seasons but he has hit .303, .294 and .343 for 2011, ‘12 and now ‘13. KK was calling Gordon a bust and a mistake in April of this year.

“I see Ned Yost’s side of this. What I can’t agree with Ned Yost on is the sarcasm that he uses.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK knows sarcasm (or at least passive aggressive criticism) well. Read on.

“(Gordon) got far enough into his career going back and forth between here and Omaha doing absolutely nothing, that there was absolutely no reason to believe Alex Gordon was going to be sitting here on May 20th hitting .343. There was no reason to believe that! The Royals believed that in blind faith. … Alex Gordon was way past this point (of where Hosmer and Moustakas are) still shuffling back and forth between Kansas City and Omaha.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“I don’t think he’s going to finish this year at .343. If he does, it’ll be one of the all-time great years in the history of the Royals’ franchise. I believe that the first quarter of this season will be his best quarter of the season. He will not duplicate over 40 games what he’s done over these 40 games. But Alex Gordon is a very good major league player.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: I don’t hardly believe anything KK says but Kevin Kietzman is a very good sports talk show host.

“The sad thing is that Kevin Seitzer made millions and millions of dollars for Alex Gordon. He changed Alex Gordon as a hitter. … Kevin Seitzer retooled and rebuilt him and he turned into a hitter that can hit a lot of different pitches in a lot of different places from being a mistake-only hitter. If you remember, Alex Gordon would occasionally tantalize you with a home run while hitting .220 when the pitcher missed one right down the middle.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: What is sad about Seitzer doing what he was paid to do and Gordon doing what he was paid to do? KK says some very odd things when it comes to Alex Gordon. #Windaided

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Ned Yost's act getting ripe to the point of stink

Posted 5-20-13

“Maybe when we get home, I can go to the third base tree and pick another third baseman. … Obviously, third basemen who can hit and hit with power, they must grow on trees. They’ve got to. Like relief pitchers. And starting pitchers. Right fielders. Left fielders. First basemen. All of these guys must grow on trees, and you must be able to just go get another good one. A ripe one. Make sure it’s ripe.”
Ned Yost, in Saturday’s Kansas City Star
GH: What’s ripe is Ned Yost’s act – ripe to the point of starting to stink. Read on.

“Is there a manager tree?”
Frank Boal, KSHB TV 41

“Those trees are at a hidden location but, obviously, they’re somewhere. Because that’s what everyone wants to do. Let’s just go pluck another one out of the tree. That’s the nonsense that really ticks me off.”
Ned Yost, in Saturday’s Kansas City Star
GH: Those “trees” are located in the scouting networks of MLB franchises, Ned. Those trees are nurtured by talented baseball people who know a ball player from a blowhard. There are no secrets to success, Ned. Just talent and hard work. If the job’s too tough, David Glass might need to fire up a Wal-Mart-issued chainsaw.

“The kid (Moustakas) is going to be fine. Yes, he’s fighting it right now. They’re all fighting it. They want success. They want to bring a championship to Kansas City. At times, the desire to win overwhelms them.”
Ned Yost, in Saturday’s Kansas City Star
GH: Yeah Ned, that’s why you don’t roll the kid out there every game and let his confidence turn into vapor. Read on.

“(Moustakas) is 1-34 and hitting .178 and it’s May 20th.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM

“I’ve been in baseball my whole life. I know which kids are going to work and which kids aren’t. He’s going to work. I’ve seen it too many times. (Being patient) with young guys works. It works.
Ned Yost, in Saturday’s Kansas City Star
GH: Yost being able to draw a paycheck and become a multimillionaire due to his baseball acumen is one of life’s great mysteries. Instead of shouting it, he should be embarrassed by it.

“Ned Yost apparently knows everything – yet he continues to throw Mike Moustakas out there and he continues to hit poorly.”
Mike Welch, host of The Night Shift, 610 AM

“I’m going to tell you something, if I’m wrong on this kid, it’ll be the first. I’ve never been wrong on one of these kids who I’ve had conviction with. None of them. We’re talking about 15 guys over a 30-year career. There are just too many smart baseball people who see what I see. So with Hos, with Moose, Salvy (Perez) and (Alcides) Escobar...all of these kids, they’re going to be fine. They’re going to be very productive players.”
Ned Yost, in Saturday’s Kansas City Star
GH: So Ned is the new Bob Boone? Our resident baseball never-wrong genius? How’s that Hochevar guy working out, Ned?

“But if you think they’re going to be productive from the moment they get here just because they had great minor-league careers … no. There are huge lessons and journeys to endure at the major-league level.”
Ned Yost, in Saturday’s Kansas City Star
GH: Here we go with the “baseball is hard” routine told to us by another MLB manager who struggled to play the game. What a load of crapola. See the ball. Hit the ball.

“No. You’re wrong. Give them time to develop. But I understand it. I know what the fans want. They want it, and they want it now. Instant gratification just doesn’t work (in baseball).”
Ned Yost, in Saturday’s Kansas City Star
GH: INSTANT GRATIFICATION???? The thought that ANYONE associated with the Royals organization would roll this phrase out to point out the problem with the Royals fan base is so obtuse it makes Frenchy look like a picky hitter.

“I think Ned’s job is on the line from some of the statements he’s making and some of the decisions he’s making.”
Caller Ted, Bob Fescoe Show, 610 AM
GH: It damn sure ought to be on the line.

“Guys are going to start covering their own ass and part of that is going to be Ned Yost being the fall guy. Dayton Moore will get rid of him and he’ll put it on Ned Yost.”
Mike Welch, host of The Night Shift, 610 AM

“Next year the fall guy is going to be Dayton Moore.”
Mike Welch, host of The Night Shift, 610 AM
GH: The Royals need to fire Yost yesterday and tell Moore he has until October. Done.

“We felt the time to move was now. We felt we have reached a point where the only way to win is to try to win every year.”
Dayton Moore, on the Royals off-season moves to trade Wil Myers for the Rays’ James Shields and Wade Davis, MLB.com
GH: Reason #1.

“I think with this group we’re definitely going to win a world championship down the road, the next couple of years.”
Ned Yost, during spring training, MLB.com
GH: Reason #2.

“This is an interesting move here. He’s bringing in Bruce Chen when this situation would normally call for Aaron Crow.”
Steve Physioc, while sharing the Royals’ play-by-play duties Sunday afternoon with Steve Stewart, when Yost chose to bring in Chen to pitch the seventh, Royals Radio
GH: Physioc has received much deserved criticism here in the OTC and the Comments section but he was stellar in first-guessing Yost Sunday on Chen and then again when Yost brought in the faltering Herrera. Physioc never backed down from criticizing Yost’s late-game decisions on Sunday – although he never said Yost’s name.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Lefebvre's early time with Royals

Posted 5-17-13

“(Fred) White was let go by the Royals after the 1999 season, through no fault of his own, and like many Royals fans I couldn’t stand Ryan Lefebvre for the first year or two, before I finally gave in and acknowledged he was actually sort of good at this broadcasting thing too. I’m still not sure whether Ryan got better at his craft, or whether I just needed time to process that he wasn’t Fred White.”
Rany Jazayerli, ranyontheroyals.com
GH: I have heard Ryan speak extensively the past few days and over his 14-year tenure with the Royals about how his replacing Fred White caused him to be unloved by the Royals’ fan base. I am sure there was some of this but not nearly as much as Ryan credits. The Beaver was just bad when he got the Royals gig. Painfully bad. He was dry, humorless and the stiffest 20-something this side of Brazzers.com. Ryan was nowhere near ready to be handed a MLB play-by-play gig at the age of 27. I rode him hard because he lacked talent, not because he replaced Fred. 14 years later, Lefebvre has honed himself into a listenable albeit not great play-by-play broadcaster. I don’t mind his work at all now – but let’s not forget where he came from.

“Twitter can be a pretty negative place so it was nice to see everybody – or almost everybody – appreciate our half-inning of silence to honor Fred.”
Joel Goldberg, Royals pre- and postgame host, on the Royals’ tribute to the late Fred White by their broadcasting booth remaining silent on their from Anaheim Wednesday night, 810 AM
GH: Despite the cackling from some woman in the stands, this was a very cool gesture by the Fox Sports staff. The woman and her laugh caught some heat on Twitter from Royals fans like me but she had no idea she was any part of this solemn tribute to Fred. But it might have been smart of Fox to kill some of the crowd mics during this half inning.

“Brett is 60 years old. White has passed away. Splittorff, who had just turned 39 and had been retired barely a year when the Royals won the World Series, died two years ago. Denny Matthews is 70, and I don’t want to think about how I’ll react when he passes on. My childhood heroes are disappearing, years after the memories they created, and the Royals have created precious few of either of them in the years since.”
Rany Jazayerli, ranyontheroyals.com
GH: When Pete Rose retired, he was the first famous ball player I remember watching as a rookie and then his retirement. It was my first glimpse at mortality. Brett is just a bit older than I. As we pass 50, the reminders that we have only an allotted time on earth become more evident. All the more reason to seize the day, Captain my Captain.

“I think it’s becoming the story of the Dayton Moore era.”
Kevin Kietzman, on Moore’s and the Royals’ failure so far to turn their high draft picks into successful major-league starters, 810 AM
GH: With the news of Bubba Starling’s poor offensive numbers and  eye surgery making headlines this week, Dayton Moore’s draft picks have become more and more of a topic. Read on.

“Hosmer and Moustakas…I don’t have any answers for you. Hosmer hits like right field is in foul territory, and Moustakas hits like anything hit high in the air is a home run. I still believe in their talent. I still believe they will play well in the long run.”
Rany Jazayerli, ranyontheroyals.com
GH: Rany is a sabermetrics seamhead and a huge Royals’ fan all at the same time. His seamhead side tells him that Moose and Hos might be simply flash-in-the-pan kind of talents. His Royals’ fan side wants desperately (as do many of us) for these two young sluggers to carry this franchise to great success for the next decade. I sure hope his fan side wins this one.

“(Listeners) have been emailing me and calling, including my mom, saying you’re so negative, you’re talking too much about the fact that they can’t hit and they’re not fielding… I don’t know that they can be a good offensive team. They were not a good offensive team last year and I have no reason to believe they are going to be a good offensive team this year. None! So, we point that out to everyone and you become the bad guy. We point it out for a reason. I want to get as excited as everyone else. … I have a really hard time believing they are going to be a .500 team.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Pretty easy to see why so many listeners have KK pegged as Mr. Negative when it comes to the 20-17 Royals. I don’t think he’ll be happy until they are mathematically eliminated from postseason play.

“Most Twitter tough-guys are so chicken-shit & unused to their BS tweets being responded to, when you do, they pee down their leg & apologize.”
Chadd Scott, @ChaddScott, Twitter
GH: So what does it say about Chadd Scott that he needs to vent about some pee-stained anonymous online haters? I am always amazed at how thin-skinned many in the media are when it comes to a faceless critic’s words. Life is not all that serious to be that concerned with “BS tweets.”

“Branden Albert just seems like a guy who wants to feel like he’s wanted. There should be no more problems. You just need to come in and bust your butt every day.”
Jayice Pearson, after the Chiefs’ franchise-tagged left tackle arrived at the Chiefs’ OTAs and have made nice with all, 610 AM

“I hope (Albert) feels like he has something to prove. I hope he comes in with a chip on his shoulder and it makes him play even harder.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: I liked how Albert handled the media this week. He refused to revisit his juvenile tweets and his public pouting. His response to the media’s questions about his tweets, “You know what I said,” was perfect and stated with just the right tone.

“There are a lot of times when I’m right and a lot off times when I’m wrong. And I’m right more than I’m wrong.”
Henry Lake, cohost with Jay Binkley on 610’s The Day Shift, while discussing the Branden Albert situation and his expectation that Albert would be in camp to collect his money 610 AM
GH: Has Lake been banned from Prairie Band Casino yet?

“Are we also getting Eric Fisher ready to play left tackle? Because I think we all agree that Eric Fisher is the left tackle of the future.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: I know everyone likes to stress the difficulty in playing the right side versus the left side but I think it’s no more than a one- or two-practice switch. If Eric Fisher has any intelligence at all, he will be able to make the adjustment seamlessly. What Fisher needs to prepare for is going from the MAAC to the NFL. Now that is going to be a switch.

“I thought (Eric Fisher) looked smooth. Every day he got a little bit better. He’s felt a little bit more comfortable at (right tackle). You can tell his athletic ability. He’s a big man who can move and can bend. You and I know it’s tough to bend.”
Andy Reid, in an interview with 610’s Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: I found this exchange between Reid and Binkley fun. What I did not find nearly as entertaining is the storyline that Josh Klingler and Bob Fescoe drove into the ground this week when Reid yelled at Klingler for leaning on a fence. The media once again proving they are far more interested in themselves than we happen to be.

“I do have a hold button and I’ll use it.”
Soren Petro, after muting a disagreeable caller and then going on his own diatribe, 810 AM
GH: It was the tenacity with which Soren made this statement that intrigued me – like he was wielding real power or something.

“(Woodstock) was all blown up in the press with all the rain and people couldn’t get in. We were supposed to be flown in in a helicopter. I ended up driving in in my mother-in-law’s Volkswagen. To us it was just another gig.”
Roger Daltrey, lead singer for The Who, in an interview this week with Howard Stern, Sirius
GH: When Stern asked Daltrey how much he was influenced by the Beatles, he laughed. “Elvis Pressley, man,” is how Daltrey responded. Daltrey also mentioned The Dave Clark Five as a band that made him want to be a rock singer.

“(Jimi Hendrix) was a very different person than people thought he was. The person people see on stage, he was the exact opposite of. He was very poetic, very gentle. He was a very gentle man.”
Roger Daltrey, on Hendrix, thought by many as the greatest electric guitar player who ever lived, Sirius

“It was rock and roll, man! We didn’t care about that then.”
Roger Daltrey, when asked by Stern what he thought about managers in the music business having larger fortunes than the musicians themselves, Sirius

Won’t Get Fooled Again. I get a bit tired of that one.”
Roger Daltrey, when asked by Stern what songs he is tired of performing, Sirius
GH: Daltrey told Stern that despite the fact he is tired of the song, The Who still plays it at every concert. “People want to hear it,” he explained.
Baba O'Riley might be my favorite Who song. Behind Blue Eyes is another favorite. Yours?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


What will the Royals do with Bubba Starling?

Posted 5-16-13

“I’ve taken as much heat over this as anything I’ve said about the Royals this year. Bubba Starling is hitting .156 in low-A ball. I know a lot of people in our community know his family. … But he’s in his third year now and he was drafted as the top position player taken. I did not like that when the Royals did that and I said that very clearly when the Royals (drafted him). The Royals should be getting very close to making Bubba Starling a pitcher – because he can’t hit. … Bubba Starling is a complete disappointment.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: These words from Kietzman might seem harsh to some – especially Bubba’s family and those in the Kansas City area who know him well. But KK is doing what a big-city sports talk show host should do – telling it like it is – even when that means friends and family will hear his critical words. KK has never been a real fan of Bubba’s baseball talents or the way he conducted himself on his Nebraska football sojourn – but this isn’t about Kietzman out to hurt Bubba. This is Kietzman doing his job.

“I love (Bubba Starling’s) family. I don’t think he’s ever going to hit professionally. He didn’t hit in high school. I coached the Aquinas team against him. He didn’t hit us – and we didn’t have very good pitching. So if he couldn’t hit us in high school, he’s probably not going to hit big-league stuff. … Bubba’s an athlete. The bottom line is he’s never hit and he’s never going to hit.”
Mike Boddicker, former Orioles and Royals pitcher, 810 AM
GH: This probably is not easy for Boddicker. He likely knows Bubba and his family well enough for them to be hurt by his negative assessment of Bubba’s baseball shortcomings. Boddicker is not a talk show host like Kietzman. He doesn’t have to be edgy in his commentary. All the more reason to applaud Boddicker for being real with his comments about a young Kansas City talent many of us are rooting for to make it.

“I didn’t like the draft choice at the time. … I think the out for football made it tremendously risky.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM

“The Royals have a huge problem on their hands. This is a guy that they thought maybe could be here (in Kansas City) next year when Francoeur is done. … Royals – switch (Bubba’s) position right now! Make him a pitcher! You have two-and-a-half years to get something out of your $8.5-million you gave him. Or he’s going to go play (college) football. And he should play football.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK’s idea isn’t crazy or even unique. MLB prospects who can’t hit off-speed pitching but possess a mid-90s fastball have the option to move to the mound – especially when the club has so much invested in them. Will it happen? It might be a last-resort kind of move but you can bet it is being discussed by Dayton Moore and his staff.

“I'd crack a joke, but honestly, I hope this has been the problem all along. MT @pgrathoff: Bubba Starling returns to KC, may have LASIK.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, on the reports by The Kansas City Star that Bubba may be getting his eyes fixed, Twitter
GH: Remember what I said about moving Bubba to the mound being a last-resort move? Add eye surgery as the next-in-line when it comes to last-resort decisions.

“A lot of (MLB) scouts kind of cover their rear end. I’ve told some of them to their face that if you took away their stop watch and radar gun they wouldn’t know a ball player if it bit them in the ass! And that’s the truth!”
Mike Boddicker, former Orioles and Royals pitcher, while discussing how Bubba was viewed as a top-five pick by the Royals, 810 AM

“I can’t speak to (Bubba’s) dedication…but it seems to me if he was a real grinder and really, really, really working hard, there would be better results than we have now. But his numbers would suggest to you that there is something going on here as far as dedication.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This is where Kietzman lost me. He tries to soften his comment by starting out saying he “can’t speak to (Bubba’s) dedication,” but then goes right on and gives his damning opinion of the young man’s lack of commitment and dedication. If Kietzman knows something about Bubba slacking off in the Royals’ organization than tell us what he knows to be true. Otherwise, he uses his microphone to unfairly impugn the reputation of an athlete. This is why KK gets hate mail about Bubba. That’s what happens when you are unfair.

“To everyone who thinks pro ball is all sandy beaches and pooka shells- it aint. I feel hella lucky. I love my life. But im human. If yall wanna talk your shish ill be happy to come back at you and make u look foolish. What would u do? Appreciate my honesty or unfollow. but i just gotta call it like i see it. So get off me. Im not going anywhere. Life is great:).”
Danny Duffy,
@DannyDuffy805, Royals’ pitcher who is currently rehabbing from Tommy-John surgery, Twitter
GH: Danny Duffy is a Twitter gift. He tweets like we all went to college with him. If you are not on Twitter, sign up and follow
@DannyDuffy805. He’s that real and that rare.

“Can't think of another club that would give a witty young DL'd pitcher the mic on twitter. Good for the Royals.”
Jeff Rosen, @jeff_rosen88, Twitter
GH: Amen. Props to the Royals for allowing Danny Duffy to be Danny Duffy. I have no idea how this will end, but I applaud them for allowing us to participate.

“It's 12:26 AM and we have full phone lines after the 36th game of the season. I love you #Royals fans.”
Josh Vernier,
@JoshVernier, after the Royals loss in Anaheim Tuesday night, Twitter
GH: There are a lot of baseball cities. St. Louis, Boston and Chicago are some great, great baseball towns. But when you consider the lack of population combined with the lack of recent Royals’ success – that makes this town stand out as a baseball-crazed two-state burg.

“So to hear George Brett say a few of the same things I've been saying nightly is a huge relief. … bit.ly/12yOOtZ.”
Josh Vernier, @JoshVernier, Twitter
GH: Interesting. Does it validate a sports talk host’s words when a famous athlete has the same opinion? Not to me. But I understand where a new young voice in the KC market would find comfort in that fact. I’m just not sure I would be so eager to share it.

“Just saw the new Star Trek. Holy. Freaking. Smokes. See it first chance you can. It's why you go to the movies.”
Rich Eisen, @richeisen, Twitter
GH: The first Star Trek movie with the new young crew was one of the best movies I’ve seen the past three years. I watched it again last month and again marveled at how great a flick it was. Looks like us Trekkie nerds are in for another treat this weekend. Live long and prosper.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Kietzman not so secretly hates that Wiggins chose KU

Posted 5-16-13

“We all start acted like somebody just sunk a 30-foot putt – high fiving each other.”
Kurtis Townsend, KU assistant coach who was the lead recruiter on Andrew Wiggins, on the scene inside Bill Self’s office when the KU coaches got word that Wiggins was signing with Kansas, 810 AM

“This just confirms the one thing I’ve known since birth – God is a KU fan. Kansas loses all five starters and they have a better team than they had last year.”
Carrington Harrison, on the highly-touted Andrew Wiggins’ decision to become a Kansas Jayhawk, 610 AM
GH: Harrison is an avowed Missouri fan. He doesn’t hide it; rather he relishes his Missouri fandom. But he is not blinded by his love for the Tigers. He understands that Kansas basketball and Allen Fieldhouse are special – even as much as that fact may pain him. I enjoy listening to Harrison discuss his lifelong hatred of Kansas but his professional respect for the program. He keeps it real. Kevin Kietzman’s takes yesterday on KU and Wiggins fell a bit short of real. Read on.

“This is also the end on this (Kansas) program of complaining about John Calipari and how Kentucky runs its program. The one-and-done rule which Kansas fans have hated forever – no more complaining! You love the rule today. The one-and-done rule is the greatest rule in college basketball today for Kansas fans. It is the greatest thing ever at this moment.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman’s tone was anything but complimentary toward Kansas. Yes, he believes this is a huge get for the Jayhawks but he was quick to paint this with a slimy Calipari brush. Read on.

“This is the NFL equivalent to saying instead of building through the draft, we’re going to sign a bunch of free agents.”
Kevin Kietzman, on Bill Self’s freshman recruiting staff, 810 AM
GH: Or how Bill Snyder rebuilds the K-State football program each year through his Junior College signings?

“This will all be over in ten months. This is a ten-month love affair.”
Kevin Kietzman, opening his Tuesday show with the news that Andrew Wiggins is heading to play his college basketball at Kansas, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman replaced his favorite the phrase, “wind-aided” with a new one, “ten months” while talking about Wiggins. It sounded to me like KK was trying to convince himself that his pain of having to watch Wiggins in KU blue next season will all be over next April. I understand that as a K-State alum, this signing doesn’t make him happy. So why not be honest about it and say that? Instead, Kietzman does what he does best – throws out veiled compliments meant to impugn his target. Read on.

“It is rare for a program of the stature of Kansas to have a glaring need for a player like this. And they have it! Just as this past season, they had a glaring need for Ben McLemore to step in and play.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: So did the other three schools in the Wiggins’ sweepstakes also have a “glaring need” for Wiggins? What school doesn’t have a glaring need for the next Tracy McGrady?

“This isn’t about Kansas. This is about this coach and this player at this time. This is the absolute perfect fit for Andrew Wiggins.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: This isn’t about Kansas? What a ridiculous statement even coming from the Godfather of ridiculous statements. Sure, Bill Self played a large role in why Wiggins chose KU but Wiggins has made numerous comments about how much he enjoyed his visit to Kansas, its people, the atmosphere and the atmosphere inside Allen Fieldhouse. KK hates Kansas more than the Democratic Party.

“Kentucky is going to have more great freshman than Kansas. What that means I don’t know.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: It means that Kietzman roots for Kentucky when it comes to college basketball.

“The challenge for Coach Self is how do you make that kid play defense? He’s going to be the number-one player in the draft! That’s got to be frustrating for Coach Self. The hope is that they are so freakishly athletic that they don’t have to be fundamentally sound defensively but still be able to block shots because they’re there.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK obviously has not done his research on Andrew Wiggins, who some college analysts are predicting will be the best defensive player in the game. I am sure Coach Self is up to the task of getting Wiggins to slide step, cover and reject shots.

“They should be almost a shoe-in for the Final Four. The question is do they win the national title.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: One of KK’s favorite moves is to direct a backhanded compliment toward a rival of K-State’s. If KU doesn’t make the Final Four with Wiggins, they failed as a program.

“Almost regardless of what he does at Kansas, unless it’s some sort of a devastating injury, he will still be the number-one pick next year. The ceiling is so high, the talent is so immense that there is no way to exaggerate this. There is no overhyping this player. There is no talking about him too much.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“Even if you’ve left the conference and are a fan of another team, you watch (Kansas) because you hate them! You can’t stand the fact that Andrew Wiggins is there today. You despise it.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Come clean, Kev. The “you” in the above comment should read “I,” right?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Top recruit picks Kansas

Posted 5-14-13

“Wiggins To Kansas”
Headline on ESPN.com’s CBB page, on the news that Andrew Wiggins declared he would take his prodigious basketball talents to Lawrence next season, ESPN.com
GH: Just after this news hit the wire, a Kansas-grad coworker of mine passed by my office while performing his best imitation of what can best be described as a white man’s version of the The Dougie with obvious influences from too many visits to Hallbrook Country Club.

“The top high school basketball player in the world will spend next season in a Jayhawks jersey.”
Cut line on SBNation.com

“Kentucky Basketball: Andrew Wiggins Selects Kansas, Basketball Universe Shocked”
Headline at Kentucky’s ASeaofBlue.com
GH: This headline might appear to be Kentucky-bred but it is simply stating reality. Not even the most ardent Kansas fans thought Wiggins was coming to Lawrence. But he is. And that is great news for the local college basketball scene – even if K-State and Mizzou fans might disagree.

“What makes Andrew Wiggins special is that he is an NBA athlete right now. His vertical jump is uncommon. His second jump is so quick and explosive that it can dominate the action. He scores the ball best off the bounce, in the lane and at the foul line. He can finalize a play like no other in the class with polish, grace and body control.”
Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s CBB recruiting director, ESPN.com

“Some will compare (Wiggins) to LeBron James. I recruited LeBron James in high school and that’s just not fair. Andrew Wiggins is an NBA athlete with a quick first step just like James but that’s where the comparison stops. LeBron James was a creative passer who could dominate the action with his alpha dog mentality. The bottom line is Andrew Wiggins will be a great player with still untapped potential and a chance to be an NBA All Star.”
Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s CBB recruiting director, ESPN.com
GH: Not being the next LeBron is hardly a knock. But there are some impressive names to which Wiggins is being compared. Read on.

“The best athlete since Vince Carter or Tracy McGrady. Roy Williams likes to play fast in transition. Nobody is finishing faster on a fast break than Andrew Wiggins.”
Paul Biancardi, when asked what Wiggins would mean to UNC if he chose the Heels, ESPN.com

“It’s a winning lottery ticket. This will be the fifth straight year the Kansas Jayhawks will have a lottery pick. That’s big. That’s a sell, recruiting-wise.”
Dave Telep, Senior national recruiting analyst, ESPN.com

“Proving that one can never count Kansas coach Bill Self out of the equation, Wiggins spurned offers from the Kentucky Wildcats, North Carolina Tar Heels and Florida St. Seminoles and hopped on board with the retooling Kansas Jayhawks, who appear to be ready for another big NCAA Tournament run.”
SBNation.com
GH: If Self was in a recruiting slump as some have suggested, he just went Quindaro / Independence Ave slumpbuster with Wiggins.

