Greg Echlin

Sports Reporter

Ever since he set foot on the baseball diamond at Fernwood Park on Chicago's South Side, Greg Echlin began a love affair with the world of sports.  After graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, he worked as a TV sports anchor and a radio sportscaster in Salina, Kansas.  He moved to Kansas City in 1984 and has been there since covering sports.  Through the years, he has covered multiple Super Bowls, Final Fours and Major League Baseball's World Series and All-Star games.
 
With his high metabolism rate, Greg is able to enjoy a good meal and stay slim when he's not running around on the sports scene.  He loves desserts, even making them.  Cheesecakes, pies and parfaits are the most common around the Echlin household.

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The Denver Broncos beat the Chiefs 29-16 Sunday night under frigid conditions at Arrowhead Stadium. That sent the Chiefs to their second straight loss and dropped their overall record to 7-5.

The slide started with a loss to the previously winless Oakland Raiders, then the impactful news of starting safety Eric Berry being diagnosed with lymphoma. After the Denver Broncos quickly took the spirit out of the Chiefs with an early 14-0 lead, it would have been natural suspect the news of Eric Berry affected the Chiefs preparations.

Not since the Missouri Tigers squared off against the Kansas Jayhawks in 2011 has any big-time college football team played at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Next year, however, MU will play a game there against Brigham Young University.

MU athletics director Mike Alden said he knows fans would love a rematch between the Jayhawks and Tigers, but it's up in the air whether that could be arranged.

"Boy, it would be awesome if one of these days we could get that together," Alden said. "But who knows?"

By beating the San Francisco Giants, 10-0, Tuesday night, the Kansas City Royals forced the seventh and deciding game of the 110th World Series.

It was the most lopsided World Series victory since the seventh game of the 1985 series when the Royals defeated the St. Louis Cardinals, 11-0.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

The fact that the Kansas City Royals have home field advantage in the World Series has rekindled debate.

It’s traced back to a July night in Minnesota, better known for the All-Star farewell to New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter. The American League won the game and that’s why the Royals have three and potentially four home games with a possible seventh game in the World Series.

Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell, the A.L. All-Star manager this year, says the All-Star result should not determine the home field advantage.

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner again  was untouchable Sunday night.

This time, Bumgarner didn’t need any help from the Giants bullpen. He outdueled Royals starter James Shields one more time and tossed a complete-game shutout in the 5-0 victory over the Royals.

Eric Hosmer was one of the Royals hitters who was baffled by Bumgarner.

“He’s tough guy to really get comfortable at-bats in,” said Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer. “It just seems like it’s a constant battle every time you face him”

Despite an early 4-1 lead, the Kansas City Royals couldn't maintain the upper hand against San Francisco in game four of the World Series Saturday.

The Giants scored ten unanswered runs en route to an 11-4 victory. Kansas City's starting pitcher Jason Vargas said his goal was to set the stage for the team's dominant bullpen.

"As a starting pitcher you want to get as deep into the game and close the gap for the bullpen as much as you can," Vargas said.

Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

During the regular season, the Royals were accustomed to adjusting their lineup when they played in a National League city. There was no designated hitter during many of those games.

So that means Kansas City's DH deluxe, Billy Butler, will begin Friday's game on the bench when game three of the World Series gets underway in San Francisco. Teammate Alex Gordon tried to see the bright side of the situation.

"The good thing is he's a great pinch-hitter," Gordon said. "So he comes of the bench and can cause some damage." 

It’s October and most Major League Baseball players have gone home — all except the players who are in the World Series.

For players who don’t live in Kansas City year-around, it means temporary housing until the series is decided.

Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain became a father just before a stellar performance in the American League Championship Series that earned him the Most Valuable Player award in the series.

So, he’s adjusting to becoming a new parent and living in a hotel until the World Series concludes.

The Kansas City Royals didn’t waste any time.

They scored two runs in the first inning and held on to clinch the American League pennant with a 2-1 victory over Baltimore.

It’s the Royals' third trip to the World Series and the first since 1985.

Winning pitcher Jason Vargas refers to the World Series as the “Big Dance.”

