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Dispatches from Kansas City: “Have you seen George Brett around?”

Jul 9, 2012, 8:55 PM EDT

downtown fountain

HardballTalk’s Drew Silva is filing regular stories from this year’s MLB All-Star festivities in Kansas City. Part OnePart TwoPart Three. Part Four.

The Royals haven’t won a division title since 1985 and have finished with a winning record just three times since since 1992, which has translated into over 20 years of bad attendance totals at Kauffman Stadium. But the apathy here feels temporary.

Last night’s Futures Game was a sellout — the first in the 15-year history of the event — and Kauffman remained packed for the Legends & Celebrity Softball Game that was played right after. Kansas head basketball coach Bill Self drew decibel-pushing reactions (boos from Mizzou fans and cheers from the Rock Chalk faithful) every time he stepped to the plate or was spotted on the massive HD video board that sits below the giant gold crown in center field. Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel also caused a stir.

The MLB All-Star Charity 5K & Fun Run had more than 8,000 participants on Sunday morning, smashing the previous record. The public water spouts downtown in this City of Fountains have been dyed royal blue.

There’s an excitement here for the All-Star Game and the publicity it might bring. Go anywhere in town and mention you’re covering the events and you’ll get a big grin and tips on where to eat and drink. Maybe that’s just good ole fashioned Midwest generosity. Or maybe it’s time for Royals owner David Glass — former president and CEO of Wal-Mart — to recognize that he’s sitting on another potential gold mine.

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source:

I headed up the interstate this morning at around 11:45 a.m. for All-Star media day — held inside the climate-controlled club suite level at Arrowhead Stadium. The first player I encountered was Marlins outfielder and noted tweeter Logan Morrison, who was being trailed by two cameramen and a sound guy as he peaked around different corners of the room. I believe they were filming scenes for the second season of Showtime’s “The Franchise.”

LoMo grabbed a Gatorade from a cooler next to where I was checking my phone and asked if I’d “seen George Brett around.” I couldn’t help but laugh. “Are you looking for him?” I uttered back, in a total stupor. My brain was too blown to process his response. It’s not every day that a current major league star asks you if you’ve spotted a Hall of Famer. My guess is that exchange won’t make it into an episode.

I grabbed an open chair by the back of the All-Star Game press conference, which was already underway, and listened in as National League skipper Tony La Russa finished up fielding questions about his decision to start San Francisco’s Matt Cain over the Mets’ R.A. Dickey. “I’m very aware of the first half (Dickey has) had,” La Russa insisted. “The one edge that I thought would make sense is that we have Buster Posey catching and Matt was equally deserving. … We wanted to reward Cain for a great career of excellence. It’s a tough call.”

Cain is 27. Dickey is 37. And Tony is still Tony.

source:

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Next the American League and National League All-Stars were made available for interviews at individual podiums under lighting designed for television shots. I tried to capture everything in eye-and-earshot while pleading with my iPhone to hold its charge. Angels stud Mike Trout was as giddy as you’d expect a 20-year-old MVP candidate to be as he spoke about playing with Albert Pujols and learning from the slugger about proper work ethic. Anaheim lefty C.J. Wilson chatted about his passion for photography with a few photojournalists. Rangers starter Yu Darvish and Nationals phenom Bryce Harper were the biggest draws. Darvish seemed at home giving responses in Japanese to questions from a throng of Japanese reporters. Harper wore Converse All-Stars and spoke softly, trying to play it cool while fighting back obvious feelings of authentic teenage excitement.

“If you had to go out on the town with one of your fellow All-Stars,” an attractive blonde in a colorful dress asked Cardinals third baseman David Freese at a certain point, “which of the players would you choose?”

“Chipper (Jones),” Freese, the National League’s Final Vote winner responded. “Just look at the guy.”

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Now I sit in the left-field auxiliary press box, built on a concourse not far from the new Royals Hall of Fame, taking in the Home Run Derby. It’s not even halfway through the first round and it’s already dragging, but there is a steady breeze blowing out to right and Kauffman has great energy. There’s simply no place I’d rather be.

  1. mybrunoblog - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:07 PM

    I have no idea where George Brett is but he does tell a pretty funny story about shitting oneself. YouTube it.

    • groundruledoublebourbon - Jul 9, 2012 at 10:02 PM

      George with a poop reference on the broadcast. Highly appropriate, given his youtube fame for the legendary story

  2. proudlycanadian - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Brett is certainly in KC. In an earlier trip to KC, a couple of Jays (Lawrie and Arencibia) managed to have lunch with Brett. Buck Martinez arranged it for them.

  3. bigleagues - Jul 9, 2012 at 9:37 PM

    Keep up the good work Drew! Brings back memories of 99 All Star Game in Boston and all the Winter Meetings.

    BTW, you are likely to fins Brett in the bar at the players hotel. I typically bump into him and and his brother after midnight in the elevator. Happened three times.

  4. ndnut - Jul 9, 2012 at 11:26 PM

    Actually you would rather be in the outfield stands catching HRs.

  5. charlutes - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    that story fizzled worse than the series finale of the sopranos. Dude, these are ramblings.

    • Drew Silva - Jul 10, 2012 at 12:52 AM

      They are most definitely ramblings.

      • hasbeen5 - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:23 AM

        Enjoyable ramblings. I’d stick with a solid IPA over wheat beers though.

      • ajcardsfan - Jul 10, 2012 at 8:53 AM

        I enjoy ramblings as well, but hasbeen5 and I differ in that I’d take a wheat beer over an IPA (IPAs are my least favorite, too hoppy for my tastes)

        Drew, I think it’s going to be a long day for me, drink a Bully porter for me would ya?

      • hasbeen5 - Jul 10, 2012 at 9:16 AM

        No such thing as too hoppy my friend

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