Recently, I’ve been asked to chat with some kids as a part of the “Chevy Youth Baseball Moments” feature. You never know what you’re going to get when you put someone on camera and ask them to speak with you, but kids present an entirely new variable to that equation, uncensored honesty.
“So what’s your record?” I asked.
“We’ve only won one game. We’re not very good,” the young boy replied.
You hear a lot of things walking around Kauffman Stadium. Some good, some bad, some funny, some profane, some sweet and some honest.
“Daddy, why did the man throw the bat down?” the little girl asked.
“Well, honey, I guess he wasn’t happy he struck out,” her father replied.
All this interaction with fans and more so with lots of young kids this season, as prompted by the Chevy Youth Baseball promotions, reminds me of the time that I ran into Royals President Dan Glass in the lobby earlier this season. We exchanged brief hellos and then he reached into his pocket and pulled out four tickets for the very first row of the BATS Crown Seats.
“Do me a favor?” he asked. “Go out and ask a nice young family in Royals gear if they want to see Greinke pitch up close.”
That wouldn’t be a problem, I thought.
It was in section 412 of the upper deck where I found the perfect “winners” – a young family with an eight-year-old son and a six-year-old daughter. They told me that they lived about an hour and a half away and came out five or six times a year, but tonight was an impromptu trip because they really wanted to see Greinke pitch and, therefore, couldn’t bring the whole family.
“The whole family?” I asked. “What do you mean?”
“We had to leave our other four kids with my folks,” the man replied.
Six kids, I thought. I have ONE three-year-old daughter and taking her to a public restroom can be a crazy, mad-capped adventure, but taking SIX kids (all under the age of 10, I might add) to a baseball game…I imagine would require some real patience.
“So you and your wife bring your six kids out a half a dozen times a year?” I asked.
“We sure do. The kids love the games, and we love the Royals,” the man gently replied.
I think that pretty much sums it up.
As the weather turns colder and baseball season has officially come to a close, I’m often asked if I’m enjoying my break. I suppose it’s natural to think that once the Royals stop playing my work is done, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. The people in charge are always working on something.
First off, those with the power have already been working long and hard to put together some incredible things for Royals fans to enjoy in the off-season. On January 14th, I will once again be hosting the Royals Awards Night, which is an incredible banquet honoring those players that did outstanding work in the organization during the 2009 season. I don’t want to give too much away about the event that’s being planned, but let’s just say it will indeed be an event.
Awards Night is just a perfect way to kick off a busy Royals weekend. On Friday and Saturday, January 15th and 16th, we officially kick off our 3rd annual FanFest. I’ve sat in on a few meetings and FanFest 2010 is going to blow last year out of the water. Activities, players to meet, autographs to get and oh yeah, tons of FREE STUFF! So make sure you join us at the Overland Park Convention Center. As always, all ticket proceeds benefit Royals Charities, so you’re getting your baseball fix and doing a good deed at the same time. When was the last time you could say that?
Also, some of you may know that in addition to being the Royals Emcee, I’m actually an actor by profession and my work with the Royals is just a fraction of all the work that I’ve been fortunate enough to do. It’s always a good idea to stay sharp in front of a live crowd and the good folks at the American Heartland Theatre in Crown Center are helping me out with that one. I am currently starring in their adaptation of the classic drama “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play,” running 8 times a week through December 27th. I feel so lucky to have rediscovered that great story with such a wonderful ensemble of the finest talent in Kansas City. What more could you want for the holidays?
Well, I suppose that’s that’s it for now. Keep an eye on Royals.com for more info about FanFest and Awards Night. And be sure to get your tickets to the American Heartland Theatre’s production of It’s A Wonderful Life. Pitchers and Catchers report on February 17th. Hey, that’s just three months away… Go Royals!
