Thursday is "School Day at The K," and over the past dozen years that has often meant one of two things.
1. The Royals win.
2. Something weird happens.
The Royals are 8-4 in the last 12 games played on “School Day at The K.” In those contest, there have been blowout losses (two of them), snow, rain and a memorable postgame interview.
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Here are some highlights (and lowlights) from those dozen games on “School Day at The K:”
2017: Ian Kennedy had a sensational start to the season. In five starts in April, Kennedy's ERA was 2.30, opponents hit .159 and he struck out 28 in 31 1/3 innings. But he took the mound on "School Day at The K" and suffered a right medial hamstring strain. Kennedy landed on the 10-day disabled list and never matched that success from the opening month. Oh, and the White Sox won that game 8-3.
2016: It was a brutal game from the start. The first two Washington Nationals batters reached base via an error. Bryce Harper followed with an RBI single, then came three straight doubles. When the top of the first was over, the Nationals had scored six runs and had a win expectancy of 90 percent (per Baseball Reference). Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer was ejected after arguing from the dugout. Washington ended up winning 13-2. “Just an overall really crappy feeling,” starter Kris Medlen said the game had (mercifully) ended.
2015: Hey, the Royals won this one, taking down the Indians 7-4. Nothing to complain about here, right? Oh, there was a 2 hour, 17 minute rain delay. The kids had to love that.
2014: The chatter among fans before this game was about how the Royals needed to send struggling third baseman Mike Moustakas to the minors. Moose then had three RBIs and Jason Vargas allowed two runs in 6 2/3 innings as the Royals beat the Colorado Rockies 3-2. The hero of the game, Moustakas answered most of the postgame queries by saying with controlled anger, “Vargy pitched a great game.”
2013: This turned into Snow Day at The K. And it was miserable. Snow, sleet, rain and frigid temperatures on May 2 forced organizers to reschedule School Day at The K. It was played on June 12 and it was a lot of fun. James Shields started for the Royals against Detroit’s Justin Verlander. Down 2-0 in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs and a 0-2 count, Lorenzo Cain hit a two-run homer off Jose Valverde. In the 10th inning, Eric Hosmer’s single scored Miguel Tejada (remember him?) and the Royals won 3-2. Teammates poured barbecue sauce on Hosmer after the game.
2012: The Royals took a 3-2 lead on the Orioles into the seventh inning, but Wilson Betemit led off the inning with a single against Luke Hochevar. Chris Davis followed with a single to center that Jarrod Dyson misplayed. Betemit scored and Davis took second. It seemed like the Royals would avoid further damage when Davis was on third with two outs, but Aaron Crow walked the next two batters and J.J. Hardy’s two-run single was the difference as Baltimore won 5-3. It wasn’t a crazy game, just indicative of the Royals’ struggles at that time.
2011: Royals crushed the Orioles 9-1. Melky Cabrera, who is now playing for the White Sox, had three hits, including a home run. Chris Getz, who is now in the White Sox front office, had two hits, including a double and a stolen base.
2010: Royals downed the Indians 6-4. Yuniesky Betancourt had two doubles, while Alberto Callaspo hit a home run.
2009: Mike Sweeney had an RBI in the ninth inning, but the Royals held on for a 3-1 victory over the Mariners. Yep, Sweeney, who played 13 seasons for the Royals, was with Seattle in 2009, his second-to-last season in the majors. Sweeney is now in the Royals’ front office. This game was also noteworthy because it was over in just 2 hours, 33 minutes as Brian Bannister pitched a gem.
2008: Royals beat the Tigers 8-4. Gil Meche got the win.
2007: We remember this game for all the wrong reasons. Oakland crushed the Royals 17-3 and proved Yogi Berra wrong. It was over before it was over because the A’s led 12-0 heading to the bottom of the sixth inning. Oakland hit six home runs, and the A’s Dan Johnson went 4 for 4 with two dingers and 11 total bases. Jack Cust hit a pair of home runs, and Danny Putnam had three hits, scored twice and hit a home run. Putnam, as you probably do not know, had six hits in his 11-game career. Luke Hudson started, went two innings and allowed five runs. Zack Greinke allowed a run in a relief appearance.
2006: A more exciting School Day at The K game you may not find. The Indians scored three in the top of the first, but the Royals rallied and had a 5-3 lead going to the sixth inning. Cleveland tied it, but the Royals took a 8-5 lead into the eighth inning. Steve Andrade and Ambiorix Burgos blew the lead (Burgos balked in the tying run), but Aaron Guiel and Angel Berrora hit solo shots in the bottom of the frame and the Royals won 10-8.