“The most-hyped recruitment in recent high school basketball history has finally come to a close. Andrew Wiggins, the No. 1 player in the class of 2013 and one of the best in the last decade, has announced he's heading to Kansas. … Kansas made up a lot of ground in the latter parts of Wiggins' recruitment after being something of an afterthought during the early stages. Self made a major impression on Wiggins, and he loved his visit to Lawrence. Wiggins has a chance to be the go-to-guy right off the bat, and he could be the missing piece between a borderline Top 25 team and a Final Four contender. Throw in the fact that Wiggins' brother, Nick, plays at nearby Wichita State, and it made sense for Kansas to put on the full-court press.”
Jeff Borzello, writer, cbssports.com

“This guy can beat one, two and three defenders. He makes it look easy inside the paint.”
Paul Biancardi, ESPN’s CBB recruiting director, ESPN.com
G: So not only is Wiggins a prolific scorer both inside and out, he is one of the nation’s best defenders as well? Whoa!

“On the other side of the floor, Wiggins has the tools to be one of the best defenders in the country. His length and size enable him to guard every position on the court, whether on the perimeter or in the post. That's what makes him scary -- and so tantalizing. Wiggins has the ability to be a lockdown defender, but he has plenty of room to improve on the offensive end.”
Jeff Borzello, writer, cbssports.com

“Remember all that talk about how this could end up being the year that Kansas ends their streak of winning at least a share of nine straight Big 12 regular season title? Remember how we all thought that Marcus Smart and Le’Bryan Nash — and maybe Isaiah Austin and Cory Jefferson — returning to school for another season would be the biggest news of the offseason in the Big 12? Remember when Oklahoma State was the best team in the conference? That all changed on Tuesday afternoon when Andrew Wiggins, the Canadian-born forward out of Huntington Prep (WV) and the top high school recruit in the country, announced that he would be spending his one year of college basketball playing for Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks.
Rob Dauster, nbcsports.com
GH: Do not hand Kansas their tenth consecutive Big 12 title just yet. Oklahoma State is going to be very good next season. Adding Wiggins to Kansas’ title hopes will help both the Jayhawks and make sure the Cowboys come ready to play. Those games next season against these two basketball elites should be classics.

“He's wired to score and I think that's what he'll do. He's going to continue to be who he is. … I think he's going to be a great college player but I think he'll be a better pro because of the way the defenses are. You can't guard him in space.”
Rob Fulford, Wiggins’ high school coach at Huntington Prep, ESPN.com

“It was always said that as an adidas school, it hurt (Kansas) for the top three or four guys. The fact that they got Wiggins at KU, I think nine out of the top ten guys go to Nike schools. Adidas does the same thing as Nike does, they just don’t do it as successfully.”
Danny Parkins, 810 AM
GH: When the news broke of Wiggins’ decision to attend KU, 610 brought in Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison into the studio with the The Day Shifts Jay Binkley and Henry Lake. This move showed me a few of things about 610. 1) They understand they need to be flexible when it comes to covering a breaking story. 2) They realize Lake is new to the market and Binkley is more tuned to MU college sports and is their NFL expert. 3) The on-air talents at 610 have to be able to squash their egos at times for the betterment of the station and their audience. I don’t know how Binkley and Lake perceived the invasion of their show but it sounded like they welcomed Parkins’ and Harrison’s expertise rather than resented it.  A win for everybody.

“This one falls under the rubric of, ‘You can't win them all.’ John Calipari very nearly ran the table on this recruiting class, and had he done so, it would be even more memorable than it already is. … So congratulations to the Kansas Jayhawks on the matriculation of Wiggins, and all the best to Andrew in Lawrence next year. This means that the Jayhawks just got a lot better, although probably not good enough to be a favorite. My guess is that this puts them in the top ten somewhere…”
Glenn Logan, Kentucky college basketball writer, aseaofblue.com
GH: Let’s hope the two proud basketball powers get a chance to settle this one on the court sometime in 2014.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


KC's hitting troubles getting critical

Posted 5-13-13

“Are they who we thought they were?”
Soren Petro, on the slumping Royals, 810 AM

“I think it’s a reason to be terrified. (Eric Hosmer) looking like Mark Teahan. Let’s call it what it is. Hosmer has lost the ability to turn on pitches. The guy with the most power on the team can’t hit the ball in the air to right field. He’s lost. He’s a mess. It is a critical situation for a lot of those people in the front office’s jobs. The entire organization is riding on Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas hitting.”
Soren Petro, on the lack of power by the Royals’ first baseman, 810 AM
GH: Hosmer came up two seasons ago and homered into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium. His mom became a TV sensation as she cheered his feats as a rookie Royal. He was the one Royals’ draft pick that looked like a can’t-miss prospect and a no-trade talent. Hosmer was what we were/are waiting for. Has it all gone wrong? Is he just in a slow-grow Alex Gordon maturation process that seems to inflict all young Royals? Terrified is a strong term from Petro. It is also not too soon to roll out some strong terms when discussing these young Royals’ bats.

“I’d have Hosmer hitting eighth in my lineup.”
Frank White, when asked by Kevin Kietzman where he would hit Hosmer, 810 AM
GH: Name me the MLB club that has their first basemen hitting eighth in their lineup. The lack of offense from the Royals is that bad.

“Just trying a bit of a different look to see if we can put some runs on the board. … (Alex Gordon) was hitting (first) out of necessity there.”
Ned Yost, on his decision to move around the top of the Royals’ batting order, 810 AM

“At some point there has to be some accountability on the hitting side.”
Mike Mcfarlane, 810 AM
GH: Mcfarlane made the point that this continued lack of runs will eventually wear down the Royals starting pitching staff. It isn’t unlike football where the defense finally gets emotionally drained by knowing any mistake could cost the team the game. Is Ned Yost the guy to handle this kind of emotional strain on a 25-man roster? I don’t think Ned Yost should have anything to do with a MLB roster. He appears to me to be a wisher and not a doer. Wishing things will change has never been all that effective in my experience.

“Let’s get it out of the way – (Billy Butler) is not being pitched around. Period.”
Mike Mcfarlane, 810 AM
GH: Butler is hitting .228 in mid-May. Nate Bukaty said Butler told him he’s never experienced a prolonged slump of this length. Mcfarlane expects Butler to eventually snap out of it. “He’s just too good of a hitter,” Mcfarlane stated. So it’s just not Moose and Hosmer. Does anybody still have Kevin Seitzer’s phone number?

“When you don’t hit, it’s going to take a little bit away from your (defensive) game and your decision making.”
Frank White, on how Moustakas’ and Hosmer’s defensive play as well as the rest of the team has been hurt by their lack of success at the plate, 810 AM

“The whispers around baseball are that (Bubba Starling) is never going to figure it out as a hitter.”
Rany Jazayerli, on the Royals top-draft pick in 2011, 810 AM
GH: If all this lack of production from the Royals’ young lineup wasn’t enough, now we are hearing whispers that Bubba can’t hit the off-speed pitch. What all looked so good just a week ago, is starting to smell a lot like the past 20 years. The Royals need some wins, some hits and some runs. Now.

“I’m so depressed – especially when we get to talking Royals.”
Henry Lake, new cohost on The Day Shift with Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: If Henry Lake is already depressed over a team he has only covered for a month, he might want to think about a career change. I don’t understand sports talk hosts who move to a new market and immediately pretend to be emotionally affected by a team they’ve never rooted for or followed. Lake would far better serve his audience by giving us his outsider perspective of the Royals and their slide. Instead, he pretends to have known the Tony Muser and Trey Hillman years.

“That’s the million-dollar question, dude. I really couldn’t tell you. It’s not out of the question for June but I’m going to do whatever the team asks of me.”
Danny Duffy, when asked by Danny Parkins when he realistically thinks he could be back pitching after rehabbing from his Tommy John surgery,   610 AM
GH: Parkins conducted a highly entertaining interview with the Royals’ Danny Duffy last week that is must-listen radio. You can hear it online
here at 610’s website.

“I’ll tell you right now – when I get back out there I am going to have a different attitude for the game. I really miss my boys. Just suckin’ up with Gordo and Frenchy and just talking with the guys in the dugout. That’s a huge part of the game.”
Danny Duffy, on how much he misses his Royals’ teammates, 610 AM
GH: Duffy called Mike Moustakas his best friend on the team. “He’ll be my friend until the day I die,” added Duffy. If Duffy has just a bit of success when her returns to the Royals’ big club, he could quickly become the Mark Fidrych of Kansas City.

“Absolutely! You can’t take cash with you to the grave!”
Danny Duffy, on his pledge to pay for a Korean fan’s trip to Kansas City and The K, 610 AM
GH: Duffy said he can’t wait to put his Korean guest up at the Plaza’s Intercontinental Hotel and have him eating Oklahoma Joe’s and Granfalloon nachos. Maybe Duffy is the guy we should send to North Korea instead of Dennis Rodman.

“I’ve never been around an athlete who was incredibly successful and unbelievably competitive who didn’t have a jerky side to him. … I don’t like (Tiger Woods) but I can’t stop watching him. You can’t keep your eyes off of greatness.”
Kevin Harlan, while discussing Tiger Woods’ popularity, 810 AM
GH: I think most people have a jerky side to them. Those of us who aren’t famous simply don’t have to suffer the glare of the media exposing our jerkiness. So at least we’ve got that going for us…

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Fake Ned gets real

Posted 5-9-13

“Ben McLemore's former AAU coach says he received thousands of dollars in cash, lodging, meals and trips from a middle man who courted the Kansas player on behalf of sports agents and financial advisers during the 2012-13 college basketball season. … The payments that Cobb said he received from Blackstock – and the trips to Los Angeles that Cobb says he and Boyd accepted – potentially could have jeopardized McLemore's amateur status because of NCAA rules that prohibit college players' family members, friends and coaches from accepting money or gifts from sports agents or those working on their behalf. The NCAA has historically handled similar situations on a case-by-case basis.”
Eric Prisbell, writer, USA Today
GH: Big-time college sports have big-time scandals. The bigger the star athlete, the more potential for NCAA rules being trampled. The bigger question to me is it the AAU coaches, the middlemen, the athletes or the NCAA rules that are faulty?

“Multiple attempts to reach McLemore were unsuccessful.”
Eric Prisbell, writer, USA Today
GH: I just abhor this disclaimer that the media rolls out at the end of their gotcha stories. Really? Ben McLemore is now as hard to find as Osama Bin Laden? Prisbell somehow found or spoke with Cobb, Blackstock and Boyd – three guys none of us have ever heard of – but couldn’t locate the one guy in this story whose known nationally and whose reputation will take the biggest hit from this report? Do your job better, Eric. Leave the disclaimers for the late-night TV ads.

“Coaches and administrators educate their players on what is and isn’t allowed. They warn them about potential parasites appearing in their lives. But in many cases, it’s not only out of the control of the coaches, it’s out of the control of the players.”
Tom Keegan, columnist, KUSports.com
GH: Keegan is an enabler if he thinks the Kansas coaching staff and McLemore are not culpable in this farce. Bill Self and his staff are paid millions to protect the eligibility and reputation of the athletes who have been entrusted to their care. Millions and millions every year. They damn well better be aware of who is getting free tickets to watch the best NBA prospect Self’s program has ever produced at KU. McLemore also needs to be aware of who is doing what with his name – especially if his coaches are blind to what is happening.

“They don’t want to know.”
Kevin Kietzman, on the college coaches who run big-time football and basketball programs, 810 AM
GH: Kevin Kietzman has never spoken more truer words. Bill Self, Frank Martin, Frank Haith, Bo Pelini and almost all the rest want nothing to do with knowing the truth. Their focus is on not knowing and being able to say they were ignorant of the crimes. Sounds to me like another way of saying they are not doing their jobs.

“Nobody detests the existence of agent runners more intensely than coaches, some of the most controlling people on the planet. Yet even coaches can’t come close to controlling them.”
Tom Keegan, columnist, KUSports.com
GH: So how different are these head coaches to the runners and agents Keegan and public opinion vilify? Both the college coaches, runners, AAU coaches and agents want the same thing – to profit excessively from the talents of teenage boys. You pick the good guys out of that mess. They all look too much like the same guy to me.

“Mind you, the last time the Royals were 7 games over .500, they immediately lost 6 games in a row. No pressure, guys.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, after the Royals dropped their third straight game Wednesday night, a 5-3 loss in Baltimore, Twitter
GH: Tonight’s game in Baltimore would be a nice time to stem this slide and remove some of the more rabid Royals fans from the ejection seat. Guthrie has been golden this season and he will get the chance to send the Royals back home on with a win. I will be listening and watching.

“All in favor of replacing the real Ned with @TheFakeNed? I can think of about 400,000 who wouldn't mind right now.”
Jon Maag, @jonmaag, Twitter
GH: If you are not on Twitter, @TheFakeNed probably means nothing to you. But The Fake Ned dropped a bomb on the Twitterverse Wednesday. Read on.

“In summary, (Thursday), a new day dawns. The Post-Fake Ned era begins. Like Twilight II, except with more sparkles. It's time for a new voice to emerge. Like that episode of Taxi where Latka had to go back to his home country.
Chris Kamler,
@ChrisKamler, Twitter
GH: Kamler is the “brains” behind @TheFakeNed. He began this fake Twitter account about two years ago and went from posting hilarious fake comments not made by the Royals’ manager into a 7,000-plus followers account that covered everything from his love for Mizzou to self-flagellation.  In other words – he blew up as Fake Ned. Repeatedly. So Kamler has made the mature decision to test the Twitter waters as himself. Will he remain popular? Will he remain controversial. Will people still care? Sometimes life calls for us to be bold. In that area of expertise Kamler lacks nothing.

“I'm hemorrhaging followers. I might be in single digits by the morning.”
Chris Kamler,
@ChrisKamler, after posting he has coverted from @TheFakeNed to @ChrisKamler, Twitter
GH: One thing is for sure, Kamler will remain very, very entertaining.

“What coach do you really want to see on Twitter? I would like to see the real Ned Yost on Twitter. I think it would be outstanding and a lot of fun.”
Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: Are there any coaches who even understand Twitter? Or have the stones to say what they think on Twitter? Most use it as a recruiting tool or as a glorified cheerleading venue. Can you think of a coach who is or would be Twitter worthy?

“Hate to say it but Lefebvre is soooooo much better than Physioc. I'm sure Steve is a nice guy but Phys makes Gud sound even worse than norm.”
Aaron Swarts, @a_swarts, Twitter
GH: Physioc is getting exposed this season just as much as Ned Yost’s bench coaching. Swarts is right about Physioc being a nice guy, but give me an ass in the booth if he can be informative, entertaining and a great storyteller. I think I just described Bill Grigsby’s broadcasting career.

“Between Royals and Sporting, that was just a rough night all the way around. Bleh.”
Nate Bukaty, @nate_bukaty, Twitter
GH: Wow, did you see how Sporting lost in the 93rd minute of stoppage play? The photo by David Eulitt on the front page of The Kansas City Star’s Sports Daily in Thursday’s paper is priceless. There are so many emotions going on in the crowd and with the Sporting players on the pitch. Just a fabulous pic. This one deserves an Oscar, or Emmy or whatever those ink-stained wretches are always vying for and talking about.

“I thought we played well for a good part of the game. We made a couple of mental errors. There’s no way we should lose that ball. That ball should have been pumped forward. Unfortunately, they come up with a goal at the very end of the game.”
Peter Vermes, Sporting KC’s head coach on losing to Seattle 1-0 in extra time, KSHB TV41
GH: If MLS soccer was covered like a real professional sport, and I am not looking to incite the nil brothers and their minions with that comment – Vermes would be roasted for these comments. Sporting played “played well for a good part of the game?” They never freaking scored! They never came close to scoring! Then Vermes says, “We made a couple of mental errors.” Mental errors??? Two guys WHIFFED on punting the ball out of the box and allowed Seattle to kick in an uncontested goal. How is whiffing mental? And what is unfortunate about the loss? Vermes acts like it was an act of God that doomed his team instead of awful execution and a complete defensive breakdown. Soccer fans and the media who cover them are just too damn nice when it comes to their team.

“It was not evident on the TV we had that it was a home run. I don’t know what kind of replay you had, but you can’t reverse a call unless there’s 100 percent evidence.”
Angel Hernandez, umpire who declared Oakland A’s Adam Rosales’ home run a double despite video evidence proving otherwise, reported by Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle
GH: Check out the video here at
SportingNews.com. Angel Hernandez sounds like a pompous idiot. As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure Angel Hernandez is a pompous idiot.

“After the game (Hernandez) refused to let reporters electronically record is comments, saying that they were only allowed to take notes by hand.”
Zach Stoloff, writer,NESN.com
GH: I rest my case about Angel Hernandez.

“I would blow Carrington’s doors off!”
Jayice Pearson, discussing a possible foot race between and his younger cohost, 610 AM
GH: This race needs to be held in Mission Hills and KK needs to be the starter.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Yost getting more scrutiny, KK and Petro say back off

Posted 5-8-13

“When you get to that point where every game matters, every manager gets scrutiny. Another thing I’ll say is that when you have a bullpen that falters the manager always looks bad. That said, I do think there is a lot of pressure on Ned Yost right now because of the way things went in Milwaukee. Ned Yost hasn’t yet proven to people he can do it. There’s absolutely no question that this is a big, big year for Ned Yost – not just in Kansas City but you’re right, his reputation around the game. His reputation is not bad around the league but his reputation is not he’s one of the elite managers that can win it for you.”
Danny Knobler, MLB insider for CBSSports.com 810 AM
GH: This is a different season for the Royals, for Dayton Moore and for Ned Yost. This Royals’ season comes with something so foreign to Kansas City Royals’ baseball that it might cause the organization to rupture. That rare added element to the 2013 Royals is expectations. Fans, the media and MLB expect the Royals to compete. How Yost and Moore handle that pressure will reveal their worth to David Glass’ franchise. Time to show us you are worth your salaries, guys.

“He’s the best manager the Royals have had in a long time. He’s a significant upgrade over Trey Hillman and Buddy Bell.”
Kevin Kietzman, on his respect for Ned Yost, 810 AM
GH: After two straight one-run losses, Ned Yost is getting roasted by former Royals, the Royals fan base, the local media and just about anyone else who has ever darkened the door of Kauffman Stadium. But Kevin Kietzman prides himself in being different –being on the controversial side of most topics. He damn sure has placed himself on the rare side of this one – except for his midday cohort Soren Petro, who also is singing the praises of Nedley. Read on.

“Any jackass can lob grenades…after the fact.”
Soren Petro, on the amount of criticism that is being leveled at Ned Yost, 810 AM

“Let me caution everyone – this team is still five games over .500. If (Yost) was a moron and a goof when things didn’t work, he was a moron and a goof when leading this team to seven games above .500. There’s reason to believe this guy can manage. I don’t think the guy’s a moron when it comes to technical managing.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Hey Soren, Ned was a moron and a good when the team was seven games over .500. Just so we’re clear.

“I was the only guy saying I don’t have a problem with (Yost) taking out James Shields.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: Sports talkers LOVE to be “the only guy saying” this or that or whatever ridiculous statement they think will separate them from the clutter. Often being the rare voice as a talk show host on a subject doesn’t mean you’re right, it just means you’re willing to be controversial in a safe environment. I would be far more impressed if Kietzman and Soren voiced their opinions and then invited real debate from callers who didn’t get cutoff or better yet, an in-studio guest who wasn’t tied to WHB for a paycheck. 

“I wouldn’t call it a rough start.”
Ned Yost, responding in Tuesday night’s postgame presser to a question from a member of the media who called Ervin Santana giving up three runs in the first inning a “rough start,” Fox Sports
GH: Ned would call the Revolutionary War a rough start to our country’s independence. Ned is a dunderhead when it comes to admitting mistakes.

“(Ned Yost) is like an umpire. He’s not going to admit he’s wrong.”
Mike Boddicker, former Royals and Orioles pitcher, 810 AM
GH: Over the past few days I have heard Jeff Montgomery, George Brett, Les Norman and Mike Boddicker – all former Royals – state their disagreement on how Ned Yost handled his bullpen the last two games. These gentlemen have a bit more credibility than Soren, me or Twitter.

“I think (Yost’s) natural reaction to whatever he’s asked is to disagree with it.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: These kind of people in your organization can be valuable – if they use their chance to argue productively. But Ned comes off as a spoiled brat who thinks he knows more about the game than the simpletons who gather around his desk after each game. Ned bores me.

“Jeff Francoeur’s on-base percentage is .274. It’s hard to put into context how poor that is. What he’s basically showing is that last year was not a fluke.”
Nate Bukaty, on the Royals’ right fielder’s continued poor offensive production, 810 AM
GH: Frenchy has proven now for two seasons he is an overrated Atlanta Braves’ draft pick. Dayton Moore loves ex-Braves who just don’t have what it takes. See Ned Yost.

“I don’t think the Royals and their fan base know who Mike Moustakas is. This is a guy who was supposed to come up and hit 30 home runs, bat about .260 and play an average third base. He’s been about the exact opposite of that. … The development side of myself thinks Moustakas is going to figure it out.”
Greg Schaum, Royals insider, 610 AM
GH: Moustakas is still a developing talent. The Royals just do not know how to deliver a prospect to the big club on a sprint. Alex Gordon stumbled for years. Now Mouse and Eric Hosmer are raising red flags with their forgettable offensive numbers. It is not time to flush these young guys. It is time to question why they flounder under the not-so-bright-lights of KC.

“I believe a lot more in Eric Hosmer than I do in Mike Moustakas and I always have.”
Greg Schaum, Royals insider, 610 AM

“I’m getting a little worried about the defense. … Hosmer – pitch in and pitch out, he’s not a good first baseman. He’s nothing special. I guess I’m a tough grade. That’s part of the job. I’m a tough grader.”
Kevin Kietzman, who believes the defensive play of the Royals is highly overrated, 810 AM
GH: Hosmer isn’t a good first basemen – he’s a great one. I know KK knows the game better than he pretends but statements like this make me question his baseball IQ.

“When are the Royals going to get a guy who comes up and lights it up from beginning. That’s the hardest thing for me to swallow.”
Greg Schaum, Royals insider, 610 AM
GH: Have you seen the Orioles’ Manny Machado? Wow. A kid who came up to the Bigs at 19 and started producing at the plate and in the field immediately. Johnny Damon and Carlos Beltran were good but not great from the get go but we have had very few here in KC.

“His baseball instincts are nonpareil. In other words – among the best.”
Denny Matthews, as he marveled at Baltimore’s 20-year-old phenom, Manny Machado, and how well he ran the bases, Royals Radio
GH: Machado began the Royals series hitting .309 with five home runs and 21 RBIs. He is also playing a stellar third base for the O’s after being called up last spring at the age of 19.

“(Machado) fits right into the makeup of this team. When he picks up that bat, he's ready to hit. When he puts his glove on, he's ready to field. He plays the game hard. You can see his poise.”
Adam Jones, Orioles center fielder, USA Today

“First time I met LoCain I told him you better represent that number. He is!”
Willie Wilson, @wwbb6, Twitter
GH: Cain has been a bright spot for the Royals as their center fielder and at the dish. The Twins farm system seems to have broken him in correctly.

“I don't know what exactly the ‘human element’ in baseball means, but I know it isn't Steve Physioc.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, Twitter
GH: I am listening to a lot of the Royals’ games on the radio and Physioc sounds like a really nice guy who should be announcing ice skating and triple lutzes. Denny Matthews on the other hand has been surprisingly alert and entertaining for much of the first two months of the season. The best radio combo is Denny and Ryan Lefebvre – but they broke that team up to give Rex Hudler some guidance on the Fox TV broadcasts. 

“I think Alex Gordon is a Gold Glover due largely to a weak (number of left fielders in the AL). Technically, TECHNICALLY, I would not say Alex Gordon is a great left fielder.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Technically, I would say KK hates everything about Alex Gordon. I find it odd that he is so bent on slamming A1 but it appears he is willing to go down as the one Royals fan who can’t stand the franchise’s next All-Star outfielder.

“In Lincoln’s time. 18-something.”
Robin Quivers, Howard Stern’s sidekick, when asked when slavery was abolished in this country, Howard Stern Show
GH: Oh, Robin.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Yost pulls Shields, Royals get Yosted

Posted 5-8-13

“Chris Sale looks very hittable here in the first inning.”
Denny Matthews, as the Royals jumped to a 1-0 lead against the White Sox’s starter, Royals Radio
GH: Matthews made this comment during Billy Butler’s first at bat, the third hitter Sale had faced. At the time, it was true. But Sale then showed why he continues to haunt the Royals and the decision they made in the 2010 draft to pick Cal State Fullerton’s shortstop, Christian Colon, ahead of the Florida Gulf Coast lefty – who went 13th overall to the White Sox.

“Hindsight can be a very tricky thing, and (Ned) Yost defended the move that would leave a little tarnish on a successful homestand.”
Bob Dutton, Royals’ beat writer, on Yost’s decision to pull James Shields in the ninth despite his ace having held the Sox to two hits and no runs, Kansas City Star
GH: Hindsight isn’t tricky at all. It’s as much a part of baseball as popcorn, radio play-by-play and green grass. Yost blew this game and it cannot be screamed loud enough. Read on.

“When you make that change you subject yourself to a lot of criticism. And it didn’t work out. … I expected (Shields) to go out for the ninth inning. It was going to be the first shutouts in the same series going back to the year George Brett got his 3,000th hit.”
Jeff Montgomery, Royals’ all-time leader in saves, 810 AM

“I’ll say this; sitting in the opposing dugout when he does that you say, ‘God I’m glad he’s out of there. Let’s go get this guy.’ ”
George Brett, 610 AM

“In a one-run game, (if) you send (the starter out) out, he’s either going to win it or lose it. So you let the closer go out and try to do his job.”
Ned Yost, attempting to defend his decision to pull Shields in the ninth, Kansas City Star
GH: Yost sounds like a man drowning in his self-defense. Herm said the only thing a manager needs to remember as he sits on the bench watching men do what he cannot – “You play to win the game.” Yost played to make sure Shields didn’t get a loss tacked onto his record? What complete garbage. Yost deserves to be suspended by David Glass for the Baltimore series for this ridiculous statement alone.

“You don’t like losing games like we lost today, especially when you get a start like we got from James Shields. But it was a fair homestand.”
Ned Yost, Kansas City Star
GH: More evidence that Yost is managing to be good but not great. How does a competitor leave that loss and talk about a successful homestand?

“Everybody has got their job to do and Shields had done his.”
Ned Yost, 810 AM
GH: Yost doesn’t demand greatness. He appears satisfied with good job, good effort – and a loss.

“(Yost) must be the greatest manager ever because he never makes a mistake.”
@pickupyourmatt, Twitter
GH: I would respect Yost far more if he would have come out in the post-game presser and said, “I want to apologize to James Shields, the Royals organization and our fans – because I blew that game. Me. Now let’s go to Baltimore and picked my sorry ass up!”

“(Yost) thinks of that as a simple good explanation and it’s not. There was no downside to putting (Shields) back out there – and he was pitching lights out!”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM

“Ned Yost’s explanation today put player and statistics above team – and I don’t think coaches should do that.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM

“I find it interesting that everyone is blaming Ned Yost, Greg Holland and Chris Getz. … Did you see the scoreboard? They lost 2-1 in 11 innings – and you want to blame the pitching? What’s interesting to me is that no one is talking about the bats.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Each game is its own story and has its own context. This game was all about sending Shields back to the mound for the ninth. Yes, more runs would have been nice but Yost had to make his decision on what was on the scoreboard. He chose wrong and his team paid for his poor decision.

“The (Royals’) offense has been the culprit for the lack of success so far this year.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: The Royals are 17-11. I’ll take that kind of “lack of success” as often as the bats can deliver it.

