Robert Ford came to 610 Sports Radio in 2009 as the station’s “Royals Insider.” He currently serves as the pre and post game show host for Royals Broadcasts on 610. The Syracuse graduate has been around professional baseball as a reporter and broadcaster for over a decade.
Royals Spring Training Report for Fri, 2/24
by Robert Ford,posted Feb 24 2012 5:50PM
I’m glad the Royals’ first full-squad workouts are tomorrow, mainly because it seems like the pitchers-and-catchers only workouts have gone on long enough. The position players have been working out, although those workouts aren’t official. Non-official workouts mean players don’t wear their spring training jerseys – opting instead for shirts and shorts with the Royals logo on them – manager Ned Yost doesn’t observe them and the players aren’t working on anything specific or detailed. Non-official workouts are also optional, although every position player in camp participates in them in some way, shape or form.
Speaking of position players, Yuniesky Betancourt arrived today, so every Royals player in Major League camp is accounted for, except for pitcher Jose Mijares, who should arrive soon. Betancourt was greeted warmly by his Royals teammates, many of whom remember him from his previous stint in Kansas City in 2009 and 2010. Betancourt was signed to be the Royals utility infielder, but keep an eye on Tony Abreu as well. Abreu is a switch hitter who, like Betancourt, can play second, third and short. Abreu spent all of last year at AAA Reno, but he has 146 games of Major League experience with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks. Abreu is a non-roster player, but he could find his way to Kansas City during the season if infielders get hurt.
It’s easy to forget baseball is played in the elements and that, sometimes, nature can intervene. It’s especially easy to forget this in Arizona, where it rarely rains or gets cold during the day. But, today, a beekeeper visited Surprise Stadium. It was quite a sight watching someone in a beekeepers outfit raise a crane up to the roof of the stadium behind home plate to remove a beehive that had grown large enough to be a significant distraction.
Even though they weren’t sharing a clubhouse and chartered planes, many of the Royals players and personnel still kept in touch with each other during the off-season, thanks to fantasy football. There aren’t too many clubhouses in the Majors these days that don’t have some sort of fantasy football league. Jeff Francoeur and Mike Moustakas were last season’s champions and they will display their custom-made title belt in the Royals clubhouse all season. I’ve been told by a few former Royals that fantasy football began among Royals players around 1992, when Kevin McReynolds, Keith Miller and Gregg Jefferies arrived in a trade from the New York Mets, whose players had been playing fantasy football for a few years. Athletes are competitive by nature and fantasy football is just one more outlet for them to express their competitiveness.
So, the next time someone calls you a dork for playing fantasy football, ask them if they think the Major Leaguers who play are dorks as well.