Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Royal Treatment: Live From Spring Training, Part II

Autographs for Friday, March 14:
- Ryan Shealy
- Dennis Leonard
- John Wathan
- Justin Huber
- David DeJesus
- Tony Pena
- Trey Hillman
- Tim Kurkjian (ESPN Baseball Analyst)

- I witnessed a baseball sail over the fence at the southeast Minor League field. The Minor Leaguers were taking batting practice. 20 minutes later, I attempted to return it to the dugout and was greeted by blank stares. I just decided to pocket it and leave them alone.

- I caught many - *many* - pictures at the Minor League complex and Major League practice field. Several pictures of pitchers Kyle Davies, Jorge De La Rosa, and others shagging fly balls. They had peepholes that onlookers could peer through to watch the players practice. I watched Justin Huber and Angel Berroa casually shag several fly balls. Berroa, in fact, caught one and then his momentum carried him to the exact spot on the fence where I was standing. He must have been shocked to notice some weird onlooker with a digital camera. He kept barking things - innocently - at the coach and screaming in Spanish. I think he's a really eccentric dude, but in a good way. I hope he realizes how far his career has fallen since 2003, and becomes motivated enough to not make obvious blunder after obvious blunder on the field. I don't want to pick on a guy for diminished God-given skills, but several boneheaded plays on his part cost us many games. Let's just leave it at that.

- I noticed outfielder David DeJesus was signing baseballs with his right hand. I asked him if he was ambidextrous, and he replied that he threw the baseball with his left hand, but was actually right-handed. Did anyone else know this????

- I told Ryan Shealy I was having trouble thinking of a nickname for the burly guy. He told me to let him know once he did, and to keep the nickname "kind". Shealy seemed like a genuinely nice guy.

- I believe Jason Godin started the Minor League game (keep in mind, this is hearing from Tyler Chambliss' mouth, not official word or coaches). I was unable to attend the Minor League game this afternoon, and I really apologize.

- Mike Moustakas appeared to be a really burly fellow. What is he? 6'0", 215. That's quite stocky for a shortstop or middle infielder. I'd say a positional change is imminent and likely, based on that shape.

- I said "We Believe" to Tony Pena, Jr. as he was signing my autograph. He said "yes, sir". Yep, he's heard it before.

- Several players' families and hardcore Royals onlookers like myself were gathered around the practice fields at 9:00AM and later. (I arrived at the complex around 9:30). I talked casually and briefly with a few of these folks, but no real hardcore Royals discussion was started.

- Royals great and Mac-N-Seitz owner Kevin Seitzer was visiting the upper-level Minor Leaguers and helping as a coach, at least for that weekend.

- I believe I caught George Brett warming up in the bullpen with his son, Jackson, before the game.

- Traffic in Arizona is terrible. It has been nearly bumper-to-bumper in both to-and-from trips. Lack of public transportation really wrecks the boat here. It makes staying 40+ minutes away from Surprise incredibly difficult and inconvenient, especially for those seeking to arrive at the game well in advance.

- I noticed several Minor League non-roster invitees practicing on the southernmost field. Two middle infielders showed *excellent* handwork, though I don't remember their names and don't feel like looking it up.

(Again, some dialogue is lame, but I thought I would share).

- I said "hello" to J.J. Picollo.
- My 9-year old cousin got his picture taken with John Buck, who was fielding autographs in the stands on the left-field side. He had received his autograph two years before.
- I noticed several of the players' wives, children, and family sitting in the front two rows on the third base side. They had yellow bands sticked around their wrists...
Who was there? Brett Tomko's wife, Trey Hillman's father and sister, J.J. Picollo's children, Yaz Yabuta's family, and a new Japanese coach hired by Hillman to help during Spring Training.

No comments: