The All-Star festivities have officially come and gone in Kansas City.
FanFest was an overwhelming success.
Talk about sensory overload…
Upon going up the escalator to the show room at Bartle Hall, when you see the banners hanging from the ceiling, authentic baseball memorabilia on walls and tables, Cal Ripken and Barry Larkin instructing a local high school baseball team on proper fielding techniques, everybody thinking and talking about baseball, and nearly 80% of the fans attending wearing Royals gear, you knew you were in baseball heaven.
If you didn’t do anything else baseball related during All-Star week in Kansas City, I hope you at least took a few hours to venture downtown, take a stroll through Barney Allis Plaza on your way to FanFest. It was a living, breathing baseball museum with every ounce of baseball history covered from head-to-toe. And for $30 a ticket, you got way more than what you paid for.
The All-Star Future’s Game drew a record crowd.
40,000+ attended the Future’s Game most likely due to the presence of future Royals Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Yordano Ventura. If that doesn’t make Dayton Moore call-up Myers and/or Odorizzi, I don’t know what will.
It goes to show you though, if you put an exciting product on the field, the stadium will be filled almost every single night. This is a baseball town. We just haven’t had many teams to rally behind in the past 10+ years.
The Homerun Derby… was everything a Royals fan could have ever wanted (outside of seeing Billy Butler send a few BP fastballs into the fountains).
Oh, what a night it was.
The Homerun Derby is, and always will be, an exciting affair. And this year’s was no exception.
We all know the story. Robinson Cano, the captain for the American League’s half of the Derby, stated publicly that he would assuredly select a Royal to participate – which happened to Billy Butler. Then Robby snubbed him.
Robinson Cano drew the biggest collective “boooooooooo” I have ever had the priviledge of hearing. I also have never heard a louder crowd collectively cheer for one person as they did when they called for Billy Butler. My wife and I, watching from home, couldn’t help but laugh, smile, and throw in a few cheers and “boos” of our own during Cano’s failed hacks. Watching him hit pop-up after pop-up into the outfield literally made my week. In all, Robinson was a glorious 0-fer – hitting absolutely zero homeruns. That itself made it all so, so sweet.
Outside of Cano, the fans were treated to a great show by Mark Trumbo and Derby champ Prince Fielder. Trumbo, who Cano supposedly picked over Butler, hit possibly the most impressive homerun I have ever seen when he launched a ball onto the roof of the Royals Hall of Fame in left field – some 475+ ft. Equally impressive was the amount of balls Prince was able to send into the fountains deep in right center.
The All-Star Game was a lopsided affair.
Justin Verlander got rocked. How often have you ever been able to hear that?
The NL was able to talley five runs off of him in the first inning thanks to a Pablo Sandoval bases-loaded triple (the first such occurance in All-Star Game history).
Another Giant earned the All-Star Game’s top honor. Former Royals great Melky Cabrera won the All-Star Game MVP award thanks to his two-run homerun. It was great to see Melky make his first All-Star team and win the MVP award in Kansas City, but it makes the Jonathan Sanchez trade sting that much more…
But without a doubt, the most memorable moment of the game didn’t come when Bryce Harper lost a flyball in left field. Or when Derek Jeter and Ryan Braun chummed it up on the field in the midst of Braun’s triple. Or when Robinson Cano was booed yet again. Or even when Billy Butler finally got his first AB in the 7th inning (although that was a close 2nd).
For me, it was when Chipper Jones took his first at-bat ever in Kansas City. Before Tuesday, the long-time veteran had played in every single stadium in the league except for Kauffman Stadium. He hit a choppy groundball between first and second that was “just” out of Ian Kinsler’s reach for a basehit. You could see Chipper smiling at Kinsler when he reached first base. Any other day, Kinsler makes that play.
- Both CF Lorenzo Cain and 2B Chris Getz have been activated from the DL and placed on the active roster. RHP Nate Adcock and INF/U Irving Falu were the roster casualities, as both were sent back down to Omaha.