“Greg ‘Gasoline Can’ Holland.”
Caller to Kevin Kietzman’s BTL Show, 810 AM
GH: Before Monday’s appearance, Holland had gone nine innings without giving up a run and struck out 16 in those nine innings. I couldn’t believe Kietzman didn’t go Alex Gordon on this caller. Holland is simply a brilliant find by this organization and he will be a big reason why they are in a pennant race this summer. But he had just pitched Sunday. Why not save him so he is available for Baltimore? Yosted yet again.

“I’m not saying I agree with it. I’m saying the logic that Ned Yost used was sound.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: A caller named Tom called in to discuss Yost pulling Shields and he disagreed completely with TJ’s take on Yost’s logic being “sound.” Tom sounded knowledgeable and made his points clearly and with some passion. Instead of engaging in an entertaining debate with Tom, TJ acquiesced and said, “Tom, I understand where you’re coming from. I understand that frustration.” No, TJ. Seize the chance to grab your audience with a caller who has an opposite opinion than yours. It will make your postgame show far more listenable.

“There is a 100% chance of rain tonight in Baltimore.”
Gary Lezak, as the Royals are scheduled to start a three-game series tonight with John Renshaw’s O’s, 810 AM
GH: Soggy crab cakes and more rain delays. Yuck.

“Would/should the Royals add $5 million in payroll and trade a top prospect or two for two months of (Chase) Utley? You can bet the Phillies will be asking for Yordano Ventura, Kyle Zimmer or someone similar. I’m not sure they’d be willing to do that.”
Buster Olney, , on speculation the Royals might trade for the Phillies’ five-time All-Star second baseman, Chase Utley, ESPN.com
GH: The Royals do not make these kinds of moves – nor should they. Tempting? Sure. But nowhere near logical.

“I wouldn’t give up (Yordano) Ventura or Zimmer. In my opinion Ventura’s the best prospect in the organization.”
George Brett, on the Royals right-handed pitching prospect with a 100-mph fastball 610 AM

“It’s ridiculous! You can’t make (Garth Brooks’ I Got Friends in Low Places) like Sweet Caroline! You can’t force that! It makes me mad! You don’t force tradition. You have to let it happen organically.”
Steven St. John, on the Royals playing Brooks’ song each game at The K for a seventh-inning sing-along, 810 AM
GH: This song gets more Royals’ fans fired up than a Ned Yost pitching change. Some love it. Some hate it. I think it has long overstayed its welcome at The K. But I think there is more here at work than a simple country song. Read on.

“I just feel like that makes us look like we’re hicks.”
Aaron Swarts, 810 AM
GH: Hey Swarts – we are hicks.

“(Garth) is our local celebrity because he came to the Royals training camp that one year.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Garth is Wal-Mart’s celebrity. I think he has stayed at The K longer than any manager is because David Glass and Wal-Mart are corporate partners with the OSU country crooner.

“My wife has a serious woman-crush on Heidi Klum. If there ever was a chance for a ménage à trois in my life…there it is.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: I wouldn’t toss the former SI super model out of bed but I am hoping my wife’s woman-crush is on some glam gal who is south of 40…as in way south. As in Megan Fox south.

“This is better than bicycling bears!”
Jaime Bluma, responding to Nate’s Heidi Klum comment, 810 AM
GH: You had to be there – but this was a GREAT line by the former closer.

“How about the Pine Riders?”
Rex Hudler, Royals TV analyst, when asked to suggest a name for 610’s afternoon drive show featuring Danny Parkins, Carrington Harrison and Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: Talk about a great line!

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Royals mania getting serious

Posted 5-6-13

“Good baseball is still new to me, but it kicks ass.”
Mike Welch, @MikleWelchSR, host of 610’s evening sports talk show, after the Royals rallied to score another walk-off win and move their record to 17-10, Twitter
GH: Winning baseball here in Kansas City is new to a lot of Royals fans. As great as it is to watch the Royals compete and win here in mid- May – just wait if this squad is in a pennant race during the late summer months. In other words – you ain’t seen nothing yet as far as this town being gripped by Royals’ mania.

“This stuff just doesn't happen for the #royals. It just doesn't, not in my memories. Man, it feels good.”
Curtis Kitchen, @curtiskitchen, Twitter
GH: We are so programmed here in KC to concede defeat after the bullpen blows a late-game lead to expect a loss. But that programming is proving to not be hard coded with this version of the Kansas City Royals. We are finding that this team’s fate is not sealed in the first inning or the seventh. It is not easy to rewire a fan base. But as Kitchen and Welch state – it is damn fun.

“Every time we come here, these guys give us a hard time.”
Alex Rios, who watched Alex Gordon’s deep fly ball sail over his head to allow the Royals to snare another walk-odd win in the bottom of the 10th, Chicago Tribune
GH: The White Sox dropped their 13th of their last 17 games at Kauffman Stadium. Remember when AJ Pierzynski  and Jim Thome used to just own the Royals? How sweet is this sentence coming from the White Sox right fielder?

“Why not us!?”
Ross Martin, @PCBearcat, Twitter
GH: Well, Detroit for one answer – but after Sunday’s comeback win, I have declared myself all in on this 2013 Royals squad. It may come back to cause me bitter disappointment as it so often has in summers past…but screw it. I am in. Why not us?

“Somewhere, Allard Baird is smiling to himself knowing his two best draft picks are carrying the #Royals offensively right now.”
Daniel Wesley, @DanielSWesley, on the play of Billy Butler and Alex Gordon, Twitter
GH: Since the Royals are down to having bobblehead nights for Ketchup, Mustard and Relish – do you think they’d be interested in an Allard Baird bobblehead night?

“When you walk Getz intentionally, you get what you deserve.”
Todd Leabo, @Leabonics, on Robin Ventura’s odd decision to walk the Royals second baseman to get to the number-nine hitter and back-up catcher, George Kottaras, Twitter
GH: Ventura cannot manage as poorly against the rest of the league as he does against the Royals – can he? I believe Nolan Ryan caused some permanent damage to his noggin with that pummeling he gave him on the mound back in 1993.
Click here for the delicious video.

“It's just sloppy. For me, it's unacceptable stuff. It's simple stuff we've worked on over and over again, so you stay on it.”
Robin Ventura, on the sloppy play out of his White Sox, Chicago Tribune
GH: Hopefully Ventura includes himself in that “unacceptable” category.
 

“You can't just turn over your roster and put new people in there. It's just one of those, you got to fix it, keep harping on it.”
Robin Ventura, Chicago Tribune
GH: The White Sox can’t fire their entire roster but they can fire Robin and go look for Batman. I see Ventura being told to hit the highway soon.

“I’ll stay here as long as you guys want. I could talk about this game all night long.”
Josh Vernier, Royals post-game host after Sunday’s win, 610 AM
GH: It was 5:30 PM when Vernier made this statement and I think he stayed on the air until 7:00 PM. This is the kind of passion I want from my sports media people when they are covering a local team or story. Vernier didn’t care that it was a Sunday night and that he would be back at it again on Monday for a 1:10 PM game. He just wanted to talk baseball with some Royals fans – and I was happy to listen.

“Slowly but surely, Kauffman Stadium is going to become the place to be seen. Tickets are going to become hard to come by.”
Josh Vernier, 610 AM
GH: The attendance for Royals games this season continues to lag behind last year’s All-Star-stacked gate. But do not confuse ticket sales with fan interest. That is 1980s thinking. The fans will come and ticket sales will improve – but watch the climate of your local sports bars and restaurants. Look for organizations to stay away from scheduling events that conflict with the Royals’ schedule. Listen for car radios blaring the voice of Denny Matthews this summer. These are things that haven’t happened in this town since George Brett had a gap in his teeth. But it’s coming. I feel it coming like that July heat and those 17-year locusts.

“Is this a baseball town?”
Bob Fescoe, who was concerned that Sporting Kansas City showed more tickets sold Sunday afternoon than the Royals, 610 AM
GH: Hell freaking yes. And guess what? It is also a soccer town. Pretty cool on both ends of the city.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Shields has helped bring the Royals some swagger

Posted 5-2-13

“According to numerous polls, America's favorite color is blue. So is the world's. Blue unites. In other news: #RoyalsInFirst.”
Joe Posnanski, @JPosnanski, Twitter
GH: JoPo has promised to tweet out a shout out to the Royals every day this season that the team is in first place. May his fingers bleed from exhaustion – but knowing Joe’s stamina at the keyboard, that might not happen until Zager & Evans’ favorite year arrives. #2525

“Gas station here in central Kentucky is distributing Royals pocket schedules. Mixup? Or are we truly becoming a #RoyalsNation?”
Todd Probus, @tprobus, responding to JoPo’s above tweet, Twitter
GH: When Greg Holland got Evan Longoria to swing and miss on strike three in the ninth as the Royals clung to a 9-8 lead, I got a bit of a chill. These are the situations where the Royals almost always come out on the losing end. But Holland closed out the come-from-behind win and the Royals lead the ALC with a 15-10 record on May 2nd. Okay, it is not time to invoke the great Jack Buck’s famous, “Go crazy, folks!” line but feel free to at least get dizzy.

“It's May 1st Greg. This is the Royals we've been down this road b4. Be excited but expect the Royals to eventually be the Royals.”
Chris Hamblin, @HamblinRadio, attempting to calm my exuberance over the Royals’ start, Twitter
GH: Hamblin is right – we have been here before. But this feels different. A lot different.

“When (James Shields) is not pitching he is the most important guy in the dugout. He’s the guy that we really needed.”
Eric Hosmer, 610 AM
GH: Shields is one of those difference makers as to why this Royals’ start feels different.  The way he walked off the mound after the seventh Tuesday night with a warrior’s look on his face and then an aggressive flick of his shoulder told me all I need to know about Big Game James. He is all in.

“This team has a little bit of a swagger to it. I think that’s because of James Shields.”
Joel Goldberg, 810 AM

“It's a long season, but these last 2 nights have been freaking awesome.”
Mike Welch, @MikeWelchSR, after the Royals’ second comeback win in a row, Twitter

“There was a time not long ago that the Mighty Mike Jacobs led the #Royals to an 18-11 record into mid May. #ImJustSayin #FirstPlace.”
Tim Scott, @timscott411, the former in-stadium PA host for the Royals, Twitter
GH: Scott and Hamblin aren’t buying in just yet. They are probably correct in their hesitance to believe. But if you can’t enjoy this, what the heck are you waiting to enjoy?

“Every Royals win this season has me thinking of the start of the Buffalo Springfield song, ‘Stop, Hey What's That Sound.’ … There's something happenin here. What it is ain't exactly clear...’ - Kansas City Royals.”
Lorenzo Butler, @LorenzoButlerPR, Twitter

“Big, big win. The Royals are going to start believing they can come back from any deficit. Are they mirroring last year's Orioles?”
Karl Zinke, @ZinkeEJC, Twitter
GH: John Renshaw, a lifelong Orioles fan, began this baseball season by wishing me and Royals’ fans the kind of season he and Baltimore enjoyed last summer…and The Freak is due for a few wishes to be granted.

@Koreanfan_KC you get the time off, i got the flight. Make it happen brother. #respect.”
Danny Duffy, @DannyDuffy805, Twitter
GH: How cool is this? Duffy reaches out online to a Korean Royals fan and tells him to get the time off for a trip to KC and he’ll pick up the flight. And you don’t think things are different this summer at The K?

“Duffy did things in minors with his $ most fans will never know about-he’s very generous which is why offer to @Koreanfan_KC is just him.”
Greg Schaum, @Greg_Schaum, Twitter

“Seriously, if all athletes got it regarding fans like @DannyDuffy805 does- you think we could root for him any harder? Class act, young man!”
Robert Sigrist, @DocSig, Twitter

“This was one of the weirdest games I’ve ever played in. I started with no undershirt on, and by the ninth inning I wanted to get in the hot tub. It had to drop 30 degrees during that game.”
Jeff Francoeur, on the temperature drop during Thursday night’s game, Kansas City Star
GH: I mowed yards Wednesday evening and I went through the same uniform changes as Frenchy while listening to the game’s early innings. Lezak is calling for 2-6 inches of snow here tomorrow!

“As they say in Boston – it’s gonna be wicked bad!”
Steve Physioc, on the weather forecast for Thursday’s afternoon game at The K, 610 AM

“The lineup is good, man. When we start getting on it, we smell blood, it seems like.”
Elliot Johnson, Royals’ utility infielder who hit a solo homer Wednesday night, Kansas City Star

“This is new territory (for the Royals). We’re setting new (ratings) records on a regular basis. This is a baseball town but they need a product. They have a product now.”
Joel Goldberg, Royals TV host, Fox Sports KC

“I was talking to Jeff Montgomery yesterday and I said, ‘Monty, name a better starting staff in all of baseball?’ And we were going through all the teams and there are none! The (Royals) pitchers are making some of these so-called good-hitting ball clubs look absolutely horrible! How are they winning? It’s just outstanding pitching now.”
Mike Mcfarlane, 810 AM

“I believe Detroit’s not only the best team in the American League Central, I believe they are the best team in baseball. Their rotation is fantastic.”
Steve Physioc, Royals TV play-by-play voice, 610 AM

“I don’t understand why Moose is just jogging right here. Watch him, he just shuts it down. If something happens and that outfielder kicks that ball, he’s not in position to go to third base. I don’t know why he is jogging into bases like that. You can’t assume anything in this game. He did that the other night on a ball running from second to third. He just shut it down. He jogged the last few steps! I don’t know what that is. It’s not a full effort. It’s not a good effort.”
Rex Hudler, critiquing Moustakas’ lackadaisical gate as he cruised into second base on a ball hit to right field Tuesday night against the Rays, Fox Sports KC
GH: This might have been Rex Hudler’s finest moment as a Royals’ broadcaster. Being a cheerleader is not what I want or need from an analyst. Being tough on a young player who dogs it is. Maybe the Wonder Dog isn’t too old to learn some new tricks.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


If Miami wanted Albert, he was theirs

Posted 4-30-13

“I know I’m a very versatile lineman. I’ve played guard. I’ve played center. Whatever will help the team out. … It’s no big deal. I’ll make it happen, that’s for sure.”
Eric Fisher, in a very entertaining interview with Nate Bukaty Tuesday morning, when asked about the possibility of the Chiefs asking him to move to right tackle to allow their franchised player, Branden Albert, to stay on the left side, 810 AM
GH: Fisher has been a Chief for all of five days and I already love the big guy. Read on.

“I’d like to (rebuild) a 1970 Chevelle and I’d like to do a 1969 Charger.”
Eric Fisher, after revealing to Bukaty that he is a self-described ‘gear head,’ 810 AM
GH: If everything else about this guy’s story wasn’t already incredible when you consider how he was raised by his cancer-surviving mom, he is the first player out of the MAC to go number-one overall and he’s willing to fetch goats if that’s what Andy Reid tells him to do – the #FisherKing is a freaking CAMEROHEAD!!! This guy might be the most perfect addition to Kansas City since Lamar Hunt brought his Texans to town.

“Yeah, six times. I’m definitely not going to be one of those players, that’s for sure.”
Eric Fisher, when asked by Bukaty if he has watched ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary on the high number of professional athletes who go from millionaires to broke, 810 AM

 “If they ask (Branden Albert) to play right tackle, he’ll be playing right tackle.”
Jeff Chadiha, on the Chiefs’ unhappy left tackle, 810 AM
GH: Isn’t there still a chance Albert gets traded? It looks like that chance dissipated greatly after the draft completed on Saturday. With two well-paid left tackles on the Chiefs’ roster, something has to give.

“We’re making a lot of assumptions that the Chiefs messed up the Branden Albert trade. Maybe it was Miami that messed things up!”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: This sounds like wishful thinking on Jayice’s part. How did Miami mess up a trade that they had the upper hand to make? If Miami wanted Albert, he was theirs.

“Eric Fisher is not going to be better than Branden Albert out of the gate. No way.”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM
GH: Has Pearson ever met a player he knows and likes that he feels comfortable critiquing on his radio show? It is the life you have chosen, JC. You are not beholding to your friends. You owe your radio audience your best. 

“I just can’t get over the fact that a team had a number-one (overall) pick and drafted a right tackle.”
Carrington Harrison, on the assumption the Chiefs keep Brandon Albert at left tackle and move Eric Fisher into the right tackle position, 610 AM

“Personally, I don’t think (Albert) is going to be a malcontent. I don’t think he’s got that side to him. I think he’s going to be unhappy but… I’ve never gotten the sense that Branden Albert is the kind of guy who is going to tear up a locker room and be a distraction.”
Jeff Chadiha, 810 AM
GH: I get the sense that he might be the sulking type, though. I could see Albert taking his nine million and blaming his poor play on mental anguish.

“What you’re seeing at that (left tackle) position is it’s being devalued like running backs have been devalued with all these spread offenses coming in. Pass rushing isn’t based on talent so much, it’s based on scheme.”
Jeff Chadiha, 810 AM
GH: Chadiha makes an interesting point here. The game of football has changed dramatically over the last decade due to the spread offenses. It is one of my greatest concerns about hiring Andy Reid as the guy to lead us through this new frontier. Let’s hope he and John Dorsey are more flexible than they look.

“(Quarterbacks) have got to fit into what you’re trying to do. They’ve got to be wired to pick up what you’re throwing at them. It’s an individual subjective decision on that. That’s how it works.”
Andy Reid, after Soren Petro asked him if when evaluating quarterbacks, is one coach’s trash another coach’s treasure, 810 AM
GH: Reid also shared with Petro that despite the rumors, the Chiefs were never interested in drafting USC’s Matt Barkley in the fourth round. The Eagles, who know Reid pretty well, jumped up three spots to grab the one-time-highly-rated quarterback.

“It would be almost impossible to believe that the Chiefs did not have Matt Barkley listed as one of the top 50 or 60 players in the draft. If he’s sitting there in the fourth, that’s where you’ve got to trust the board.”
Kevin Kietzman, responding to Reid’s comments about Barkley, 810 AM
GH: Here is what is fact – every team in the NFL passed on drafting Barkley at least twice and most three times – some four! Barkley went 98th in the draft. That is a long way from the 50th or 60th best player in the draft. All that said, I think Barkley is a very, very intriguing pick for Chip Kelly and his revamped Eagles. Watching how Kelly does with his new-age franchise and Reid does with his decade-old sets will be a classic study in contrast.

“This is the way you absolutely ensure that you’ll get eight wins. But the question is, is there any way at all you can get to 13? This is one conservative operation right now with Andy Reid and Jon Dorsey.
Kevin Kietzman, responding

“I think the show is already better. Realistically? 18 months. By the way, if we beat him in 18 months, I'll have gone from nearly being fired to unseating #1 in less than 3 years. Help us do it!!”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, when asked how long he thought his show needed to overtake Kevin Kietzman’s unchallenged reign as KC’s sports talk king the past 15 years, Twitter
GH: Parkins has learned from his predecessor’s mistakes. Nick Wright came out and declared war and then victory against Kietzman before drowning in a sea of ratings wins by WHB. 18 months sounds like an eternity in radio. Just ask The Big Show.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


My night in Hopkinton on the eve of the Boston Marathon

Posted 4-30-13

The first person I spoke to from Hopkinton, Massachusetts the eve of the Boston Marathon was a cop.

My good friend and running mate, Greg Heilers, had just dropped me off at the corner of Main and Grove Street in Hopkinton at about 6:30 PM. As I opened the passenger door to his rental Kia, Heilers asked me one last time the same question he had asked a dozen times that day. “Are you sure about this?” he repeated.

It was my grand plan to stay in HopTown, the place where the Boston Marathon begins each Patriots Day, the night before the race and soak in even more of the energy and atmosphere of this 117-year-old tradition – despite having made no prior plans for lodging.

I assured Heilers that I would be fine and closed the passenger door with a slam. We had just cruised the town Square where a handful of folks were milling about but not nearly the number I had expected. Before leaving, Heilers also drove us by Hopkinton High School where 27,000 runners would disembark from an endless line of yellow school buses starting at dawn tomorrow. I expected a buzz of activity just 12 hours before the first buses arrived but again, it was silent. A loan abandoned sedan sat in the school’s parking lot. It looked like it had been there for days.

Standing with my Nike bag slung over my shoulder in the parking lot of Colella’s Supermarket on Main, I considered my options. I knew no one in town. I had about 90 minutes of daylight to find some stranger who would be willing to put me up for the night. There were reportedly 6,000 residents in Hopkinton. I liked my chances.

I tugged on the front door of Colella’s but the small grocery store was already closed for the evening. Heilers had been inside this market last year when we ran Boston and he remembered the cashier. “She has a mustache that Burt Reynolds would envy,” remembered Heilers. I felt bad that I would miss seeing Mrs. Reynolds this trip.

A closed grocery store before 7:00 PM on a Sunday night is not normal in Kansas City or Boston. But this was Hopkinton. Time moves a bit slower out here 26.2 miles from Copley Square. I headed west down Main and my path on the north side of the street was almost immediately blocked by a Hopkinton police officer who peered at me out of his cruiser’s driver-side window.

At least I thought he was peering at me. He was actually looking past me at the slow-moving oncoming west-bound traffic, looking to turn left onto Main. Just as he was about to drive off, I stopped him with an energetic hand signal and then quickly asked if he knew of a place in town I could stay for the night.

The cop was a young guy in his late 20s at best. “There aren’t any hotels in town,” he answered with a puzzled look. “You’re on foot?” he added with even more of a quizzical tone. I explained that I was in town to run the Boston Marathon the next day and even showed him my official “Boston Marathon Passport” that hung around my neck.

“Do you know of anyone in town who is taking in runners for the night?” I asked in my friendliest tone.

“Nope,” he responded. “I’ve never heard of that.”

And then he pulled out into the street and was gone. He didn’t ask my name. He didn’t seem to be all that concerned that a stranger was walking the streets of his town in search of lodging. He just smiled and was gone.

No problem. A firehouse sat just across the street from the police station and it was manned 24 hours a day. There were a number of cars in the back parking lot and I approached the front door of the firehouse with confidence. No answer. I looked into the large front windows of the place but saw no one and no signs of activity. Around back I found the same lack of life.

Knowing a few fireman myself, I decided against pounding on any doors with more than a polite knock. While firemen are for the most part a friendly sort, they might not see a guy with a Nike bag as ample reason to field a distress-sounding knock.

I headed back east toward the town Square where I would be sure to find some approachable locals who could steer me toward a runner-friendly abode. The sun was now casting some long shadows as I made my way up the street. While the sunlight was fading, the temperature was dropping as well. It had been a pleasant day in the 50s, but in this late-daylight, it was closer to 40. I zipped up my thin gray sweatshirt and hugged my Nike bag closer to my waist.

Three junior-high-aged boys passed me on skateboards as they coasted along the concrete sidewalk. The Square was populated with numerous vendor tents to supply concessions, souvenirs and unofficial Boston Marathon items to the throngs of runners and spectators that would overrun Hopkinton in the morning.

IMG_0902But it was now after 7:00 PM. The vendor tents were strapped closed and not one person strolled along the picturesque walks through this famous patch of grass in the center of town. I eyed the space between the bottom of one of the tent’s canvas fronts and the grass. I made a quick mental note that I could possibly squeeze under that locked flap – if I should find myself in need of some shelter for the night.

There was some activity across the street at the elementary school, near the new statue of Dick and Rick Hoyt, the father and son wheelchair team that are an institution in New England. I headed toward the statue and started up a conversation with what appeared to be a grandmother, a mother and an adult daughter.

After explaining that I was looking for some local resident who might be taking in runners for the night, they directed me to hotels in Framingham, five miles down Highway 135.

“I don’t have a car,” I explained.

They looked at me with cocked heads and then wished me luck in the race tomorrow as they piled into their black SUV.

When a nearby grandfather loaded his two-year-old grandson into his car and then drove off, I was left alone in the Square with my Nike bag and a chilly north breeze. For the first time since arriving in Boston earlier that afternoon, I considered the possibility that I was going to have to sleep outside the night before the Boston Marathon.

Before I was ready to succumb to that frosty fate, I had a good 45 minutes of daylight to burn before the locals would view me more as a vagrant than a curiosity. I made the decision to start cold calling.

The Square is ringed with neat two-story colonial homes across the street to the south and the west. I approached the very first home on the corner of Park and Ash. It was painted a bright white with bold black trim highlights around its windows, doors and heavy moldings.

I rang the doorbell and a 40-ish housewife answered the door almost immediately. I could see her dining room table past her right shoulder where her laptop computer sat awaiting her return.

My best approach was to not be too direct, or so I surmised. I began by introducing myself and explaining I was from Kansas City and in town to run the Boston Marathon the next morning. I had thought invoking the phrase “Boston Marathon” to a Hopkinton resident would have a similar effect on them as if you mentioned “Ditka” to a Bears fan. It. Did. Not.

She listened to my tale and smiled sweetly as she told me she did not know of anyone in town who was in the business of taking in strange men. “We don’t know you,” she said almost apologetically.

“If we knew you or if you knew someone in town who could vouch for you…” she started.

“All I need is a couch,” I countered. “I’m willing to pay you cash for a couch.”

“Oh,” she softened. “We wouldn’t take your money.”

An opening! Her tone told me she was willing to give me a shot at that couch and maybe even an empty bedroom!

Just as I was imagining a good night’s sleep in a bed once owned by Paul Revere and a hearty home-cooked New England breakfast just a few steps from the starting line, I heard her husband bounding down the steep staircase that rose up directly behind where she stood holding her 250-year-old front door.

“Hi,” smiled the bespectacled and shaved-bald man in his 40s. His smile was a ruse. He never did allow me to speak.

“We understand your plight but we don’t know you,” he said as he looked me in the eye and took the door from his wife’s right hand. “I’m sure you understand.”

His smile never faded but his tone was undeniable. He reached out and clapped me on the shoulder as he moved me away from his doorway all in one consolidated move.

“Good luck with that,” were the last words I heard as he shut the door with authority. I was already off his stoop and left staring at the black-painted door.

This was not going to be easy. I looked at the other dozen or so homes that surrounded the Square. While moments ago they all represented opportunity, they now looked like cold fortresses.

I decided that the Square was the wrong place to search for an understanding family. A few blocks over was Grove Street, where the runners slowly walk from the high school to the starting line each Patriots Day. I remember many of those modest homes had signs in their windows and banners attached to their fences and homes greeting the throng of runners and wishing them well on their foot race to Boston.

This is where I would find refuge from the mounting cold and darkness on Marathon Eve. I began the short walk toward Grove with renewed hope. Just a couple of blocks into my journey, I came across a home that was being renovated. The front door and garage doors were nowhere to be seen.

“Last resort,” I told myself. I moved on west toward Grove.

Church Street comes before Grove and on this aptly-named road was the town’s Catholic Church. The parking lot was loaded with vehicles – probably for the Sunday evening 7:30 PM mass. A new idea struck me that I thought pure genius.

If I could get in front of that Catholic congregation, I could increase my chances for landing a warm bed maybe 150 fold! I leaped up the massive concrete steps two at a time and bounded through the heavy double entrance doors.

My first thought inside the church was a simple one. I was ecstatic at how comforting it felt to be out of the cold. I was actually happy just to feel warm again. We are a pampered lot here in the age of gated communities and climate-zoned vehicles. Being cold – real bone-gnawing cold – is something I kind of remember from my youth. But I haven’t felt the exhilaration of warmth like this since my brothers and I shoveled snow off of Margaret Foral’s Alpine-aping front steps across the street from our childhood home.

https://encrypted-tbn2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSvVmO-i_pT6_prjEkCu5eUPgNrH9qi8b-q5-6ixppptp1agc9p

St. John the Evangelist parish was established in 1846. That’s considered new in New England.