“The only thing that could be better is to have the ball that decides the big dance,” Vargas said. “It’s unbelievable. It’s everything I imagined it would be. And more.”

Greg Echlin / KCUR

It’s not just about being in the playoffs anymore. It’s for the whole shebang.

The Kansas City Royals defeated the Baltimore Orioles, 2-1, Tuesday night to close within one victory from reaching the World Series.

The Royals are making the most of their first trip to the playoffs since winning the World Series in 1985 - and no one expected this.

Game three of the American League Championship Series is scheduled to start Monday night at 7:07 between the Kansas City Royals and the Baltimore Orioles.

With a lead of 2-0 in the best-of-seven series, designated hitter Billy Butler says momentum is building toward the Royals reaching the World Series for the first time since 1985.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

It appeared that their first post-season appearance in 29 years would be brief, but the Kansas City Royals came up with a dramatic victory in the wild card playoff last Tuesday night, 9-8, in 12 innings.

Trailing 7-3 in the sixth inning and with Jon Lester on the mound for the Oakland Athletics, the Royals’ chances of winning didn’t look promising. Lester had beaten the Royals twice already this season.

But Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer says the Royals didn’t lose hope.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

For the first time since winning the 1985 World Series, the Kansas City Royals are in the playoffs.

They will take on the Oakland A’s in a one-game wild card playoff Tuesday at 7:07 p.m. Thus ending the longest active post-season drought of any major sport team in North America.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Kansas City native Tom Watson is the captain of the U.S. Ryder Cup team that will be competing against the European golf team this weekend in Scotland. It’s his second go-round as the US captain, though times have changed since Watson last served as captain in 1993.

The Kansas City Royals finished the home portion of their 2014 schedule with a 5-2 win over the Detroit Tigers Sunday afternoon. They did it in front of a sellout crowd to push their season total to roughly 43,000 fans shy of the 2 million mark.

The charged-up atmosphere didn’t go unnoticed from those taking the field. Royals outfielder Alex Gordon says the players enjoyed the sellout crowds over the weekend.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

It wasn’t until Nov. 17 last year when the Kansas City Chiefs lost their first game of the season. But this year is a different story.

The Tennessee Titans, with a handful of former Chiefs, players knocked off the Chiefs, 26-10. It isn’t a good sign for the Kansas City Chiefs when fans leaving after the third quarter chanted, “Let’s go Royals.”

Greg Echlin

To open the NFL season against Tennessee Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs have high hopes.  They’re coming off a playoff season with an 11-5 regular season record. But the look of this year’s team is different.

Mike Gunnoe / Sporting Kansas City

As a player for Sporting Kansas City, Erik Palmer-Brown of Lee’s Summit, Mo., is in the big leagues. But at 17, his story is different than any of his teammates.

Palmer-Brown is living a life that most kids his age only dream of. A defender, he last saw action in a friendly match at Sporting Park against Manchester City (July 23) from the English Premier League.

“It was just really fun to be out there against the best team in England right now,” said Palmer-Brown after the match.

Kyle Engman (Creative Commons)

Quarterback Matt Cassel returned to Arrowhead Stadium Saturday night for the first time since he played for the Kansas City Chiefs two years ago.  Cassel jump-started the Minnesota Vikings In their 30-12 exhibition win over the Chiefs.

Cassel was the focal point of the frustration that Chiefs fans felt two years ago when the team was 2-14.

When there were cheers after Matt Cassel was injured two years ago, it brought out the wrath at the time of his teammate Eric Winston.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

SungWoo Lee, a devout Kansas City Royals fan who traveled to Kansas City from South Korea, attended the final game of his trip Wednesday night.

It has been a trip packed with good memories. SungWoo Lee met the Kansas City Royals players. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch Monday night, then flashed the big W after the win that enabled the Royals to move into first place in the American League Central.

As he wandered through the stands before the last game of his trip, fans who had heard or read about him wanted their pictures taken with him.

The Kansas City Royals took over first place in the American League Central and lead Detroit by a half-game.

They defeated the Oakland Athletics, 3-2, Monday night for their eighth win in a row.

