July 19, 2011; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals players Eric Hosmer (35) and Mike Moustakas (8) celebrate after beating the Chicago White Sox 4-2 at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE

The Boys in Blue


A couple of years ago a friend told me that I, as a musician, really needed to watch Walk the Line.  I watched the movie and was thoroughly impressed by the music and the story.  Less than a week after watching the movie I received an email from Jerry inviting me to sing for the minimal security prisoners at Lansing Correctional Facility.  I don’t think I would have accepted the invitation had I not recently seen the movie.

I asked Jerry what songs I should play, what stories were appropriate to share.  He told me, “Go with your heart.  Whatever you are passionate about, the men will appreciate.”

At that time I was working on an anthem about the Royals for Rustin Dodd’s contest in the KC Star.  I decided the debut performance of The Boys in Blue should be at Lansing.

Brett* the artist, one of my best friends, met me at Chick-fil-A for moral support.  He had agreed to accompany me toLansing.  Eating waffle fries and the best chicken sandwich in the world, we teased about stopping by the K on the way home as the Royals were in town.

*Yes, Brett was named after George Brett and is also a devoted Royals fan. 

Pulling into the parking lot, we were both a little nervous and had no idea what to expect.  The scene was straight out of a Hollywoodmovie — fences and razor wire and large men playing ball and working out and using all the words one would expect in any R-rated movie.  Brett and I walked through a fenced tunnel toward the facility.  I immediately imagined psychotic men rushing over to the fence and screaming obscenities at us.  What in the world am I doing here?  I wondered if I could run faster than Brett while carrying my guitar.   

We were greeted at the “welcome center” with probing wands and a thorough searching of all of our possessions.  Jerry entered a few minutes later wearing a Nebraska Cornhuskers polo shirt and we bantered for a few minutes about collegiate football and basketball.

Jerry walked us to the auditorium where two inmates, both younger than me, were already at work setting up the sound system and the projector.  Within minutes, Brett and I helped with setting up chairs, testing mikes, and getting ready for the concert.  We arrived early enough to be able to visit before the show started.  The two young men were both gracious and generous.  One said, “We want to take really good care of you so you’ll be sure to come back and see us again.”

I replied, “Let’s visit when I get done singing.  If you still want me to come back after I’m finished, then we can talk.”

Fifty or so inmates had arrived when Jerry nodded at me to start singing.  I fumbled with my notes and sheepishly introduced myself.

“So, I recently wrote a song about the Royals and I’ve never had the chance to perform it live.  I thought it might be a good song to kickoff the evening.”  And I sang this song:

Born in the summer of 1969

Taking down the Twinkies in a little overtime

Denny’s on the radio, and the rookie in Lou

We’re the Boys in Blue

 

Splittorff and Cookie and the mighty A.O.

Freddy and Big John on the Astroturf show

Fighting them Yankees, trying to break through

We are the Boys in Blue

 

Born in the summer of 1969

Taking down the Twinkies in a little overtime

Denny’s on the radio, and the rookie in Lou

We’re the Boys in Blue

 

Playing Philly in the cool autumn eve

Thanking the Willies for our first victory

Beat them Yankees, got something to prove

We are the Boys in Blue

 

From the heart of K.C.

White, Brett, Quiz and the Duke

Left a great legacy

And a trophy in blue

 

We have known the Bo

And a Saberhagen too

Monty’s in the zone

When Cone bids adieu

 

Now we’re banking on Billy

And Soria’s flames

Got a wild Moose a-comin’

Better get to the K

 

Born in the summer of 1969

Killed a Goose with some pine tar and the Cards in ‘85

Denny’s still on the radio,

We’ve got nothing to lose

We’re the Boys in Blue

 

I sang and shared stories for an hour.  After I finished, numerous men approached me to shake my hand and visit.  One man said, “Loved that Royals song.  Listen to them every chance I get.”  Another man said, “Listen here, I’m a Yankees fan and I’ll always be a Yankees fan.  But your song about the Royals, that was good stuff.  Thanks for sharing it.”

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Since that night, I’ve sang that song in several venues; each time I’ve felt that it just wasn’t quite finished.  A few weeks ago, I was taking a break from writing when I learned the motto for the 2012 season—Our Time.  Immediately, I knew the changes that needed to be made.

Now the last two stanzas read:

 

Now we’re Banking on Billy

And Soria’s flames

Gordo, Hosmer, and Moose

Are leading the way

 

Born in the summer of 1969

Killed a Goose with some pine tar and the Cards in ‘85

Denny’s still on the radio

Now it’s Our Time to prove

We’re the Boys in Blue

 

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 

Last fall, one of those young men that I met on that night was released and returned home.  Last night, he texted me and said, “Was just thinking about you and that Royals’ song.  I bet this year is Our Time.”

I sure hope so.

 

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Kansas City Royals KC KC Royals MLB Our Time Royals