Sunday, April 27, 2008

Tenth Win Finally Arrives for the Royals

The Kansas City Royals finally win their tenth win of the season last night. They are on a two game winning streak with both wins coming from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals won last night 2 - 1. Their ten win coming after a seven game losing streak. Their last win before the losing streak coming from the Angels back on April 16 (see my post from April 17). The Royals managed to from a half game out of first to dead last in the AL Central. What a streak!

The team, fans, announcers, and other teams were all in awe of the Royals starting the season on an unexpected run that placed them in first place. There does seem to be a split between fans. You have those that know what would eventually come to the Royals and those that thought we could win the division. Well, the seven game losing streak finally put things into perspective and we saw the "same old Royals".

If you did not read the article on ESPN (see Hillman adamant about changing Royals' losing ways) by Elizabeth Merrill, it is worth a read. I have said since Trey Hillman was hired and during Spring Training that there is a definitely new feel to the Kansas City team. In the article, Hillman is quoted as saying that [seven game] skids were something that he and Royals general manager, Dayton Moore, were expecting. It is good that they are finally out of the skid and have a new two game winning streak going. Kansas City has a chance for their second sweep of the season against the Blue Jays today at 1:10 PM CST.

I was one of those fans that was very excited with the start of the season. How could you help but not be excited the way they started. Still, there were some obvious problems. I still have a offensive problem with Tony Pena, Jr. He cannot bunt and he cannot hit. He is batting .156 for the season. The Royals finally scored their most runs in their first game with the Blue Jays scoring eight runs in a 8 - 4 win. Prior to that, they had scored as many as six runs, but that came in a loss to Cleveland 9 - 6.

Still, I could also feel the same feeling in my gut as I watched the seven games prior where they lost. The worst being the last of a two game series against Cleveland when the Royals played a double header on Thursday night. Along with the Oakland A's series, the Cleveland series was just about as painful to watch as a fan. Given how the team started and then to crash like that, it did feel like Royals teams of old.

For now, we will take it one game at a time. We will enjoy the wins and hope that the losses are few between. Lets get the Blue Jays for the win today! Go Royals!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tenth Win Has to Wait for the Royals

Well, Kansas City lost tonight against the Angels 5 - 3. Their tenth win will have to wait for the series with the Okland A's coming up tomorrow. The Royals were down 5 - 2 going into the top of the ninth. They scored one run and had the go ahead at the plate, but could not get a hit after two outs. The Royals split the series with the Angels. They go up next with the A's in a three game series.

Lets Go Royals!

Kansas City Royals Doing Well... 9 - 6 on the Season

Well, if you happen to remember last season, you will recall that at this time of year Kansas City was not even close to getting their tenth win of the season. They were losing games left and right, not scoring runs, and their pitching was horrible!

This is 2008 and the Royals are a half game in back of the Chicago White Sox (they are tied at the end of 9 against the Orioles) and they are going for their tenth win of the season. Except for the fact that the Royals have not been getting a lot of runs, they have had some great pitching (starters, relievers, and closers). They have been fun games to watch and like last night I have stayed up late watching them play. They won last night in their first game against the Angels 3 - 2.

That is not to say that they do not have some odd things during the games. The other night Billy Butler popped it up and did not even bother running; the Angels recognized this and ended up getting a double play. For the most part, I have seen nothing but hustle coming from the Royals. They run like someone is chasing them to first base; they appear to be trying on every at bat. It is fun to watch and great to see when thinking back to the previous years teams when they give up running to first.

We only have a couple of items that need improvement. The first part of the needed improvement is that of our last part of our starting pitchers. We have a couple that are struggling. On the flip side, we have three pitchers that are pitching lights out. The second part that needs improvement is that of Tony Pena, jr. I love it when TPJ comes to the plate and needs a bunt. He cannot lay down a bunt to save his life. It is frustrating to watch and I cannot imagine what Hillman is going through to watch him try. However, his defensive skills are what is keeping him on the field or not putting in a pinch hitter.

