Sports

KCUR 89.3 covers community-related topics about sports in the Kansas City region. Do you have a story idea? E-mail News Director Maria Carter, maria@kcur.org.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

In spring training, the Kansas City Royals hoped that Kyle Zimmer, their No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft, would pitch for them in the big leagues sometime this season.

It won’t happen.

Zimmer, 24, will undergo surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome, a compression of nerves between the neck and the shoulder.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore said he wishes Zimmer experienced a smoother professional career.

bluhawk.com

Just think, for a moment, about how many great sports stories begin with an open field, or an empty stretch of asphalt. Maybe a cornfield. An old sandlot.

Sam Zeff KCUR 89-3

    

In an announcement Thursday morning, the White House said President Obama will congratulate the Royals on their 2015 World Series victory. 

The message came from the White House and via this Tweet from the Royals' official Twitter account. It features Kansas City native, White House Press Secretary and Royals fan, Josh Earnest. 

After just over 14 months as University of Missouri Athletic Director, Mack Rhoades will leave to serve as vice president and director of athletics for Baylor University in Waco, Texas. 

"While my family is excited to start this new chapter in our lives, we do so with great appreciation for our time at Mizzou," Rhoades wrote in a release Wednesday afternoon. "We've met many wonderful people and made lasting friendships. I believe the athletic department has a very bright future."

Kicking styles in FootGolf vary with some players kicking straight-on and others using a soccer-style kick.
Steve Bell / KCUR 89.3

In July, Tomahawk Hills became the third area golf course offering FootGolf, a variation of golf played with soccer balls.

Like regular golf, FootGolf is played on a nine or 18-hole course. At Tomahawk Hills, the new nine-hole green wends its way around and between golf course fairways.

Heart of America golf pro Nate Richardson at Swope Park says fairways are shared at that course, which opened in 2014.

Within the year, the soccer-golf hybrid was drawing almost as many players as regular golf.

File: Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Southwest Missouri native Courtney Frerichs is heading to Rio de Janeiro looking for gold.

Frerichs, who hails from Nixa, Missouri, finished second in the steeplechase at the U.S Olympic track and field trials on Thursday, good enough to earn her a ticket to the Olympics in Brazil in August.

Anna Leach / KCUR 89.3

An exit interview with Olympic gold medalist Shannon Vreeland, a swimmer from Overland Park, Kansas, just days after her career ended at the swimming trials in Omaha. We discuss how Kansas Citians make it  from their initial training in local pools and gyms all the way to the Olympics,.

Guests:

  • Shannon Vreeland, world champion swimmer
  • Greg Echlin, KCUR's sports reporter
http://ballcharts.com/

Flipping through the channels this time of year, you might catch one of the 27 rounds of the NBA playoffs. But around here, basketball season pretty much ends with March Madness.

Or, maybe not.

This weekend, this city of the Royals and Chiefs, and once Monarchs and Kings, welcomes some new sports nobility to town: The Kansas City Majestics are the first professional women’s basketball team in 20 years to call KCMO home.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Parade Park in the 18th and Vine district will get a new look next year with the completion of the Major League Baseball’s Urban Youth Academy. It’s aimed at motivating more kids to play baseball and softball, but some are hoping it along with a proposed $27 million investment from the city could revitalize the historic area.  

Finding the next Lorenzo Cain

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

Not content to let the "Boys in Blue" bask in their 2015 World Series glow, popular statistical analysis blog FiveThirtyEight says the Royals only have a four percent chance of winning the World Series this year.

The blog's new daily 2016 MLB predictions are a little more generous for the Royals' playoff and division leadership chances: 47 percent and 29 percent, respectively.

Leicester City Football Club

Yes, the Royals are back, flashing the magic that made them World Series champs, Sporting KC’s cruising along at the top of the standings, and fans across Kansas City are feeling blue—in that good way that we’re almost used to by now.

Which is why I want to talk about Lester.

Who’s Lester? Exactly. But if you don’t know, then you’re missing the greatest underdog story in the history of sports.

St. Thomas Aquinas

When Riley Pint uncorked a 102-mile-per-hour pitch in February he may not have known the exact velocity, but he knew it felt good. Baseball scouts and coaches, meanwhile, knew they wanted to see more of the St. Thomas Aquinas High School senior on the mound.

Pint says pitching professionally would suit him just fine. "It's something I strive for, to be there [in the MLB] one day," Pint said during a phone interview on KCUR's Up To Date, "It's just a little earlier than I expected, I guess."

Tatiana/flickr-- cc

  Overland Park's  Jack Sock is defending his first singles tennis title at the ATP’s U.S. Men’s Clay Court Championship underway in Houston. Sock, 23, is currently ranked No. 25 in the world and is the second-best American singles-player behind John Isner.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

This is the time of year when college basketball coaches play musical chairs. They’re coming and going.

The big news since the Big 12 tournament was TCU’s hiring of one of its former players, Jamie Dixon. But around Kansas City, there’s one fan base that’s unhappy about not reaching out to one of its alumni.

Alan Martin, a Kansas State alumnus who lives in Olathe, works in the insurance business. Away from work, he cheers passionately for the Wildcats. So much so that he isn’t afraid to speak his mind, especially about the Wildcats’ slide in men’s basketball lately.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Royals have the core of their World Series championship team back from last year, and their minor league prospects are finding it a difficult task to make the team’s opening day roster.

They’ll make their final roster moves this week before opening the 2016 season Sunday night at Kauffman Stadium against the New York Mets.

The Kansas Jayhawks basketball season ended over the weekend in a regional loss against Villanova, and it may not be until almost June when KU coach Bill Self knows what next year’s team looks like.

