Royals

Greg Echlin / KCUR

If Cincinnati baseball fans didn’t get enough of the Kansas City Royals during the All-Star game, they saw the full squad on Tuesday night.

Adding insult, the Royals have Johnny Cueto, one of the most popular Reds before he was traded to Kansas City.

Cueto faced the inevitable questions before his first game back. Here’s a sample: “How exciting is it for you to jump right into a pennant race? What’s your take on that league and pitching for the Royals? Is this emotional for you?”

Courtesy photo

The only time I've come close to getting at a brawl was at Yankee Stadium.

It was 1999. I was living in New York, and I went to a game with my baseball-obsessed college boyfriend.

We sat in the bleachers where the tickets were cheap, the beer flowed and fights were plentiful. The Royals were a joke and the Yankees were World Series champions.

I was a Kansas Citian living in New York, accustomed to a certain amount of abuse. I loved the Royals on principle, but I’m not a sports person. If I can pay attention past the 7th inning stretch, it’s a personal victory. Because let’s face it, there are only so many possibilities in baseball. Guy hits the ball, or he doesn’t. Makes it to first base, or not. And so on.

But that night, something caught my attention: The Royals started looking like they might win. At first it felt like a fluke, but soon, the Yanks around me started noticing.

The Kansas City Royals completed a homestand marked by milestones.

When the gates opened to the Royals’ first Sunday night game of the year at Kauffman Stadium this weekend, it gave the fans an opportunity to see their team pick up their 42nd victory at home this season. That’s how many home wins the Royals had in the 2014 regular season.

Newcomer Ben Zobrist, who scored the winning run in the tenth inning of the Royals’ 4-3 victory, noticed the energy.

With his performance on Monday night, it didn’t take long for Kansas City Royals fans to embrace newcomer Johnny Cueto.

According to Johnny Cueto’s translator (Royals catching coach Pedro Grifol), the feelings were mutual.

Cueto loved the reception in his first game as a Royal at Kauffman Stadium. For the first time all year, manager Ned Yost didn’t need to summon a relief pitcher.

“You know you got an ace out there,” said Yost. “That’s a big confidence boost every time Johnny steps on the mound. They know they’ve got an outstanding chance of winning that game.”

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:

Kathleen Kunkler / KCUR

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:

David Slaughter / Flickr-CC

While the Kansas City Royals were in the midst of a 5-1 victory over the Houston Astros Sunday afternoon, a major trade was announced.

The Royals acquired Johnny Cueto, one of the best pitchers on the trade market. Cueto currently plays for the Cincinnati Reds.

In exchange for Cueto, the Royals sent three minor league left-handed pitchers (Brandon Finnegan, John Lamb and Cody Reed).

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.

  At Tuesday night’s All-Star Game in Cincinnati, the Kansas City Royals will field four starters and as many as seven players altogether—all-time Royals records. Sure, it’s just an exhibition, but as “A Fan’s Notes” commentator Victor Wishna sees it, there’s a lot more on display.

  

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

The Kansas City Royals learned Thursday the extent of the injury to All-Star outfielder Alex Gordon.

It’s labeled a “two-plus groin strain,” which means Alex Gordon is out for at least eight weeks.

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

For years, many Kansas City Royals fans have called themselves "Gordo Nation" after All-Star left fielder Alex Gordon.

Well, Gordo Nation is in mourning.

Take this tweet from Wednesday night — after the popular player left a game against the Tampa Bay Rays with a groin injury — as evidence:

Four Kansas City Royals will be American League starters at next week’s All-Star game in Cincinnati, the best in franchise history.

Salvador Perez will be the starting catcher. Alcides Escobar will make his first All-Star appearance as the starting shortstop. Lorenzo Cain, also a first-timer, will man right field while Alex Gordon will handle left in his first start.

Gordon said last year’s World Series appearance and this year’s success command attention.

Kansas City Mayor Sly James recently honored a World Series bet he made with San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee while in California over the weekend. James sang "Amazing Grace" at Reverend Cecil Williams Glide Memorial Church. James was in San Francisco over the weekend for the 83rd annual U.S. Conference of Mayors. 

Wikimedia Commons--CC

It was a milestone night for Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost after beating Milwaukee, 3-2, Thursday.

Ned Yost surpassed Whitey Herzog for most wins by a Royals manager, his 411th victory since taking over in 2010.

“It’s nice, but I don’t really look at it as an individual achievement,” Yost said. “First of all, I don’t feel like I’m in the same class as Whitey Herzog and Dick Howser. Two, this is an organizational achievement.”

In the latest balloting for the July 14 All-Star game in Cincinnati, the Kansas City Royals lead the voting this week at eight positions.

The trend from Royals fans indicate that online votes for their favorite players won’t let up. But Royals fans are making their presence felt in more ways than just All-Star balloting — the blue wave hit Busch Stadium in St. Louis last weekend. 

Whitney Findley, a Royals fan who lives in Lee’s Summit, saw familiar friends in no time at all across the street from the stadium.

Kathleen Kunkler / KCUR

Joe Posnanski is a little jealous.

The longtime Kansas City Star sports writer, who currently writes for NBC Sportsworld, had lunch with some former colleagues while he was in Kansas City last week promoting his latest book.

When the conversation turned to the Royals, he expressed some frustration.