(Photo above by Shane Rowse)
Royals Watch Parties are like the mail, rain or shine they arrive and more often than not you get something free. (In the case of the mail, that “freebie” usually ends up in the garbage.) However, the not-so-ideal weather did not discourage the happy Royals fans who made the journey out to the Power and Light District this past Tuesday night.
Those who joined us were not disappointed. We had a blast. There were dance teams, a drumline, banana eating contests (yes…you read that right), free raffles and more. Heck all that was missing was a juggler, someone to make balloon animals and the Red Panda.
Among the “free stuff” given away were autographed balls by Mark Teahen, Kyle Davies and Jose Guillen, a Coco Crisp autographed bat, a game worn David DeJesus autographed jersey, as well as several gift certificates to restaurants in the Power & Light District. All for FREE.
So ya see, if you weren’t there, you should definitely be there next time. Thanks to all who came out and made it such a great evening. Stay tuned…ya never know when another Watch Party will be announced.
On a slightly different note, you see some strange tributes to players out at The K. For instance, there are plenty of “Z”s to be seen when Zack Grienke pitches. You see a lot of different signs that say things like “Marry me David DeJesus” or “The Bloominator” (there was even one not too long ago that said “Come talk to me Tim”… nice) and stuff like that. But I’m just not sure what this fine gentlemen was trying to pay tribute to when he decided to dawn this little gem in the Diamond Club a few games back. I took a photo because I really wanted to share it with you.
The other night I was wandering around the ballpark when I see a familiar face. I think to myself, certainly that’s not him… What would he being doing in Kansas City… And although his hair stylings are pretty recognizable, I decide to continue on my path and assume it is not he whom I think it might be.
Later in the evening though, I see him again and I figure… Ah, what the heck.
“Richard Blais?” say I.
“Ya buddy, what’s goin’ on?” says Richard Blais.
Now for those of you who might not know, Richard Blais was a finalist on the hit Bravo TV show TOP CHEF. I, being a lover of the food, must at this point also admit to watching an episode or two…or 20.
I must also admit that I had some pretty serious hair envy. I mean look at that thing!
Anyhow, Richard informs me that he was at the game that evening making “Liquid Nitrogen Blue Popcorn Balls” for a Demo in the Outfield Experience.
Of course he was.
So can we expect to see those puppies coming to a concession stand at the ballpark soon? I’m guessing probably not, but speaking of concessions at The K (and in keeping with our food-themed blog entry), I highly recommend the BBQ Burnt End Sandwich for the next time you are trying to satisfy your hunger out at the game. It was very good… It even had pickles on it… And it was only six bucks.
Now if we can only convince them to put Liquid Nitrogen BLUE pickles on there, maybe we could land a spot on TOP CHEF.
Although I’m guessing blue pickles won’t have that same nifty appeal as blue popcorn. In fact, blue pickles sound kinda gross.
Alright, scrap that idea until my pal Richard Blais can find a way to make it work.
I think it might be a safe assessment to say that I don’t know very much about a select few things. But, it’s probably also safe to say that I know something about a great many things. Now this has served me well at public gatherings and other places where I’m forced to “mingle” with people that I don’t really know, and today I thought I’d share some things I know and don’t know that you may find relevant.
WHAT I KNOW
If you want to be picked for a promotion and get put up on CrownVision, come out to the games early. Wear a lot of Royals gear, seek out the K Crew and tell them how wonderful they are. The K Crew is responsible for picking contestants. And they’re pretty swell folks so… find ’em.
Generally, when I “throw it back” to Mike McCartney and he fails to reply to me, it is either because:
a. He is laughing.
b. He isn’t sure how to respond to my extremely clever banter.
c. He has to hurry up and announce the next player up to bat because times almost up.
Inning breaks are 1 minute 40 seconds long. Everything I say or anything else that happens during an inning break has to adhere to that time restriction. Watch the umpires after the 3rd out, they have stop watches.
Zack Greinke is a stud.
WHAT I DON’T KNOW
I have no idea why the person wearing the green shirt has won all but one — count it, one — of the Live John Deere Mow ‘Em Down Races.
