Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Royals Tales

I recently started reading Denny Matthews's "Tales from the Royals Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Stories Ever Told."

This is certainly not a literary cornerstone. The book is merely a collection of short stories and commentaries on the Royals by their long time radio announcer Denny Matthews. Denny has been a radio announcer for the Royals since their inception in 1969 and just last year was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame. The book is somewhat poorly organized as it starts with the very early days of the Royals, then jumps right to the World Series year of 1985. The last 2/3 of the book is just a laundry list of various Royals players and associates with Denny's thoughts on each person.

There is no dirt in the book, and it seems as though Denny really likes just about every person he's ever met. If you are a big Royals fan and are interested in hearing some tales about players of the past (like Marty Pattin's duck voice or Tony Muser's hidden sense of humor), this is a nice read. Those humorous stories are scattered around the book, but mostly it seems to be simply Denny's observations about various people he's met through the years.

Overall, a fun book for true Royals fans, but try not to spend to much money on it... :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Over the last several years, the Royals have gone through boatloads of players, finished with one winning season, had several losing season, fired a manager, had a manager quit and saw the rise and fall of Ken Harvey.

But, one constant through all of this is injuries. The Royals still continue to struggle with injuries Today they have 10 players on the DL and seven of those are pitchers.

Where is the strength and conditioning team for the Royals? Groin pulls, back strains, and oblique injuries are common, but aren't these injuries avoidable? Before 2003, I had never heard of an oblique strain when Carlos Beltran missed the first two weeks of the season with one. Since then, it seems every player has missed games because of oblique problems.

As the injuries pile up, the Royals continue to call up players to the majors who are way too young and inexperienced. I'm all for developing youth, but just calling up a guy because he had one good week at AA doesn't seem like the smartest strategy.

After the disastrous 2004 season, Royals GM Allard Baird made some changes to the strength and conditioning team. They haven't seemed to help. If they want to be successful with these young players, I think they should invest in a better team of trainers and doctors. I'd hate to see Zack Greinke miss 2006 after Tommy John surgery.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Get Fit!

Last week, I started a 5K training program. I found this 6 week program at I've started similar programs in the past (including this one), but have yet to make it to the end of the program.

For a while now, I've been feeling sluggish and out of shape. I find myself breathing heavily after going up the stairs. So, I've started this running program again, and hopefully this time I will make it to the end. I'm just starting week 2 of the program.

To help manage the intervals (the programs include alternating run/walk times), I went to Target to look at some watches. I was looking at the Timex Ironman watches when I saw the Timex Heart Rate Monitor watch. It was on sale for only $42.00, so I bought it.

The included fitness guide describes the Heart Zones training system. Using the watch, you can monitor your heart rate and train at different zones. Each zone represents a progressive level of exercise, from "Healthy Heart" up through "Red Line." Each individual's zone levels are based on his/her maximum heart rate which must be calculated before starting the training program. Depending on your goals, you can train for different times in the various zones. Do so allows you to calculate training points. For example, of you train for 20 minutes in Zone 3, you've earned 60 points. You can then shoot for a number of points per week depending on your goals. Maintaining current weight should be around 700-1000 points per week, for example.

It will be interested to see how my heart zones are affected as I work through my 5K program. It's also kinda fun to wear the monitor and see what my heart rate is as I go through my day (apparently, blogging about running causes my heart to beat around 73 times per minute).

I'll keep you posted...

Friday, June 17, 2005


One of my favorite Royals players, Brian Anderson, has started a blog. Okay, so Brain's no Roger Clemens, but I love his attitude and he seems like a real stand up guy. He had an awful year last year, but wasn't afraid to answer questions and admit he sucked. He's been on the DL most of the season this year, but has started throwing again and hopefully will be available soon.

Brian was mic'd for the television broadcast last night, and it was interesting to hear him chat. It looks like his blog will contain some interesting stuff about baseball as well as a glimpse into the life of a ballplayer.

A Royal Record

The Royals continue to play great baseball under new manager Buddy Bell. Last night, they completed a sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Think about that. The Royals hadn't swept a series since 2003, and within a month they swept the Yankees and the Dodgers.