I sat in a mid-to-back pew and allowed the chill to ease from my body. I viewed the sharp angle of the pew’s back and sized up the seat for sleeping. “I could make this work,” I thought.

The offertory portion of the mass had just concluded and we were moving on to changing the bread and wine into the body of Christ. It had been a good twenty years or so since I have been to any church service that did not include a wedding or a funeral. I now consider myself a “Recovering Catholic.” I spent the first 20 years of my life going to daily mass. I spent the next five questioning why and feeling guilty about my fickleness. I have spent the remainder of my years content in knowing that organized religion is something many men and women need – I am simply not one of those folks.

But I needed a bed or a couch or any reasonable facsimile this cold dark night. I had a 26.2 marathon to run starting at 10:00 AM the next day. I needed some sleep! And preferably not in that abandoned remodel job with no doors. I started standing, kneeling, singing and handing out the sign of peace like I was Pope Francis’ long-lost brother.

I may be struck dead for this next act before I finish typing this sentence but I even partook in the holy sacrament of communion for the first time since my wedding. I figured the more people who saw me and my Nike bag (I toted that sucker up the aisle with me), the better my chances were of scoring a davenport or spare square of carpet. I was way past picky at this time. I was closing in on desperate.

The pastor never looked up as he placed the host on my tongue. I was hoping for some eye contact so that we could make a connection. I was nothing more than another case of halitosis to this guy in a bejeweled cape. I turned to slowly walk back to my pew and searched the congregation for an understanding soul. Not one set of eyes stared back. All looked to be in solemn prayer for those in need.

If I would have gotten the least bit of a feeling that the priest would have understood, I would have stopped the mass right there and gone Baptist on that crowd with a loud voice and a humble plea for help. But I just did not get a good vibe that this was the right place or time to blurt out, “Hey, anybody got an extra bed, couch or rug for $40 bucks tonight?”

Back in my pew, I looked up the recessional hymn and belted it out with the rest of the Hopkinton Catholics. One thing I loved about being Catholic is singing in church. I have a voice that always turned heads – in a good way. I could always sing. I hoped someone in that church would hear my baritone voice rise and fall on the emotion-rich hymn, Holy God, We Praise Thy Name and be moved enough to want to get to know me and my bag.

I didn’t get even a sideways glance. The one-man choir above and to the rear and I appeared to be in a head-to-head contest to reach that infinite vast domain and everlasting reign with depleted oxygen tanks. The 150 or so churchgoers were quickly filing down the aisle and out the door like their microwave dinner bell was about to chime.

The pastor was outside at the bottom of the church steps greeting the parish people as they rushed by and into the parking lot. I viewed each set of headlights and then their taillights as an opportunity lost. I envisioned empty bed after empty bed driving off into the early evening Hopkinton light as I stood near this odd pastor who shook hands without making eye contact.

More desperate now with the evening breeze winning a contest against my zipped-tight sweatshirt, I approached a jolly looking man with a full head of black hair. He stuck out his hand before I even removed mine from my pocket.

“Are you in town to run the marathon tomorrow,” he beamed as he pointed to the passport around my neck.

Finally! Someone who appears to understand who I am! Why I am here!

“Have you met our pastor?” he asked in the friendliest of tones. “He’s new in town. He has no idea what he’s in for tomorrow when all those thousands of runners hit this town.”

The pastor looked away and toward the ground as he moved off toward the church. He said nothing and then was gone. I turned back to the jolly man and saw that he was joined by a friend. I chatted with these men and found they both lived in Hopkinton.

“I need a place to stay tonight,” I wedged into our conversation. “Any idea if there are any locals taking in runners for the night?”

“I can’t say that I do,” the man replied. “Mass is at 7:00 AM tomorrow morning if you would like the Lord’s help in your race tomorrow,” he added before leaving me at the bottom of the church steps. I faked a smile and sent him half a wave.

I considered the door-less house once again but it was not yet dark. I had wasted a good 30 minutes in that church. “Wasted” may strike some as a blasphemous term but I was in survival mode now and every minute I wasn’t making progress on finding a bed I was wasting.

I headed down Church Street and renewed by path to Grove Street where I hoped to find more runner-friendly domiciles. Or any.

The funeral home sat on the corner, just across from the church parking lot. An elderly lady could be seen in the window standing in front of a sink – at least I think it was a sink. I was sure they had room but sleeping with a corpse the night before a marathon was just too much foreshadowing – even for a writer. I hustled underneath her window and into the darkening night.

Two neighbor ladies in their 40s stood outside their adjoining homes and talked carelessly as the last few shards of light lit the sidewalk. I approached them with a smile and my best sales pitch of the night. They smiled as I told my story of adventure and how I wanted to spend Marathon Eve here in Hopkinton, where it all begins.

“Have you tried the police?” asked the lady with the blonde shag haircut. “I would think they have a list of people who are taking in runners.” I assured her the police were the first contact on my list but they were of no help.

“What about the firehouse?” said the brunette. This was like a bad dream – only it got worse.

“I am sure the Catholic Church would help you out,” chimed in the blonde. “Have you been to the Catholic Church?”

I assured them I had been to the police, the firehouse and the Catholic Church – and none of the three had been fruitful.

“Well,” said the blonde. “What you should do is just walk up to people in town and see if anyone has a place or knows of someone who does.”

I fixed on her a look I reserve almost exclusively for my wife. “THAT IS WHAT I AM DOING RIGHT NOW,” I mostly-kind-of-tried-to-say in a composed tone – but failed.

The two women giggled and told me to try the church again. I thought of that warm, hard, wooden pew and decided that would make a fine bed for the night.

I headed back down Church Street and rang the doorbell of the rectory. Two SUVs were parked in the pastor’s driveway and every light inside and out burned brightly. Hopkinton is an orderly, pretty town with a number of well-educated and wealthy inhabitants. The Catholic Church and its rectory displayed that affluent status.

One problem. Old Glue Eyes wasn’t answering my page. There is no way he didn’t hear me or that he or somebody wasn’t in that rectory. He or they just weren’t coming out. I looked across the street at the church and hoped they hadn’t locked it for the night. They had. It was now dark. It was getting colder. I was pretty much screwed. I thought of Heilers in his warm Boston hotel room and squashed the pang of regret that was wanting to bloom in my gut.

IMG_0907

I took this photo of Bill’s Pizza the next morning — on Marathon Monday.

There were two places of business on Main Street still open at 8:30 PM on this night. One was a carryout pizza joint and the other a sit-down pizza joint. I opted for Bill’s Pizza, where I could sit and be warm until closing before I had to sleep in that cold, door-less construction site.

There were four tables occupied at Bill’s upon my arrival. Four high school girls sat in the middle of the room. A grandfather and his grandson drank orange Crushes in a booth along the far wall. A big guy sat alone reading his newspaper near the teenagers and two 30-something lads sat at the bar. I headed for the two guys at the bar.

No dice. They were heading back to Boston after they finished their beer and pizza. “We just drove up here to see the start line,” the smaller of the two explained.

“So you’re planning on sleeping in Hopkinton tonight?” the other asked.

“Yeah,” I said as I looked around the restaurant one more time. “Crazy idea, huh?”

They took my “Huh?” as being rhetorical and returned to their Sam Adams brews.

I walked over to the last booth along the wall and plunked by Nike bag onto the booth’s seat. The grandfather and his grandson talked about the Red Sox as I passed then on my way to order a pizza.

If Bill’s stayed open until 10:30 PM, I figured I could nurse a large sausage pizza and a refillable Diet Pepsi for two hours in exchange for the warmth the restaurant provided. The high-school aged lad at the counter took my order and handed me my paper cup. I filled it with DP and turned to see the tall single gentleman shuffling his newspaper back into order and preparing to leave.

“Why not,” I thought. I caught him at the restaurant’s door just as he was walking out.

He listened to my tale for a few sentences and then stopped me with his raised left hand. “How did you get here?” he said plainly.

“I flew in just this afternoon,” I explained. “I picked up my race packet…”

“No,” he stopped me abruptly. “How did you get right here, right now?” He pointed at my feet for emphasis.

“I had my friend drop me off near the Square a couple of hours ago….”

“Are you sure that was a friend?” he said with a large hint of sarcasm but no humor.

“So,” he continued. “Is this your race thingy?” he asked as he flipped by official Boston Marathon passport over and then tossed it back at my chest as if it were a phony.

“Uh, yeah,” I answered. “It’s not my race bib bit it’s my official Boston…”

“So where is your gear?” he asked as if he’d caught me in a lie.

“Right over there in that booth,” I pointed.

The tall 50-year-old man looked at me one last time, paused, and then said the three sweetest words in the English language.

“Alright, let’s go.”

Part II to follow…

 

 


Analyzing the Chiefs 2013 draft

Posted 4-29-13

“My enthusiasm for the draft has been crushed and squashed for the last three weeks by what the Chiefs are doing. I was convinced that the era of drafting offensive linemen and missing the playoffs in Kansas City were over. Boy was I wrong!”
Kevin Kietzman, after the Chiefs chose Eric Fisher with the first-overall pick in the NFL’s 2013 draft, 810 AM
GH: It remains to be seen if the Chiefs’ draft will help right their floundering franchise or continue down the drain under the new John Dorsey and Andy Reid regime. But unlike KK, who now seems to piss and moan about every move made by every local team, player, coach, front office or traffic cop – I am going to go into the Chiefs 2013 season hoping this city’s football team is on the mend.

“I hear the fans (at Arrowhead) are amazing. I hear they’re behind you 100%.”
Eric Fisher, on his new team, ESPN
GH: Eric “Sickening & Disgusting” Winston might disagree.

“If Fisher is truly can't miss, this will work out just fine in the end but Reid and Dorsey looked a little overmatched overall. The book on Reid in his final years in Philly was that the game was slowly passing him by. His first draft in K.C. won't do anything to dismiss those concerns.”
John McMullen, NFL writer for The Sports Network, Miami Herald
GH: The Chiefs’ draft looks about as sexy as Andy Reid. We all understand that sexy sells tickets. Reid is hoping wins sell even more.

“Luke Joeckel says he’s got a chip on his shoulder because he went number two (in the draft)? That’s got to be a pretty small chip!”
Jayice Pearson, 610 AM

“This is a good football team now. Better than they were when they were 2-14.”
Steve Mariucci, on the Chiefs under Andy Reid, NFL Network
GH: That is not a high bar, Steve. Let’s hope the Chiefs are a LOT better than 2-14 in 2013.

“(Andy Reid) is a lot funnier guy than people know it – isn’t he Mooch? He doesn’t show it. I think he’s relaxed. I think he’s looking forward to that adventure over there (in Kansas City) to build that team.”
Mike Mayock, while discussing the Chiefs’ head coach with the NFL Network’s draft experts, NFL Network

“He’s got the first pick with that talented team? I’d be relaxed too!”
Marshall Faulk, responding to Mayock’s comments about Reid, NFL Network

“I think the Chiefs did the right thing in drafting a left tackle. I was on top of that bandwagon all along. You’re filling, in my opinion, your biggest position of need.”
Matt Miller, of BleacherReport.com, 810 AM
GH: With Branden Albert on the roster, how is this one of the Chiefs’ biggest needs? I think Albert’s bad back and Mitch Holthus’ loud voice killed the Chiefs’ chances of trading him on draft day. I don’t think Albert is a solution for anybody. Read on.

“It’s a mess, dude.”
Matt Miller, when asked what will happen if the Chiefs are unable to trade Branden Albert, 810 AM
GH: Miller said the Chiefs should stick Fisher in as their left tackle and not worry about Albert’s ego. Fisher is a 10-year solution and Albert is a one-year problem.

“I’m still of the belief that somebody missed the boat!”
Kevin Kietzman, on Geno Smith being left undrafted in the first round, 810 AM
GH: Someone missed the boat alright. I believe that is KK I spy floating adrift in his dinghy built for one.

“You can’t see what’s going on here but Clark Hunt winked at me.”
Kevin Kietzman, after asking the Chiefs’ owner if they would be taking Eric Fisher with their first pick, 810 AM
GH: How great would KK’s interview with Hunt been if he had followed up Hunt’s wink with this comment… “My enthusiasm for the draft has been crushed and squashed for the last three weeks by what the Chiefs are doing. I was convinced that the era of drafting offensive linemen and missing the playoffs in Kansas City were over. Boy was I wrong!”

“I think he’s put that behind him.”
Andy Reid, on the Chiefs’ third-round pick, Travis Kelce, being suspended by the NCAA for an entire season after testing positive for marijuana, 810 AM
GH: With Andy Reid’s history in dealing with his own troubled sons, he may not be the best judge of that.

“I’m a different breed kind of player. If I had to name one guy (to compare his game to) Jeremy Shockey, just the way he plays with passion and energy. I think that would be an awesome comparison.”
Travis Kelce, 810 AM

“We think we can help him with that. We think we can help him a lot with that.”
Andy Reid, on the fumble issues the Chiefs’ third pick Knile Davis experienced at Arkansas, 810 AM
GH: Is there anything less attractive in a running back than a fumbling problem? Davis will have a difficult time in the friendly confines of Arrowhead if he doesn’t hold onto the pig.

“He can skedaddle. He’s 230 pounds.”
Andy Reid, on Knile Davis, 810 AM
GH:
ArrowheadPride.com readers gave the Kelce pick their lowest approval rating (49%) of all the Chiefs’ draft picks. He has problems staying healthy and he fumbles – two really heavy pieces of baggage to tote around in the NFL. What I didn’t like is that Davis pointed to Arkansas’ coaching changes and having to learn new offensive systems as part of his problems. He just doesn’t sound like a quality pick to me, despite his size and speed.

“I thought they reached quite a bit for Knile Davis instead of going with someone more proven. There’s just a lot going on with this kid where he never really maximized his potential.”
Matt Miller, 810 AM

“I give the Chiefs an ‘A’ (for their draft). There’s something unusual about what they’ve done – but I’m an easy grader. Overall, I like the tight end that they drafted. He looks athletic.”
Gary Lezak, 810 AM
GH: You know Jake Gutierrez already has grabbed that “tight end” sound bite for a Lezak drop.

“Hey, Dad! The Chiefs were in the first Super Bowl????”
My Youngest Son, as he watched as episode of Pawn Stars where they had an artifact from the Chiefs/Packers game
GH: Yes, son. The Chiefs were once a great and dominant franchise here in the nation’s heartland. Could they be again? Sure. But the questions are will they be great and when? See you in St. Joseph, MO for camp in late July.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Kietzman gets scorched on draft night

Posted 4-27-13

“I have been watching games here in this park for 14 years. I've NEVER seen anyone hit a home run to dead center into 3rd row!"
Ryan Lefebvre, on Alex Gordon’s 10-inning grand slam to dead-red center field in cavernous Tigers Stadium Thursday afternoon, Royals Radio
GH: Steve Stewart had the play-by-play call on Royals Radio Thursday afternoon as the Royals battled to tie the Tigers in the eighth and then win it going away with Gordon’s slam. I was mowing the yard when Stewart stumbled through his call. He had no idea the ball was going out, thinking Detroit’s Austin Jackson had it measured. He did not. As the ball disappeared deep over the wall, Stewart realized what was happening and I let out a primal fan-scream reserved for moments in sports such as this. The Royals were on their way to finally winning in Detroit and remaining the ALC leader.

“Alex Gordon with a grand slam, it was a bit wind-aided but we’ll take it.”
Kevin Kietzman, in a post-game report on 810 AM
GH: I am still mowing when KK drops this snide slap at the Royals’ best player. This verbal slight to Gordon’s granny that covered over 430 feet is what started the long night of Twitter fun and frolicking at Kietzman’s and Geno Smith’s expense that followed. I immediately tweeted KK’s comment and the reaction was swift and deliciously predictable. Read on.

http://www.greghallkc.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif“The Royals should have drafted a quarterback with that Gordon pick.”
@kiribatiwriter, responding to KK’s wind-aided tweet, Twitter
GH: @kiribatiwriter (real name Jeff) is one of my favorite Twitter follows. He is pure wit and humor but never mean. I met him almost 20 years ago before I wrote for The Star. He was reading my OTC column that I was faxing out to media outlets when he was producing the morning news at KCTV 5. Jeff had this crazy idea to invite this complete unknown onto their morning show to talk local sports in a bit more relaxed mode. Valissa Smith was one of the anchors and Katie Horner was breaking in as the morning weather person. Jeff and the Johnson County Sun were two of the most influential elements in launching my Off The Couch column beyond the fax machine. Blame them.

“Gordon must have a buddy on Prairie Village police force.”
@Greghall24, responding to a follower who asked why KK hold Gordon in such disdain, Twitter
GH: This was the first reference to that fateful night in 2001 when KK allegedly found himself and a female employee in a…well, shall we say compromising position? This incident is now 12 years old but it still sets the KK Richter scale jumping like a Wisconsin fan at the start of the fourth quarter.

“Well Gordo shouldn't have even been at bat. The real leadoff hitter, who KK has no idea who that'd be, should of.”
@timthegm, Twitter
GH: KK got blistered on Twitter for his Gordo swipe. #windaided took on a life of its own.

“Kietzman’s whole career has been wind aided.
@JhawkRich, Twitter
GH: One of my all-time favorites right there.

“Did he knock him for only driving in 4 runs with that grand slam instead of 5?”
@pickupyourmatt, Twitter
GH: Okay, so now you understand the atmosphere that was present as I sat down on my couch to take in the NFL draft. I grabbed a Diet Pepsi, my iPad and awaited the Chiefs first pick. After Eric Fisher fulfilled almost every experts’ prediction, then it became a game of when would Geno Smith go. KK had said the Raiders would be working hard to move up to maybe take Geno as high as third. Didn’t happen.

“3 OT's taken top of NFL Draft!!! Somebody get the paddles out to revive @kkwhb!!! #Geno?”
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: KK’s worst nightmare ensued. Instead of four or five quarterbacks going in the first round, “like they always do,” according to KK. Three OTs went in the first four picks. On his Friday show, KK likened the first round of the draft to watching All-Star wrestling because of all the large boring linemen being chosen.

“Is Twitter not the greatest invention since the wheel? #nfldraft My wife wants to know what the hell I'm laughing about...
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: Fueled by the Gordon slam from a bit earlier, I began a Twitter onslaught directed at KK’s months-long tirade that the Chiefs were idiots if they didn’t take Geno with the first overall pick. I had no idea how long Geno would go undrafted. So I reacted after every pick with un-adulterated Prairie Village glee.

“Kietzman!!! What up with Ge-no-go?”
@Greghall24, after yet another NFL GM passed on the great Geno, Twitter

“According to @kkwhb, a HOF QB is still available somewhere in the draft. Hiding in a Lego fort?”
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: KK told us often that Clark Hunt should fire his front office if they were unable to identify and draft the Hall of Fame quarterback that he was absolutely positive was in this draft. After all, KK takes great pride in reminding us he believes it was him who played a major role in getting Scott Pioli canned.

“If ESPN makes a 30/30 outta this draft in 30 years, I'll start dating @kkwhb. Of course I'll be 88.”
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: I will agree with KK on this point about that draft Thursday night – it was a SNOOZE! Except for Twitter. Man, Twitter made it a freaking blast!

“The Rams passed on Geno too? At least he got in a highlight of Tavon's! @kkwhb
@Greghall24, as Geno's West Virginia teammate went to STL, Twitter
GH: Things were starting to get serious now. It looked like Geno might not get picked in the top 10 – completely unheard of if you are named Geno or KK.

“If the Sanchez-strapped #Jets don't take Geno, he might want to head out through the kitchen exit.”
@Greghall24, as the Jets were up for the ninth overall pick, Twitter
GH: This is where I thought my night of pimping would end. When the Jets passed on Geno – I hit the keyboard accelerator.

“All NFL GM's agree w\Pioli: They too wish @kkwhb was the Broncos' GM.”
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: KK LOVES to remind us how Pioli chuckled at him when he suggested the Chiefs throw multiple #1 draft picks at the Colts to get a shot at drafting Andrew Luck. Pioli responded by telling KK he wished he were the Broncos’ GM. In short, Pioli made fun of KK. On live radio. On his own show. I honestly believe KK would prefer to have his head shaved and tazed daily to having ANYONE embarrass him on his radio show. I have some personal experience with this fact. Steven St. John can fill you in on the details if you catch him in the right mood sometime.

“Looks like Geno's tumble down the draft board is #wind-aided."
@kiribatiwriter, Twitter
GH: Jeff was back with another killer tweet. I have a feeling #windaided is going to follow KK around Twitter all throughout Alex Gordon’s (hopefully) HOF career.

“Has (KK) blocked you yet? Kudos to him if he hasn’t…or more likely he doesn’t know how to.”
@MattSchram, Twitter
GH: I really don’t have a personal grudge against KK. I can understand why some believe that to be so – but the truth is he is just great copy. I mean he is a walking talking OTC just waiting to be plucked from 2 PM to 6 PM five days a week. Sure, he was part of the management team that chose to fire me from 1510 back in 1999 but that was the best thing that ever happened to me professionally. I’ve done pretty well since then and it’s not because I have some burning woody for KK’s demise.

“No, @kkwhb is cool. Wrong a lot but…”
@Greghall24, responding to the above tweet asking if KK blocked me, Twitter
GH: I hammer everybody in the media. Some more than others, but I don’t play many favorites. It is simply how I see things. The media is often left to say, write, broadcast whatever they want without much criticism. I attempt to fill that void. I also applaud talent – as I have often when it comes to discussing KK’s work. Does KK wish I would shrivel up and die? Probably. But for the vast majority of our relationship – which goes back to when he was a cub at WDAF and I was a faxer, he "gets" what I do and just ignores it – at least publicly.

“So I'm guessing you won't be appearing on ‘BTL’ anytime soon?”
@BiggieSwoles, Twitter
GH: There was a time that broadcasters were forbidden to mention my name on 810. I would accept an invitation to be on a media panel, only to have the organizer call me back and tell me they had to rescind the invite because WHB was refusing to allow any of their people to attend if I was on the panel. A weekly radio show I did with Woody Cozad, Radio For Grown-ups, (a fabulous local show in the early 2000s) had to dump me when they moved their show to 1510, a WHB-owned station. Woody told me he’d walk away from the show if I wanted to take a stand. I told Woody to quit the crazy talk and do the show without me. David Lewis was the star of that show anyway. But over the years, I’ve gotten older and WHB has become less acrimonious about my presence. I was invited into 1510 last week by Chris Kamler to do an interview about my Boston Marathon experience. While there, I had a pleasant conversation with both KK and Leabo. My favorite line from that talk came from Leabo. “Craig Brenner just said, ‘I didn’t know Greg Hall was that old!’ ”

“Geno falling faster than @kkwhb's pants in a Mission Hills drive by!”
@Greghall24, after Geno’s free fall hit double-digit rounds, Twitter
GH: This one got Twitter rolling faster than Jarrod Dyson with a walking lead.

“That urban legend is false, Greg. Don’t you start going KK on us…”
@Alan_Covington, Twitter
GH: All I will say is this. I interviewed two high-placed members of the PV police department about this matter and I interview KK himself. The only thing “legend” about this incident as far as my findings are concerned is its staying power. I hope KK’s stamina in the car seat is just as robust.

“Could this day get worse for Kietzman? Geno out of the top 10, Alex Gordon with 10th-inning grand slam.”
@bhallier, Twitter
GH: KK has somehow evolved from the guy-on-the-street’s champion of the Royals Walkout in 1999 into this crazy hater of all things positive when it comes to Kansas City sports – unless he predicted it. That is a man in a world without neighbors.

“GENO gets beat out by the weak-ass SEC MU Tigers??? How can this be, @kkwhb?”
@Greghall24, after MU’s Sheldon Richardson went 12th to the Jets, Twitter
GH: KK hates a lot of things; Gordon, Nebraska, and the Big-12 bolting SEC MU Tigers. For Richardson to go before his much-loved Geno had to cut his deep enough to draw blood – if he has any.

“I don't understand blocking people when you fire shots. Gotta be able to take them too.”
@Ernie_Webb_3, who mentioned KK had previously blocked him, Twitter
GH: I don’t even know when somebody blocks me. I don’t understand blocking someone who types words your way. Jason Whitlock is far better at blocking on Twitter than he ever was in the O-line at Ball State. I am usually reading my Twitter timeline at such a rapid scroll rate that I don’t even have time to digest the indigestible. And some of those rancid tweets make for great fun!

“Don’t care about @kkwhb but @greghall24 is annoying on twitter. Like his blog.”
@LiezertKC, Twitter'
GH: If you’re writing an opinion column and you’re not annoying at least a portion of your audience, you’re not being real or read. I aspire to be both.

“The FREAKIN' BILLS passed on the future HOF QB, Geno. @kkwhb, please tell me it ain't so! Is Pioli calling all these shots?”
@Greghall24, Twitter

“Stan Weber may go before Geno.”
@jcyoweel, Twitter

“Damn it Greg. The wife is trying to put the kid to bed. Quit making me LOL.”
@Borjas29, Twitter

“Royals' new downtown ball park looks like it has a better shot of being built tonight than Geno getting out of that chair. @kkwhb.”
@Greghall24, Twitter

“WAIT! @kkwhb told us EVERY NFL GM was in complete agreement that Geno was the #1 QB in draft. "CLEARLY!" #EJ
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: CLEARLY!

“Will you please blog the reason that @kkwhb fired you back in the day?”
bs_554, Twitter
GH: I really don’t think KK wanted to fire me. I think the Chiefs put so much pressure on KK and Chad that they had no choice but to dump me to keep their young radio station from being shunned by the biggest and most important sports franchise in Kansas City. It rubbed KK wrong that he was buckling to the Chiefs’ demands but he and Union Broadcasting were in no position to battle a behemoth like Carl Peterson’s media-crushing machine. KK might not ever admit this, but I think he thought I could be more than decent if given some time on the radio. He didn’t really like what I did, but he understood I was different. Hell, I still am.

“Jarvis Jones! Dude is a crap quarterback!!! Right, @kkwhb?”
@Greghall24, after the Steelers picked Georgia’s crazy-good rush end, Twitter

“When were you on 810?”
@John_Kilroy, Twitter

“Never (was on 810). 1510 for 6 weeks in '99. Was on a #ridiculousprofessionalroll
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: I LOVE the
#ridiculousprofessionalroll hashtag. I may never stop using that to describe yet another KK-ism. By the way, I was suspended for two of those six weeks.

“Youngest son went to bed PISSED! I told him at 7 PM we could watch DVRed Survivor once Geno got drafted. @kkwhb told me he'd go!!!”
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: Honest to goodness truth! He is still PISSED tonight!

“What are the odds @kkwhb takes a personal day tomorrow? #Genocide 22 picks in, Ge-no-go…”
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: The Genocide hashy was one of my favorites of the night.

“The VIKES passed on Geno! They have MATT "FETAL-POITION" CASSEL for gosh sakes! @kkwhb, what are these idiot GMs thinking???”
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: Now it became obvious that Geno was in real trouble. The camera shots of him made him look like he had a squid trapped in his shorts.

“VIKES pass on Geno TWICE??? GMs all just as dumb as Dorsey & Reid. @kkwhb needs his own NFL franchise - all QBs, grills, cookies & MadJack.”
@Greghall24, Twitter

“If twitter exists in 10 years and Geno puts together a good career, @kkwhb will eat you alive.”
@TimFritson, Twitter
GH: One of my biggest weaknesses and strengths is that I live in the moment. Few things are guaranteed to any of us -- especially time. I have chosen to live my life with character but also a passion for pushing the envelope. 10 years from now? Who the Big Papi cares?