The important thing right now is that the team is having fun. You can see that they are having fun while watching them on the television. Later this Summer, I will personally see that they are having fun when I go to their games. You can see that they have a manager that they believe in and that they are willing to do what he asks them to do. I blogged early in Spring Training that I like Trey Hillman and that continues. There is a different feel when watching the 2008 Kansas City Royals. There is a difference there that I have not felt for a long time when watching this team.

We are through three innings in this evenings game and it is zero all. Lets go Royals!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

KC Royals go to 5 - 2

In case you missed it, the Kansas City Royals won today in their home opener against the New York Yankees (5 - 2). This makes the Royals 5 - 2 and tied for first. Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers have not won a single game this year. Oh, how we can relate to that type of pain. Well, except for the fact that they spent a lot of money on their roster and so far it is not producing for them.

Kansas City plays New York again tomorrow evening at 6:30 pm CST. Go Royals!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! What a Run....

The Kansas Jayhawks topped off a incredible season with a win Monday night against the Memphis Tigers. What a run and it still feels like a dream that I had last night... But then every channel I watch, every sports web site I visit, and they are talking about the Kansas Jayhawks. Wow!

I watched Saturdays game at Henry T's here in Topeka, so of course we had to go back Monday night to watch the championship game. We went right after work and we were afraid that we would not get a table. The place was already crowded and people were vying for open tables. We had heard on the news starting Sunday that Lawrence bars were charging $20 just to have a table. One place, Jeffersons, had everyone leave at 3 and then they re-opened at 4 pm so they could charge the $20 fee. Wow! Talk about crazy!

So, there we were at Henry T's in Topeka trying to get enough people to hold a table. There were only three of us initially and they would not let us sit at a table for six because we cannot hold spots. OK, so we got on our cell phones and told the group of people that were to meet us to hurry up. The (smaller) table next to us had a group who also wanted the large table. However, because there was only three of them they could not sit there either. Our group finally showed up and we were able to move to the big table (right in front of the big screen). Perfect seats!

We ordered food and our first of many beers for the evening. The scene was set with a full house at Hentry T's and everyone was ready for the game to start. Oh, but we still had three hours to go before tip-off. OK, not a problem! The WIBW 13 news crew was there and while we watched "Wheel of Fortune" they kept cutting to the fans at Henry T's. Everyone would go crazy and simply try to make the time pass so we could get to tip-off.

Finally after eating some food, drinking a few beers, and it was time for tip-off. The Jayhawks looked great! There are many blogs and web sites that discuss the game, but I have to add that it was one of the best NCAA Championship games I have ever seen. It was Mario (I had to include the picture of his three pointer...) time and he helped to push us into a overtime with the momentum to win the game. Talk about a crazy environment! Jumping up and down screaming at the top of my lungs and hugging people I do not even know. What a night!

Now the talk is about whether Bill Self will go to Oklahoma State as they try to draw him away from Kansas with a HUGE check. If Self decides to go, well, can you blame him? I do not think so. The amount of money that it has been discussed Self could earn, no other college coach is making that type of cash. Crazy! It is hard to believe that OSU would decide to do all of this during this time of year when Self should be focusing on being the National Champion.

I should also mention that Roy Williams (North Carolina coach) was at the game wearing a Kansas Jayhawk sticker. That was pretty cool! I would like to see North Carolina and Kansas meeting up in the Final Four (or the championship) game each year like we use to always meet up with Duke back in the 80s and 90s. I thought that showed real class by Williams to not only be at the game, but to be wearing a Kansas sticker.

We will have to wait and see what happens with Self. Is there a right decision for him to make? Probably in the long term there is a right decision for him to make. It just seems that OSU could have waited to do this afterwards.

It has been a season non of us will ever forget. Not only in football, but of course in basketball. It feels like a dream, but oh it feels so much better than previous years and the day after losing a nail bitter. I can definitely relate to Memphis and their fans. In the last two minutes of regulation they thought they had the game won; Kansas turned it around and pushed it into overtime and eventually won the game. Wow!

