Major League Baseball

Curve Ball

May 23, 2016
Greg Echlin / KCUR

A swanky new baseball facility in the 18th and Vine district, sponsored by Major League Baseball, raises big questions: Are black kids still playing baseball? Are sports a "way out" for youth? Will the coaches come from the surrounding neighborhood? And what about the kids?

Guests:

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.

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."

As major league teams spend more and more money on pitchers, arm injury rates for the men — and boys — on the mound are becoming increasingly common.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR.89.3

In case you missed it, it's officially baseball season. As the Royals prepared to take the field Tuesday in their Opening Day game against the New York Mets, we checked in with the team that prepares the stadium for thousands of fans, and the early birds that arrived at the parking lot hours before the doors opened. 

If raising the World Series banner at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday wasn't enough, Tuesday's awarding of the Series rings was the just the excuse Up to Date was looking for for a trip to The K.  We take you behind the scenes as we talk with sportswriters, the team's official scorer, the man behind the public address system and just what it takes to secure that World Series trophy. 

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.

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

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

Alex Gordon has called Kansas City home for every season he's been in the MLB, and it looks like the 32-year-old may spend the rest of his career here.

Gordon, a four-time Gold Glove recipient, has signed to a four-year, $72 million contract with the Royals.

Gordon helped the Royals win the World Series in 2015 as a left fielder and with crucial at bats, including a solo home run that led to a 1-0 series lead versus the New York Mets.

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

It’s been nearly two weeks since the Kansas City Royals claimed their first World Series title in 30 years. Yet the glory hasn’t faded, and fans like commentator Victor Wishna are proudly still basking in it—while also peeking toward the future. Here’s Victor with this championship edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

After that final moment that we’d anticipated for so long…

“Strike three called! It’s over! They’ve done it. The Royals are World Series champions!”

After it was over...

After the last strike, the final out…

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Few will argue against the notion that the Royals' recent run to a World Series title has been a good thing for Kansas City. The New York Times is lauding the metro's "resurgence" and newfound "swagger." Deadspin is fawning over the record-breaking turnout at Tuesday's victory parade. 

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

Blue-clad and buzzing with 30 years' worth of pent up anticipation, Royals' fans began gathering in downtown Kansas City hours before the official start of Tuesday's World Series victory parade. 

Though they were here to cheer on the team that brought their city its first World Series title since the Reagan era, they also clearly drew a deeper meaning from the experience.

The Kansas City Royals became World Series champions last night and their hometown is buzzing with excitement. Up To Date retraces the team's incredible journey and hears from fans around the city.

Guests:

City of Kansas City

It's been a long 30 years since the Royals last earned the title "World Champions," but Sunday's 7-2 victory over the New York Mets has put Kansas City back in the winning mood.

To keep the good vibes flowing, the city has decided to hold a parade and celebration Tuesday to honor the boys in blue. Since it's been a generation since the last local World Series parade, we decided it might help to give Kansas Citians a quick primer on the ins and outs of the party.

Cody Newill / KCUR

Baseball is a notoriously superstitious sport for both players and fans. The superstition is so powerful that it has led two Royals fanatics to make a portable shrine to keep the boys in blue lucky during their battle for the World Series against the New York Mets.

Valdez Campos and Jon Watkins both love the Royals and they both work at Blvd. Tavern. One slow Sunday night at the bar, they got to thinking about how they could honor the team and create a good luck charm to see them through the Series.

Karen Eisenbraun / Twitter

If you've watched the World Series at all this year (and if you live in Kansas City there is a very good chance you have, according to FOX's TV ratings) then you know 'Fur Hat Lady.' She's this year's 'Marlins Man.' 

There she is, peeking over the shoulder of right-handed batters and boring her sunglass-gaze into your deeper conscious. 

 

Keith Allison / Flickr -- CC

Game 2 of the World Series is Wednesday night with the Kansas City Royals up one after winning, 5-4, Tuesday in 14 innings. The Royals say they have the pieces to go all the way against the New York Mets, and the biggest splash was the acquisition of pitcher Johnny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds last July.

Though it was difficult for some Reds fans to say goodbye, Cueto’s up-and-down performances since then have left the Royals feeling blue.

Sam Zeff / / KCUR

I wouldn't make a good Royal. 

