Tuesday, February 20, 2007

I've found what I'm doing Feb 27.

Apparently the Royals are holding a tryout on the 27th of this month, in Surprise, AZ. Now if I was able to miss everything and hop on a plane, I would totally go make a fool of myself. I wouldn't be able to hit, run, throw, or probably field. But I'd bring heart. And some eye black. And if I were to make the team, all of my traveling expenses would be reimbursed! Unfortunately, I won't be able to make it. I guess I'll keep my NCAA eligibility for at least another year.

Speaking of NCAA baseball, the Hawkeyes team will be starting their season shortly. They'll be at Arkansas-Little Rock for a series this weekend, then start March off at the Stetson Tournament. I didn't know where Stetson University was until a quick google search. Turns out it's in DeLand, FL, just north of Orlando. The Hawks won't be playing up north until March 23, when the Bison of North Dakota State head to Duane Banks Field. I will be there, the 23rd is Iowa Knit Hat Giveaway day! Plus, students get in for free to the games, so there's no reason to not go!

I love baseball. I don't know if you've noticed. There's almost nothing better to me than having a hot dog at the ballpark on a nice spring day, and a freshly-mowed field is one of the most beautiful sites in the world. Pitchers and catchers reported (one of my favorite phrases, right behind "Play Ball!") last week, and spring training's just over a week away. Full team workouts will start this week. It's a wonderful time of the year. And it just gets better over the next couple of months. March Madness! Spring Training! Then, April 1, Mets vs. Cardinals for the first game of the season. I kind of like how MLB has been scheduling rematches of the previous year's Championship Series for the very first game. Adds drama or something like that. I'm glad that I'll be able to see my boy Carlos Beltran in the very first game. (Hopefully he can start this season a little better than he ended last season, striking out with the bases loaded, 2 out in the bottom of the 9th, game 7 of the NLCS, down by 2. Every ball player's dream scenario. And he struck out looking.)

I will be in Kansas City, going to the Royals' opening game against the Boston Red Sox. And I'll be going with Charczuk, which probably means that the Royals will win. I think he's been to two or three Royals/Red Sox games in the past season or two, and his Sox have lost them all. I'm pretty excited, this will be my first Opening Day experience at the Major League level. I went to the very first game of the newly-remodeled John O'Donnell Stadium a few years ago, and a few of the Hawkeyes' home openers, and Kansas City's final home game of the season in 2005 (a win that crippled the Indians in their hunt for the playoffs), but never a big league opener. I'm very excited.

When I think about the Royals in 2007, I'm optimistic. (I have to be when it comes to them, otherwise I'd probably never leave my bed.) They'll do better than they have the past few years, if only because they can't do much worse. I'm looking forward to David DeJesus and Shane Costa (I hope Costa makes the team...) playing the outfield, Ryan Shealy blossoming into a stud first baseman, Mark Teahen continuing his torrid hitting he finished the season with at whatever position he can play, Alex Gordon making the show and proving everybody right about him, Gil Meche showing that he's worth the money, Octavio Dotel showing that he's worth the risk, Grudz snaring any ball that comes through the middle, Mike Sweeney being healthy and hitting the crap out of some balls. And somebody playing shortstop. If Angel Berroa could play some sort of baseball that resembles his ROY season, that'd be nice. I'm hoping for a 10-15+ win improvement, putting them around 75-87. More would be nice, .500 would be amazing. But that may be expecting too much right now. 2008, though, watch out.

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