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Go KU!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

KU in Final Four... Royals 3 and 0....

University of Kansas in the Final Four

Well, Kansas basketball has made it to the Final Four this year. What a ride! Oh, and the ride is not over! It is hard to believe that just a few short months ago the Kansas Football team was going up against Missouri in a huge game and then made it to a bowl game and won. The fun continues with the University of Kansas going up against the North Carolina Tarheels. A re-match of KU's coach (for 15 years) Roy Williams against Bill Self (currently five years).

I am so excited for Saturday to get here to watch the game. Talking to my Kansas friends I feel the excitement from them too. My KSU fans, well, not so much. In fact, even though their coach asked them to they are not showing it yet to us Kansas fans... that being to cheer for all Big Twelve teams. One of my friends parents is not even going to watch the game because Kansas is playing. Anyway, enough about that.... It is going to be a fun game. The FINAL FOUR and Kansas is playing against North Carolina.

I recall when I was growing up and Larry Brown was the coach. I remember Ted Owens before that and going to the games with hardly anyone in Allen Fieldhouse. The most we had to cheer for were the custodians as they swept the floor between halves. Me, all of eight something years old. I was lucky enough to be born into a family that had season tickets when Ted Owens was the coach of Kansas and to still have tickets when Larry Brown took over. This year celebrates twenty years since the University of Kansas won the 1988 national championship. Those were great years with Larry Brown. He left us after he won the title and we took in a unknown coach from North Carolina. Roy Williams gave us fifteen great years of great, fast, entertaining, and fun basketball. My family continued to have season tickets well into the Roy Williams era.

Roy's boys were fun to watch. Much like the North Carolina team is today. They ran the ball and played hard (aka Jerod Hasse). My Dad still talks about the Roy Williams type of ball and how much he likes it.... because it was so fast! Bill Self does not run the team as fast as Roy, but obviously Self is doing a great job at the University of Kansas.

If you have not heard, there are rumors about Self leaving KU to go back to Oklahoma State to coach the Cowboys. Does it seem like deju vu when Williams was our coach and was tempted, and then finally left, for North Carolina? Well, it should because it happened at almost the same time. Oh, that's right! It actually happened to Williams by North Carolina after we made it to the championship game. Williams heard about it in the post game interview from a woman interviewing him after they won the Final Four in 2003. OK, if Self leaves Kansas to go to OSU, yes, it will be difficult, but I think that Kansas will get another quality coach and we will not lose a lot. Do I hope that Self remains at Kansas and coaches us for another twenty years? Yes, absolutely!

I do know that this Saturday is going to be a lot of fun to watch four quality teams match up against one another. Four teams that have been number one during the course of the season. Four teams that score a lot of points and play incredible and entertaining basketball. Go Hawks!

Kansas City Royals Baseball

The Royals beat the Detroit Tigers today 4 to 1. They swept Detroit to start the season. Wow! What a way to start the season and beat a team that spent millions on their team. My excitement for the Royals continues to grow. My enthusiasm for Trey Hillman also continues to grow. Tomorrow they start a series with Cleveland and then home to Kansas City on Tuesday for the home opener against the New York Yankees. Oh, how nice it would be to be at Kauffman Stadium on Tuesday for that home opener. How nice it would be to start the season with another 9 - 0 start like we did a few years back.

We had great pitching the last three games for KC. Our bats have also been producing which we did not have last year. Overall, I am pleased with the start of the season. How could I not be pleased?

I was listening to the Yankees game on XM this evening and the radio announcer talked about the Royals and how they won. He went on to say how "funny it is how fans of bad teams get excited when their team wins three games". "Like it is football or something" he said. I think he was putting us KC fans down simply because his teams gets paid so much more. Or, is it because the Yankees are in the hunt for a Word Series each year? Well, have they won the World Series recently with all of those millions? Nope! Then shut up!

The Royals play tomorrow night against Cleveland at 7:05. It will be fun to see how they do in this series and hopefully this sweep will not be their only one of the season. Go Royals!