“G Hall blog is great, but feel like I'm hearing same fart joke over and over again tonight.”
@Alan_Covington, Twitter
GH: I prefer the word flatulence. After all, I am a writer.

“Christ dude, how drunk are you tonight? You drunk tweet more than @bobfescoe
@lifeofmamafitz, Twitter
GH: I have never been a drinker. I just never liked the taste of alcohol or what it did to my college friends. But I am a bit of a livewire when it comes to enjoying life. I just never needed the liquid ammo to juice up.

“WHAT??? Vikes go 0-3 in chances to draft @kkwhb's HOFlamer QB? These guys worse in clutch than Alex Gordon! #windaided
@Greghall24, Twitter
GH: When the Vikings passed on Geno for A THIRD TIME, it was all over but the sulking for KK’s future HOF quarterback. I didn’t feel one twit sorry for the dude either.

“Time for bed. No hard feelings, @kkwhb. No hard feelings, Geno...or job offers.”
@Greghall24, Twitter #onaridiculousprofessionalroll

“Not that @kkwhb needed any help but the fact that his head might explode on the air just made his show can’t miss radio thanks to @greghall24.”
@tonloc25, Twitter
GH: Could KK and I fill an hour or two on BTL discussing the draft and my Tweets from the night before? Oh, yeah. But I want Kevin Harlan money to give KK that big of an audience.

“So tomorrow will (KK) admit he was wrong or call all the teams stupid that didn't draft a qb?”
@2LongDidntRead, Twitter
GH: KK opened his Friday show talking NASCAR. His three-o’clock hour was all Racin’ Boys and then I just gave up on him – which is probably what he was hoping to achieve.

“I’m still of the belief that somebody missed the boat!”
Kevin Kietzman, on Geno Smith being left undrafted in the first round, 810 AM
GH: #onaridiculousprofessionalroll

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Holthus paints a bad picture of Albert as Chiefs are trying to deal him

Posted 4-25-13

“I kind of bull my neck when people say this (Chiefs’) roster is ready to go. This team needs a LOT!”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: Has there been too much optimism flowing through Chiefs Nation since Andy Reid and John Dorsey took over that One Arrowhead Drive? Sure, but that’s what fans do after a 2-14 season – they dream of better things to come. But if even crazy Uncle Mitch is tossing water onto the fires burning in and around Arrowhead’s parking lot – we all might want to step back and breathe some reality.

“I have a lot of respect for Branden Albert. Most guys with his back injuries and his back’s history would have shut it down before Thanksgiving.”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: Ouch! Let’s hope the Miami Dolphins don’t listen to The Border patrol or read my OTC. (Renshaw – ignore this post!) Holthus, unintentionally, is painting Albert as a bad-back waiting to herniate all over whatever organization is dumb enough to take him off the Chiefs’ hands. Despite all the buzz, I still think Albert is going to be tough to dump.

“This will be an upgrade – a significant upgrade at left tackle for the Chiefs.”
Mitch Holthus, on speculation that the Chiefs will draft either Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel or Central Michigan’s Eric Fisher, 810 AM
GH: If a bad back slap isn’t enough to lay on his well-respected buddy, Holthus tosses out that two college tackles will come into the NFL and be a “significant upgrade” to the guy who the Chiefs are currently locked into paying $10 million this season. I think Mitch’s phone just buzzed and it is John Dorsey on the line…and he’s not calling for a lunch date.

“I think everybody expects the Chiefs to take a tackle. Jay Glazer, Mike Mayock, Ian Rappaport – all predicting the Chiefs will take Eric Fisher (out of Central Michigan over Luke Joeckel) .”
Steven St. John, 810 AM

“This guy (Eric Fisher) could have been All-Big Ten easily.”
Mitch Holthus, 810 AM
GH: All-Big 10? I sure as hell hope he could have made ABT! He’s about to be the first player picked in the NFL draft, Mitch! Let’s shoot a tad higher than Dontari Poe’s second-team All-Conference USA.

“He’s a special talent with his size and athleticism. You’ve got a kid who is six-foot-eight – and he’s lean. He’s going to add another 30 or 40 pounds. He’s going to play in the NFL at 330. He’s got great flexibility and great hips. Most of all when you watch him play, he has great hands. When he gets ahold of somebody he locks them down. He’s a student of the game. He’s a bright kid. One thing about Eric, he’s got a ton of upside.”
Brock Gutierrez, the radio analyst for Central Michigan football, on Eric Fisher, 610 AM
GH: Is there a less sexy pick than an offensive lineman for a franchise with the number-one overall pick? Other than the kicking game, probably not. But most Chiefs’ fans are resigned to thinking they are getting Eric or Luke. But funny things happen on draft day. I will definitely be tuning in to watch the drama unfold.

“It’s 610 Radio’s Draft-Kicking Coverage!”
Promo for 610 AM
GH: 610 Sports has been pushing their NFL draft coverage for a month. They have Bob Fescoe in New York to cover the draft live. 810 has been late to the party in promoting their draft coverage but KK is now dropping promos that invite listeners to tune in to hear Clark Hunt’s draft takes “right before he goes into the Chiefs War Room!” I’m getting jacked! The NFL draft is Christmas for many NFL fans – or maybe Hanukah is a better comparison since the draft lasts for days.

“One of the highlights of the season for me – until we win a playoff game – is hosting this (Chiefs’ draft party at Arrowhead) with Steven St. John.”
Mitch Holthus, the voice of the Kansas City Chiefs for nearly 20 seasons, 810 AM
GH: If this doesn’t give you a graphic description of just how awful it has been to be a Chiefs’ fan for the past 20 years – reread Mitch’s comment above.

“Every day of the week and twice on Sunday.”
Daniel Jeremiah, of the NFL Network, when asked if the Chiefs made the right decision in trading for Alex Smith instead of drafting Geno Smith, 810 AM
GH: Interesting how all the talk about the quarterbacks moving up in the draft speculation as draft day neared has not proven to be true. If anything, this crop of QBs has dropped in value. Kevin Kietzman predicted four or five QBs would be gone in the first round. We will find out tonight if Kevin remains in his, “ridiculous professional roll.”

“I believe, much more strongly than you do Danny, that it cannot and will not be broken.”
Kevin Kietzman, on the granting of rights signed by universities to curb college conference realignment, 810 AM
GH: Not everyone is as sure as KK and The Star’s Blair Kerkhoff, who recently echoed Kietzman’s sentiments. Read on.

“Several old friends in the business of college athletics I talked to Monday said they wouldn’t bet their own money on (the granting of rights clause halting college realignment). These people — from conference offices and major-college athletic departments — all agreed that any number of lawyers would be delighted to challenge those deals in court. The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 have such deals. As one buddy with a wicked sense of humor said, Do you really think Texas would sign up for something it couldn’t get out of?’ ”
Lee Barfknecht, columnist, Omaha World Herald
GH: Those darn Longhorns, again. They just seem to muck up even a sure thing.

“As a sidenote, two sources have told The World-Herald that the Big Ten has done prior ‘homework’ on Oklahoma, Kansas and Vanderbilt among other schools who might some day be expansion targets. The Big 12 grant-of-rights deal didn’t stop a look-see for OU and KU. Besides a legal challenge, the potential future TV money available could still make it profitable for a school to move.”
Lee Barfknecht, columnist, Omaha World Herald
GH: Kansas in the Big Ten? Mizzou in the SEC. K-State in the Big ??. Times are still changing and remember this truth – money changes everybody.

 “Winter’s going to be here soon and you don’t want to get caught wearing mesh shoes out in the snow.”
Bob Davis, in a recorded radio ad for the New Balance store in Overland Park, 610 AM
GH: This kind of lazy work by a radio station and its sales staff is embarrassing. This is not Bob Davis’ fault and it surely isn’t the client’s fault. It is the job of a radio or TV station to be aware that seasonal ads have a short shelf life. How can anyone at Entercom hear that ad and not cringe with embarrassment as they commute to work on a gorgeous spring day?

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Fans tire of Branden Albert

Posted 4-24-13

“Branden Albert looks in the mirror and sees Willie Roaf.”
@MerleTagladucci, on the Chiefs All-Pro left tackle wanting out of KC instead of playing as the team’s franchise player in 2013, Twitter
GH: Has Albert burnt all bridges back to being the Chiefs’ left tackle? Are Chiefs fans so fed up with his tweet-antrums that they too are ready to move on?

“I am sick of hearing about Branden Albert.”
Steven St. John, 810 AM
GH: I have a feeling Andy Reid and John Dorsey feel very much the same. I am guessing that Albert has about as much chance of playing with the Chiefs this year as Geno Smith.

“I’m not the biggest Branden Albert fan. I think he’s a middle-of-the-pack left tackle at best. He’s making $9-million this year. He’s getting way overpaid this year!”
Nate Bukaty, on speculation as to whether the Chiefs should keep or trade their All-Pro left tackle, 810 AM
GH: How great would it be if Jake Gutiérrez booked Albert as a guest for Thursday morning on The Border Patrol for SSJ and Bukaty to interview? Just do it.

“I think at the end of the day the Dolphins will realize they can’t get a better option. And Branden Albert is going to realize there’s not a whole lot more money out there. It probably gets done for the other second-round pick – number 54 overall.
Jason Cole, of YahooSports.com, 810 AM
GH: Cole sounds like he has this nailed down pretty good. But I have yet to hear any expert say he thinks Albert will remain with the Chiefs.

“No team in the NFL are going to be willing to pay Branden Albert what the Chiefs are. I don’t think Branden Albert is a bad player, but he needs to understand what his bargaining chips are – he doesn’t have any right now!”
TJ Carpenter, evening host, 810 AM
GH: I listened to Carpenter lay out the options for the Chiefs and for Albert. His presentation was clear, accurate and logical. I hope Albert was listening.

“I can see why Miami’s balking at that (trade for Branden Albert). He wants to be paid like one of the top five left tackles in the league! We’re probably talking about a top-15 tackle and more of a double-digit ranking rather than a single-digit ranking.”
Kevin Harlan, 810 AM
GH: If you listen closely to Harlan when he is talking NFL or NBA, he will often drop some very inside knowledge on you by hinting strongly at what he likely knows to be true – but stays just outside of claiming those truths. Just ignore his Royals’ takes and he can be very good on the radio.

“My gut tells me that Miami signs him.”
Kevin Harlan, 810 AM

“The floor? This was just a 2-14 team! I would say the floor is two games.”
Adam Teicher, when asked by Soren Petro what he considers to be the “floor” for the Chiefs’ first nine games, 810 AM
GH: Teicher said a more realistic guess for the Chiefs would be 4-5 or 5-4 – but he cautioned the Chiefs’ optimists to be wary. “There are a lot of new parts to this team,” said Teicher. “(Most importantly) the quarterback.”

“Binkley, did you oink?”
Carrington Harrison, after they played an audio clip of Binkley appearing to snort (similar to Arnold Ziffel – does anyone remember Arnold?) in mid-question to Bret Saberhagen, 610 AM
GH: I cannot remember why I got up from my desk and headed down the hall, but I remember Arnold Ziffel? This was a good moment for the 610 boys’ club. It showed some chemistry is building over there between Binkley, Harrison, Parkins and Pearson. Henry Lake still seems lost, but what can you expect from a guy who’s in his first month? The guys even gave Pearson a much-deserved razzing after this comment…

“I’ve been fortunate in that normally, I don’t have to pay.”
Jayice Pearson, as the mid-day hosts and afternoon drive hosts on 610 discussed the burning question of what is the highest price they’ve had to pay for concert tickets, 610 AM

“Don’t hate. Congratulate.”
Jayice Pearson, after his coworkers shouted down his boast of rarely paying for tickets with jeers, 610 AM

“He don’t pay for no tickets either!”
Jayice Pearson, pointing to Derrick Johnson as Carrington and Parkins told Derrick Johnson that Pearson began the day’s show with his comment about not having to pay for concert tickets, 610 AM
GH: Pearson appeared to be oblivious as to why his comment elicited hoots and jeers from his fellow hosts. This is still a problem for Jayice. He needs to learn to show swag without displaying a disconnect from his listeners’ plight. It is fine for Jayice to be superior, but he has never learned the attractive art of self-effacing humor. Jason Whitlock was a master at being arrogantly ordinary. Jayice could use some time in the back room listening to Pork Chop’s old shows.

“If we can get into the playoffs and make a run – this is the NFL. Anything can happen.”
Derrick Jonson, Chiefs’ linebacker, 610 AM
GH: Has DJ been talking to King Carl?

“I can’t remember the last time I saw a pitcher that dominant in both games of a doubleheader – to come in and strike out five of the six batters (he faced). He’s the type of guy I wouldn’t want to face.”
George Brett, on the Royals’ closer, Greg Holland, after he was brilliant in Boston on Sunday, 610 AM
GH: I have been excited about Holland’s talent for the past three seasons. His rocky start this year made me question whether or not he had the proper mentality to be a closer. Could he make a mistake and forget about it? Could he feed off the pressure or falter because of it? We are now just three weeks into this season and he looks to be special. I mean SPECIAL!

“If (Holland) can go out there and have a 95% save ratio, I think we’ll be looking pretty good.”
George Brett, 610 AM

“James Shields is 1-3. Eric Hosmer is hitting clean-up with four RBIs. Billy Butler is in a slump and not hitting his weight. And they’re 10-7 and first place in the division. There’s a ton of room to hit their ceiling yet.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Klingler painted this as a positive. That is more than a stretch. The Royals are wining now simply because their starting pitching has been fantastic. If they continue to pitch as they are, the hitting can remain poor and they’ll still compete. But this is baseball and Earl Weaver is dead.

“It’s an exciting time for you guys for sure. Is it realistic to believe that this is the year? Or is this ‘a year’ in the process? I don’t know the answer to that right now.”
Matt Yallof, of MLB Network, talking with Jay Binkley and Henry Lake, 610 AM
GH: I thought Yallof’s comments were a reminder to us to feather back on the accelerator just a bit on our Royals’ rock and roll album.

“The Royals could have gone out in the off-season and picked up another first baseman and another third baseman and sent those two guys to Omaha and been a better team.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman also reminded me of Whitlock with this comment. Jason always overreacted to what he saw or was watching right then at that time. He wrote with a lot of emotion and he made decisions and formed opinions on emotion. KK is not nearly as emotional as Whitlock but he is just as reactionary to stimuli. They both resemble Pavlov’s dog and bell in this regard.

“Don’t fall out of your chair or laugh, but they could put Alex Gordon back at third base.”
Kevin Kietzman, on how the Royals can improve their run production, 810 AM
GH: I didn’t laugh or fall out of my chair. I typed furiously to get KK’s asinine quote into my OTC.

“Oh, sure they could.”
Frank Boal, positively responding to KK’s nutty comment about Gordon – a two-time Gold-Glove fielder moving back to third, 810 AM
GH: Clink, Boal and Jack Harry must feel like Kim Jong-il’s foot soldiers did when they are around Kietzman.

“As I’m looking at this, he’s part of the scoring problem! He’s not doing his job!”
Kevin Kietzman, on Alex Gordon as the Royals’ leadoff hitter, 810 AM
GH: Gordon is hitting .342 and has scored or knocked in a total of 23 runs in 73 at bats. I hope Gordo keeps loafing like that all season.

“Whooaa! A little tension in the room!”
Frank Boal, after Kietzman got a bit testy when he dressed down Danny Clinkscale on the air, 810 AM
GH: This was not an attractive exchange between KK and Clink – and it really wasn’t an exchange – it was KK talking bitterly to Clink and Clink listening wordlessly. Kietzman has an unquenchable need for being stroked and an aversion to anyone who doesn’t understand that fact. Clink just had a momentary loss of who he is at WHB.

“I’m a KU fans so yes, (Marcus Smart) coming back (to OSU) sucks for me as a fan.”
Caller Tony to the Nightshift, on 610 AM
GH: I am guessing most KU fans do not agree with Tony…maybe the more accurate verb is hoping. How great would it have been to see Kevin Durant play another year in the Big 12? I thought Durant’s games against KU were some of the best in Self’s tenure. I hope Smart’s battles with the Hawks are just as memorable.

Nate: “What’s worse a ball-buster or a tough son-of-a-bitch?”
SSJ: “Ball-buster. More painful anyway.”

“What part of Michigan is that in? The central part?”
Bob Fescoe, while discussing Central Michigan’s OT Eric Fisher, 610 AM

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Big Papi gets nasty

Posted 4-23-13

“This is our fucking cee-tee! Nobody’s going to take our freedom!”
David Ortiz, Red Sox first baseman and DH, as he addressed an emotional Fenway Park crowd in the Red Sox first game after the attack at the Boston Marathon finish line, Fox
GH: I had tears in my eyes and I beat my chest like King Kong after hearing Big Papi – born in the Dominican Republic – declare war on the cowards who think to threaten our way of life. It is a sentence that will be as famous in New England history as anything Thomas Jefferson ever said – and for all the right reasons.

We heard Big Papi drop the f-bomb on everybody. What a nimrod that guy is! … If they thought that was cool then they’re wrong. That isn’t that cool. It’s just not that cool! That is not the time and place.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: Danny Clinkscale quickly agreed with KK’s nimrod stance on Big Papi. I not only disagree with Kietzman and Clinkscale – I fucking disagree with them. This was the PERFECT time and place for a live f-bomb to be dropped on American television. You can flip on hundreds of radio and TV channels that will drop f-bombs 24/7. It. Is. A. WORD! Big whoop! It might be the greatest word ever invented in the human language. Does it belong in a business meeting? Depends on the business. Does it belong on Fox on Saturday afternoon? It sure did on this Saturday afternoon. #BostonStrong

“David Ortiz spoke from the heart at (Saturday’s) Red Sox game. I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston.”
Julius Genachowski, FCC Chairman, Twitter
GH: Fucking A!

“I was surprised. I was stunned when I saw it. It caught me off-guard. … I’m certainly not offended by it – but I understand people not wanting their kids to see something like that in the middle of the day.”
Nate Bukaty, on Big Papi’s f-bomb, 810 AM
GH: I understand that some people don’t want their kids to hear four-letter words but I sure don’t understand their fears. It’s not the hearing that could cause an issue – it’s the using. Raise your kids to know the difference and you might have a chance at producing a productive member of society – instead of nimrods who’d shit their drawers if their Tiki hut collapsed.

“I thought it was unfortunate. I know people think I sound like an old fuddy-duddy. It does put a lot of people off. I’m sorry. It rubs people wrong.”
Kevin Kietzman, on Big Papi’s f-bomb, ESPN
GH: A lot of things rub some people the wrong way. If we are trying to stroke everyone’s sweet spot, we will all end up as miserable as KK – who is on a serious professional roll.

“There are some people who are offended by Steve Physioc’s play-by-play. There are some people who think he should apologize for other things.”
Steven St. John, on the Royals’ TV play-by-play voice apologizing to the Fox audience for Ortiz’s curse word to be broadcast, 810 AM
GH: Physioc’s Royals’ work is like listening to a man calling a baseball game dressed in a tuxedo. It feels stiff, false and way, way, way too flowery. I can almost smell the fake flower perfume coming out of my flat screen. Note to SSJ: The just of the phrase “some people think” is a gutless phrase when leveling criticism. I am sure I have been guilty of using it myself once, but I sure as hell hope I never am again. The media needs to show some stones and say what they think or name the “some people.”

“Rex Hudler said, ‘You’re not going to sneak a piece of stinky cheese by the big rat!’ I don’t mind Rex (Hudler) being the goofy guy. He’s just a goofy guy! My mom loves him! … I don’t think my mom knows what ‘stinky cheese’ is.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: KK said he didn’t mind Rex being goofy but he then went on and on about how ridiculous the phrase “stinking cheese” is for a MLB broadcast. I think Hudler is a joke. A HUGE joke. I have made that clear since his first week. But KK needs to man up and either not mind his goofiness or blast him like I do. Throwing eggs at someone while smiling still leaves a mess.

“The less I say about the audio portion of the Royals’ broadcast this weekend – the better I’m served. … Let’s put it this way, I’ve used the mute button on my remote often.”
Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: Did Danny Clinkscale get into sports talk radio to serve himself or to serve his audience? How does the 810 listeners benefit from Clink playing the politically correct card just because he moves in the same circles as Hudler? Here is what I know – Hudler is a big boy. He has been around a few blocks and in and out of the cheese factory a time or two. Blast away, Clink! If Hud can’t take the verbal stinky cheese – tough Limburger!

“I texted my buddy – and I’m not kidding you – I texted him and said, ‘Billy will save the day.’ And there it goes, right over the Green Monster.”
Kevin Kietzman, on predicting Butler’s big blast in Boston this weekend, 810 AM
GH: There is KK, letting us know he is still on a ridiculous professional roll!

“I would say that watching (Hosmer and Moustakas) hit is as ugly as the stats.”
Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Moose’s at bats are so ugly that Danny Trejo’s Machete looks good to me.

“You don’t get good chemistry from winning. You get good chemistry before you win.”
Joel Goldberg, on the Royals’ team chemistry, 810 AM
GH: Goldberg sounds like he flunked balancing equations junior year. Chemistry doesn’t exist in spring training. There is no chemistry when there are no games. Chemistry is the byproduct of a team succeeding. Chemistry is one of the most misused terms in sports by the media. Chemistry is nothing more than a loud burp after a good meal. It doesn’t happen without the meal.

“Just go out and not have any long losing streaks.”
Joel Goldberg, on what he wants from the Royals, 810 AM
GH: We will not be inviting Joel into the office this year to assist our sales team with their goal-setting forecasts. Geez, can we get at least the semblance of some swag around this team’s leeches? Is there one real person who covers this team from the inside who has Big Papi’s nads? One?

“Now, are the Royals making up the game with Boston that was canceled on Friday?”
Kevin Harlan, in a Monday morning interview with Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty, 810 AM
GH: Somehow Harlan missed the news of one of the Royals’ biggest doubleheader sweeps in the past 20 years. SSJ quickly changed the topic to the upcoming Chiefs’ draft. Save credited to St. John.

“There’s never been an accurate weight on my driver’s license in my entire life.”
Ellen Schenk, long-time KMBZ morning newscaster, responding to a report that the reason southern states are always depicted as being the fattest is that southerners don’t lie as much as other areas of the country, 980 AM
GH: I just checked mine – 180 pounds. I’m cheating mine by five pounds…depending on whether or not I had Oklahoma Joes for lunch – then it’s 10.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Boston Bound, Part II

Posted 4-19-13

This Boston Marathon will be remembered for the evil it suffered. And for the strength and resolve that evil begat. It will also be remembered as the Boston Marathon that united a bunch of strangers who all call Kansas City home.

 

So what happened to that happy band of brothers and sisters in the Boston Bound photo? Read on for Boston Bound – The Sequel!

 

Remember Matt Kruger? The cute little former high school cross country runner from Omaha who was running Boston with seven of his Wash U. teammates? 24-year-old Matt had flamed out in his first marathon but then rebounded to BQ with a stunning 2:39. He emailed me before our pasta dinner and told me how excited he was about his training and how he was expecting good things at Boston. His goal for Boston was a ridiculous 2:32.

 

Two things about that struck me as…well, dumb. Nobody goes to Boston as a rookie and knocks seven minutes off a 2:39 PR. The course is just an ass-kicker. Yeah, I know it’s downhill for over three-fourths of the race. That is the problem! The downhill miles destroy your quads and hamstrings. You end up smiling at the Wellesley girls at Mile 13 but grimacing like a tortured zombie past Boston College and into downtown Boston the final four miles.  

 

So I smiled when I read Matt’s note and wished I too was still young and dumb…and fast. I just didn’t know how fast. Matt laid down a time of 2:30.19 in his first roll from HopTown to Beantown. Read that time again. I’ll wait.

 

He finished 87th overall. That is overall as in everybody who ran the race – all 27,000 runners. All the Kenyans. All the Ethiopians. All the Olympians. All the everybodies. EIGHTY-SEVENTH! When I announced Matt’s bib number as #360, the room at the Boston Bound party gasped and cheered. He beat his seed by almost 300 places! And his seed was 360!

 

You don’t know this so I will tell you – Matt is an even better guy than he is a runner – and he little dude can run a bit. I got a text the other day from one of my best friends in the entire galaxy, Jim Harris, an Omaha attorney. I hope you have a friend like Jim. He is the guy who is there when you need him – with whatever and how much ever you need – no questions asked. It has nothing to do with him being a lawyer. It has everything to do with him being a friend. So what does this have to do with Kruger?

 

Jim’s text read: “I’m at lunch with Matt Kruger’s mom, Monica. She’s in my office. Said you threw a great dinner party.”

 

How’s ‘dem apples, Boston? I had never heard of Matt Kruger before Boston Bound KC. Now I will never forget him. That – THAT is what we need to take away from the 117th running of the Boston Marathon. Matt’s story and so many more.

 

Peter Clume is the 41-year-old Lockton stud who squeaked into Boston by the slimmest of margins, nailing his needed 3:15 BQ on the schnozzle. As many of us were flying out of Boston’s Logan Airport on Friday, Peter introduced me to his family – all who had traveled to watch him run his first Boston marathon. Peter and his pretty wife have three gorgeous little blonde girls. His oldest daughter is 11 and she just won her first one-mile race at school in 7:50. She beamed as she told me her time. Peter’s parents were also in tow.

 

I thought of the carnage those cowardly bastards dealt to so many families near the finish line that probably look, smile and cry just like Peter’s. I saw so many, many young children and parents along the marathon route. I want so much to see them all there again next year. I wanted to hug Peter’s whole family and tell them how happy I was that their trip ended as a happy one.

 

John Eligon is 30 years old and lives in Kansas City while working for the New York Times. He covers Kansas City and the Midwest as his beat. But Monday he was running the Boston Marathon – and he was running it FAST. John finished in 3:00.54 (you know he is kicking himself for dawdling 55 seconds too long in that Wellesley kissing line).

 

John was back in his hotel when his boss called to tell him to go to work. Marathon soreness be damned, a reporter goes to cover the story when the story of this magnitude breaks.

“I love breaking news, so for me, all the thoughts of having just run the race and being sore left my head, and I put on my reporter’s hat and went out to cover it as a news story," Eligon told The Huffington Post on Monday night.

I don’t know about you, but running a three-hour marathon just before my night shift is not something I could do well…or even really poorly. Mad props to John for doing what needed to be done in consideration of the circumstances. We saw so much of that in Boston on Monday.

Kim Gudenkauf was suffering from “survivor guilt” when she emailed me on Thursday. If you remember, Kim went from running in cotton t-shirts to now sporting $150 running shoes. Like a lot of us, Kim found it tough to deal with the aftermath of the attack.

“I too found that my drive into work on Tuesday had me wanting to bust out crying for what to most around us back in KC would seem like nothing,” said Kim.

Many of us experienced lots of sleepless nights, fits of spontaneous crying and just an overall shakiness that we had lost some control of our lives.

Emotional trauma is real. I grew up in a tough family with 14 siblings from the same two parents. Yeah, my mom was pregnant most of her first 20-plus years of marriage. That makes a woman rather grumpy. She mothered like a staff sergeant and my dad parented like…, uh, like a guy with a big belt and a bigger voice. And he used them both to a ridiculous level of efficiency. In other words, I grew up saving my tears for what mattered.

