For Pete's Sake

Royals’ Rusty Kuntz says fan petition led to creation of his talking bobblehead

Kansas City Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz.
Kansas City Royals first base coach Rusty Kuntz.

One recent morning at Royals spring-training camp, first-base/outfield coach Rusty Kuntz was left shaking his head.

“Why? I don’t know,” Kuntz said.

It wasn’t because of a play that was being run on a practice field or even during a game. No, Kuntz was talking about the Royals’ plan to give away a bobblehead in his image on April 28 when the Minnesota Twins come to Kauffman Stadium.

It requires purchasing a theme ticket, because this is not your run-of-the mill bobblehead.

“Apparently, they tell me it’s going to do everything but walk,” Kuntz said. “It’s going to talk and you’re going to be able to comb its hair.”

That may sound like Kuntz is making a joke, but the Royals tweeted that it indeed will have those attributes.

Kuntz said the team gave him a list of quotes that he recorded including, “Oh, player!” and “Now that’s what I’m talking about!”

“Some of the things that I wanted to say that I’ve said in the past,” Kuntz said with a smile, “they said, no, no, you can’t say that.”

One of the phrases on the naughty list was what Kuntz told Christian Colon after his single gave the Royals the lead for good in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series.

You can hear it in this clip, and while it’s not terrible language, you can understand why it wasn’t used:

More than anything, Kuntz was surprised to hear that the Royals would be giving away the bobblehead.

“I had asked somebody upstairs (in Royals offices): ‘How did this ever happen?’ He said, ‘well it started with a guy’s thought and we threw a number out there for a petition.’ (The fan) had to get thousands of signatures and he did it. And voila.”

That fan is Jeremy Scheuch, who tweeted about it last year.

The actual bobblehead will be even better the one envisioned. But the bottom line remains that Kuntz is a fan favorite.

“It’s kind of cool, I guess,” Kuntz said. “I have no idea why they would want my head on a bobblehead. It is nice that they considered it, I guess. It’s always been a Little League dream of mine to have a bobblehead, even back in the 50s.”

Did they have bobbleheads back then?

“That would be no,” Kuntz said with a chuckle.

Rusty Kuntz on his evolution as a baseball coach

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff