Your Cactus League Champion Kansas City Royals – Tuesday Notes
There’s finally some resolution coming in regards to the Royals roster. The second base and fifth starter jobs have been determined and the only two battles left are the final bullpen spot and backup catcher.
The hardest decisions have been made, as I think most would be okay with either Brett Hayes or George Kottaras backing up Salvador Perez, and there are four capable arms vying for the last bullpen spot and the fifth, J.C. Gutierrez, looked pretty good in Monday night’s win over the Dodgers.
So what else is new in the world of the Cactus League Champion Kansas City Royals? (They clinched the title on Tuesday)
– Sports Illustrated released six covers for their Major League Baseball preview and James Shields is featured on the cover that will hit the midwest.
– Opening Day is in less than a week, and the Royals home opener is in less than two, but the Royals groundscrew wasn’t taking any chances. The weather has been crazy over the last month, with 70 degree days followed by a week of snow. So with Kauffman Stadium covered in snow, they decided to take to the field with shovels. I don’t think the faux fire on the screen really helps them feel any warmer, though…
– A study called the Brand Keys Sports Fan Loyalty Index dropped the Royals from 28th in fan loyalty last year to 29th this year. The study looks at various factors, including the excitement on the field, how well a team plays, how fans connect with the team and players and the tradition of the team.
Also, of course, they factor in attendance, merchandising, broadcast reach and the business side of things as well as the emotional. The Royals are behind it as a smaller market. The top five teams over each of the past six years list teams you’d expect – the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies – year after year, with brief mentions of teams regarded as being in smaller markets like Cleveland and Oakland. To me, it seems like the rankings tie closely to market size and record.
I can’t deny my own bias, though. I’ve been a Royals fan since I even knew what baseball was. I grew up in Western Kansas before the Colorado Rockies existed. The Royals were the only game in town. I didn’t even get WGN back home, so the Cubs and White Sox were out of the running. I’m not sure how much of the study accounts for scenarios like mine, where I’ve been exactly the kind of loyal fan they’re hoping to identify. Seriously, anyone who can still follow this team rabidly (and if you’re reading this blog, that includes you I’d guess) after such a long record of poor play has to be considered loyal.
I couldn’t assume that the Royals would be high up on the list though, but of the fans that do stick around, they’re definitely loyal. Perhaps it’s just semantics and “fanhood” or “following” term than loyalty.
– The Royals cut four minor leaguers, according to Bob Dutton. The four – all pitchers – are Michael Giovenco, Jose Jimenez, Leondy Perez and Elisaul Pimentel. The most recognizable of those is Pimentel, who was part of the 2010 Scott Podsednik trade, coming over from the Dodgers with Luke May. Pimentel was last seen in Wilmington after struggling in Double A.
– Finally, a sad news item. Carlos Fortuna was a prospect in the Royals system out of the Dominican Republic. He last pitched in 2009, but put pitching on hold to battle liver and lung cancer. He passed away on Sunday, a week before his 23rd birthday.
I can’t put any better words on the situation than what Dick Kaegel has already collected from former teammates of Fortuna’s – take a moment to read their stories here.