Royals

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Many of last year’s Kansas City Royals (with a few new faces sprinkled in) gathered this week for spring training in Surprise, Ariz., but there was a different feeling on the field and in the stands.

Last fall, Royals fans departed from Kauffman Stadium subdued after losing Game 7 of the World Series. The San Francisco Giants denied the Royals and their fans a chance to celebrate their second World Series championship.

In the clubhouse, the atmosphere was somber, too. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain said the loss hurt.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

Before most of the Royals’ players and coaches reported for spring training, the graphers were there. Waiting.

What’s a grapher? The term is short for “autographer,” someone who devotes him- or herself to collecting player’s autographs.

“We go to the ballparks, team hotels, and some of us who are more extreme go to spring training and travel to the All Star games," said Ethan Roth, who acquires and sells baseball autographs for a living. "It’s basically the art of getting an autograph without paying for it."

Frank Morris / KCUR

The police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Royals finally making it back to the world series, intense races for governor and the U.S. senate in Kansas, 2014 was a year of big news on both sides of the state line.

On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske and the Media Critics break down area news coverage. They look at how national and foreign media covered major stories, and they bring us their take on the most over-reported and under-reported news of the year.

Keith Allison / Flickr-CC

The Oakland Athletics confirmed Wednesday that Billy Butler will play for the team starting in 2015.

Despite showing a desire to remain a Kansas City Royal, Butler's $12.5 million option for 2015 was too much for Royals managers.

Oakland approached Butler with a three-year, $30 million contract and $5 million signing bonus.

Some had mixed emotions about seeing Butler leave the only professional team for which he's played. Dean Tangeman posted this response on Twitter:

Cockroaches, mold and mouse feces at Kauffman stadium food stands: Those were some of the food safety violations that Aramark district food safety manager Jon Costa related to ESPN’s "Outside the Lines" television program in a segment that aired on Friday. 

Costa, whom the Philadelphia-based company has since placed on paid administrative leave,  also voiced his concerns about food safety at Kauffman and Arrowhead stadiums to the Kansas City, Mo., health department on Nov. 3.

Keith Allison / Flickr--CC

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Royals at the end.

The score stood three to two, with only one chance to extend
This magnificent, magical season. And from where we sat,
With Bumgarner in, hope was dim as K.C. came to bat.

Hosmer: down. Butler: out. Is this how we’d end the story?
Would the heroes of ’85 not pass on their glory?
Gordo stepped to the batter’s box, locked in, and snapped his gum,
And thousands—make that millions—pondered just how far we’d come.

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

Many Royals fans couldn't afford tickets to the World Series, but they wanted to be as close as possible to the historic game. Hear how they "watched" the game from the parking lot. 

Bill Anderson / KCUR

When Up To Date host Steve Kraske was joined in studio by Billy Collins, he wasn't expecting the former U.S. Poet Laureate to have scribed a few lines a la Casey at the Bat as he waited in the green room.

But, impressed by the Royals and their fans, Collins offered this tribute.

Frank Morris / KCUR

About 6,000 fans Thursday made one more trip to Kauffman Stadium, just to celebrate the 2014 Kansas City Royals.

It was cloudy and threatening rain as fans filed into Kauffman Stadium. Almost on cue, the sun came out when the celebration started. 

Fans chanted “Thank you, Royals,” with the familiar cadence. Many were smiling. It was festive. There were little kids dressed as baseball players, cheerleaders, and Sluggerrr, the Royals’ mascot.

Most were smiling, but Mike Arnott stood with eyes puffy from crying. 

Frank Morris / KCUR

The month of October has been a rollercoaster ride for Kansas City. The Royals made it through an amazing postseason, all the way to Game 7 of the World Series. We may have lost that final game to the San Francisco Giants 2-3, but our boys in blue gave this city an unbelievable and unforgettable postseason. Kansas City celebrated the remarkable accomplishments of our Royals at Kauffman Stadium today. On this edition of Up to Date, we bring you part of the festivities at the K including a chat with Mayor Sly James. 

Cody Newill / KCUR

In an appearance at Union Station Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Sly James showed up decked out in a blue bowtie and matching Kansas City Royals hat to show support for the boys in blue as the team headed into the final game of the World Series.

James said the excitement Kansas Citians have shown during the World Series has been long overdue.

"You can't buy this kind of pride," James said. "It's about time that we had something like [the World Series] where we can say, 'This is ours, we did it, we showed the rest of you, and this is something we're going to cherish.'"

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Here in Kansas City, the hotels are booked solid, and people are snatching up anything in royal blue. For some sectors of the business community, life is very, very good right now. For others, the baseball action doesn't translate into extra dollars.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we take a look at how the World Series is having an impact on the local economy and why it might not be pumping in extra money as much as redistributing business success.

Guests:

Alex Smith / KCUR

When the Royals won the American League Championship in mid-October, Selim Henderson got busy buying T-shirts.

A lot of T-shirts.

