Archive for Monday, April 2, 2007

Keegan: Back to the ballpark

April 2, 2007


He would have preferred being in Atlanta, sitting next to Chris Piper tonight, calling the national title game on radio. Instead, he'll be sitting in the K this afternoon, next to Paul Splittorff, calling Opening Day on television.

"It's not a bad thing to fall back on," announcer Bob Davis said Sunday, after returning home to Lawrence from the Kansas City Royals' final preseason workout at Kauffman Stadium. "It'll be a fun day. I don't know how many hundreds of Japanese media will be in for the series, as well as the Boston contingency, which is always large."

Japanese reporters are following Daisuke Matsuzaka, who will start Thursday for the Red Sox against Zack Greinke, recovered from depression and coming off a strong spring training.

Matsuzaka, 26, was the MVP of the inaugural World Baseball Classic and was the object of a new-age bidding war this past offseason. What made it different was that teams had to bid just for the right to negotiate with him. The Red Sox won that battle, paying $51 million, then gave him another $52 million spread out over six years.

The Red Sox weren't the only big spenders. Gil Meche, 28, made his major-league debut with the Seattle Mariners at the age of 22. He has won just 55 games, still good enough for a five-year, $55 million free-agent contract from the Royals. That's quite a gamble, and it's a good sign that general manager Dayton Moore let it be known to Royals owner David Glass he wasn't about to accept his job offer without access to the checkbook.

Curt Schilling, World Series hero with the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Red Sox, opposes Meche today. It's difficult not to think about the steroid hearings whenever Schilling's flapping jaws show up on television. Schilling was called to testify in front of a pack of grandstanding politicians because he had a couple of years earlier vented his disgust over wide-spread steroid use to Sports Illustrated. In his moment of "truth" before Congress, Schilling backtracked from those statements and said in retrospect nothing could be further from the truth than what he told SI. The star-struck politicians were so impressed they appointed him the head of some committee we haven't heard a thing about since.

Steroids will continue to be the cloud that won't lift, especially because Barry Bonds* is on course to pass Hank Aaron as baseball's all-time home run king, once he hits No. 756*.

At the opposite end of the national spotlight, the Royals will try to avoid a fourth consecutive 100-loss season. Davis likes their chances.

"You have to be upbeat about some of the position players," Davis said. "(Debuting third baseman) Alex Gordon looks like he has a chance to be a special player. Mark Teahen has adapted to the outfield nicely. He's a good athlete. (First baseman) Ryan Shealy has a chance to be a good player."

Tony Pena Jr., son of the Royals' former manager, starts at shortstop, next to veteran Mark Grudzielanek, whose sore knee won't keep him out of the lineup.

"Good to have him in there with all the freshmen," Davis said.

It doesn't quite match calling the action of freshmen Sherron Collins and Darrell Arthur playing for a national title, but Davis has no complaints about his 11th Opening Day in the booth.


Shelby 10 years, 10 months ago

Bob Davis is the worst play-by-play announcer ever associated with the Royals.

TheNorthlander 10 years, 10 months ago

I can't critique Bob's play-by-play since I wouldn't waste my time listening to the Royals on the radio...

...but I like his "radio-voice."

I have a very strong feeling it's because I immediately equate him with the Kansas Jayhawks.

TheNorthlander 10 years, 10 months ago

I grew up listening to Harry Caray and Steve Stone on WGN. I feel very spoiled.

I like tuning into WGN-AM to hear Pat Hughes and Ron Santo now and they are actually very entertaining.

Listening to a Royals game on the radio is about one of the most boring events possible. No disrespect to the Royals, it just can't be very fun when you are on the brink of losing 100+ games and less than 11,000 fans are at the ballpark starting in mid-August.

Shelby 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm comparing him to Denny Matthews, Fred White, Ryan Lefebvre, Paul Splittorf, et al. He sucks. Balls. He's an embarassment.

Shelby 10 years, 10 months ago

Nationally recognized sports columnists, such as ESPN baseball writer Rob Neyer, DESPISE him and his SHEER INCOMPETENCE when it comes to talking about and commentating on baseball.

Eric Neuteboom 10 years, 10 months ago

Who the hell cares about Bob?

It's baseball time, baby!

Go Royals!

thanksforcoming 10 years, 10 months ago

JJJuuuuust a bit outside. Keegan, don't put asterisks by numbers. That idea is getting tired, come up with something on your own. Besides, as much as I hate to say it, Bonds has never been caught, and baseball never had a rule against steroids. So, why don't you go put an asterisks by the comissioners careers, and not let them into the hall of fame.

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