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Major League Baseball

Coy Dugger / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The Urban Youth Academy at 18th and Vine is up and running. How is it affecting nearby neighborhoods?

When the Urban Youth Academy was first announced some people were concerned it would be primarily used by suburban visitors rather than kids in the surrounding neighborhoods. We get an update on how people are feeling about the facility now that it is up and running.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

As the Kansas City Royals celebrate the franchise’s 50th year, the team is hoping to rekindle what made them successful early on. And that all started by trading an obscure pitcher named John Gelnar.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite some disappointing off-season roster changes and a freak knee injury for veteran catcher Salvador Perez, at least a few Kansas City Royals fans are excited for the 2018 season to get under way. In what has become a tradition, we spent opening day at Kauffman Stadium speaking with everyone from announcers and reporters to chefs and brewers to get a sense for what's new — on the field and off.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

To many the new  Kansas City Urban Youth Academy near 18th and Vine in Kansas City is more than just a place for kids to play baseball and softball.

Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed calls it "a sacred place for everyone in Kansas City."

"This is where it should be," says Tony Reagins, who is head of youth sports for  Major League Baseball.

Charles Sollars / Flickr - CC

Commentator Victor Wishna attended his first Royals game as a toddler, and he was there in person to witness the final out of game seven of the World Series. But he'd never journeyed to where it all begins: spring training. That changed this week. Victor reports back from Surprise, Arizona, with this travelogue edition of 'A Fan's Notes.'

If, like me, you’ve never been to spring training, it’s quite a trip.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Royals appear to really want free agent Eric Hosmer to stay in Kansas City. 

USA Today reported Wednesday that the team is offering the first baseman what would be a franchise-record deal: seven years, $147 million. That offer would top another offer reportedly before Hosmer, a seven-year, $140 million deal from the San Diego Padres. 

Keith Allison / Flickr — CC

The Kansas City Royals have faced plenty of on-field troubles recently. Now, it appears they have a problem to worry about off the field as well. 

Pitcher Danny Duffy was cited Sunday night for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is on the verge of breaking the team’s home run record. Former slugger Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni’s record of 36 home runs in one season has stood since 1985.

But if you consider the Kansas City A’s era, the record is further away — but still within reach. Some die-hard Kansas City fans don’t want that record to fall.

Keith Allison / Flickr - CC

As the Major League Baseball season enters the stretch run to fall, this is shaping up to be the summer of slam: Baseballs are flying out of the park at a record pace. But nowhere is this power surge more noticeable than right here in Kansas City. Commentator Victor Wishna explains, in this mid-season edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

The sound ... is unmistakable.

Crack. “High fly ball! Deep left field! Gone!”

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City fans celebrated when the Royals won the 2015 World Series, but the team has struggled since then, especially this year. Management has started to make changes, and fans are losing their enthusiasm.

But there are still some hard-core fans holding out hope that they can make one more run at the playoffs before the complexion of the team changes even more.

Lynsey Addario

Your job might be challenging, but Lynsey Addario's is literally a battlefield. She's been injured, ambushed, and kidnapped while working as a photojournalist in war-torn countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Today, we learn why the results motivate her to continue crafting stories out of conflict. Then, the life of a major league ace isn't all about 100 mile-per-hour fastballs ... or is it? We talk about the evolution of pitching with writer Terry McDermott.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Sports fans in Kansas City and beyond are generally a forward-thinking bunch — “There’s always next year,” goes the rallying cry. But what keeps fans coming back for more is a healthy sense of history and, as commentator Victor Wishna explains in “A Fan’s Notes,” an occasional blast from the past. 

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

The tragic death of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, and the visit of his teammates at his funeral in the Dominican Republic earlier this year, drew attention to the Caribbean nation. How did one small country come to have such an outsized connection to U.S. baseball?

Plus, you might believe in the apocalypse, but are you preparing for it? We hear from a few who are -- "preppers" with vastly different world views.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Royals are off to a rough start. But what can fans do about it? What should they do? Simply wait it out? Well … yeah. Sorta. Commentator Victor Wishna explains, in this April edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Saying Kauffman Stadium has been keeping busy would be an understatement.

From renovation projects, to exhibits honoring the late Yordano Ventura and even liquid nitrogen ice cream, we speak with staff from all corners of The K who have made the Royals' 2017 home opener an experience to remember.

But don't worry, we didn't forget about the game! We also analyze the team's strengths and weaknesses as we look at how our boys in blue may perform this season.

Joyce N. Boghosian / National Museum of American History Smithsonian Institution / Flickr - CC

Scott Simon, journalist and longtime host of Weekend Edition Saturday, is known for his calm, civilized demeanor, but that attitude quickly changes when it comes to the Chicago Cubs. We speak with NPR's Saturday morning voice about his ties to the baseball team and how their thrilling 2016 World Series win drove him to write a book about his beloved Cubbies.

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.

Before a college ballplayer can make it to the Majors, they've got to prove to coaches, scouts, and most importantly themselves, that they have what it takes. The Clarinda A's baseball team, and the small Iowa town that hosts it, has the unlikely distinction of not just developing that kind of talent, but of fostering hard work, integrity and responsibility in the process.

Guest:

In this encore presentation of Central Standard: 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:

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.

A Fan's Notes: Ever After

Nov 13, 2015
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. 

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