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Royals Fans Show Up Online And On The Road

In the latest balloting for the July 14 All-Star game in Cincinnati, the Kansas City Royals lead the voting this week at eight positions.

The trend from Royals fans indicate that online votes for their favorite players won’t let up. But Royals fans are making their presence felt in more ways than just All-Star balloting — the blue wave hit Busch Stadium in St. Louis last weekend. 

Whitney Findley, a Royals fan who lives in Lee’s Summit, saw familiar friends in no time at all across the street from the stadium.

“I walked into the ballpark village and I saw about three people I knew in about two minutes,” said Findley. “I work at a school, so a bunch of teachers I know came.” 

Baseball’s most well-known Lee’s Summit native is relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal, the National League saves leader for the St. Louis Cardinals. He acknowledged more Royals fans than recent years in attendance at Busch Stadium.

“Just the presence, I could hear them when Moustakas would come up,” said Rosenthal. “You could hear the presence. That was cool to see.”

Another Royals fan, Rebecca Kimmell of Blue Springs, attended Saturday’s game with her mother-in-law, Geri Kimmell, a Cardinals fan.

My question to Rebecca about the frenzied online All-Star voting sparked a spirited debate.

I asked, “Have you voted for the All-Star game before?” “Years ago maybe,” said Kimmell.

Then Geri Kimmell chimed in, “No, because they weren’t winning before. Now they’re winning.”

“Oh, that’s not true because I was at the 1985 game (World Series),” responded Rebecca.

Geri shot back, “But in between there they didn’t care anything about baseball.”

That’s the knock from Cardinal fans like Geri Kimmell, who lives in Perryville, Missouri.

“They like a winning team. Who doesn’t?” she said.

Both teams lead their respective divisions. The Royals and the Cardinals could meet again, as they did in 1985, at the World Series. But the Royals are trying to prove that last season’s appearance doesn’t make them a one-hit wonder. Even after nearly winning last year’s World Series, the St. Louis announcer still couldn’t correctly pronounce of their names.

“Number 1, JARE-ed Dyson,” Cardinals' PA announcer Tom Ulett said.

After the game was rained out, Dyson reacted.

“I’m sick of it, man, I’m tired of it,” said Dyson. “I’d rather for them to call me “Mr. Zoom-By-You” than JARE-ed. I’m just sick of JARE-ed. I feel like I’ve been around long enough that they should know my name. It’s Jar-ROD.”

Dyson zoomed by often enough to steal 36 bases last year, but doesn’t start on a regular basis.

“I guess I’ve got to make a name for myself,” said Dyson before let out a big laugh.

If Dyson did, he might be in the mix on the All-Star balloting. The impact of the votes by Royals fans for All-Star starters has become a national story.

Bob Nightengale, a national baseball writer for USA Today, shared the baseball world’s reaction to the All-Star balloting … “Shock.”

“A lot of people are thinking, ‘What’s going on? Is someone infiltrating the system here? Is there a breach of security?' Nobody could believe it. How could all these guys be voted from KC?” he says.

Nightengale said those in the offices of Major League Baseball in New York have also been interested.

“They said they’ve looked into it and found nothing illegal,” said Nightengale. "No one hacked the system, and they said they have great devices to figure that out. They say, so far, they’ve seen no improper conduct at all. "

All-Star balloting online ends on July 2. Royals second baseman Omar Infante, who is not having an All-Star type of season, became the latest and eighth Royals player to lead his position in the voting.

The Cardinals, however, have their own online issue to address according to The New York Times.

The FBI is investigating the possibility of the Cardinals hacking into networks to steal information about the Houston Astros. 

Sports have an economic and social impact on our community and, as a sports reporter, I go beyond the scores and statistics. I also bring the human element to the sports figures who have a hand in shaping the future of not only their respective teams but our town. Reach me at gregechlin@aol.com.
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