Boston mattered. Big time. And I have cried a dozen times or more each day since returning from Boston. I cried typing emails. I cried in my car. I cried at my desk. I cried listening to a song. I cried watching a car commercial. I cried because I was crying for heaven’s sake! The soul just needs to release some pent-up pressure sometimes and our tear ducts appear to be its best release valve.

Ali Hatfield, one of the three Lee’s Summit girlfriends who all BQed and ran Boston together wrote on her MilesWithStyle.com blog Thursday, “I tried to go back to my routine yesterday…that was a mistake. I was not ready. People at work would ask me if I was okay, and I would cry. Then they would try to talk to me about actual work things, and I would cry…”

“For me, I have found comfort in reading other peoples stories that were there,” Ali wrote in an email. “Hearing how they feel, and sharing my stories and feelings with them. I don't understand why I am so sad, because I was so lucky.”

Yeah, Boston was real. But you know what else was real? Ali and her two chatty buddies, Stacy and Di, ran the Boston Marathon side by side for 26.2 miles. That has to be a chick thing. There is no way my buddy Yael Abouhalkah and I are tagging alongside each other for the length of a marathon. We are racing that sucker! Girls are built a little different – (especially those Wellesley girls).

The Three Amigettes ran across the finish line with the exact same finishing time – 3:54.35. They loped under the banners all holding raised hands with smiles on their faces wider than Nicki Minaj’s backside. Booyah!

Tim Fritson, the Liberty High School cross country coach, worked for two years to convert himself from a college hurdler to a Boston Marathoner. He trained like an Olympian and viewed Boston as his coming out party. He expected a PR below 2:50. He missed it by eight minutes and the disappointment cut him deep.

 

As I started down highway 135 out of Hopkinton, it only took about 3 miles to realize that my body just didn’t have it,” wrote Fritson on his Boston blog. “By the fourth mile, I knew that something just wasn’t there. I can’t put my finger on what didn’t feel right. I wasn’t breathing hard. I was nailing my desired paces. Despite the downhill nature of the course’s early miles, it just seemed like my shoes were full of concrete and my legs were made of lead. Not a good combination for a guy who has 23 more miles before he hits a finish line.”

 

Sometimes it doesn’t happen on race day. Ever heard of that one, Stan?

 

But Fritson’s perspective was later shaped by the events of the day.

 

“Had I run as fast as I would have liked?” continued Fritson. “Nope. Did I beat as many people as I had set out to beat? Came up over 1,000 short. In the grand scheme of things, did it matter? Not really. For my wife, our friends, and me, life was going to go on. In the aftermath of Monday’s events, that was a humbling reality. That was a blessing. We didn’t do anything to deserve it.”

 

61-year-old David Mellen lives in Stillwell, KS and has run ten marathons in ten years. The same one every year, Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth. He missed his BQ every year for nine straight years. When he turned 60 he changed his training. “I quit running every day and did more cross training,” said David. “I worked more on my core.”

 

It worked. David ran his second-fastest Grandma’s Marathon after turning 60. And with the extra time in his new age group, David was Boston bound. Just one problem. Some lunatics decided to bomb the finish line and leave David stranded .7 miles from his 10-year goal. David is tough, though. Anyone who stays committed to a goal like David did – long after some of his friends had given up on his annual sojourn to Duluth – no bomb or two are going to deter him from trying again.

 

Chau Smith, the dainty Vietnamese-born 63/67-year-old wonder was also stopped short of the finish line. Garmin has planned a special finish-line celebration at the Olathe Marathon this Saturday. Chau and any other Boston runner who was denied the opportunity to run across the finish line on Boylston Street, has been invited to run the final .7 of a mile Saturday around noon. All the area Boston runners have been invited to attend – and from the looks of my email in box there are a LOT of us planning to be there to cheer Chau and the others across that pavement.

 

I have one last update for you. I saved the best for last.

 

Remember Ricky Mitchell? He was the buoyant fellow marathoner I jogged with in Boston who was jumping on sidewalk trampolines and popping into spectator’s posed photographs. Well, get this.

 

Thursday morning I get an email that has “Ricky Mitchell” in the subject line. I opened it up to this…

 

Greetings, Greg!

 

My name is Elise Baker. I'm 38 years old and a longtime reader of your column ... dating back to when you wrote for The Star. I was born and raised in the Kansas City area and went to college at Northwest Missouri State University. I intended to live all my life near KC, as I loved it so. But as fate would have it, I married a Soldier and we have lived all over the country and world.

 

Our last duty station prior to now being assigned in Hawaii was Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, TX. There, I had the privilege of getting to know an awesome man by the name of Ricky Mitchell, a Major in the United States Army, whose son was in 1st grade with my daughter. He had just returned from a year deployment in Kuwait when I started seeing him on field trips and at school. I struck up a friendship with that charismatic guy, and he remains one of my best friends to this day.

 

He texted me from Boston after he had crossed the finish line, as I had asked him to do. His text said something to this effect: "I just finished!! Great race!! Hey, I heard some sort of explosion near the finish line ... can you turn on the news and see what you can find out?"

 

I'm so thankful Ricky is okay and I am not surprised AT ALL by the spirit he showed while running. I am also not surprised AT ALL that he didn't tell you he was in the military. Thank you for highlighting an amazing person. He's an inspiration.


Keep writing great stuff, Greg! It was just random that we, here in Hawaii, read your column from Kansas City, about a good friend from San Antonio. I shared your column with Ricky, who was tickled.

Aloha and GO ROYALS and CHIEFS!!

Sincerely,


Elise Baker

How freaking cool is that??? A woman in Hawaii who I have never heard of, who has been reading my column since 1996 reads my Boston story, recognizes her friend Ricky and then emails me! I want to kiss Al Gore for inventing the Internet!

Okay, it gets better. I asked Elise to forward my email to Ricky. He responded with the note below.

Hello Greg,

It's Ricky Mitchell and I want to say it was an honor and privilege to meet you during our 26.2 mile journey. I also want to thank you for bringing a smile on so many who read your story. A friend of mine, who lives in Hawaii but from Kansas, was reading your article this morning and immediately texted me and sent me the story. Your story helps us remember the beauty of running a race and being in Boston.

I had such a great time throughout the race pretty much being me, dancing with groups of people, talking to complete strangers, and taking pictures with my wife's uncle and friends who have never missed a Boston marathon.

Your kind gesture to give your medal to a participant was heartfelt and demonstrates what being human is all about. I gave my medal to a first time finisher who also didn't get hers because of the chaos. I also read a story of a participant who gave his medal to a runner who didn't, and I believe that was a common act throughout the day of veterans embracing rookies. The bombings can never take away the smiles and joys we all experienced that day.

I wanted to make this my last Boston, but because of the events, I plan to run it again next year.

When I meet great people like you, the runners, and spectators, it reaffirms why I serve this wonderful country.

Thank you,
Mitchell, Ricky
MAJ, MSC
G35, Operations
USA MEDCOM
2748 Worth Rd, Ft. Sam Houston, TX 78234
SIPR: ricky.m.mitchell@us.army.smil.mil

I do not ask much of my readers. I just don’t think a writer has the right to expect his readers to do anything more than read. But this time I am making an exception.

While Ricky and I ran together for about four miles, there was one time when he broke away for a bit to jog next to a military unit in full gear who were marching the 26.2-mile course. I heard him almost whisper, “Hoorah, Corps!” He then slipped back into cadence with me and resumed discussing his wife, his in-laws and how he was planning to spot them along the course and stop to talk.

I have added Ricky's name and email to our Boston Bound KC family. He is one of us. If you ever get the chance to meet him, he will charm you, he will make you laugh and he will inspire you.

Here is my request of you, dear reader. Please email Ricky Mitchell right now and tell him how damn proud you are that he protects us, represents us and loves his country. This world needs more Ricky Mitchells. Now more than ever.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


The Boston Marathon is unbreakable

Posted 4-18-13

The finish line at the Boston Marathon is a mirage – or so it seems at the conclusion of this 26.2-mile trek. It is only three and a half blocks from the left-hand turn off Hereford Street onto Boylston Street.  Runners will tell you though, that the finish-line banners appear to move away from them rather than get closer.

“It’s like a horror movie,” is how one marathon finisher described this floating finish line to me as we chatted affably after the 117th running of the prestigious race. We stiffly made our way through the finish area to receive our Mylar blankets, medals, snack sacks and personal bags of clothing.

Oh how I would remember his words as this grand celebration of endurance, camaraderie and tradition turned dramatically and forever into a crime scene.

The scenes from the carnage caused by a cowardly act are now part of our history. No need to recount the dramatic video and photographs we all have viewed through the media. Those who were there were witness to the weakest of what man has to offer society. And the best man could ever hope to attain.

My story dwells on the joy, fellowship and pride – such pride – I felt as I witnessed Boston at its worst and then quickly and even more dramatically – Boston at its best.

A marathon is simply a party. A long one mind you, but a party nonetheless.

Ricky Mitchell is a sub-three-hour marathoner from San Antonio. As I jogged along at about mile 14, I watched the nimble and way-too-energetic Mitchell break from the current of runners, hop the curb and join a group of neighborhood kids as they bounced on a line of a dozen or more mini-trampolines. How can you not love this guy?

I fist bumped the 30-something Ricky as he returned to the race and we jogged on together and talked. Ricky had pounded out a just-over three-hour marathon last year at Boston in the searing 90-degree temps. “So what are you doing back here with us lackeys?” I queried.

Ricky had a rough winter of training. Since he wasn’t nearly as fit as he needed to be once time for Boston arrived, he decided to run the race for entertainment purposes only. In midsentence, Ricky left my right side and bolted over the curb again to dive into the center of a posed photograph of five high-school girls lined up shoulder to shoulder in an arc. I laughed as the spectators cheered when Ricky crouched down in the center of these girls and flash a huge toothy grin – freezing a memory of zany spontaneity they will never forget.

You have to be a bit goofy to run a marathon. Having a little Ricky in you helps you cope with covering 26.2 miles on foot. It is why this act of destruction at the finish line is so out of place – so wrong at a party like Boston.

Ricky Mitchell is what the Boston Marathon is all about.

There are no politics inside the ropes of a marathon. There are only runners.

Language is not a barrier at the marathon. Heavy breathing means you’re hurting. That shuffling shoe sound means you’re probably old but committed. Non-stop laughter and cheering might mean you’re running by Wellesley College just before at the halfway point.

Ahhh, Wellesley. How I love your history, your all-female tradition and your commitment to trump each other with the craziest sign or act of indulgence. “Kiss me I’m a farmer,” was a new sign for me this year. “Kiss me I’m barely legal,” brought a smile to my sunburnt face.

One runner in front of me stopped twice to kiss the same girl. What a waste I thought! I view the delectable lineup at Wellesley each Boston similar to how I peruse a gourmet pastry shop. And I know pastry. Would you limit yourself to the two blueberry muffins when a delicate cream puff sat wanting and puckering just astride? With all that talent on display for the kissing, why not sample as many different menu items as you can fit on your…uh, lips?

I missed allowing myself to participate in the Wellesley tradition of kissing the passing hoard of runners by about 20 years. Kissing gramps is just gross. Except for gramps. But the two coeds who strategically placed themselves at the very end of the block-long Wellesley kissing line almost got me to bite.

One a blonde and the other a brunette, they held signs the size of a 4x3-foot placard. Both displayed exposed creamy shoulders and milky-white barefoot gams. Not a stitch of clothing was visible this side of their oversized signs. On the placards in neatly printed text they had written, “Kiss me and I’ll drop my sign.”

Wellesley College is what the Boston Marathon is all about.

I jogged the first dozen miles or so with Greg Heilers, a tall, lanky Kansas City engineer and running buddy of mine, who had lost some training due to an injury. Heiler’s should have been chasing a time in the low three-hour range but his fitness level had him hoping to just break 3:30 – exactly what I was hoping to do.

“It sure is good to see some other fat guys out here running this race,” bellowed a loud voice behind us. A handsome square-shouldered dark-haired man who reminded me of Elaine’s David Putty briskly strode beside us. “I was starting to think I was all alone out here!” he chuckled.

I don’t know if Putty could get away with riffing on a women’s large frame, but Heilers and I took his ribbing in the good-natured way it was intended. The Boston Marathon is the kind of party where no introductions are necessary.

That awkward period of an early bro-on-bro friendship where you pretend to be politely pleasant and politically correct to each other gets tossed into the trash between male runners at Boston. There isn’t time to allow your immature relationship to mature. You simply go Putty on each other and rip a guy’s saddle bags, Dunlop disease and pigeon-toed gate as you cruise past. Putty hailed from Sacramento. He didn’t come across three time zones to play nice. He came to play.

Sacramento’s David Putty is what the Boston Marathon is all about.

Shortly after Putty passed Heilers and me, Patty and Mary replaced his barbs with their butts.

I ran my first road race in 1981. The last place you went looking for an attractive woman in the early ‘80’s was at a 10K race. Female runners at that time were few in number. Those who did show up to run owned fewer curves than Popeye’s Olive Oyl…and were not nearly as animated.

But cross-training, Title 9, cosmetic surgery and the imagination of lululemon has transformed the female runner of today into the fantasy character, Wonder Woman of my youth come to life. Patty and Mary were full of charms and dressed to advertise those many attributes. They ran stride for stride in butt-hugging mini shorts and crisscross bikini tops. Their first names handwritten in magic marker on their outer arms.

Running 26 miles can be an incredibly boring venture without the Patties and Marys of the marathon. At least for me. I am old but I am not dead. Man cannot live by cream puffs alone. These two were just stunning examples of a reason to live…if only to run behind.

The Boston Marathon is about scenic views – some which appear to be too good to be true. A quirk of nature I have never viewed as a problem.

A father and his two sons have greeted runners each Patriots Day I’ve visited their burg from their simple driveway perch just outside Ashland. The father appears to be of Pakistani descent and while his two elementary age sons mimic his dark skin and even darker bushy brows, they are 100% American made. The youngest son rose from his flimsy lawn chair to stand on its seat as we passed. He dramatically gesture to the runners as we aproached.

Like a carnival barker he made a sweeping circular gesture with his arms and hands – slowing the motion of his limbs to attain maximum theatrical impact. In a voice he dug from deep within his diaphragm, the young lad shouted, “The city of Boston awaits you!” All done in a Boston brogue that would make Matt Damon proud.

A family in Hopkinton hang a banner on their front windows each Marathon Monday, welcoming runners to their small rural town. They sit on their front steps and take in the view of the parade of different waves as they make their slow walk to the point-to-point start.

Across the street their neighbors set up a makeshift supply tent that has the phrase, “All Free” written on banners and signs that adorn this small tent on their front curb. Runners clog the small area to reach for free Vaseline, Band-Aids, water, drinks, etc. “We’ll be back here next year too!” shouts the friendly husband of this generous clan.

The Boston Marathon is about fathers and sons and mothers and daughters and families. The Boston Marathon is about sharing, giving and helping.

The Kansas City runners who traveled to Boston experienced sights, sounds and heart-wrenching real-life drama that we may never be able to resolve. Life is hard sometimes. But it gets better. The cowards never win. It is our job to see to that.

I stood on a park bench near an endless line of ambulances hours after the two blasts talking on my cell phone as a small brown man approached. He pointed to my medal – struggling with his English. I looked down at him and wondered why he was curious about my finisher’s medal. He was obviously a runner just as I. But his eyes told me everything I needed to know. He did not have a medal. He was unable to finish the race.

“Here,” I said as I doffed my ribbon and medal. “Take mine.” I extended my medal to where he stood below. He back away with his arms outstretched, waving off my gesture. He thought my gift too high a price for me to pay a stranger. What he did not understand is that at the Boston Marathon there are no strangers. He turned quickly and was gone.

The city of Boston was magnificent in how it reacted to the explosions. The police were professional yet passionate. The medical personnel did their jobs as they have been trained – and so many people are alive today because they are so darn good at that job. The residents of Boston became immediate surrogate family members to any and all runners who were left without a hotel, transportation, a shower, a meal or simply a friend.

I love the Boston Marathon. I love it with its scars, with its stains and with its creeping old age. Most of all I love it for its people.

The New York Yankees paid a touching tribute to the hated Boston Red Sox the day after the Boston Marathon by playing the Sox’s much-loved theme song, Sweet Caroline in Yankee Stadium.

New York knows pain. New York knows pain is temporary. New York knows sports is merely a game. New York knows they will hate the BoSox again tomorrow and the feeling will be mutual.

Boston wouldn’t have it any other way.

Party on.

GregHall24@yahoo.com & Twitter / greghall24

 


Royals sweep Twins; Pressey goes pro

Posted 4-11-13

“I'm struck by a very odd feeling for a KC sports fan: hope.”
Adam Vogler, @AdamVogler, as the Royals swept a three-game series from the Twins to take a 1.5-game lead in the AL Central, Twitter
GH: Our hearts have been broken so many times they look like Dennis the Menace’s mom’s patched up vase. But each spring we pump that royal-blue blood through those much-abused chambers and hope. It is no more than hope even with the club being three games over .500. I just got a bit light headed typing that last sentence. Hope.

“The Kansas City Royals are in first place. Will I tweet this every single day this is true. Yeah. Probably.”
Joe Posnanski, @JPosnanski, Twitter
GH: JoPo is in day two of his self-imposed Royals Watch. I have never been more happy to read JoPo’s words.

“There’s really nothing to nitpick about although there’s some fans who love doing that.”
Brian McRae, on the Royals’  6-3 start, 810 AM
GH: Has anyone missed Kevin Kietzman this week while he’s away in a Tiki Hut? What a pleasure it has been to hear Danny Clinkscale and Todd Leabo talk like regular guys without the pressure of their boss’ Chicken Little clucking.

“I don’t care what I said. I am going to enjoy this team.”
Danny Clinkscale, after Jack Harry pointed out to him that just the week before he was dissing the Royals after their 0-2 start, 810 AM
GH: I love Clinkscale’s attitude. So maybe he did jump the gun and be overly critical of the Royals before they had a chance to get rolling. They may very well still crash and burn. All the more reason to enjoy Lady Success while she shines her big fluffy bosom in our faces. This is the Clinkscale I would like to hear when Kevin Kietzman is in the studio as well. I get the feeling Danny would like that as well.

“So far this season, Detroit's relievers have a 6.66 ERA, the worst in the majors.”
Buster Olney, @Buster_ESPN
GH: The Royals’ pitching staff looks like they all caught a case of the Bob Gibsons. Almost every arm they roll out there as a starter or reliever looks like the next Tom Seaver. Greg Holland’s closer issues aside, this team looks as scary as any right now with these starters and pen. Okay, it’s only early April…but daddy likey!

“Can I ask a dumb question? What is a hashtag?”
Vin Scully, legendary play-by-play voice of the Dodgers in his 64th season with the club, during a live read of an online vote during a Dodgers’ TV broadcast, Deadspin.com
GH: What  would the Royals have to sweeten the pot for the Dodgers to trade Vin for Denny? If we threw in the Country Club Plaza and Leawood would that do it?

“No. (pause) You can put an emphasis on that.”
Bob Sutton, when asked by Soren Petro if HBO’s Hard Knocks should come to Kansas City, 810 AM

“It really just says [Phil Pressey] doesn’t like being in school. I think he’s making a bad decision.”
Seth Greenberg, on Pressey’s decision to leave Mizzou and declare for the NBA draft, 810 AM
GH: I think Greenberg has it all wrong. I think Pressey loved it at Mizzou, but he wants the bling. Athletes who leave early almost always want the bling.

“It’s amazing to me that these kids will seek out the person that will give them the information that they want to hear – and that’s a problem.”
Seth Greenberg, on borderline NBA draft candidates choosing to leave school early with little guarantee of being drafted or making the NBA, 810 AM
GH: Amazing? We don’t have to look to 21-year-old students for people who will search out only those who tell them what they want to hear. Check your list of closest friends. Too many of us choose easy and weak over difficult and strong. Sometimes that bastard you know can be your best ally.

“Starting my 40th Masters this morning at 8:44. Where has the time gone since my first round there in 1970?!!”
Tom Watson, @TomWatsonPGA, Twitter
GH: Tom is having a rough go of it today in his opening round at Augusta. But damn was that run he made a few years back at The Open one to remember. One of the greatest golf weekends I can ever remember.

“I’m not kidding [about the dire need for higher ratings]. … We can save this baby.”
Lazlo, @lazlothebuzz, host of 96.5’s The Church by Lazlo, in a storm of tweets between him and listeners about the precarious position his afternoon radio show is in due to recent poor ratings, Twitter
GH: The Buzz was rated 14th overall in the February 2013 Arbitron ratings with a 3.2 share. Lazlo has alarmed his congregation about the damage these recent poor rating’s books are doing to the longevity of his not-popular-enough show. It is just another reason I question the Arbitron ratings. Just about every high school, college and young adult I know listens to Lazlo. How that doesn’t translate into ratings is just goofy. BTW, 610 Sports was 18th with a 1.6 share. 810 doesn’t subscribe to Arbitron so they are no longer rated.

“We only make two promises with this show. First, we promise to work hard for your business. Second, we don’t know what else to expect.”
New Promo for The Drive with Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: This promo for 610’s new afternoon show is almost too perfect. It sounds exactly like what the conversation was behind closed doors by the individuals who made this programming decision.

“Where are the Jewish groupies in radio?”
Danny Parkins, to his cohost Carrington Harrison, 610 AM

“No one finds this entertaining but you.”
Carrington Harrison, to his Jewish cohost Parkins, 610 AM

“It was difficult though, believe me, before The Beatles.”
Paul McCartney, when asked by Howard Stern if he, “Banged a lot of chicks,” in a 2001 interview, Sirius XM

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Petro's obsession makes for bad radio; A scouting report on Twin Peaks

Posted 4-11-13

“[The Royals] have the pitching now to go up against those $200-million payrolls. This team is ready to make that push. Hopefully, that’s what we’ll see over this 2013 season.”
Brian McRae, 810 AM
GH: McRae also stated he thinks the Royals are the best defensive team in the AL Central. Denny Matthews has even awoken from his coma to sound excited about the Royals’ defensive prowess. Denny likes good defense almost as much as he likes a two-hour game.

“Hopefully, we won’t see [the Royals] dip below .500 for the rest of the year!”
Rex Hudler, as the Royals improved their season record to 5-3 with six wins in their last five games, Royals Radio
GH: Hudler says a lot of goofy stuff so he’s easy to ignore. Can you imagine if this proved to be true? Yeah, me either.

“Where’s the talk about the Royals? … I hear more Twitter fire about the Wil Myers trade than the Royals’ chances of winning the AL Central.”
Soren Petro, who chastised Royals’ fans for the attendance Tuesday night of 11,697 at The K, 810 AM
GH: Petro not only lectured Royals fans on how they don’t understand how to display passion for their team, he went on and on about how we don’t understand the nuances of looking days ahead at the opposition’s rotation, where the team can possibly steal a half game lead or relinquish one. “That’s the beauty of baseball!” he declared. Petro is a seamhead nerd who is out of touch with 95% of the people who follow the Royals. Baseball is a lot of things to a lot of people. Most just like the simplicity and symmetry of the nine-inning game because they too at one time donned a glove and swung a bat. The fascination with WHIP and WAR stats makes for really bad radio.

“The one thing I want Royals fans to do is get used to winning. Get to the ball park! I was a little bit disgruntled. Where are the Royals’ fans? I think the fans here are trying to see if this team is for real.”
Henry Lake, new midday host, 610 AM
GH: Second day on the job and Henry Lake is lecturing Royals’ fans on how to be a baseball fan. Note to Henry, Tuesday nights during the school year with forecasts calling for thunderstorms are not a good measure of this city’s passion for the Royals. Looking at attendance numbers to gauge a fan base’s passion for a team is ancient thinking. Fox Sports set an all-time ratings record for the Royals’ opening day broadcast. Fans watch the Royals on their phones nowadays, Henry. We’ve got Google fiber down here in the big city. Catch up or head back to your fishing hole.

“Don’t look now but Bubba Starling is 1-for-22.”
Bob Fescoe, on the Royals top draft pick’s early-season for the Lexington Legends in Class A,  610 AM
GH: Starling got a hit Tuesday night to push his average up to .077 and his OPS to .220. It’s early…right?

“I wish we could have brought home a national championship banner, but coming to Mizzou was the best decision of my life. This is a special place and I will always be a Tiger.”
Phil Pressey, on his decision to declare early for the 2013 NBA draft, Kansas City Star
GH: I consider Pressey one of the most misunderstood athletes in Missouri basketball history. I think he loved his time at Mizzou – under both Mike Anderson and Frank Haith. I don’t think he is leaving because he wants to leave MU or because Haith wants him to leave. I think he’s leaving for all the wrong reasons – he thinks he’s far better than he actually is.

“No, not really. I am a Miami Heat fan, but I really don’t have a team I really want to go to and play for.”
Ben McLemore, when asked if he had a preference for what NBA team will draft him, KUSports.com
GH: I don’t think Ben will be spending quality time with LeBron and Dwayne. It makes sense that an athlete from a poor family grabs the money now instead of completing his college education and delaying his professional pay day until he graduates. I think McLemore would be far better off having to spend another two years in college but young men like him carry the burden of their family’s finances rather than simply their own needs. Good for them, not quite as good for him.

“Can he dribble? No, not very well.”
Josh Klingler, on McLemore, 610 AM
GH: How crazy is the NBA draft? Did you ever think a guard who can’t handle the ball or create his own shot would be discussed as the number-one overall draft pick? It probably happens more often than I realize but it seems so odd to reward a two-tool player. McLemore can jump and he can shoot. So he gets $14 million guaranteed?

“My personal opinion is if he were my son I would certainly strongly recommend he make the jump at this time.”
Bill Self, on Ben McLemore’s decision to enter the NBA draft, KUSports.com
GH: If so, I would be surprised. Why would Bill Self’s on need to go to the NBA two years before he graduates? Self’s grandchildren won’t be able to spend all the money he amasses as a basketball coach. Why would Self send his son off the NBA two years before he’s ready? And even McLemore’s biggest fans have to know he is far from NBA ready.

“At best, we thought Twin Peaks would be lame. A new sports bar that prides itself on ‘scenic views’? We’re not talking mountains, rivers or sunsets. We’re talking waitresses dressed lumberjack sexy: teeny-weeny khaki shorts, ab-baring plaid crop tops that display their pushed-up Victoria’s Secret-perfect boobs, and Uggs or something similar with colorful tube socks. … But after we got there, we had to ask ourselves, is it sexist, really? Maybe these were not mere toys in a boys’ world. Maybe these were girls who were simply working the system. They’re in on the joke and comfortable in their skin, enjoying the scene. Who are we to judge?”
Jenee Osterheldt, FYI columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: I have never understood why society frowns on attractive women who use their natural [or manufactured] physical ass-ets for profit and promotion. How is it different from the innately bright female capitalizing on her intelligence in the workplace?

