Eric Berry’s journey from a cancer diagnosis last fall to back with his Chiefs teammates on Wednesday wasn’t easy, and his return to the NFL is far from over, but that’s part of what makes his story such an inspiration to others.
Adding another key piece via trade in the do-everything Ben Zobrist, the Kansas City Royals again show themselves to be a club that is very clearly chasing the highest goals. A year after the players had the front office’s back, in other words, the favor has been returned.
I imagine we’ll get more Chiefs questions here in this silly weekly exercise as we go through August and especially get into September. It’s just that the Royals are 60-38, which is a 99-win pace, and they just traded for Johnny Cueto.
The Royals are very clearly in the mode of playoff preparation. They did not need Johnny Cueto to be in the playoffs, but they might need him to win in the playoffs. The next two months are about maximizing those chances.
The Royals are the American League’s defending champions and current owners of the circuit’s best record, but they also are a bit like a fraternity that always throws the loudest parties no matter what the university administration says. This is all by design, too, cultivated by a strongly held belief from club executives that athletes who laugh together, win together.
Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura was dominant, then awful against the Pirates. He was a big-league starter, then being shipped to the minors. Now, after an injury to Jason Vargas, he’s coming back to the Royals dugout. His mental toughness appeared to be the primary issue spurring his demotion, and it is a question going forward after the psychological roller coaster Ventura has ridden the last few days.
A first-place prize of $50 will be awarded in each of three categories: local, national and international. Photos taken between Memorial Day and Labor Day are accepted. Deadline for entries is 11:59 p.m. Sept. 30.
There was a weird moment here. Well, that’s not true. At Big 12 Media Days, there are lots of weird moments. I saw a grown man shake a football coach’s hand, and then, literally, skip away with a smile on his face that I imagine still has not faded. I saw a quorum of Big 12 mascots silently but simultaneously do that gangnam style dance from 2012.
The Kansas football program is in a historically bad place, even by its own standards. How do you turn the worst of 64 power conference programs around? One pep talk at a time, one convinced mind at a time. Across an aisle from David Beaty, maybe 20 feet away, sits perhaps the best model possible for what he’s trying to do. Bill Snyder has lived what Beaty is only beginning.
The first bit of real news from Big 12 Media Days here came before the first question. Bob Bowlsby, the commissioner, mentioned in his opening statement that the league had adopted what is believed to be the first-of-its-kind limitation on contact for football teams.
The All-Star Game has come and gone, so it’s officially the second half of the baseball season. The Star’s Sam Mellinger takes a look at five keys for the Royals in last three months of the regular season.
Enjoy it. More than anything else, I hope Royals fans just enjoy tonight. Because as much as anyone else, they deserve this. They deserve having this All-Star Game in large part about them, and that’s not only a reference to their takeover of the voting.
Disliking or ignoring women’s sports is popular in some circles, but that view is short-sighted, ignores strong trends and is largely built on the theory that the world today will be the same world tomorrow.
Kansas City left fielder Alex Gordon and the Royals have shared every flash of potential, slump, obstacle and doubt together. He has been the fans’ favorite punching bag, and he has been the fans’ favorite player. He has been dismissed as a bust, and he is now a perennial All-Star with his own regular and personal ticket promotion.
Doesn’t matter if Kansas City center fielder Lorenzo Cain is on the bases or chasing a ball in the gap or, really, singing Gold Digger in the clubhouse. It is easy and it is smooth — and it is a bald-faced lie because it hides endless hours spent refining how he runs and an insatiable need to be the very best at what he does.
There is no way to know where this is headed. The Royals have long proven themselves as a resilient bunch, but they have not been through anything like this, not even that horrendous last May that cost Pedro Grifol his position as hitting coach.
Paulo Orlando gave the Royals a 9-5 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays with his home run in the ninth inning in game one of Tuesday’s doubleheader at Kauffman Stadium, and he could be Kansas City’s answer in right field if Alex Rios continues to struggle.
The Royals are struggling offensively again. They’ve scored three or fewer runs in all but one of their last seven games, and in 12 of their last 17. I do not bring this up for a cheap reason to link to this column, which could basically run in the paper again this morning, but to point out a subtle but encouraging fact.
There is a movement here locally to brand Kansas City as the soccer capital of America. It’s a cute title, something for the soccer community here to grab onto, but also something that is entirely subjective and made-up and that other cities could beef with. Except the evidence continues to push in Kansas City’s direction.
Baseball can claim victory, a good All-Star starting lineup selected with — by far — the biggest voter “turnout” in history and the biggest voting discussion in at least 58 years. For a sport in need of buzz and creating younger fans, this is a terrific outcome. For the Royals, this is more about hometown support, and less about hijacking the system.
The Missouri Mavericks and new owner Lamar Hunt Jr. are making inroads in growing the hockey culture around Kansas City, but there are still multiple reasons why KC won’t pop up Monday when the NHL begins accepting bids for expansion franchises.