Before Royals closer Greg Holland nailed down the game’s final out, the final score of the Tigers game flashed on the outfield wall scoreboard: Pittsburgh 11, Detroit 6.

Then Royals centerfielder Jarrod Dyson used his lightning speed to flag down a fly ball for the final out. To mark the moment, Dyson did a backflip.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

There will be some changes in the Arrowhead Stadium parking areas Thursday night for the Kansas City Chiefs exhibition opener.

The Chiefs kick off at 7 p.m. against the Cincinnati Bengals, and fans entering the Truman Sports Complex at Gate 5 better have their parking pass ready — there will be no cash accepted at Gate 5.

Once inside the gates, fans will notice all the cars traveling in one counterclockwise direction. Chiefs president Mark Donovan said he is braced for fans who might have trouble adjusting to the changes, but asks for patience.

Daniel Juřena / Flickr--CC

High school athletes in Kansas and Missouri start outdoor workouts for fall sports in August, no matter how hot or humid it is outside. One of the main safety concerns in the heat is dehydration. 

Sometimes it’s not the weather but what the athletes drink that makes the problem worse. A can of Red Bull, Monster, 5-Hour Energy, or any other energy drink before practice can dehydrate an athlete.

Before Thursday night’s 14-inning victory, 2-1, over Cleveland, the Kansas City Royals honored one of their former behind-the-scenes figures.

Al Zych, who grew up in Kansas City, Kan., was the Kansas City Athletics equipment manager from 1963 until the team departed for Oakland four years later. Zych then became the Royals equipment manager from the franchise’s first year in 1969 until 1988.

George Brett called Zych one of his best friends during his Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech in 1999.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Much like the winning drivers at Kansas Speedway next door, Sporting Kansas City is taking a victory lap.

Firmly planted in Kansas City with a state-of-the-art soccer venue and a first class practice facility and fields, Sporting Kansas City steered the area to another level with an announcement Wednesday of a proposed National Training and Coaching Development Facility in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback was on hand for the formal announcement at Sporting Park before Sporting KC took the field for an international friendly match against Manchester City FC.

Collaborative efforts between the Sporting Kansas City soccer club, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., and the state of Kansas for a national soccer training center appear to be complete.

A “major announcement” is set for Wednesday night at Sporting Park with Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback expected to be in attendance, state officials said in a release Tuesday.

It will precede Sporting KC’s exhibition match against England’s Manchester City club.

Long term commitment or not? That’s the question with a few of the biggest sports stars in Kansas City.

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex reports to training camp this week without a contract beyond this season. On the other hand, Sporting Kansas City locked up their two biggest stars for the long haul.

Before Sporting Kansas City took the field in their Saturday match at Livestrong Park against the Los Angeles Galaxy, the announcement came out that Matt Besler and Graham Zusi agreed to four-year extensions with the team.

Kieth Allison / Flickr--CC

Over the past week, there was much ado about the marquis players in sports; Lebron James signed a contract with Cleveland and baseball showcased its stars in the All-Star game.

Heading into Friday night’s game at Boston, the Kansas City Royals are in transition as to who their biggest stars are. 

Just two years ago at the All-Star game in Kansas City, Billy Butler was in the midst of his most productive year with 29 homers and 107 runs driven in as the Royals designated hitter. He was the toast of the town as the Royals All-Star — this year Butler has only three homers.

In the Midwest, it’s not customary for fans and Kansas City Royals players to pull for anyone on the New York Yankees. Except for the last two years in the All-Star game.

Kansas City Royals outfielder Alex Gordon is injured with sprained wrist and couldn’t play in this year’s All-Star game, but one of the reasons he still made the trip to Minneapolis, Minn., was to be part of the American League team that would bid its farewell to New York Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter.

On the day before the All-Star break, the Kansas City Royals scored a first for this season. Until Sunday, the Royals were not able to beat the Detroit Tigers at home. They were 0-and-6 before Sunday’s 5-2 victory.

Royals designated hitter Bill knows how quick the season can turn.

“Nothing ever seems to be easy against them (the Tigers),” said Butler. “We can play as good baseball as we can. We were playing really good when we went into their place. I think that’s the way they feel right now.”

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