If the biggest Chiefs draft in years — the one with nine picks, just as the roster seems to be maturing into a contender — is going to be great, it’s going to be with Chris Conley, the third-round receiver from Georgia, being at least very good. This is especially true because of the trade the Chiefs made to get him.
Attendance at Kauffman Stadium is up 51 percent from this time last year, and the Royals are on pace to break the franchise attendance record of 2,477,700 set in 1989. “I'm not surprised, just because I know the passion of our fans,” general manager Dayton Moore says. “I notice it every day.”
The Chiefs are in a really good place right now. With natural progression and a productive offseason that is now mostly complete, they are in position to get back in the playoffs with 10 or 11 wins. With a little luck, maybe more.
The Royals collected nine ejections and five suspensions in the first three weeks. National media began calling them the Bad Boy Royals. A Cleveland pitcher watched the first game of the series against the Royals wearing boxing gloves. Entrepreneurial fans printed up “Straight Outta Kauffman” T-shirts. And, son of a gun, the Royals are wearing it well. They entered May with the best record in the American League.
The crowd stood and cheered, first from behind the home dugout and quickly around the rest of this old stadium. Nights like this used to happen all the time. Danny Duffy, whom the Royals have long believed could thrive in nights like this, walked from the mound to his cheering friends and teammates having pitched the Royals into first place.
Updated May 5: This man is wanted on a Kansas parole violation warrant for burglary and identity theft. If you have information about any of these fugitives, call the TIPS Hotline at 816-474-TIPS (816-474-8477), go to KCCrimeStoppers.com, or text TIP452 plus message and send to 274637. All calls are anonymous.
If the Royals are being targeted for over-celebrating or showing too much emotion — and there are people around the game who believe this to be true — that says more about baseball than it does about the Royals. Respect for the game is important, but so is being free to show natural emotion.
It was reckless, how the A’s Brett Lawrie slid into Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar in the seventh inning Friday. There is no need for Lawrie to come in with his spike high and off the base — directly into Escobar’s leg. But there is no reason to believe it was malicious, and there is an important distinction here.
Billy Butler is back in Kansas City for a three-game series at his old baseball home this weekend. Through some combination of happenstance and serendipity, the schedule gives him the perfect reunion. Including the 2014 playoffs, in which the Royals beat Butler’s new team, the A’s, and the 2012 All-Star game, Butler has played 595 games at Kauffman Stadium. But, always in a blue and white uniform. Always from the first-base dugout.
For all of the mistakes or personality quirks that kept Mike Alden from being a more thorough success as Missouri’s athletic director the past 17 years, he will forever be remembered for getting the two most important parts of his professional life absolutely right. He hired and kept a terrific football coach. And he led the school from a bickering and unstable conference to the most powerful and richest league in the country.
The path back to the playoffs this year is different than the one to the playoffs a year ago, and the Royals’ understanding of and approach to that fact will determine so much. Conversations with people inside and outside of the club show that the best version of the 2015 Royals will be only tangentially related to the best version of the 2014 Royals. The challenge for this group is to succeed again among these moving parts.
We can joke now, because, man, for a minute there it looked like the New Royals relapsed into the Old Royals as Yordano Ventura — the 23-year-old with the 100 mph fastball and new long-term contract — finished the 81st pitch of a shutdown opening day performance by throwing his glove to the ground and writhing in pain. Ventura will make his next start. And, all together now, exhale.
The last time Derek Mitchell weighed himself, the scale said 576 pounds. That was about a month ago, and about 50 pounds less than the number in November that convinced him to change how he was living and take back his health.
It used to be that the only thing surer than the Royals losing games was Kansas City losing its best players in or even before free agency. But with the news of Yordano Ventura’s new contract, the Royals maintained a remarkable track record in keeping their best young players long-term.
After becoming general manager of the Royals, Dayton Moore put a laser focus on the most fundamental and obvious way the Royals were not a big-league operation. Moore and the rest of the Royals front office would make sure that, if nothing else, their team would no longer be the one to let a routine fly ball drop between two outfielders who each assumed the other one would catch it.
Kelly Oubre will enter the NBA Draft and this was always the plan — high school to one year at Kansas to the NBA — never much of a doubt. But Oubre’s official decision, along with Kentucky’s run at 40-0, is a chance to talk about how Bill Self and Kansas have fared with one-and-done players.
The Kansas basketball flame burns hot. White hot. So hot that when Bill Self was hired as coach 12 years ago next month, he touched his chair at his introductory news conference and joked that his hands burned.
There is no question KU coach Bill Self wanted this one with a particular passion. The Jayhawks led Wichita State by eight with five minutes left in the first half. Which had to make watching his team fall apart over the last 25 minutes hurt even more.
The phrase is simple and to the point, somehow both specific and vague. It is strong enough to be the basis of how Bill Self maintains one of college basketball’s powers, but flexible enough for him to bend into the moment.