I have no clue why there is not a “Mustache Cam.” Although, I’m campaigning hard to make that happen.
I’m clueless as to why some people stand up from their seats behind home plate and wave incessantly hoping that the person on the other end of their cell phone conversation says something like, “ya… ya man… ya I totally see you.”
I’m not sure why there is not an invitation for a community slip-and-slide when the tarp is on the field during a rain delay. I mean, what better way to kill time.
WHERE TO GET A REALLY GOOD CUPCAKE
Finally, I ask that you please indulge me on this one. Over the past few weeks my two-year-old daughter Sophia and I have been on a quest to discover the best cupcake in Kansas City. (That’s what you do when you have a two year old, right?) We have found it, and I think it’s worth sharing. It’s at Cupcake A La Mode on 47th Street just west of the Country Club Plaza. It’s tough to go wrong with the Raspberry Lemonade cupcake. Delicious. I’m sure they’re die-hard Royals fans as well. Does that make it more appropriate? Anyhow, the Royals are in first place in the AL Central. Treat yourself to a cupcake!
Well, what can I say… What a weekend. Opening Day and the newly renovated Kauffman Stadium were spectacular. Over 38,000 fans, the rain had washed away and the sun was shining. Although the entire Pre-Game Ceremony was awesome (even Dayton Moore went out of his way to let folks know), two things really stood out for me. The first was a very moving video presentation that chronicled Royals’ history past and present. It was tremendous and even included local city shots and fans around town. The second was the performance of the National Anthem by Saxophonist Michael Phillips. AMAZING. I loved it. I knew of Mr. Phillips from the people in charge. I knew that he had performed the Anthem at the NBA Finals and at countless other venues, I even knew that he was gonna hold out one note for a really looooooong time. I did not know it would be that AWESOME. It was.
For those of you who missed Opening Day… bummer. I never really understood all the hoopla before, but after witnessing April 10, 2009, I’m not likely to miss it again.
The New K
Also Spectacular. So spectacular that the KC STAR notes that it is now “one of the very best stadiums in baseball — maybe the best.” I won’t disagree. The 360 degree experience is upgrade enough for me, but why stop there?
The Miller Lite Fountain Bar beyond Left Field looks to be a prime spot. Very Las Vegas feel. Sitting at the bar while being able to look over your shoulder at the kids playing in the “Little K” and having baseball spilled out right in front of you… pretty sweet. Now all we need is some blackjack tables. Another high profile area is clearly the standing room only section beyond the outfield. Packed. Great place to set up shop, and there are even counter tops to place your soda pops. The few times I ventured down this weekend, half the folks there told me their seats were elsewhere, but they just wanted to come watch the game from here. Be weary though, I’m told on sold out games you can’t get down there unless that’s your proper place.
I choose to highlight these two areas because it seems you can find info on many other stadium upgrades elsewhere. LIKE HERE, perhaps. Or for folks who like lots of pictures, why not HERE?
Finally we come to this, and yes, yes, I’m speaking of Reggie Jackson. On my way to a promotion during a game I happened to run into Mr. Jackson in the lobby of the Diamond Club. He was there “arranging” a glass vase filled with baseballs for a display of… umm… Baseballs in a vase, I guess. Now I’m usually not awe struck by players or celebrities and Reggie was no exception (although I really wanted to ask whatever happened to the “Reggie Bar“). My usual stance in these situations is to just file it away to tell friends about later. But this time I was thinking of YOU folks. The readers of the blog that might actually enjoy a picture of me and Mr. J. So… I thought I’d politely ask if I could get a quick pic for the blog.
Now I think it’s safe to say that if I’d gotten that picture, this is probably where you would be seeing it.
So… suffice it to say, I did not get the photo with Reggie. He really had to stay focused to organize those balls in that vase. It did look lovely, though.
Like 30 baseballs in a vase.
Anyhow, I guess things could be worse.