In doing so, they became the first team to ever sweep the Dodgers and the Yankees in a month. That's an impressive record, until you think about. The Dodgers and Yankees are in different leagues, so the only way to sweep them both in one season is during inter-league play, which only goes back about 10 years.

Still, the Royals are finding ways to win, and are playing much better than they did under Pena. They've won 11 of 15 under Bell and most of those with out their best hitter, Mike Sweeney.

Tonight, rookie JP Howell takes on Roger Clemens. Should be a good one.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Does the manager make a difference???

Kevin Keitzman had a good point today:

Buddy Bell's record with the Royals is now 8-4. When Tony Pena resigned, the Royals were 8-25.

So, if the Royals lose their next 20 games in a row, they will still have a better record than what Pena had. That's quite a statement. Bell's only managed 12 games, but in those 12 games, the team has accomplished things that hadn't been done since 2003: Sweep a series and win back to back series on the road.

And Bell's done it without Sweeney who's been out a week with a sore oblique and with Greinke struggling. One could surmise that Pena had a better team since Greinke looked unhittable and Sweeney was killing the ball.

Was Bell the right choice? Who knows. All I know is that the Royals are playing much better ball, and the wins are following.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

New Friends at Tech-Ed

I spent the past Week in Orlando attending Microsoft's Tech-Ed 2005 Conference. While at the attendee party at Universal Studios, I met a couple of folks who work at MOBIFORM Software Ltd in Vancouver. Mobiform is working on a product called Aurora that helps create XAML documents for Microsoft Avalon. The tool will eventually be a plug-in for Visual Studio.

I had a great time hanging out with my new friends. We took in a few of the attractions at Universal (including the awesome Revenge of the Mummy), and after the park closed we enjoyed some of the night life in downtown Orlando. We had a blast enjoying the evening and good conversation. I look forward to keeping in touch with Glenn and Alexandra.


Sad to see the body of David Koch was found on Grouse Mountain in Vancouver. I first heard about Koch last week when I was reading some blogs. Of course, Koch's disappearance was never mentioned on any news cast that I had seen. I wonder why? The disappearance of a young blonde girl has dominated the news for the last week and yet we hear nothing about Koch. I suppose the fact that she's a beautiful girl and that foul play seems to be involved makes Natalee Holloway's story more interesting for the media. But it's seems disappointing to me that the news I hear seems to be based more on ratings than on newsworthiness.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Are those capri pants you're wearing?

I'm seeing a disturbing trend here at Microsoft's Tech-Ed event in Orlando... Men in capri pants. That's right. Men.

I'm not sure how this trend got started, but from what I can tell, it seems most popular with men who are here from Europe. Let's just hope it doesn't catch on in the states.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

How's It Going?

Jason Whitlock hates it.

Joe Posnanski hates it.

Dan Fox is questioning it.

My friends and co-workers have been asking me what I think of it.

What is it? The hiring this week of Buddy Bell as the new Royals manager.

Before this week, I had never heard of Buddy Bell. I’m too young to remember him as a player, (18 years in the majors as a third baseman) and I’ve never followed the two teams he’s managed (Colorado and Detroit).

So, I don’t know what to think of him. Royals GM Allard Baird seems to like him. In the various interviews I’ve heard, Baird had referred to Bell’s selection as an All-Star at the age of 21. Baird believes this makes him qualified to help the young players on this team grow and develop, since he himself has experienced success at the major league level at a fairly young age.

Bell so far is 2-0 in his tenure in Kansas City. Both games were extremely well played, close games against the struggling Yankees. Who knows what effect Bell has had on the team in his short time here, but the team is playing much more fundamentally sound baseball than in earlier games this season.

Bell has also stuck with Mike MacDougal as his closer. I have always maintained that Mac the Ninth should be the closer and Affeldt should either start or be traded. Until Mac proves he’s not capable of closing (without fighting injury), leave him in that role.

Tonight, the Royals will go for a sweep of the Yankees. They haven’t swept a series since 2003 and a sweep against the Bronx Bombers in Bell’s first series will surely ease the minds of the local newspaper columnists.