Because of NCAA legislation that passed in January, underclassmen will have more flexibility in declaring for the NBA draft. So Bill Self feels others may join senior Perry Ellis in the pro ranks.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

 In the NCAA tournament, the Kansas Jayhawks play Villanova Saturday night with a berth to the Final Four on the line. The game will take place in Louisville, a city that considers itself the center of the college basketball world.

Something that fans in Kansas City might dispute.

“I think when you add up all the history, I think that you could make a case that the Kansas City area is probably about as knowledgeable and historic a place that our game has seen,” says KU coach Bill Self.

UTEP Athletics

The NCAA soon will crown a new college basketball champion, but they're also looking back 50 years at a championship game that made history. 

Senior forward Jerry Armstrong grew up in rural Eagleville, Missouri. He played throughout the season and in the tournament, but he sat out that game. Why? He's white. Texas Western only played African-American players to beat an all-white Kentucky team and win the championship.

David Lattin, one of the African-American starters in the title game, there's a misconception about the 1966 Texas Western roster.

Ian Echlin / KCUR 89.3

When the NCAA Men’s Final Four was last held in Houston five years ago, it had the storyline of two basketball mid-majors — Butler and VCU — that navigated their way to Space City. But in the end the title was won by a traditional power: Connecticut.

Whether or not the UConn Huskies return for another shot at winning in Houston will be determined Saturday night in Des Moines when they take on the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks in the second round. The Huskies’ 2011 title came under the now-retired coach Jim Calhoun and Kevin Ollie has since taken over.

Ian Echlin

When the NCAA basketball tournament begins today for the top-seeded Kansas Jayhawks, chances are they’ll successfully move on to the next round.  A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed.

But if the Jayhawks are upset along the way in a bid for their fourth NCAA title, it's not just KU’s season that will come to an end.  This tournament will be the finishing touch on 32 years of broadcasts by Bob Davis.

The top-ranked Kansas Jayhawks completed a successful college basketball weekend after being named the overall No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament.

It was academic after winning the Big 12 regular season and the tournament title in Kansas City over the weekend. But now that the Jayhawks have their No. 1 seed, this is the analogy coach Bill Self uses.

“It’d be like having a stellar high school career and it’s over, but when you get to college you got start all over again and go compete,” said Self.

The ones who figure to be most disappointed Friday by the quarterfinal results in the Big 12 basketball tournament are the Kansas City merchants since the Iowa State fans are heading home early.

Of the four games played at Sprint Center, only the last game of the day between Oklahoma and Iowa State went down to the final minute. The Sooners prevailed with senior Buddy Hield scoring 39 points. Fellow senior Georges Niang of the Cyclones scored 31. His biggest disappointment was not making it three years in a row for a Cyclone tournament championship.

SD Dirk / Flickr-CC

It’s hard to believe that the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship — the main event of March Madness — was, for years, boringly sane, with all of eight teams. Filling out a bracket probably wasn’t that exciting when the second round was also the Final Four.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Unlike the Kansas City Chiefs, success hasn’t meant promotions for Kansas City Royals management.

The Chiefs finished the regular season with 10 wins in a row and their first playoff victory since 1994. In January, the Philadelphia Eagles named Doug Pederson, one of the assistant coaches for the Chiefs, their head coach.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

It’s a new year, but the Kansas City Royals believe that spring training in Surprise, Arizona, is the starting point for making another run at a World Series championship. Familiar players are returning, but some newcomers are blending in, too.

No team in Major League Baseball has won back-to-back World Series titles since the New York Yankees won three in a row from 1998 to 2000. 

Mizzou Athletics

The University of Missouri women’s basketball team believes it has found the right mix to increase attendance — homegrown talent, and of course, winning.

With a record of 21-6, the Missouri Tigers are in the running for their first bid to the NCAA tournament since 2006. As far as local talent, Sophie Cunningham is the jolt the women’s program at Mizzou needed. She’s the first McDonald’s High School All-American to play for the Tigers, and she’s from Columbia. In her fourth game on the college level against Wake Forest, Cunningham scored 42 points.

Big 12

There might be some big changes coming to the Big 12 Conference as early as this summer.

Conference presidents and chancellors have been talking about the future of the league for a while.

But University of Oklahoma President David Boren let a little information slip out.

"We've sort of said to ourselves: Come this summer, we're going to have to finally make a decision about what we do. We cannot indefinitely postpone decisions," Boren told The Oklahoman. "That's what I had gotten frustrated about. I thought we were spinning our wheels."

Twitter - @Sluggerrr

As sports fans, we wear our hearts on our sleeves, and our team’s name over our hearts. We’ll sleep out for days to get tickets, travel hundreds of miles to watch exhibitions, spend thousands of dollars, quit jobs and skip weddings to be at the big game or tournament—without necessarily even getting inside. We’ll stand in freezing cold, blistering heat, pelting rain. We’ll paint our faces, shave our heads, don moose antlers … just to show how much we care.

Yes, it’s crazy. But is it love?

Keith Allison / Flickr Creative Commons

If you’re a professional baseball player, the last thing you want to hear is that you’re not running correctly.  But that’s what happened to one of the star players for the Kansas City Royals.

With spring training starting this month, outfielder Lorenzo Cain is still trying to adjust his running style.

That didn’t show in Game 6 of the American League Championship Series. Cain’s dash from all the way from first base to home on a single clinched the second straight American League pennant for the Kansas City Royals. 

Out of sync

In the last half of the Kansas City Chiefs season, everything seemed to go right — an 11-game winning streak to end the regular season and their first playoff win since 1994. But in the courtroom, an age discrimination case against the Chiefs was turning problematic.

Court documents filed this week indicate the Chiefs have now settled the case out of court. Neither the plaintiff, former Chiefs maintenance manager Steve Cox, nor his attorney would comment on the settlement. The Chiefs did not respond to a request for comment.

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