“There’s so many of them. It appears that they have somehow monopolized most of the attractive 18- to 25-year-olds in Olathe. … I see late nights and bad decisions. I’ll order everything, I’ll pay her rent. It’s hard to be smart in here.”
Twin Peaks Patrons, on the talented staff, Kansas City Star

“One thing we talked to the fellas about was how not to peer directly into the boobs. Grumpy Diva and I had a hard time not taking in the view but we didn’t want to just stare. The fellas told us it was all about mastering the distraction. One person talks to the waitress and maintains eye contact while everyone else gets to look. As it turns out, the guys said a place like Twin Peaks is better than going to a strip club. It’s less pervy.”
Jenee Osterheldt, FYI columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: I have been to a Twin Peaks in Omaha as part of a post-golf outing. There is no getting around staring at the peaks or the valleys. And the talent this franchise attracts is AL East worthy. Guys in their 50's look a bit too obvious in these types of joints. But if Jenee can handle it, maybe Yael and I need to take in the sights.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Royals win opener; Pitino opting for tattoo after championship

Posted 4-9-13

“Best drive home from work today listening to the Royals comeback victory on 610 radio!! Go Royals!!”
Brett Colgan, @brett_colgan, on the Royals’ 3-1 comeback win over the Twins on opening day, Twitter
GH: I heard Denny Matthews call the Royals’ eighth-inning rally and then how Aaron Crow closed it in the ninth while listening to 610’s broadcast of the game as well. Radio can still be a great way to catch a baseball game.

“I was a bit surprised at the price of beverages that are quite a bit higher than they were 25 years ago.”
Caller Bill, who told The Border Patrol he was motivated this off-season to purchase a Royals’ partial season-ticket package after he gave up being a long-time season ticket holder back in the ‘70s and ‘80s, 810 AM
GH: This is the kind of caller that has to make even David Glass crack a smile. After 25 long years, this Royals’ fan is back in the stadium as a season ticket holder. I am betting this version of the Royals is going to bring back a lot of ghosts from the 80s.

“This is a heck of a different start for a team that’s supposed to be a heck of a lot different than its rotten predecessors. Whether intentional or not, you can see the clues. That started in spring training, when James Shields ingratiated himself with his new teammates in part by taking road trips to games in which he wasn’t pitching — virtually unheard of for veterans. You can’t quantify what things like that mean, exactly, but they have to mean something.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I would like my columnist to quantify what that means – at least in more detail than it has to mean something. Take a leap with this team, Sam. Be bold. At least bolder.

“M-I-Z!”
Aaron Crow, who closed out the ninth for the Royals’ save in the home opener, after concluding his live postgame interview with Joel Goldberg on Fox Sports TV
GH: Goldberg responded to Aaron’s Mizzou crowing by saying, “I’m not going to repeat what he just said.” Crow is a Topeka native who played ball at Mizzou and never misses a chance to let Royals’ fans know it. I like that he refuses to sit on the fence of political correctness – despite playing in the Jayhawks backyard. College rivalries are hard to kill…Bill.

“We met again and talked about it. We both came to the same conclusion: that it would be in his best interest to pursue other options, get off to a fresh start and impact another program.”
Bill Self, on KU freshman guard Rio Adams’ saying last week that he reconsidered and wanted to stay at Kansas, Lawrence Journal-World
GH: Translation: Bill Self decides who stays and who goes, not Rio Adams. Playing at KU is a privilege. When you lose sight of that, it is time for you to leave.

“Louisville is a terrific basketball team. I had not seen that quickness anywhere.”
John Beilein, Michigan’s coach after his Wolverines lost 82-76 to Louisville, 810 AM
GH: What an incredible game. Games like this make me feel sorry for non-sports fans.

“Good Christ, Charles. BO-hanon and McGarrity???”
Kurtis Seaboldt, @KSeaboldt, Twitter
GH: Never has a broadcast personality received so much admiration and praise and yet been so unprepared and unprofessional at his job. Sir Charles needs to stick to the NBA and stop embarrassing himself and college basketball.

“Pathetic officiating does not diminish from Louisville's effort- amazing team effort w/a loose and bizarre whistle.”
Doug Gottlieb, @GottliebShow, Twitter
GH: I have come to the conclusion that it is not the referees that are the problem with college basketball. The sport we see today is simply impossible to officiate. Ridiculously physical play is allowed in the paint and under the boards, yet touch fouls in the backcourt are called at random. I don’t have a great solution for this dilemma. I just know that blaming the refs after every game is not the answer. The answer is cleaning up the game’s physical play or scheduling an extra hour each game for replays.

“I thought they missed too many calls but overall it wasn’t horrible. … It wasn’t anything that I thought decided the game.”
Jay Bilas, ESPN Radio
GH: Bilas has been as outspoken as anyone in the media about returning college basketball to a non-contact sport. If he didn’t think officials decided the game, they probably didn’t.

“Blaming the refs is cool, but what about the subpar talent in college hoops. I mean Spike Albrecht leading the way? Come on. … Everyone was ready to crown Spike Albrecht the next best thing. ZERO points in 2nd half.”
Bob Fescoe, @bobfescoe, Twitter
GH: Fescoe has no soul. He is simply a guy from New Jersey who is lost in a place where sports passion reigns. How you can watch the first half of that game and Spike “Teen Wolf” Albrecht and not be moved? I pity the fool.

“Hell yes! I’m getting a tattoo.”
Rick Pitino, in a postgame interview, who had promised his players he would get a tattoo if they won the national championship, CBS
GH: Pitino is a great, great coach and his players appear to admire him. I find him to be incredibly revolting. Maybe I don’t know him well enough. I take that as a plus.

“Reactions to this game might make me never be on twitter again...fab game…followed by snarky stupidity… Best memory…Pitino ducking WTF??”
Danny Clinkscale, @dcwhb, Twitter
GH: Clink’s expectations for Twitter differ greatly from mine. There is always another tweet, Danny. Scroll on.

“My name is Henry Lake, the new guy in town. … I’m lovin’ this town!”
Henry Lake, new cohost for The Day Shift [who’s the genius naming shows at 610?], introducing himself as 610’s new midday voice as he partners with Jay Binkley, 610 AM
GH: Henry bored us in his opening minute with talk about trying to navigate in his new town, Binkley wanting him to try multiple BBQ joints and what passionate fans he knows populate Kansas City. Yawn. Come hard or go shard somewhere else, Henry. The best template I can suggest for new sports voices in the Kansas City media was laid down by Jason Whitlock when he arrived from Ann Arbor in 1994. In that column he laid out for his readers who he was and what they could expect. He did not fake nice. We have enough “nice” here in KC, Henry. How about some “real?”

“The big announcement is that we are moving to afternoon drive starting [Tuesday], teaming up with Jayice Pearson.”
Danny Parkins, 610 AM
GH: Wow.

“The Star has hired St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Vahe Gregorian as a sports columnist. Vahe [pronounced VAH-hey] will cover all aspects of the local and national sports scene, from the Chiefs and Royals to college athletics and beyond. Also joining The Star’s newsroom is Gregorian’s wife, Cindy Billhartz Gregorian, who will be The Star’s new House + Home editor and write and edit for the Features sections. She spent the last 16 years at the Post-Dispatch.”
Kansas City Star
GH: This is a big get for the hometown newspaper. I am not sure what it says about St. Louis or the Post-Dispatch, but it has to make The Star feel like the Royals stealing a Cardinal. BBQ beats Archie – just like 1985.

“Cindy and I are honored by this wonderful opportunity to work for The Star and get to know Kansas City in a way I never would have imagined when I first ventured there for the 1988 NCAA title game at Kemper Arena. We will always be grateful to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and it’s painful to move away from so many dear friends and talented, caring colleagues. But we relish the fresh challenges of our new jobs, the chance to work directly with terrific people we’ve known and admired for years and the excitement of getting to be part of another tremendous community and excellent newspaper.”
Vahe Gregorian, Kansas City Star

“Very excited about this. Vahe is a terrific journalist, and a better man. Bowt time we had a good sports columnist…”
Sam Mellinger, @mellinger, Twitter
GH: I was impressed with the comments made by area journalists who know Gregorian well. Almost all commented not only on his talent but also his character and what a good guy he is. Let’s hope he brings a sharp edge to his writing along with his smile.

“Vahe's the best.”
Joel Goldberg, who spent a number of years in St. Louis working for the Cardinals organization, Twitter

 

“No disagreement here. Vahe is the man.”
Kent Babb, @kentbabb, Twitter

 

“No critic reviews for 42.”

RottenTomatoes.com
GH: Uh oh. This does not bode well for the Jackie Robinson movie. When critics are not allowed to review a movie, it is not because they think it is a blockbuster.

“Right now in Goodland, Kansas guys it is snowing! There’s a blizzard developing in Colorado. This is a powerful, unusual, unique storm.”
Gary Lezak, 810 AM
GH: This has been a spring to forget. Temps are expected to dive into the 30s for the rest of the week. Looks like those Rock The Parkway races Saturday morning will be in some chilly temps. And I was so looking forward to ogling some Skorts and singlets.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Mellinger with thoughts on Royals Opening Day

Posted 4-8-13

“My buddy Billy’s already out there [at The K]. He knows people.”
Jake Gutierrez, on how Billy was able to already tailgating four hours before the parking lot was scheduled to open for the Royals’ home opener this afternoon against the Twins, 810 AM
GH: I have been to a lot of Royals’ home openers – none were more depressing than last season’s debacle when Luke Hochevar gave up seven first-inning runs to the Indians in what would become an April to forget in a season that was so unexpected it turned the team’s Our Time slogan into a bad joke. But this home opener feels different. After a quiet and deflating 0-2 start, the Royals went to Philadelphia and broke out their #BlueBats. This team looks like it can hit. That is REALLY different when you’re talking Royals baseball.

“Royals look different. Ready to compete.”
Dinn Mann, @dinnmann, former KC Star sports editor and current MLB.com mogul, Twitter
GH: Not only do the Royals look different – they are attacking the season differently. Read on.

“I'm surprised by this but we're gonna see what happens."
Jeff Montgomery, as Ned Yost opted to yank his closer, Greg Holland, after he gave up two hits in the ninth in favor of Herrera, Fox Sports TV
GH: Monty was surprised because he is of the old Royals’ thinking – don’t mess with your closer’s head by yanking him when he’s in trouble. This is the new Royals. Yost and Dayton Moore need to win now or lose their jobs. Another 70-win season means a new regime at The K. I like when the Royals play to win instead of worrying about a player’s mental state. Winning fixes a lot of neurosis.

“You did this. If you are a Royals fan, you had a hand in the team that’s playing in Kansas City for the first time this afternoon. Kansas City’s sports passion — specifically, joy for last year’s baseball All-Star Game and disgust over the horrible Chiefs — created this year’s Royals team. Nobody with the Royals will say this out loud, but it’s the truth all the same. … You forced this change. And this afternoon, for the first time, you will see the product of your passion in person.”
Sam Mellinger,
Kansas City Star
GH: It sure took David Glass and his crew a long time to discover that they were sitting on a MLB powder keg. After years of dousing that powder with a watered-down product, we finally might have a team worthy of our attention. It has been far, far too long.

“Royals owner David Glass is often — erroneously and unfairly — accused of being absentee and out of touch. But he heard you. Saw you. Felt you. And he changed because of it.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: I liked almost everything in Mellinger’s column except this. Mellinger is the one who appears erroneous and out of touch with his portrayal of the Royals’ owner’s horrific handling of this impossible-to-kill franchise. This read like The Star is concerned about the Royals as an advertiser.

“Kansas City has this national perception as sort of the capital of Midwestern kindness. And in most cases, we are a kind people. Need directions? Help with the door? Restaurant recommendations? Sure, absolutely, happy to assist. But reward our sports passion with incompetence? Follow up promise with failure? Then this city will boo without mercy, flood every line of communication with raw criticism — heck, there might even be a plane flying banners over the stadium calling for jobs.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: That Boo Cano thing at the All-Star Game and the fan bashing that Eric Winston laid out for the national media over the Matt Cassel injury altered the nation’s perception of Kansas City a bit as well. Sure, we are friendly folks but we can also be just as spicy as Gates’ BBQ sauce.

“[James Shields] is one of those guys you are just going to love. I would have loved to have caught him. There was snot coming out of his nose after that four-run inning he gave up. Shields just continued to pound them and wouldn’t let [the Phillies] get up. Just a fantastic outing! Call them warriors, call them bulldogs, call them your number-one starter.”
Mike Macfarlane, former Royals catcher, on the Royals ace, 810 AM
GH: If James Shields stays healthy I think the Royals are in the hunt for the ALC all season. Period. He’s that good and that big a part of this team’s attitude.

“Every game to me in professional sports is a must win. I hate the old adage that it’s just too early.”
Bob Fescoe, defending his negativity about the Royals after their 0-2 start, 610 AM
GH: Does Fescoe even think before he speaks – or ever?

“Get off to a good start and then you can coast a little bit.”
Bob Fescoe, expounding on his thoughts on the Royals, 610 AM
GH: Sure sounds like a “must win” philosophy to me.

“They’re still going fine. It’s been 41 years now.”
Curt Nelson, Royals HOF director, on the Kauffman Stadium fountains, 610 AM
GH: Our city’s signature structure is the right-field fountains at The K. More people around the country know Kansas City for those lighted fountains than probably anything else in town. What are some others? The Scout? The Shuttlecocks?

“What an incredible season. It ended in a difficult way, but the Shockers will pick up these pieces. Marshall, so deflated by the loss, also talked about how excited he is about the future. There are no guarantees WSU will be on this stage again. It’s such a hard feat to accomplish. But the Shockers are in position to be good year after year. Cleanthony Early, who looked like a future NBA player with his 24 points and 10 rebounds against Louisville, will be back next season. So will Ron Baker, Tekele Cotton, Fred VanVleet and others.”
Bob Lutz, columnist, Wichita Eagle
GH: Great run by the Shockers. It will be interesting to see if the KC media adopts them next season as a program to cover or ignore.


“[Percentage] of ESPN Tournament Challenge Brackets that picked a Louisville-Michigan title game: 1.4%”
Darren Rovell, @darrenrovell, Twitter
GH: I was not one of them. We have a dozen or so people at the top of our OTC Bracket contest who picked Louisville as their champion. If Michigan wins it could mean someone else grabs the crown. We will sort it all out tomorrow.

“This might be the first time in my life that I picked the Championship game correctly in my bracket.”
Nate Bukaty, @nate_bukaty, Twitter
GH: Congrats to Nate. I will be rooting for Michigan tonight. Love the story in Monday’s Star by Blair Kerkhoff on Trey Burke’s parents being Northwest Missouri State grads.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Toby Cook on Opening Day; the Carpenter-Speckman Twitter fight

Posted 4-6-13

“I don’t think it can go any worse than last year, can it?”
Josh Klingler, on the Royals opening the season down 7-0 after the first inning at The K, 610 AM
GH: The Royals went on to lose their first 10 home games. This is a nightmare that Royals’ fans have become all too familiar with – and the reason they traded their best prospect in years – Wil Myers. The 2013 season is supposed to be different here in the Valley of the Stunned.

“The stadium has lots of touch-ups to do but we will be ready [for Opening Day].”
Toby Cook, Royals VP, 610 AM
GH: I like almost everything the Royals have done with Royals Stadium and now Kauffman Stadium as it gracefully moves into its 40th season. The huge center-field HD video board should be horizontal instead of vertical but it is so underused it really doesn’t matter. The outfield experience and the outfield bleacher sections are very cool. The Pepsi porch and the bar and grill above the right-field stands is also great stuff. But I sure hope they have gotten rid of those ugly, Wal-Mart looking Tide ads that are splash painted on the entrances to/from the stadium concourses. Man, does that look ever scream “White-trash Midwesterner.”

“We are allowed to show any replay one time in real time. We can’t show it in slow motion.”
Toby Cook, explaining to Kevin Kietzman MLB’s policy on showing in-stadium replays, 810 AM
GH: This is just an absolute joke. MLB just doesn’t get it. The NFL allows the Raiders to replay slow-motion, stop-action replays of controversial calls inside a stadium that houses a fan base with an intellect and character just this side of those who once populated Alcatraz. But MLB is kowtowing to the four umps in a baseball park? MLB needs to institute instant replay immediately to correct poor umpiring instead of attempting to hide from their mistakes. Worry about getting the call right instead of worrying about exposing an umpire’s errors.

“In an effort to provide the best ticket value for fans, the Kansas City Royals are again partnering with a third party named Qcue to continue implementing a dynamic pricing system for the 2013 season. Utilizing advanced computer pricing software, the Royals will be able to adjust single game ticket prices in real-time based on ticket availability and changing factors such as league standings, opposing team, rivalries, star players, day of the week and supply and demand.”
MLB.com
GH: You have to love how little respect professional franchises have for their fans. Who thinks the Royals are implementing this new pricing policy “to provide the best ticket value for fans?” Basically, the Royals now have the option to increase or decrease the price of a ticket for games depending on availability. If a game is close to a sellout, ticket prices increase. The opposite would be true for games with low ticket sales. I don’t have a big problem with it but don’t tell me you’re doing it for my benefit.

“We really are talking about swings of one or two dollars either way. I think once people get into it, it’s going to be much ado about nothing.”
Toby Cook, on the Royals new dynamic pricing policy, 610 AM
GH: This surprised me. If the Royals are only tacking on a couple of bucks per ticket, why even do it? For an extra $10K on a busy night? Are things that tight in Bentonville?

“[The Royals] just went three straight games with their starter going six innings or more. That’s not something that happened much last year.”
Joel Goldberg, Royals pre- and postgame host for Fox Sports TV, 810 AM
GH: The Royals starting pitching is going to be the reason this team is competitive or not. Kevin Kietzman can scream and yell about Gordon and Hosmer and Moose all he wants. Baseball comes down to the top five starters you can roll out to the mound. Every team can hit enough. Few can pitch enough.

“Second place [in the ALC], 86-76, missing the playoffs. To me – you don’t make that [Wil Myers] trade unless you make the playoffs.”
Rany Jazayerli, when asked by Soren Petro to give his predictions for the Royals’ season, 810 AM
GH: Would the Royals have traded Hosmer or Moose during their Triple A days? Myers may prove to be the next Mickey Mantle. If he does, the Royals screwed up. For now, I hope James Shields transforms that Royals’ staff and clubhouse into win junkies.

“Rio Adams told me tonight, ‘I've decided to stay.’ Maybe he's destined to have something written about him every day the rest of his life.”
Gary Bedore, @GaryBedore, on the KU freshman changing his mind about transferring, Twitter
GH: Young kids are allowed to vacillate and change their minds. I hope Rio figures out what he wants and sets his goals accordingly.

“Why would someone who runs a funeral home ever need a business card?”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, Twitter
GH: This appeared to be an innocent tweet sent out by 810’s late-night host Thursday evening. It was probably meant to be funny. But it turned rather weird. Read on. 

“Seriously? RT @TJCarpenterWHB: Why would someone who runs a funeral home ever need a business card?”
Jared Speckman, @Speck60, responding to Carpenter’s above funeral home/business card tweet, Twitter

@Speck60 Do you think about anything you say? Do you snicker at passers by? Do you need help? Is this how you choose to spend your time?”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenterWHB, who appeared to take great offense at Speckman’s single-word question, Twitter
GH: Speckman is just a guy on Twitter who player college football at William Jewell and is a big baseball fan – particularly the Royals. He dabbled in the media a bit when he worked for the Platte County Landmark. He’s well-known amongst the Royals Twitterverse but he’s pretty much like most of us – just a fan. But he pushed a button in TJ that needs to be fixed. Read on.

“You're just not very good at using the twitter.”
Jared Speckman, @Speck60, Twitter
GH: Speckman’s tweet elicited a chuckle from me when I read it. It caused Carpenter to block him.

“lol. If I don't want to see tweets from douchebags who focus on everything I do, I'll block them.”
TJ Carpenter, @TJCarpenter, responding to Speckman announcing that TJ had blocked him, Twitter
GH: Note to young people in the media who are trying to build an audience and a career – not everyone is going to agree with you or even like you. Those who do take the time to listen, watch or read your work – embrace them. Understand that you are trying to build an audience – and it doesn’t much matter if that audience likes you or hates you. It only matters if they don’t care about you. So you must care about them.

“You look like a DH to me, buddy.”
Jake Gutierrez, after Steven St. John complained that Nate Bukaty told him he had a “catcher’s body,” 810 AM

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 

 


Kietzman trying to steal your summer

Posted 4-4-13

“Between the Royals’ improvements and the Royals’ bullpen, I’ve got them finishing second [in the ALC].”
Buster Olney, ESPN MLB writer, on his preseason prediction for the Royals, 810 AM
GH: Buster’s preseason optimism for the Royals is not being met with many like minds locally here in Kansas City. 25 years of bad baseball will do that to a media and fan base. But should we be this down about an 0-2 Royals’ team on April 4th? Kevin Kietzman is almost giddy with excitement over the Royals being off to a poor first week. Read on.

“I don’t like always being right. … Will the Royals be over .500 at any point this year?”
Kevin Kietzman, after the Royals opened the season 0-2, 810 AM
GH: You can hear the glee in KK’s voice as he announced the Royals’ first two losses of the season during his afternoon show this week. When he discussed the two runs the Royals scored in Chicago on Wednesday, he made sure to point out that one of the runs was “COMPLETELY unearned.” Which I guess in his mind is somehow different than just unearned. Hey, we all like to be right – but KK comes off sounding like as an ass with his victory dance after every Royals’ loss two games into the season.

“To avoid a disastrous start, this team has got to find a way to win two of the next four. They have to! They’ve GOT to go 2-2 in their next four. They’ve got to!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: The Royals opened with a three-game road series in chilly Chicago and then have three more in Philly against a very good Phillies team they will have to face without a DH. That is not a Bill Snyder-esque schedule. Yes, it would be great to see the Royals get some wins this week, but the season isn’t over with a poor first week – even as much as KK would like it to be.

“If Billy Butler was here – and I consider him a friend, we’ve done some charity work together – he’d whack me over the head with a stick…but did he have extra clothes on [Monday] or what? I’m going to go ahead and say it – Butler’s not going to do what he did last year.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: People who have celebrities as friends don’t feel the need to mention they have celebrities as friends. But I’m all for Butler whacking KK with a 34-ounce Louisville Slugger.

“I'm on a lonely island. I still think Alex Gordon has been a disappointment.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810
GH: Gordon is a two-time Gold Glove winner and the Royals’ best hitter after Butler. He is also a high-character person who is just entering his peak years as a baseball player. Gordon’s biggest sin when it comes to Kietzman is he played his college years at Nebraska. Nothing – and I mean nothing makes KK see red like a link to the hated Cornhuskers.

“I want everybody to know that I think Alex Gordon is a good player… Alex Gordon is the General Manager’s or the statistician’s dream! I need Alex to hit. When I watch him he looks like he LOVES to walk!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: When Danny Clinkscale disputed KK’s claim [yes, he did] with some facts – like Gordon had 73 walks in 721 plate appearances in 2012, KK said, “One out of 10 times?” and then quickly went to commercial.

“I’m really, really concerned that Eric Hosmer is a project right now.”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: If Hosmer and Moustakas don’t turn into the players we all hoped they would become, the Royals are in for some more rotten summers. But these are the guys the Royals drafted, developed and told us would make a difference. I am not ready to give up on them or this season just because the squad is 0-2. This – April and hope -- are all Royals fans have. We have the summer to bemoan our fate if this team heads south. But April is for rooting, hoping and thinking things could be different. KK wants to steal that from you, from me. Well, not gonna happen to this guy.

“Sometimes you get it right, Jack. A little trial and error goes a long way.”
Kevin Kietzman, responding to Jack Harry complimenting KK for having a wife who will be watching the Final Four with him in a tiki hut while they are on their island vacation, 810 AM
GH: A not-so-subtle shot at the mother of KK’s kids? Classy move for a radio host with a 50,000-watt microphone and an ex with a radio.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


610 Sports blows up the Big Show

Posted 4-4-13

The list of vanquished foes Kevin Kietzman has buried over his 17-year career in Kansas City sports talk radio is longer than a Nate Bukaty question. Kietzman began his transition from Fox 4’s third-string television reporter to an afternoon sports shock jock first by knocking off 980’s thought-to-be-unbeatable Don Fortune with the wet noodle day-timer station KCTE 1510.

The late-but-not-great Jerry Green, Union Broadcasting’s initial money man, bought one of Kansas City’s most iconic radio signals in 1999 and moved Kietzman and his clan from a signal that went off the air when the wind blew to the 50,000-watt WHB 810. Many have tried to knock KK from his lofty perch as KC’s sports talk king but all have failed. All. And there are some big names in that casket. Jason Whitlock, Bill Maas, Roger Twibell, Danny Boatright and Soren Petro all joined Fortune as those who have taken Kietzman on and lost.

610’s The Big Show is the latest casualty of the Kietzman Kurse. Starting next week, The Big Show will be replaced during the 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM slot by moving Danny Parkins and Carrington Harrison from their midday show to afternoon drive. Jayice Pearson will remain as the only remnant from The Big Show and will attempt to blend his NFL ego with the two 20-somethng KC radio rookies.

Josh Vernier, the former glue for The Big Show’s triple-headed monstrosity, has already been moved out of his chair to replace Robert Ford as 610’s Royals’ pre- and post-game host. Jay Binkley, he of humble radio beginnings from his Three Guys In A Garage podcast, will move from The Big Show to middays to partner with a new 610 talent, Henry Lake from Minneapolis’ KFAN.

It was Lake who leaked the news that 610’s Big Show was about to blow. He posted on his Facebook page that he was moving to Kansas City to take over middays on 610. This nugget started the rumor mills churning and eventually revealed 610’s new programming scheme that is planned to be officially announced on Monday, April 8th.

Henry Lake had been with KFAN since December of 1997. His bio page presents him as a fun-loving black dude who states, “I feel like Shaquille O’Neal, if you don’t like Henry Lake, something is wrong with you.” You can follow Lake on Twitter at @lakeshow73. His Twitter bio reads, “Sports radio talking head at 610 Sports Radio in Kansas City, lover of food, fashion, hip hop, and member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity!”

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Petro invites Gottlieb on air, then tries to talk over him

Posted 4-3-13

“Former Missouri running back Derrick Washington, who was convicted of sexually assaulting a former tutor in 2011 and is a registered sexual offender, will be given a workout with the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday.”
Jeffrey Flanagan, Foxsportskansascity.com
GH: I had great hopes for Washington’s career when I watched him play at Ray-Pec High School. I thought he was going to be a great one. Read on.

“According to a report in the Columbia (Mo.) Daily Tribune about Washington's trial, his former tutor, a 24-year-old University of Missouri graduate at the time, told the jury she was asleep June 19, 2010, in her apartment after a night of drinking when she was awoken by a man sexually touching her in her bed. The newspaper also reported that she said Washington shared a ‘friends with benefits’ relationship with her roommate and was known to visit the apartment during the early morning.”
Jeffrey Flanagan, Foxsportskansascity.com
GH: That proved to be one very costly error in judgment for Washington. He was soon kicked off Mizzou’s team and out of school.

“But Derrick has been very forthcoming about what has happened. He has always maintained his innocence. He has been willing to talk about everything about his past with teams who are interested.”
Matt Marino, Washington’s agent, Foxsportskansascity.com
GH: Derrick and his family believe he was wronged in this ordeal. I have personally heard from his mother and her belief that her son is innocent. I let her know I disagreed. What any of us believe now is irrelevant. Washington was convicted, sentenced and served his time. He appears to be attempting to move on.

“He's a good kid who just messed up, he's been a model kid [here at Tuskegee]. I don't bring bad kids into any program. My reputation as a coach goes well past this place and no one has ever questioned the kids I bring in. Derrick's a good kid. He spent 120 days in prison. That changes a person.”
Willie Slater, head football coach at Tuskegee, where Washington played his senior season and was a finalist for the Harlon Hill Award [the DII Heisman], Foxsportskansascity.com
GH: The odds of Washington making the Chiefs or any NFL roster are long. But getting a second chance in life at his age is one I hope he takes advantage of and prospers.

