Gregorian Chants

Friday Five: Moustakas’ hollow birthday; Royals’ glove story; Manning’s comic success

Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas (8) follows through on an RBI single in the second inning to score Lorenzo Cain during Sunday's baseball game against the New York Yankees on June 8, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Kansas City Royals' Mike Moustakas (8) follows through on an RBI single in the second inning to score Lorenzo Cain during Sunday's baseball game against the New York Yankees on June 8, 2014 at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City Star

1. Day of remembrance

An unopened birthday gift basket of cookies and such rested on a table in the Royals clubhouse early Thursday afternoon.

No doubt someone would open it later, and no doubt the gesture to send it was appreciated by its recipient, third baseman Mike Moustakas.

But the thing about being born on Sept. 11 is that everything changed on that haunting day in 2001 as Moustakas was turning 13.

Now, he has a tattoo on his forearm commemorating the day, which it would be more correct to say he “observes” than revels in.

If the schedule allows, he’s apt to have a quiet dinner with friends and family … but that’s as far as it goes.

“I don’t celebrate my birthday any more; there’s nothing to celebrate on that day,” he said last week. “It’s a time to reflect and remember the people who were lost on such a sad day.”

Moustakas said the events of the day “impacted me heavily as a kid,” but he rejected the notion that he somehow felt it more deeply because it was his birthday.

“That’s just being selfish; it’s just that there’s nothing much to celebrate,” said Moustakas, who noted he knows a few other people who share the same birthday and feel the same way.

The day, he added, “really changed the way people think.”

2. Have glove … will travel

By now, we thought we could hold these truths to be self-evident about the Royals: They won’t score much but maybe enough. They will pitch ridiculously well. And they will play the field masterfully.

In this little 6-8 lull they’re in, though, part of the standard has been breaking down.

With three errors in Thursday’s 6-3 loss to Boston, the Royals have committed 19 in this 14-game stretch.

That’s only one measure of defense, of course, and maybe a crude one.

But since committing 76 errors in their first 131 games and being generally regarded as one of the best defenses in baseball, the Royals now are 22nd in Major League Baseball and 10th in the American League in errors.

They may or may not make the playoffs under any circumstances, but they’re going to have to revive that part of their game to have a chance.

3. Rice patsies

The NFL obviously has botched this Ray Rice mess, but it would be interesting to see how this would have played out if the state of New Jersey had acted remotely responsibly in prosecuting the matter.

For all the rightful outrage against the NFL, the legal system arguably failed even more egregiously.

4. Broadway Sheldon

Nice to see that fun-loving former Mizzou star Sheldon Richardson of the New York Jets has retained his personality despite the propensity of NFL teams to try to stifle that.

Before the Jets opener against Oakland last week, the defensive lineman told the New York Daily News, “When I see myself on film, I pat myself on the back.”

Richardson also noted that he gets held on every play (“100 percent of the time,” he said), that NFL practices are harder for him than NFL games and that “most definitely” he expects to have a dominant season.

5. Peyton’s place

Enjoyed talking to Archie Manning about his son Peyton for a story we ran today about his improbable recovery from neck surgeries.

Couldn’t resist asking him about the sense of humor you can see in his son’s commercials and that were so evident when he hosted “Saturday Night Live” in 2007.

Everywhere he goes, Archie Manning said, laughing, people bring up the “United Way” skit that features Peyton belittling kids he’s supposedly mentoring.

But comedy doesn’t come naturally to Peyton, his father said.

“Peyton kind of attacks those things just like he does football,” he said. “Supposed to be funny, so he wants it to be real funny, and he’s going to work at it. It’s a work thing more than a natural comedy thing.”

For example, when he hosted SNL, it was like game week with a painstaking daily routine, including breaking down video.

When the father arrived in New York on Friday, son summoned him to the studio.

“In the little green room there, he was watching film of one the skits,” Archie Manning recalled. “I asked him how’s this going to be, he said, ‘We’re going to kick their (rear).’”

“If you ever do a commercial with Peyton,” he added, he can be tough on production people.

And even family best be ready.

For that one that features Archie, Peyton and Eli Manning rapping, each arrived from different places at the studio that morning.

While they waited for Peyton, Eli seemed to be warning Archie when he said, “‘You know your lines? … You don’t do a commercial with Peyton and not be prepared.’”

Just like his quarterbacking, making it look natural by preparing so hard.

To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to Follow him on Twitter: @vgregorian. For previous columns, go to