Two retired MLB players--Rex Hudler of Fox Sports (now a Royals announcer) and Fred Kipp of the Dodgers and the Yankees--share their experiences on and off the field, then and now. 

John Spertus / for KCUR

“Never lose sight of winning on the field at the major-league level.”

That is advice he will never forget, the Kansas City Royals’ General Manager Dayton Moore told Up to Date's Steve Kraske on Wednesday.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Remember last year, when the Kansas City Royals were the underdog darlings of baseball? The team’s winning again this season, but it’s been a bit ugly.

Opposing pitchers have hit Royals players 20 times, including a nasty one Alcides Escobar caught in the head Wednesday night. The Royals have hit six in return. Umpires have already ejected Royals players nine times, the most in baseball, and two recent series culminated in bench-clearing brawls. The numbers reflect a fundamental issue: The Royals keep running afoul of baseball's unwritten rules.

Mysteryman28/Google Images -- CC

After last season's incredible run, the national spotlight has been on the Kansas City Royals — and the team's recent bench-clearing brawl and skirmishes with opposing teams. We invite KCUR's sports reporter and sports columnist at the Kansas City Star to discuss the unspoken code of conduct in baseball — and how the Royals are changing the game.

Guests:

  • Lee Judge, cartoonist and sportswriter, Kansas City Star
  • Greg Echlin, sports reporter, KCUR
Charvex / Wikimedia -- CC

Every Kansas Citian has a list of out-of-towner attractions — barbecue, the Nelson-Atkins, a stroll through the Plaza. But we have been wondering: what should Kansas Citians be putting on our own to-do list? What hidden gems are right next to us that we need to see (or do) at least once?

We asked you to give us your suggestions, and we got a ton of them!

Here we present the incomplete "Kansas Citian bucket list" — a list of things every person in Kansas City should do at least once. Feel free to add additional items in the comments.

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

After five decades of hostility, President Obama is moving to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba. There’s a place in Kansas City, though, where the two countries already seem very close: Kauffman Stadium.

Kendrys Morales, the Royals’ new hitting star is from Cuba, and across Major League Baseball the number of Cuban players is on the rise. But those players reached the U.S. as refugees, and some worry that warming relations with Cuba may actually crimp the supply of baseball talent from Cuba.

John Spertus / KCUR

A Kansas City-Oakland rivalry conjures up the thought of the Chiefs vs. the Raiders in the National Football League — but nothing in Major League Baseball. At least until this weekend.

The Raider’s withering performance on the football field in recent years hardly stirs up the glorious memories of the classic matchups against the Chiefs that dates back to the old days of the AFL in the 1960s — no matter how much the Chiefs attempt to manufacture a menacing growl.

Michael Zupon / Flickr--CC

Two Kansas City Royals players, their manager and two coaches were kicked out of Sunday's series finale against the Oakland Athletics at Kauffman Stadium.

When it was all said and done, the Royals won the game, 4-2, and the series.

A’s starting pitcher Scott Kazmir says they left town angry.

“It leaves a bad taste in our mouth. It really does,” said Kazmir.

But Kazmir started the day by hitting Lorenzo Cain.

“I definitely didn’t like it,” said Cain.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Former Kansas City Royals All-Star Billy Butler is back at Kauffman Stadium Friday — but in a different uniform.

He's in his first season with the Oakland Athletics and getting used to wearing the green and gold uniform colors of his new team.

"Yeah, it's one of those things. It's my locker. I just knew what to put on," said Butler. "Yeah, it's different. I put on a royal blue shirt on this morning. I didn't realize I actually put a royal blue shirt on."

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

Kansas City has been waiting anxiously for baseball season to officially begin after an epic World Series run last year that left the Royals just short of the title. As fans waited outside the ballpark before the home opener, Up To Date was inside talking to the people behind the scenes at Kauffman Stadium.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

The energy was palpable at Kauffman Stadium, as fans filed in to watch the Royals defeat the White Sox 10-1 in the first game of the season. Though a light drizzle fell from a grey sky, there's wasn't an empty seat to be found. Standing room only tickets sold for more than $100. 

Couldn't make it to the game? The Up To Date team arrived at the stadium bright and early to capture the experience — check out the slideshow above.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

It’s a new baseball season, but memories linger from last year when the Kansas City Royals played in the World Series for the first time in 29 years. Monday’s Opening Day pre-game activities will commemorate that.

Opening Day also gives fans a chance to check out a new look inside Kauffman Stadium. Construction workers frantically gutted and restored the old stadium club area, known the last few years as the .390 restaurant. Gone are the large windows, the carpet, the tiles and the more formal settings open only to members. It’s replaced by an open air food and beverage destination called “Craft and Draft” and open to all ticket holders.

Kevin Harber / Flickr--CC

The 2014 American League Champion Kansas City Royals  face the Chicago White Sox in their home opener Monday afternoon. And to get ready, we asked you to imagine yourself in the line up. What music would you want to hear blasted over the speakers at Kauffman Stadium as you stepped up to bat?

We had a deluge of Tweets, Facebook comments and phone calls with a range of responses — from the silence of John Cage’s "4'33"" (hmmmm ...)  to "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate, to George Frederic Handel’s Royal Fireworks Suite.

Bennie Campbell called to say he’d like hear Jim Neighbors singing "To Dream the Impossible Dream." Come on, Bennie, have a little confidence!

Pages