Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Spring Training Report

Over the last ten years, I have made a lot of people go watch the Royals play some meaningless baseball in March. When my wife did it, I knew she was special. When she agreed to drag her friends along one year, I knew she was the one.

This year, I flew to Las Vegas and picked up my Dad to take him on his first Spring Training trip.

We saw the Royals play a split-squad Giants team on Saturday, March 2. The game was great, with both Mike Moustakas and Eric Hosmer hitting home runs.

Some additional highlights are below with photos. (Please take these pics for what they are: badly-framed snaps from an older model iPhone in glaring desert light)

Pre-game we got to see the Budweiser Clydesdales. They are huge. Sadly, there was no free beer.

Alex Gordon had the day off, and appeared to be taking some extra reps in the batting cage. Can't really see it here, but I found it interesting he had headphones in.

I wonder if every player has a few songs that run through their head at the plate to help them stay calm or remember timing.

Frenchy also had the day off, but was chatty with the fans.

Nothing beats a sunny day at the ballpark.

Eric Hosmer took some reps in shorts before the game.

Then, he signed autographs afterwards.

That's Mike Moustakas taking some right-handed swings in the cage. He hit a few holding the barrel of the bat, as well. Might have been showing off to the fans a bit, but he took some serious swings before moving back to the left-handed stance.

Moose would end the day as one of my favorite players. Several times, he told the fans he would sign autographs when he was done with his practice, and he followed through (same with Hosmer).

Danny Duffy signing autographs before the game. Somebody asked him about his arm, and he said it felt good. He also said he was going to start throwing curve balls this week.

Louis Mendoza signed some autographs on his way out of the stadium after pitching a few innings. He brought his flowing locks along with his A-game.

Hosmer pointed to some fans he had signed autographs for earlier. He had a good report with the crowd and seems ready to be a superstar.

I didn't get a photo, but Lorenzo Cain stopped to sign autographs on his way in and his way out. There was a couple who had a Cain jersey because he had signed an autograph in Spring Training last year. He told a few people they had to wait until he signed their stuff first. He was very friendly and had fun with the crowd.

Tim Collins took his beard to Team USA after this game.

I have a bunch of Moose photos, but this is my favorite. He signed a ton of autographs and is obviously one of the fan favorites. Here, a dad has just asked him if he had any game balls for his son. Moose said he would see what he had and ended up giving this 8-year-old kid a pair of game-used batting gloves.

It was pretty awesome. That kid and I are both life long Moustakas fans now.

Salvador Perez is a big dude. My dad told a woman behind us that he would be an all-star soon. (more about her in another post). She suddenly went nuts and was begging Salvy for an autograph. He obliged.

This final photo is of Dayton Moore. We left after the seventh inning to go peruse the minor league fields and see what was going on. There were a couple of practices and a few guys in the same light blue shirt as Moore.

Now, of course I have a few choice things I have always wanted to say to the General Manager of the Royals (Why did you sign Yuni? Can't Giavotella get a real shot at second?), but when he walked by us and said "How's it going?" I blanked.

My dad said "Great."

And that was it. It was a powerful conversation and I'm sure that Mr. Moore understands what he needs to do now to make sure the Royals are a competitive team this year.

And, my dad was right: it was a pretty great day.

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