“I bought about 30 dozen to start with,” Henderson says.

He set up a roadside stand in south Kansas City, and sales went so well, he bought another 30 dozen.

His best seller? The Royal Flush.

“That has five of the players on cards – ace, king, queen, jack, ten – and that’s the winning hand in poker,” Henderson says.

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.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

A blue wave of cheering fans gathered at Kansas City's Power & Light District Tuesday night to watch the Kansas City Royals beat the San Francisco Giants 10-0 in Game 6 of the World Series.

“I’m proud of them,” said Victor Stringer. “I’ve been following the Royals since the 1970s, I think we can take this whole thing. I just believe in them.”

Twelve-year-olds Jaydon Dickinson and Donte Smith played a game of catch before the start of the game.

MoDOT / Flickr--CC

Even before the Royals made it to the World Series by sweeping Baltimore, something was happening to how America saw Kansas City.

This summer, The Huffington Post named Kansas City the 'coolest' city in America and the World Series has just made the spotlight brighter.

Kansas City, it seems, has a whole new reputation. It's a hidden gem, the place to visit, the new "it" town.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Four-year-old Will Duke from Kansas City, Mo., likes few things in life more than the swings at Loose Park, but this year’s Royals team might give any swingset a run for its money.

Duke knows only a winning hometown team; he has favorite players (Jarrod Dyson and Terrance Gore), and even has a Royals take on a favorite baseball tune.

Listen to Duke sing his Royals version of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game." And let's hope it brings them a little luck as they go into Game 6 Tuesday night.

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.

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR

Down 3-2 to the Giants, you might think there’s no way the Royals end up winning the World Series. But you’d be wrong.

Sportswriter Neil Paine of FiveThirtyEight crunched the numbers and he puts the Royals’ chances of claiming the crown at about 30 percent – in 100 parallel universes, there are about 30 ways the Royals end up with the title.

“They’re still right in it and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they won the World Series, truth be told,” Paine said.

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.

Missouri State Archives

The Royals came along in 1969 after a U.S. senator from Missouri, Stuart Symington, put the squeeze on Major League Baseball. But before the boys in blue a team called the Philadelphia Athletics came to our fair town.

Atomic Hot Links / Flickr--CC

The mayors of Kansas City, Mo., and San Francisco may really be betting honorable things like feeding the homeless and reading to children if their teams win the World Series.

But if the Royals triumph over the San Francisco giants, Kansas City wants something sweeter — chocolate.

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." 

Wikipedia -- Creative Commons

    

With the Royals in the World Series you might think that Kansas City has never been quite this excited about anything.

Everywhere you look there’s Royals blue.

But if you think Kansas City is baseball crazy now, you should have seen 1955 when the Athletics arrived from Philadelphia.

Jeff Logan, president of the Kansas City Baseball Historical Society says the whole city turned out when the team flew in from its spring training site in Florida.

Bill Fischer

Enough with the pity!

For Kansas City Royals fans who live outside the region, it’s a brand new world.

“The last lot of years, I have gotten a lot of pity looks and sympathy whenever I wear my gear or say I'm a Royals fan,” says Tara reid-O’Brien, who lives in Las Vegas. “And I have just told people ‘just you wait.’”

Royals fans took a hit Tuesday with a 7—1 loss against the San Francisco Giants in Game 1 of the World Series, but ahead of the win in Game 2 Wednesday, a rally with former Royals who won the World Series focused on the positive.

Sportswriter Joe Posnanski led a panel of 1985 Royals Willie Wilson, Frank White and Danny Jackson at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, Mo. White said he sees similarities between the 2014 Royals and the 1985 Royals, but the fan support has been much different.

Peggy Lowe / KCUR

The Kansas City Royals tied up the World Series Wednesday night against the San Francisco Giants with a 7-2 win in Kansas City. Each team has one win in the best-of-seven Series.

The teams will now travel to San Francisco and face-off in Game 3 on Friday night at AT&T Park. The Royals will need to win at least one game in San Francisco to bring the 2014 Series back to Kauffman Stadium.

Greg Echlin / KCUR

SungWoo Lee, super-fan of the Kansas City Royals, traveled all the way from Seoul, South Korea, arriving at Kansas City International Airport on Monday to cheering fellow-fans.

His presence wasn't the World Series good luck charm he'd hoped it would be.

As the first game of the series got off to a shaky start for the Royals, Lee told USA Today, he was “a little bit down because of San Francisco's 3-0 lead." Lee was among the thousands at Kauffman Stadium who watched that lead grow to seven home runs. Eventually, the Royals scored one run.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

Richard Gibson, 33, enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps just after high school and was stationed in Iraq. When his service ended in 2003, and he returned to Kansas City, he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. 

With a love for singing and performance, Gibson turned to opera. For the past eight years, he's been a member of the Lyric Opera of Kansas City chorus. He's also taking on a new role, as conductor of a Veteran's Chorus

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