In Game 4 of the ALDS in Houston, after the Astros hit back-to-back home runs in the seventh to go up 6-2, facing near-certain elimination from the postseason, I gave up. Stopped watching. Walked out of the bar, swallowed the bitter bile gathering in my throat, looked up resentfully at blue sky and thought it might be a good time to rake some leaves.  

Bring on football season, I thought. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

It's a cliche but it must have some truth because you hear it before every World Series: good pitching stops good hitting. Who Royals Manager Ned Yost was going to pitch in Game 1 Tuesday evening at Kauffman Stadium had a lot of people worried.

Would he go with Johnny Cueto, the mid-season pick up who got shelled in his last start against Toronto (he gave up eight runs in just two innings) or would Yost hand the ball to the veteran Edinson Volquez?

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

By now, many Royals' fans know these facts about Kansas City's World Series opponent, the New York Mets: they have tremendous starting pitching, infielder Daniel Murphy is on a historic postseason home run binge, and their season changed when they acquired Yoenis Cespedes in late July. 

But did you know the franchise was once managed by a Kansas City-native nicknamed the 'Old Professor'? Or that they once set the modern mark for regular-season futility? Or that their ticket prices to this year's World Series purport to be the most expensive in Major League Baseball history? 

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3

This is not a dream. The Kansas City Royals are headed to the World Series for the second-straight year.

Kansas City eliminated the Toronto Blue Jays four games to two, after winning Game 6 by a score of 4-3 to take the American League pennant. The team will face the New York Mets for the Major League Baseball title.

The clinching win was anything but easy.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

This story was rebroadcast as part of our best-of 2015 series. It was originally reported in October 2015.    

Ask a Royals' fan about FOX announcer Joe Buck, and you might get a response like Adam Jones'.  

"I think it's safe to say he did not call last year's World Series with any kind of objectivity."

Courtesy Photo / Mary Mathews

It turns out, some of the best Royals' stuff comes from family.

 

Every Christmas, fond memories rush over Mary Mathews of loved ones who are no longer with her — and the Kansas City baseball team.  

When we asked fans this week to share their most loved Royals stuff, Mathews, of Grandview, Missouri, took a photo of two simple Christmas ornaments that commemorate the team's 1985 World Series win.

Tell KCUR: Show Us Your Most Loved Royals Stuff

Oct 16, 2015

Hey Royals fans, you know all those T-shirts, baseball cards, banners and bobbleheads you've collected over the years?

We want to see them.

Tell KCUR: Show us your most loved Royals stuff.

Share photos of your most prized Royals gear and memorabilia on Twitter with the #TellKCUR hashtag or go to our Facebook page and leave your photo in a comment. 

Don't forget to tell us why you love it so much!!

Populous

With Kansas City revved on Royals post-season play, a city council committee laid the groundwork for phase two of the development of the planned Major League Baseball Urban Youth Academy in Parade Park near 18th and Vine.

Mayor Sly James announced the $14 million baseball project in late September, explaining that funding for phase one was in place. The Royals and, Major League Baseball had committed $2 million and the MLB Players Association another $1 million. The state of Missouri and the city were to combine resources to match those contributions.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Parade Park in Kansas City’s 18th and Vine District will soon be the home of Major League Baseball’s newest Urban Youth Academy.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James announced Friday fundraising for the first phase of the project – which will include two full-size baseball diamonds, two youth fields, a walking trail, a playground, park upgrades and, ultimately, an indoor training facility – is complete. The outdoor fields are slated to open next fall.

Revitalizing the historic jazz district and former site of Municipal Stadium has long been one of James' goals.

Today, it's hard to imagine baseball without Hispanic players. But for a long time, Latinos, like their African-American peers, had a color barrier to overcome in major-league baseball.

Guests:

Courtesy Kathleen Kunkler

The Kansas City Royals are enjoying a great baseball season this year.

Despite the last few games, the Royals still have the best record in their division, and they’re looking forward to another post-season run. Las Vegas was rating them a favorite to win the World Series — even before the team picked up pitcher Johnny Cueto and utility man Ben Zobrist

On the face of it, the 1983 Royals-Yankees insanity known as the Pine Tar Game is all about a technicality and a tantrum. But scratch beneath the surface and it's a Shakespearean-caliber drama with complex characters and a generations-long feud.

Guest:

Northwest Arkansas Naturals

Kansas Citians have no shortage of players to root for in baseball’s All-Star game.

Of course, six Royals players are in Cincinnati, but other teams are sending Kansas City talent, too.

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