Kansas City, Mo. One man's impressions of the 24th Opening Day in Royals history. . .
The pre-game notes look like they were composed by a migraine-suffering Franz Kafka, or by Edgar Allen Poe after root canal surgery.
. . .David Howard "has started five games at short and is hitless."
. . .Brian McRae is "0-for-21 since opening the season with a single in his first at bat."
. . .Royals have "scored just one run in the last 23 innings." (Now it's two runs in the last 32 innings).
Brian McRae, Kevin McReynolds and Mike Macfarlane were a combined 7-for-59 (.118) on the disastrous season-opening West Coast trip. That's hardly what you would call a Big Mac Attack.
When in baseball history has an umpire received a standing ovation? Steve Palermo did here as he hobbled to the mound to throw out a first pitch.
Palermo, an American League ump who lives in Overland Park, is rehabilitating after he was shot while chasing some robbers outside a Dallas restaurant last summer.
The Oak Ridge Boys sang the National Anthem, but the fans had to wait until the fifth inning before the familiar strains of "Elvira" were piped over the public address system, thus providing the crowd with its traditional Opening Day dose of oom-papa-mau-mau.
War, death, pestilence and famine are the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, but there is only one Horsman in the major leagues. Vince Horsman is a 25-year-old left-handed pitcher on the Oakland A's roster. Horsman is from Nova Scotia which is somewhere north of Maine.
Speaking of war, seemingly more small aircraft flew over Royals Stadium towing advertising signs than were shot down during all the dogfights in World War I. Yet none of the aerial ads were for Red Baron pizza.
Bargain hunters at Royals Stadium concession stands will have to settle for coffee and peanuts. Those are the least expensive items available at $1.25 apiece.
A large beer no surprise is the high-ticket item at $3, of which only about $2.90, I'd guess, is pure profit.
Oddity: All concession prices are divisible by 25 except nachos which go for $2.40. Cheese is 50 cents extra, and who holds the cheese on nachos?
Obscure Facts You Won't Even Find in Baseball Weekly: Monday's announced crowd of 39,428 and the game-time temperature of 63 degrees were both Opening Day firsts. Never before had the Royals announced those numbers on Opening Day.
Jose Canseco's scorching two-run line-drive home run into the left field water spectacular in the seventh inning was too low to bring rain and too high to tear a hole in KC left fielder Keith Miller's glove.
By the time the eighth inning rolled around, thousands of empty seats stood as mute testimony to the Royals' early-season batting slump. Either that or those fans vanished because they had spent all their money.
If the Royals lose tonight, they'll match the start of the 1988 Kansas football team. The '88 Jayhawks dropped their first eight before beating Kansas State, 30-12.
Is Hal McRae a ticking time bomb? Perhaps.
"If things continue to go this way, I'll have to do something to shake the club up," the Royals' skipper said. "Whether I'll rant and rave and curse, I don't know."
Seven different pitchers on the Royals' staff are now 0-1, proof that, while the Royals may be losers, at least they're equal opportunity losers.