I rip the Royals. A lot. Lord knows, they’ve deserved it. And they kind of make it easy.
But the last couple days some really positive things have happened around the team. Not necessarily in the win column or on the field. But stuff behind the scenes
First, the Royals hosted a group of visually impaired kids from Alphapointe on Tuesday. As I read the article in The Star, I thought to myself it was a great idea. These kids will never see the game, but they can hear and feel the game. The Royals took them on a tour through the Hall of Fame, a walk past the fountains and down to the field to listen to batting practice. They got to meet some players and Denny Matthews was on hand to teach some of the gang how to grip a baseball to throw certain pitches. It had to have been a thrill for those kids.
As usual, the John Sleezer photos that accompany the article online are delightful. My favorite is the one he took from field level as three of the kids leaned over to feel the grass. I mean, who among us hasn’t wanted to do that?
Second, on Tuesday the Royals had 11 year old Austin Sides throw out the ceremonial first pitch. His catcher was his father, who was returning from a year deployment in the Mideast. Austin didn’t know he was throwing to his dad. Well, just watch.
These reunions get me every time. But I guess they’re not for everyone.
“Before I deployed we went to an Angels-Royals game, so I’m like ‘let’s pick up where we left off’ and I’m like how better could that be than a first pitch at a Royals game,” Robert Sides said.
He got in touch with the Royals and, a few weeks later, got the go ahead. He knew he couldn’t keep his plan a complete secret.
“Becky, my wife, I let her know. Because she already said if I tried any type of surprise reunion with her she’d kill me and I believed her,” he said.
I like Becky.
I imagine these sorts of things are kind of tricky to manage. Do it too often and it will lose it’s appeal. Yet you can’t (and shouldn’t) ignore our service men and women. Kudos to the team for creating a great moment for the Sides family and those who witnessed it.
And finally, SungWoo is coming to Kansas City.
If you’re not familiar, SungWoo is on Twitter at KoreanFan_KC. He started following the team in the mid ’90s after catching a few games on the American Forces Korean Network broadcasts. He was watching to improve his English. After doing some research, he decided the Royals were the team to root for and he’s been one of us ever since. Read his story at Rambling Morons.
I’ll tell you, this guy is one hell of a dedicated fan. He’s up at all hours watching this team, he’s interacting on the web with idiots in Kansas City and now his wife bought him a plane ticket and he’s coming to Kauffman. And people are already stepping up to make sure this trip is an amazing experience.
— Danny Parkins (@DannyParkins) June 26, 2014
The guy has such a following on Twitter that there’s no way he’s going to pay for a thing while he’s in KC. I don’t know if he drinks beer, but it would be an honor to buy him a Boulevard. I don’t know if the Royals would do something for him, but I think it would be cool if they could recognize him some way.
Regardless of what happens, SungWoo is going to experience first-hand what we already know: Kansas City is a great place with some truly outstanding fans.
One final thought for this post. (It may not be positive. Your mileage may vary.) I’ll be at The K on Saturday for another Baseball Prospectus event. If you’re at the game I’m sure we’ll make enough noise you can find us if you like. We’ve never done a “Royals Authority Day” or “Royals Review Day” when we were over there, so this is about as close to a meet and greet that will happen if you’re into those sorts of things. I hope you got your tickets to the event. I look forward to it every year.