- After having a solid showing at the Future’s Game, Wil Myers went 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI in the Triple-A All-Stars game as the PCL beat the International League 3-0. Wil was named the games’ MVP.
- Yordano Ventura, who started the Future’s Game for the World Team, was promoted from Single-A Kane County to Double-A Northwest Arkansas.
- Joining Ventura in Double-A is lefty Mike Montgomery. In his second season at Omaha, Monty seems to have regressed significantly. In 17 starts (91.2 IP), he’s 3-6 with a 5.69 ERA with just 67 K to 43 BB and a 1.67 WHIP.
- Taking Montgomery’s spot in Omaha’s rotation will be another promising young lefty: Chris Dwyer. Through 16 starts and 85.2 IP this season for the Naturals, the 24-year old hasn’t faired much better than Montgomery. He was 5-8 with a 5.25 ERA, 71 K to 44 BB, and had a WHIP of 1.43. Dwyer’s promotion may have more to do with the Rule 5 Draft this offseason more than anything. In order to protect Dwyer from of the Rule 5 Draft, the Royals will have to place him on the 40-man roster sometime between now and the draft. If the Royals opt not to do so, they risk losing him to any team that decides he’s worth a spot on their 25-man roster for all of 2013. Note: In 2011, Baseball America ranked Dwyer as the 83rd best prospect in the game.
Overall, Kansas City showed Major League Baseball and its fans a great time and was a more than gracious host to thousands of visitors. Here’s top hoping it doesn’t take another 39 years to have another one of these.
For Royals fans, the 2012 All-Star Future’s Game holds more clout than any other All-Star Weekend event. Afterall, we have no representatives in the Home Run Derby (thanks, Robinson Cano…) and only one team representative in the All-Star game – a game that will be played in our own stadium. Billy Butler will most likely see as much as one at-bat in tomorrow night’s game, likely as a late game pinch-hitter. So pardon us if we’d rather pay attention to a game where three of our guys– not including Team USA manager and HOFer George Brett – would be playing in an exciting (though meaningless to some) game in front of a sold-out crowd in a stadium that we hope to see them in real soon.
That’s right. Sold out.
A roaring crowd of 40,095 (a record, by the way) at the K gave each of Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, and Yordano Ventura a standing ovation upon taking the field Sunday afternoon. Odorizzi even took a moment to remove his cap and acknowledge the hometown fans before throwing the first pitch of the game – a 73 mph curveball for a strike to Angels prospect Jean Segura.
Team USA fell behind early when Jake Odorizzi gave up a one-out solo homerun down the right field line to Rangers top prospect (who Keith Law ranks as his #2 prospect behind Dylan Bundy of the Orioles) Jurickson Profar.
Another Royals farmhand got the starting nod for the game. Young right-hander Yordano Ventura, a native of the Dominican Republic, started the game for the World Team, and lit up the radar guns. Three different times during his perfect frame, Ventura dialed up triple-digit fastballs while getting the top third of Team USA’s order to each groundout.
But the real star of the game, as far as Royals prospects go, was Wil Myers. As Myers made his way to the batter’s box, the crowd once again rose to their feet, giving Wil his second standing-o of the afternoon. Outside of the All-Star Game itself, this has been the most highly anticipated moment in Kansas City for the past month or so. His first AB resulted in a groundout to third base.
He tied up the game at 4-4 in the bottom of the 3rd inning with a RBI groundout. After the 4th inning, substitutions were abound. But manager George Brett knew what the sellout crowd at The K wanted to see. So instead of taking Wil Myers out of the game, Brett opted to shift him from right field to center field, where he spent the rest of the game.Wil collected his first hit of the game in the bottom of the 5th, added a run with a sac-fly in a nine-run 6th inning, and slapped a broken-bat single into left to complete his night at the plate. All in all, Wil went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored. It was a solid game for him in front of 40,000 fans who are ready for him to be in the big league lineup everyday.The final score was completely lopsided: a 17-5 victory for the USA.
Much to my dismay, however, Dayton Moore did announce that both Myers and Odorizzi will head back to Omaha following the break – though I have no doubt that both of them will be playing in Kansas City soon.