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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Greg Echlin / KCUR

Storming the basketball court after beating the nationally-ranked Kansas Jayhawks is becoming a trend.

It’s the third straight game after a KU loss on the road that the opponent’s crowd stormed the court when the final buzzer sounded. Monday night, it was at Kansas State after the Wildcats beat No. 8 KU, 70-63.

Jayhawks coach Bill Self says he is concerned.

“You storm the court. You run in and bump everybody, stuff like that. This has got to stop,” said Self.

User: miranda / Wikimedia Commons

Legendary basketball coach Dean Smith died late Saturday at the age of 83 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  He grew up in Emporia, Kan. and went to high school in Topeka.  Though his only head coaching job was with the North Carolina Tar Heels, Smith maintained his connections in Kansas.

Knowing Dean Smith’s roots in Kansas, former Kansas athletics director Monte Johnson tried to hire Smith away from North Carolina in 1983.  They met in Albuquerque, New Mexico, site of the ’83 Final Four.

In college basketball, the eighth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks are maintaining their hold on first place in the Big 12 after beating Iowa State Monday night, 89-76.

With a victory over the Kansas Jayhawks earlier this season, Iowa State positioned itself as one of the few teams that could be a serious threat to break the stranglehold KU has on regular season titles.

The Jayhawks are working on winning their 11th straight title. But even after solidifying first place in the Big 12, Jayhawks coach Bill Self isn’t ready to celebrate yet.

Missouri Tigers athletics director Mike Alden announced Thursday that he’ll step aside at the end of August.

The news came out prior to the men’s basketball game at Mizzou Arena Thursday night.

When Missouri Tigers first-year head coach Kim Anderson was hired last spring, he says Mike Alden dropped no hint that he didn’t plan to be around much longer as athletics director. After the Tigers lost to top-ranked Kentucky, 69-53, to plunge deeper into the depths of their struggles, Anderson said he wants to justify being hired by Alden.

Courtesy / Pro Football Hall of Fame

After striking out three times in a bid to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame, this may be the year that former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Will Shields gets in.

He’ll find out this weekend when the announcement is made in Arizona where the Super Bowl is taking place. There’s hope that Shields’ involvement with one of the NFL’s hottest issues off the field may put him over the top.

Ernie Banks, one of baseball’s all-time greats as a player and as a person off the diamond, died Friday. He was 83.

His sunny disposition and skills on the field took off when his professional baseball career began with the Negro Leagues in Kansas City. Cool Papa Bell, another former Negro Leagues player and a Baseball Hall of Famer, tipped off Kansas City Monarchs manager Buck O’Neil on the raw abilities of Ernie Banks.

At the time O’Neil, who died in 2006, had not seen Banks play.

Kansas State coach Bill Snyder was on hand in the Dallas-Fort Worth area Friday for the College Football Hall of Fame announcement. He is one of two coaches and 15 players who being inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Before Snyder was hired at Kansas State in 1989, the Wildcats had been to only one bowl game in the history of the program. When he arrived, the cupboard was bare. 

Greg Echlin / KCUR

After an early exit from the MLS playoffs last year, Sporting Kansas City is making changes for this season.

They announced their biggest off-season move Tuesday, signing Roger Espinoza.

Espinoza played for Sporting for five years before going overseas to play in the English Premier League. 

"This is the age where the majority of players hit their peak,” said the 28-year-old at a news conference at Sporting's office in Kansas City, Mo.

Sporting’s season opener is on March 8 against the New York Red Bulls at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan.

The 16th-ranked Missouri Tigers football team successfully ended its season Thursday afternoon in Orlando with a 33-17 Citrus Bowl win over 20th-ranked Minnesota.

Heading into the fourth quarter, it was a close game. The Tigers led, 19-17, but pulled away.

“You have to have a drive, a competitive drive in the fourth quarter,” said Mizzou coach Gary Pinkel. “It sounds really easy. It’s not easy. It’s the character of your team and your players, the leadership that you have.”

A day after their final game this season, the Kansas City Chiefs are stewing over a dubious NFL record.

Until this year, no team in NFL history had ever gone through an entire season without completing a touchdown pass to a wide receiver. The worst moment occurred Sunday when Dwayne Bowe had a chance to become the first this season, but he fumbled just shy of the end zone.

Quarterback Alex Smith didn’t play because of a spleen injury, but even he was stunned at how it turned out.

A 19-7 victory over the San Diego Chargers Sunday wasn’t good enough to propel the Kansas City Chiefs into the playoffs.

When the Chiefs finished the regular season with a 9-7 record, they didn’t find out they were eliminated until after the game when Baltimore came from behind to beat Cleveland. Chiefs quarterback Chase Daniel, who started in place of the injured Alex Smith, says they can only blame themselves.

“We were 7-3 at one point,” said Daniel. “(We) sort of got on a slide at the back end of the season. Uncharacteristic of us.”

Wikimedia -- CC

For the second straight year, the Missouri Tigers will play for the Southeastern Conference football championship. They’ll play Alabama, the top-ranked team in the nation, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta starting at 3 p.m. Saturday afternoon.

Since leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, the Missouri Tigers have stepped up the caliber of their play. But the rest of the SEC wasn’t quite ready for them.

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.

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