Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Spring Training- According to Big A

Spring Training Recap – Royals Perspective

As I have been reading E’s blog, I have noticed a bias towards Texas Rangers news and pictures. What you may not realize is that the Texas Rangers AND Kansas City Royals share a spring training complex in Surprise, AZ, where we spent the greater part of last week. E asked if I would like to share a little about my Royals experience to help balance things out. The following is my take on the Kansas City Royals spring training.

Thursday, March 4
E and I met up with Spring Training veterans the McD’s. They are friends of ours who have attended spring training a few times and knew the ropes. We went to Rangers camp Thursday morning and were astonished by the access you get to the players. Only feet from us were future hall of famers, all-stars, legends, and also a fair share of “who is that?” The afternoon found us sitting in our seats behind the first base dugout (Rangers side) eating hot dogs and drinking DP's. The sun was shining bright and the sky was a beautiful blue. Perfect weather for most anything, but especially baseball! Kyle Davies, fighting for a spot in the Royals rotation, did not pitch well and his efforts were matched by the Royals offense and defense. Final score: 13-3 in favor of the Rangers.

MY C0-PLAYERS OF THE GAME: BILLY BUTLER (great double over 3rd base) & RICK ANKIEL (threw a laser to 3rd base to nail Nelson Cruz)

Friday, March 5
E and I split up Friday morning, as she went to the Rangers camp again and I went to the Royals camp. As I entered camp, I was excited because there were only a handful of people around. This meant great opportunities for pictures and autographs, without having to fight crowds. Apparently the crowds knew something I did not. Most of the big league Royals had the morning off. Friday morning featured workouts mostly by the minor leaguers. It was cool to see future Royals... Tim Melville, Mike Montgomery, and Eric Hosmer practice and go through drills. This would have been an ideal learning opportunity for coaches, as I stood behind various backstops listening and watching the instructors put the players through the drills. After they had finished, I was able to get an autograph from 2008 first round draft pick Eric Hosmer. Some guys look like ballplayers and some guys don’t. Eric Hosmer, without a doubt, looks like a ballplayer.

After the morning workouts, we headed to see main ballpark for the afternoon game featuring Zack Greinke on the mound. It was no surprise that he left the game after the 3rd inning only giving up 1 hit and no runs. He looked like he was in mid-season form. The Royals also looked much better bouncing back to beat Scott Feldman and the Rangers.


Saturday, March 6
After attending Amy McD’s graduation ceremony in downtown Phoenix, E and I headed out to Surprise for the afternoon game featuring the Royals and Rangers once again. On the way, we drove through Glendale and saw the University of Phoenix stadium where the NFL Cardinals play. It sits out in the middle of nowhere and looks like a giant spaceship landed in the desert. I must admit it is a pretty impressive sight.

At the game, we saw Gil Meche show why he is the Royals #2 starter. However, he seems to work long counts and get himself in jams by not throwing enough strikes. I noticed this trend last year and hope it’s something he can work on. He was followed by future Royal Aaron Crow, who starred at the University of Missouri. The Royals do have a lot of young talent that is still 1-2 years from the big leagues. Hopefully the big league team can have a decent year this year and then begin to reap the rewards of gathering all of this talent in 2011. It was fun to get to see guys like Mike Moustakas, Derrick Robinson, Ernesto Mejia, Irving Falu, and Crow compete with the big leaguers in camp. Hopefully they are not too far away from being big leaguers themselves.

We also saw Alex Gordon break his thumb sliding into 2nd base on a steal attempt. You knew when it happened there was bad news coming. He took his time getting up and was obviously in pain as he kept looking at his hand. Sure enough the next morning the bad news broke that he was out 3-4 weeks with a broken thumb.

MY PLAYER OF THE GAME: AARON CROW (great first name plus he dominated Texas hitters by throwing in the mid-90’s)

Sunday, March 7
We had planned to go to a “B” game to watch some guys like Josh Hamilton, Joakim Soria, Mike Aviles, and Willie Bloomquist play at 10:00AM, but the rains came and we were forced to pack up our bags instead and head for the airport. We had an awesome trip and hope to be able to go back again next year. I can’t say enough how amazed we were at the access you get to the players. I am sure this is not the case for camps such as the Yankees or Red Sox. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Surprise watching baseball, hanging out with good friends, and seeing our favorite players.

Go Royals!

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