“I don’t think he’s back at Mizzou next year.”
Soren Petro, on Phil Pressey’s pending decision to enter the NBA draft or return to Mizzou for his senior season, 810 AM
GH: The overwhelming info I can gather seems to point to Pressey not returning to MU. I hope that information is wrong. Flip looks to me to be in need of another year of college – and not just to hone his basketball acumen.

“I personally would go back and be a finished product.”
Doug Gottlieb, responding to Petro’s above comment on Pressey, 810 AM

“Let me finish! You’ve got a couple of more hours to rant and rave about this. I have limited time!”
Doug Gottlieb, after Soren Petro repeatedly cut in on and talked over his comments to disagree with Gottlieb’s takes on Phil Pressey returning to MU or turning pro and comparing Pressey’s game to Trey Burke’s, 810 AM
GH: I listened to this give and take between Petro and Gottlieb Tuesday afternoon and I almost applauded when Doug yelled at Petro for cutting him off and verbally bullying him. Gottlieb expressed exactly what I was thinking at the time – I listen to the Gottlieb segment on The Program to hear Gottlieb’s takes, not Petro’s. Sure, I want Petro to challenge Gottlieb in his interview but Petro seems to think his view is so important that he needs to shout down his guest. Newsflash to Petro – you ain’t all that – no matter what your fan boys are telling you.

“I am transferring to another school and will be getting released [Wednesday]. Love this team no matter what!!! I learned a lot here!!”
Rio Adams, @WarLordRio, KU reserve freshman guard, Twitter
GH: Everyone saw this coming and it should not reflect poorly on Kansas or Adams. I think college athletes should have as much freedom to change schools as their coaches. It is up to the players’ parents to provide direction as to when it is smart to go or stay. I think that is one reason college coaches like recruiting underprivileged kids from one-parent families. Those kids have fewer options when it comes to bolting.

“He probably got the message that there won’t be a lot of playing time. He may want to go somewhere else.”
Jack Harry, on Adams decision to leave KU, KSHB TV 41
GH: Rio Adams has some game. If Harry was attempting to paint him as not good enough to play at Kansas, he is simply wrong. Painting athletes who transfer as the problem is how Mike Rice and Rutgers happens.

“In case you followed it during the tournament, [Rio Adams] was the one that did the cereal eating after the Iowa State loss. So, [that] may be one of the ways you know the guy.”
Christa Dubill, news anchor, KSHB TV 41
GH: Jack Harry and Dubill’s co-anchor, Mark Clegg, uncomfortably stared at Dubill and then politely moved on. Christa was a bit out of her comfort zone with this one but I found her contributions at least as accurate and entertaining as Mad Jack’s.

“Former Kansas State guard Wally Judge, now a junior at Rutgers, told ESPN that Rice never put hands on him and that practices were harder at K-State.”
Blair Kerkhoff, Kansas City Star
GH: I can only imagine a videotape of Frank Martin’s practices after seeing his disgraceful antics in front of a full house and network television cameras. Bozos like Rice and Martin need to be sent out of education and into an occupation where their coworkers can kick their ass if they want to play bully.

“I’m not going to watch it. I very rarely watch the last game. I’ve probably only watched a couple of them, unless it ended in a win. I won’t watch this one. I’ve replayed it in my head, like I’m sure all the players have of what happened and what went wrong.”
Bill Self, on not wanting to view the season-ending loss to Michigan, Lawrence Journal-World
GH: In any other business [most anyway], examining your mistakes and learning from your losses is how you prevent repeating them. I think Self is wrong in not wanting to examine where he might have improved his team’s chances to win. Sometimes you have to shelve your ego to get better.

“I’m going to tell you, I don’t think anybody wants to see the behind the scenes of the practices at their [college] program. … I don’t think anybody wants to see the cow getting hit in the melon for their marbleized steak.”
Soren Petro, on the Mike Rice firing at Rutgers, 810 AM
GH: Are most coaches rougher on their players than a chemistry teacher is on his class? Yes. But I don’t believe most of these coaches are firing basketballs off their players’ noggins or calling them MF’ers. Those who are need to be exposed and banned from the game.

“If she's the best on the board, we'll take her. If we have the 60th pick and she's on the board, we still might take her. I've thought about it already. Would I do it? And right now, I'd lean toward yes, just to see if she can do it."
Mark Cuban, on drafting Baylor’s Brittney Griner, Dallas Morning News
GH: No way Dallas or any NBA team drafts Griner. No way.

“[Yu] Darvish said he realized he had a perfect game going around the fifth inning because none of his teammates were sitting by him in the dugout. That was also about the same time the Astros realized they were in trouble too as Houston players started donning rally caps in a game that was 1-0 at the time.”
Anthony Andro, after the Rangers’ pitcher gave up a ground-ball single up the middle with two out in the ninth, FoxSports.com
GH: Rally caps in the fifth? Now that is respect!

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


KK melts down; Denny Matthews needs to step up his game

Posted 4-2-13

“It was like watching Sporting! I don’t mean to be mean but they can’t score!”
Kevin Kietzman, immediately following the Royals’ opening day 1-0 loss in Chicago, 810 AM
GH: Kietzman went off about the Royals’ loss like they had just gone 0-forApril. It was comical to listen to the height of hysteria he attempted to create around the Royals losing their first game of the season. Read on.

“Do you have any faith that they can beat good pitching at any point?”
Kevin Kietzman, to Danny Clinkscale, 810 AM
GH: Clink responded like a battered wife by whimpering, “Not yet...” KK then went into his peacock mode when he told us how right he had been about the Royals’ spring-training wins and impressive offensive numbers would all fade once the season started. He laid out maybe my favorite KK quote of the year – and it’s only April…

“I am on a ridiculous professional role! I’m gonna tell you – this [Royals] team is not going to hit this year!”
Kevin Kietzman, 810 AM
GH: For some reason KK thinks he has been the Nostradamus of KC sports talk radio of late. I fail to understand why.  He has spent three months screaming into his microphone that the Chiefs should draft Geno Smith with their first pick. He told us no one was going to beat Kansas in the NCAA tourney. He told K-State fans there was no way the Wildcats would share the Big 12 conference title with KU. In November he said Frank Haith’s team was better this year than last year. At least Kietz got the “ridiculous” part right.

“It’s frustrating! It’s not frustrating that they lost – it’s frustrating how they lost!”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Carpenter’s show followed KK’s which followed the news of the Royals’ loss. TJ picked up where KK left off by basically taking Kietzman’s all-is-lost attitude about the Royals losing to the White Sox to a whole ‘nother level. Read on.

“This is the same problem they are going to continue to have. Offensively they can’t hit with runners in scoring position. You can’t win any games!”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: So now the Royals are going winless in 2013?

“[Billy Butler] just swings away at everything!”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: So Butler went from our All-Star and best hitter to Frenchy in just one game?

“Mike Moustakas should have been responsible for at least four runs!”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: It was 40 degrees with a north wind blowing off Lake Michigan that would chill a penguin.  Chris Sale, one of the best young lefties in the AL, was twirling a gem on the mound. So Moose should have had at least four ribbies? The game ain’t that easy, Carp.

“It’s nine innings! You and Kietzman before you sound like…”
Caller to Carpenter’s Royals’ postgame show, complaining about the overreaction from KK and Carp on the Royals’ opening-day loss, 810 AM
GH: TJ cut this dude off and ended his phone call instead of engaging him in a meaningful debate. Few things in talk radio are more upsetting to me than a host who refuses to invite and engage in differing opinions than their own. For all of his talent and experience, Kevin Kietzman has never learned the art of how to deal on the air with those who call his bluff. It is sad to think that weakness has been passed on to the new guy.

“The expectation level has been set. Once you have one, you can’t go back and say, ‘Hey, it’s just one game!’ To say that’s it’s just one game is a baseball cliché that I think baseball fans fall back on far too often.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: After the caller attempted to take Carp to task for being such a downer after one nine-inning game, TJ went into untra-defensive mode. Read on.

“Those one games pile up big time! 13 games from now – if they’ve dug themselves a huge hole – it’s not just one game anymore, is it?”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM

“It’s just one game. It’s just one game. That’s going to be everybody’s mantra. Look for patterns. You are what your record says you are and they’re winless.”
TJ Carpenter, 810 AM
GH: Rereading these quotes is humorous. He really came off as thinking all is lost one game into a 162-game season. Dial it back, Carp. You might want to pace yourself if you’re going to be around this Royals’ franchise for any length of time.

“I’m a long ways from coming out yay or nay [on the Wil Myers’ trade].”
Josh Vernier, 610 AM
GH: The hysteria was not left to only the guys on 810. Vernier, who is replacing Robert Ford on 610’s Royals postgame show, also was making some crazy statements. Glad he’s not ready to call the Myers’ trade a bust since Myers has yet to play in a big league game.

“It’s a nice start but I just have a sneaky suspicion that people are going to remember that 5-3 ground out to end the game.”
Josh Vernier, on the much-maligned Jeff Francoeur going 2-4 in the opener, 610 AM
GH: Frenchy just can’t win. I guess he and Moose should have both had 4 RBI and pitched the ninth.

“I think we’re going to be just fine.”
George Brett, in an interview Tuesday morning with Bob Fescoe, 610 AM
GH: It’s April 2nd. I’ll go with #5 for now.

“So, OK. The Royals lost their season opener here, 1-0, because the White Sox had the better pitcher on Monday. … But, man. A year ago, Bruce Chen started the season opener. Then it was Luke Hochevar and Jonathan Sanchez. This year, Shields is followed by Ervin Santana and Jeremy Guthrie. Big difference, and we saw the first of it Monday when Shields gave up just one run in six innings.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansas City Star
GH: Big Game James was superb. Frenchy got two hits. The Royals had eight hits off a very good lefty. And the game went down to the last pitch in the ninth. That ain’t a reason to jump off of the Bond Bridge. But if KK is contemplating that dive…

“Solving a Royals team that beat them 12 of 18 times in 2012 is the first step for a Sox team trying to earn respect after finishing three games out of first place in the American League Central last season.”
Mark Gonzales, writer, Chicago Tribune
GH: The Royals handed Chris Sale three of his eight losses last season. So maybe beating the White Sox isn’t the key to the 2013 pennant.

“Fast ball, strike!”
Denny Matthews, calling Lorenzo Cain’s final at bat in the ninth, Royals Radio
GH: I listened to the final half inning of the Royals’ loss in Chicago on my Monday night commute home from the office. The score was 1-0 and Hosmer had reached base with the tying run. I love Denny Matthews’ voice. Moreso probably because I have listened to him call Royals’ games since 1969. But he can be maddeningly lazy with his play-by-play calls. Did Cain swing and miss? Was the pitch inside at the knees? Out on the black at the letters? “Fast ball, strike,” just doesn’t tell me enough when I am trying to recreate the game in my mind through Denny’s radio call. I don’t need every detail with every pitch – but I do in the ninth of a 1-0 game. Pick up your game, Denny. We deserve more even if you aren’t that interested anymore.

“The paint they use is the greenest in the industry.”
Frank Boal, in a radio commercial, 810 AM
GH: This radio commercial made me think, “What did Frank say?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t seen the movie.”
Nate Bukaty, after Kevin Harlan made a reference to the 2003 movie, Pirates of the Caribbean, 810 AM
GH: Not only did I think everyone over the age of 12 has seen POTC, but most also likely own the DVD. Nate continues to amaze us with his zest for the inside of a production truck.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / gregahll24

 


Elijah Johnson blows it for KU

Posted 4-1-13

“99.4%”
Jerry Palm, on his in-game percentage of Kansas holding their 14-point second-half lead over Michigan, CBSsports.com
GH: The win for KU seemed even more secure than that. With 1:16 left KU still led 74-66. It was not. Read on.

“I didn’t know Elijah played like that. I don’t know him or anything. I was just setting a screen for Trey [Burke] and he came up and whacked me right in the crotch. He used his fist. He dropped me.”
Mitch McGary, Michigan’s freshman post player, KUSports.com
GH: I sat in a Buffalo Wild Winds in Blue Springs, MO watching the first half of the Kansas/ Michigan game. Surprisingly, at least half of the restaurant’s crowd was pro-Kansas. The mood changed once Elijah Johnson was shown over and over on the multitude of big screens tightening his first as he approached McGary’s stationary screen and delivering a sharp uppercut blow to his scrotum. It was obvious to all that Johnson intentionally punched an opponent in the nuts – inside of the game’s first two minutes. Johnson was now a cheap-shot artist who many KU fans were glad to see be relegated to the bench with foul trouble.

“[Elijah Johnson] made a really poor decision to start the game.”
Bill Self, on Johnson hitting UM’s McGary in the testicles, 610 AM
GH: There are few acts sneakier, cheaper and less manly in sports than intentionally sack tapping a defenseless opponent. And this was not a “tap.” This was a punch to the nuts. Johnson had a chance to be contrite and save at least a bit of his discarded character when following the game he was asked to explain. He instead chose to reveal more of his flawed inner being. Read on.

“It wasn’t intentional. Coach [Bill Self] asked me if I did it and I didn’t know what he was talking about.”
Elijah Johnson, KUSports.com
GH: Done. Finished. Kaput. Elijah Johnson simply is not the man I had hoped he was. Those who choose to ignore that fact simply are exacerbating the problem that other enablers of his have done to lead us to his sad end.

“A career with so much promise isn’t supposed to end like this. Johnson is a thoughtful young man who sacrificed for his team and in a moment of stupidity — he’ll later say he didn’t realize what he did — smacked a Michigan forward between the legs and allowed millions of strangers to judge him in an entirely different light. His college basketball career is over, and he’ll never again get this stage to leave people with a better memory. … The most clear-thinking fans will keep in mind that Johnson is a college senior. Twenty-two years old. But the questions will keep coming. This is the way it works, the flip side of all that adulation and the magazine covers.”
Sam Mellinger, columnist, Kansas City Star
GH: Why is it the fans who must be clear thinking but the 22-year-old senior who had played more minutes in the NCAA tourney than any other player this year is allowed to have “a moment of stupidity?” Was it stupidity or simply EJ revealing to the college basketball world that he is not worthy of our concern? Consider if Trey Burke had been caught on video 90 seconds into the game punching Jeff Withey in the jewels. How would Mellinger react to the outrage we would rightly feel for Burke and the Michigan program? Maybe he would choose to cuddle Burke as well. He would be wrong.

“Elijah Johnson deserves this moment, this scrutiny, this catcall. Look, I'm not big on singling out a college kid and pinning a loss, especially a loss as devastating as this one, on one guy. But Johnson singled himself out early in the game, slapped a bull's-eye onto his back by slapping McGary between the legs as he went by with 18:15 left in the first half. … Because Elijah Johnson lost this game for Kansas. He did this.”
Gregg Doyel, columnist,
cbssports.com
GH: Doyel isn’t piling on a student athlete here – he is standing above the apologists and calling Johnson a lowlife. That’s pretty much what guys who punch other guys in the nuts during a basketball game are – lowlifes. And Johnson didn’t just do this to himself. He also besmirched the uniform he wore and the proud tradition that is Kansas basketball. I have never felt the same about Nebraska football after Lawrence Phillips tossed his girlfriend down the stairs and was allowed to rejoin the team. It changed how many in the nation looked at Tom Osborne and the Huskers – and it should have. EJ’s nut shot isn’t akin to LP’s sins, but it made a very proud program look very, very cheap on a very, very big stage.

“Kansas had the game in the bag. So how did they lose it? Karma. Had to be karma.”
Tom Keegan, KUSports.com

“I said, ‘What do you guys want to do?’ Travis [Releford, 16 points] and those guys said, ‘Let’s shoot a three and win it.’ Then I said, ‘Or let’s drive it.’ I think it was one of those things we were all on the same page leaving the time out. I don’t think that situation was the right time to intentionally clip off a three.”
Bill Self, KUSports.com
GH: Self may have thought his team was all on the same page but one teammate was not. The same one who seemed all year to be playing for himself rather than Coach Self. Elijah Johnson.

“Why didn’t he shoot the layup when he was going to the basket?!”
Bob Davis, on his call of Johnson’s decision to pass to Tharpe, Jayhawk Radio Network

 

“Asked to describe KU's plans for that last play, [Naadir] Tharpe said: ‘Elijah to get to the basket.’”
Nick Krug, writer, KUSports.com

 

“I thought [Johnson] could get to the rim. He got his shoulders past him. But for whatever reason, he veered behind the backboard and really didn’t give himself a shot.”
Bill Self, on Elijah Johnson’s decision to not shoot the layup to tie the game, KUSports.com

“Yeah, I passed up a shot to try and get a better one.”
Elijah Johnson, when asked why he passed the ball back to Tharpe, 610 AM
GH: Sounds a lot like his explanation as to why he punched McGary in the junk.

“If you can think of a more disastrous individual performance in one game in any sport than Elijah Johnson… At the end of the day this [loss] comes down to one person and one person only – and that’s Elijah Jonson. … Pull your head out of your ass!”
Bob Fescoe, as he recounted Johnson’s late-game meltdown against Michigan, 610 AM
GH: Elijah Johnson did some great things at Kansas and for Kansas in his four-year career. He undid each and every one of them in one night.

“Bill Self has to take some of the blame. He didn’t counteract when things started to slide. They just continued to do what they do.”
Josh Klingler, 610 AM
GH: Self told us all season that Johnson was his guy and they he was sticking with him. He refused to see what was building here in his senior point guard. He suffered a Lin Elliott-like collapse because of either his loyalty or indecision. Both proved to be fatal in the waning minutes against Michigan.

“That was probably one of the most exciting and memorable weekends for a Wolverines fan.”
Michigan Caller, to Tim Brando’s Show on Sirius XM
GH: Well, there is that side of the game. Each team’s misery is another team’s highlight video.

“Who would have thought it would be the Shockers in the Final Four from the state of Kansas?”
Kevin Harlan, 810 AM
GH: Not I. Not you. Congrats to Wichita State and their great fan base. Go win this sucker.

“Today Kevin Ware broke his leg and Twitter lost its mind. … Ware's injury was the story of the Louisville-Duke game, but what was also interesting was the online morality play that unspooled in the immediate moments after Ware's injury. Several sites, including SB Nation and USA Today, refused to post a gif of the injury, CBS elected not to replay the injury at halftime, Pete Thamel of SI Tweeted a link to a story about Kevin Ware's recruitment getting Central Florida on probation, and when I tweeted the video link to Ware's injury some reacted as if I'd just passed out Easter eggs laced with Ebola to neighborhood children.”
Clay Travis, columnist, Outkickthecoverage.com
GH: I agree with Travis’ take on the insane protectiveness displayed by so many in the media [and outside it] over Ware’s broken leg. Read on.

“So when I watched this video -- that I couldn't find anywhere else including the CBS halftime show -- I made the immediate decision to retweet it so others who hadn't seen it live could watch it anew. I did this knowing that the Twitter fauxrage was already strong and that I'd likely get angry responses. But even I was shocked by the number of angry responses I received. That's even though I tweeted a warning to those that might be squeamish that it was a graphic injury. It's not my job to decide what you choose to watch or read. The only decision I made was this, ‘Would I want someone to link this video if they had my job and I followed them on Twitter?’ And I would, I'd want the opportunity to see the injury for myself. So I linked it.”
Clay Travis, columnist, Outkickthecoverage.com
GH: It is news. Graphic news, yes. But treating the public like they are third graders is not the media’s decision to make. As for Ware’s privacy? He has none. Sorry, it is the life he chose.

“If you think it's in poor taste to watch a basketball injury, that's fine, but why should your opinion dictate the ability of others to view or read something? That's the most frustrating and scary thing about the fauxrage crowd, they want to censor what others can see, hear, or experience. I don't understand -- and probably never will understand -- why people aren't just content not to watch or read things that they don't like and let other people make their own decisions for themselves. If you're an adult, make your own decision, don't be a censorship sheep. I will always fight the censorship sheep. Always and forever.”
Clay Travis, columnist, Outkickthecoverage.com

“There is absolutely no loyalty and no integrity being practiced by these individuals who govern these institutions of higher learning. The president of UCLA and the president of all these institutions should be telling their athletic directors, ‘We don’t work that way.’ What are they preaching at these institutions about loyalty and integrity? It rings so hollow. So very hollow.”
Tim Brando, after UCLA hired Steve Alford away from New Mexico, just days after Alford had signed a 10-year extension, Sirius XM
GH: Brando’s main gripe was that UCLA never asked New Mexico’s permission to court Alford. NCAA institutions merely expect loyalty and integrity from their students and student athletes. Within their own ranks, it devolves into monkeys dressed up in suits.

“What I want every year for this group of players is to reach their ceiling.”
Dayton Moore, when asked by Kevin Kietzman what his goal is for the Royals this season, 810 AM
GH: Wow, shooting for the moon, eh Dayton? What I want every year is for Royals fans to not have to contemplate swinging from a ceiling.

GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24

 


Miklasz leaves radio, Tim McCarver leaves Fox

Posted 3-28-13

“This is the time to go out and watch the Royals because I really do believe we’re going to be in contention in August. I really think it’s a nice team. It should be a lot of fun. You know I always tell you the truth. I’m excited. I really think they’re going to do well this year. If the pitching stays healthy, we will be exciting this year.”
Mike Boddicker, 810 AM
GH: It is late March. Once again Kansas is the Big 12’s only hope still alive in the NCAA tourney. Scott from Scott’s Fertilizer is on every radio dial I turn to telling me it’s time to “Feed It!” And the Royals are returning from Arizona looking like contenders. But this feels different. I know, I know – we have felt different before – remember JoPo’s annual preseason columns? But there is no denying that the two best starters from last season’s Opening Day are now in the Royals’ bullpen. THAT is different. Even Sluggerrr has a different persona this season.

“I have to almost pinch myself here and be realistic but they have a chance to be competitive this year. I think it’s going to be difficult to overcome the Detroit Tigers, however a lot of things can happen. Yes, I’m very excited. I think for the first time in a long time the Royals have a chance to be competitive, especially in the second half of the year.”
Jeff Montgomery, 810 AM
GH: Is competitive enough for a fan base who waved good-bye to maybe the best offensive prospect in baseball when the Royals sent Wil Myers to Tampa for James Shields and Wade Davis? Yes – if competitive means a pennant race in August and September. It has simply been too long.

“I think the show from the franchise that you’re serious about contending is really important. I think the response of the fans in addition to that is really important too. I think that’s what we’re seeing with the Royals. If they just improve and don’t make the playoffs, I still think [the Wil Myers /James Shields and Wade Davis trade] was a good move for them, because you have to change the thinking in the way the Orioles did for example. You need to get this great fan base out of this dormant state.”
Buster Olney, ESPN MLB writer, 810 AM
GH: How great is the Kansas City Royals’ dormant fan base? We really do not know. We [some of us old farts anyway] can remember a city that was enthralled with baseball from April through October. Does some of that love for baseball still burn in Lee’s Summit, Leawood, Liberty and Lenexa? Oh, I think it does. I think it burns bright.

“I’m usually the guy saying un uh.”
Mike Boddicker, on his past pessimism about the Royals, 810 AM
GH: Boddicker is predicting a lofty 89 wins for the Boys in Blue this summer. As Paul McCartney so eloquently once sang – “Let It Be. And in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me.
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be.” Do you think Paul was talking about Big Game James?

“Yes, I'm drinking the KoolAid but these #Royals might make some noise this year, spring ball has been good and pieces coming together.”
Eric Langhosrt, @ELanghorst, Liberty Public Schools history teacher and Royals fan, Twitter

“It’s going to be very cold in Chicago on Monday for the Royals’ opener.”
Gary Lezak, 810 AM
GH: The forecast for Chicago on Monday is cloudy with a high in the upper 30s. Ouch! Great weather to watch the game from your couch.

“Is there a new cover on Sports Illustrated this week? Not that I believe in jinxes but there’s a new issue on the newsstands this week – so let’s go. [Ben McLemore] will be fine.”
Bob Davis, radio voice of the Jayhawks, when asked if he thinks the Kansas shooting guard will be able to bounce back from his disappointing performance at Sprint Center last week, 610 AM
GH: Some good news for Royals fans – Justin Verlander, the Detroit Tigers’ ace, graces the latest SI cover for their MLB preview edition.. . in the Detroit area. Here in KC? Yep, James Shields is the cover boy.

“The thing I’m most disappointed in is did you realize they are only seating 42,000 in there? In a stadium that seats 100,000.”
Bob Fescoe, on the Jerry Dome configuration for the Sweet 16 this weekend, 610 AM
GH: ONLY 42K? Is there anything in sports more unfair to college basketball fans than the NCAA demanding these Sweet 16 and Final Four games be played in football stadiums that have ridiculously poor sight lines for attendees who pay huge sums for a ticket? I wouldn’t attend one of these games if the tickets were free and I was promised a limo.

“How dare you guys question the Big 12 coach of the year?”
Jake Gutierrez, in mocking tone as The Border Patrol discussed Bruce Weber’s decision to not call a time out until the final two seconds of K-State’s loss to LaSalle, 810 AM

“Seriously, Shaka [Smart] makes great money at a great place that worships him and he's a young guy. Stop making big deal out of him staying!”
Fran Fraschilla, @franfraschilla, Twitter
GH: When the head coach at VCU turns down the UCLA job, it is a big deal. Something is wrong in Westwood. Something is very, very wrong.

“Florida Gulf Coast admissions apps are up 690%. Athletics site had over 500,000 hits.”
Pat Curran, @PWCurran, Twitter
GH: Crazy what television can do for your product.

“I'm still in shock. One of the most dramatic regular season games I've ever seen. Congrats to the Heat, that streak was just spectacular.”
Bill Simmons, @BillSimmons, after the Bulls halted the Heats’ NBA winning streak at 27 games, Twitter

“It felt like game seven of the NBA finals.”
Mike Greenberg, on the Heat/Bulls game Wednesday night in Chicago, ESPN Radio
GH: I loved how pissed the Heat players were as they left the court in Chicago. They WANTED that streak to continue. I loved how excited the Bulls and their fans were to end the streak. They danced on the streak’s grave. Just a great night for the NBA from both perspectives.

“There’s no way to put this delicately – it was a bad day at the Sporting News. Sources tell me that the Sporting News fired around 12 writers/editors today, and here’s a partial list of those who were let go: Brian Strauss, David Whitely, Steve Greenberg, Lisa Olson, Clifton Brown, Stan McNeal and Matt Crossman.”
Jason McIntyre, bigleadsports.com
GH: Journalism continues to take a hit in the pocketbook. I believe more people read newspapers, magazines and blogs than ever – but fewer pay for this service. So how do we fix this? I wish I had the answer.

“I’ve always loved writing more (than radio), it’s my calling. Whatever good things I have in my life professionally have been because of the Post-Dispatch. It has led to other opportunities. When I was a high-school kid, my dream was to be a writer. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. The stress of trying to do two jobs was too much. I don’t expect anyone to have sympathy, not at all, but I never could shut my brain down. I was constantly worrying about the next day’s show, waking up in the middle of the night and sending emails to my producer about this or that. It was starting to wear me out. I’m very intense about work and it was really, really difficult to be pulled in different directions, as much as I love (both). If I didn’t (drop one) it was going to be a matter of working 16 hours a day, seven days a week for the rest of my life. Nobody can maintain that pace.”
Bernie Miklasz, on why he decided to end his St. Louis sports talk radio show on KXFN when his contract expires at the end of