Here we go, opening day for the Royals out in Anaheim against some guy named Albert.
It’s hard not to get excited about this young team and what they could do this year. Our starting pitching, once again, is the weakness on this club.
Maybe in a year or two our pitching prospects will catch up to our position players. If and when that happens, I fully expect to compete for a spot in the post season tournament.
As for this year, I just want to flirt with .500 Could it happen? Absolutely! Will it happen? Let’s see come September.
On August 5th 2011 I made my first ever visit to Werner Park in Omaha to take in a Storm Chasers game. For those of you who don’t know, the Storm Chasers are the AAA affiliate of the Royals.
The stadium itself is very easy to find. In fact, I didn’t even have to look at a map. Okay, okay, so in my eight years of driving a truck for a living I got to know the Omaha area very well. In fact, the stadium is just up the road from a JC Penney’s store I delivered to on a regular basis.
After seeing a sign for free parking I headed that way thinking we may have to do some walking to get to the park. Not the case at all. I guess since this parking lot was gravel and not paved they didn’t feel the need to charge anything. A short walk around the back of the stadium and we found our way to the ticket window.
Here is some advice for those of you wanting to visit the park on a weekend. Get tickets in advance! Upon our arrival to the box office we noticed a sign that said only grass berm seats were left! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining at all. It’s great to know the team draws well on the weekends. Just keep that in mind if you plan on visiting.
The stadium itself reminded me of Arvest ballpark down in Northwest Arkansas, home of the Royals AA team. A small intimate setting, with really no bad seat in the house. Regardless of where you sit you are going to be close to the action. Wide concourses with plenty of eating options. Heck, they even have La Mesa Mexican food at the place! Small flat screen TV’s are located around the concourse so you can keep an eye on the action while waiting to order some food or drink.
We arrived early enough to take a walk around the entire stadium. As with many minor league parks there are plenty of activities for the kids. Out past center field they even had a basketball goal to shoot some hoop. However, baseball fans will really like the location of the bullpens. Both team’s pens are located out past center field and you can walk right up to the Storm Chasers pen. Only a chain link fence keeps you from being in the pen itself. This makes for a great up close experience to see some future big league pitchers warm up. On this night it was Mike Montgomery, one of our big time prospects. Since it was a great spot for photos I took a few. Here’s one!
The Storm Chasers would end up loosing the game to Sacramento (Oakland’s AAA team) Even so, the team is still in first place even though three of their best hitters have now been called up to the big leagues, Mouse, Hosmer, and as of August 4th Gio. See my last blog about calling up the kid!
After the game we visited the gift shop where I was hoping to add to my collection of baseballs from all the different major and minor league parks I’ve visited. Oddly enough, they didn’t sell baseballs that said Werner Park. They had plenty of balls with the Storm Chasers logo, but I only collect ones that state the name of the park. Still a neat little shop with everything you would expect.
The only thing that bugged me the entire night was seeing the numerous people wearing Yankees crap!!! I realize when you grow up and live in Nebraska you don’t have your own big league team to root for so you just pick a popular one. I see it every year when the Yankees and Red Sox visit the K. Just look around the parking lot and half the vehicles with Nebraska plates have NY or Boston stickers, license plate frames etc. on them.
Hopefully someday our neighbors to the north will have reason to root for KC. Seeing the direction the team is going I think that could be possible in the next year or two. After all, things are looking up, down on the farm.
Here are two more pictures of my visit to Werner Park.
Mike Moustakas is in a horrible slump at the plate. As of today, July 23rd 2011, he is hitting .190 with only 5 RBI’s since reaching the show.
I admit, I started to believe a return trip to Omaha might be the right thing for ‘Moose’ to regain some confidence at the plate. Hey, it worked for Billy Butler a few years ago right?
Forget that! Moustakas is our future 3rd baseman who happens to being playing in the present. When you think of the infield as a whole, these young guys need to learn to play together. Moustakas at 3rd, Escobar at short, and Hosmer at 1st. The future of Kansas City baseball in on display nightly at a major league stadium near you!
Moustakas will figure it out, it will just take some time. Not everyone can adapt to the big leagues like Eric Hosmer.
Let’s take it one step further. Let’s bring the entire infield together and call up Johnny Giavotella. The guy is hitting .340 at Omaha! I’ve read reports that state his defense is holding him back, but he’s making strides at the AAA level.
Chris Getz has been a solid 2nd baseman, and seems to handle the bat fairly well, but come September (if not sooner) lets see what happens with all four of our kids covering the infield.
Hosmer, Escobar, Crow, Collins……
…and maybe Danny Duffy if he sticks around.
It’s been an exciting start to the season in KC. Who would have thought we would compete and still be in the thick of things come the end of May? The same people that cursed at Dayton Moore for trading Grienke are the same ones that laughed at the signings of Cabrera and Francoeur for baseball peanuts. Who’s laughing now?
Starting pitching is still a concern for me, but Francis looked great tonight in picking up his first win in Royal blue. Luke has shown flashes as to what he could become, and hopefully Chen will return to the rotation soon.
Who knows, it could be a fun summer with the “kids at the K!”
The off season trade of Mr. Grienke really wound up those claiming to be Royals fans. If find this odd, that these so called fans would be so irate at this trade. Why you ask?
If you’re a true Kansas City fan then you should know and understand that this is a small market team. One that simply won’t pay huge salaries to big name super stars.
So why all the frustration and anger amongst those supporting the boys in Royal blue? Reading the many responses on the Royals official facebook page only confirmed what some of us already know. Most Royals fans are ignorant as to what small market teams have to do to try and compete in today’s baseball business.
Let’s be honest here Royals fans, do you really think Grienke would have re-signed when his current contract was up? Do you think he would take small market money when he clearly is a big market name? It was reported that he had grown tired of waiting on the rebuilding process that is currently going on at the K, yet fans where still upset at his departure. Some claimed they where done with the team, never to attend a game again. Why? Because we traded a player who simply wouldn’t receive the money he would demand. A player by many accounts that didn’t want to be here anyway?
To those fair weather ignorant fans I say this.
See you at “the K” in 2012!