Major League Baseball | KCUR

Major League Baseball

Phil Dixon is more than an expert on the Negro Leagues. He's an ambassador for stories that might've been lost without him. 

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Negro Leagues, we're taking some time to get to know one of the people who knows more about its history and players than anyone else. Before Phil Dixon was the author of nine books and a cross-country traveler, he was just a kid playing baseball in segregated Kansas City, Kansas obsessed with baseball cards.

Segment 1: Kansas City's journey toward greater inclusivity takes one step forward, two steps back.

The state of diversity and inclusion in Kansas City is shaping up to be one of this year's most tenuous storylines. We previewed both positive and negative issues facing marginalized communities in the metro, including diversity training for law enforcement and seemingly discriminatory legislative efforts.

Colin Braley / AP

David Glass, the former owner of the Kansas City Royals who sold the club late last year, has died.

The team announced his death Friday, saying he "passed away last week." Glass was 84 years old.

Glass bought the Royals in 2000. Before that, he had served as the team's chairman of the board after the death in 1993 of the team's founder, Ewing Kauffman.

Segment 1: Royals' new owner knows "Kansas City fans are incredibly engaged."

Kansas City businessman John Sherman is in his third week as owner of  the Kansas City Royals. He's been working on getting to know the staff and to "get a little flavor for the culture." Sherman spoke about what the revenue from a new TV contract will mean for the team and when it comes to construction of a stadium downtown said, "there's a lot of things to think about, relative to whether or not we can make that happen." 

Segment 1: Heartland Center for Behavioral Change was not equipped to accept the full array of inmates brought in by the Kansas City Police Department.

Accepting prisoners from the Kansas City Municipal Court system was initially seen as a chance for the nonprofit organization to link inmates with resources that could help them reintegrate into the community. In retrospect, Heartland Center's CEO said serving as a temporary jail "is outside of our scope" of ability.

Kansas City Royals

John Sherman has been a familiar face to Major League Baseball owners. To Kansas City Royals fans, he will become one after the other MLB owners officially approved his ownership of the team at their meeting in Arlington, Texas, on Thursday.

After the meeting ended. Sherman opened his brief statement by acknowledging his partnership with the Cleveland Indians as a 30% owner.

Segment 1: Ned Yost's retirement announcement prompts discussion on the future of the Kansas City Royals.

Ned Yost is the winningest manager in Kansas City Royals history, and he led the team to its second-ever World Series win. But he also endured some tough losing periods. To some, his announcement comes as no surprise but many fans are now wondering: Who will be his replacement?

Greg Echline / KCUR

After managing the Kansas City Royals to some of the club’s greatest glories and long stretches as one of the worst teams in baseball, Ned Yost has announced he’ll retire at the end of the 2019 season.

When the Royals finish their latest 100-loss season at home against Atlanta and Minnesota this week, Yost will leave behind more than a few memorable moments. 

Segment 1: A Missouri man is free after spending 23 years behind bars for a crime he didn't commit.

With his newfound freedom, Ricky Kidd said he's excited to be a "responsible citizen and embrace the freedom that should have never been taken away from me in the first place." The Midwest Innocence Project attributes part of the failed system to an overworked public defenders office, and it's costing people like Kidd their lives.

Few sounds in sports are more satisfying than the crack of the bat. But for too many baseball fans, it has come to signal something else: danger. Commentator Victor Wishna explains in this month’s edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

Snagging a foul ball is, admittedly, one of the greatest thrills in sports — the ultimate hands-on experience. Only at a baseball game do fans get a chance to grab the ball and take it home as a trophy. It’s the dream of every little kid with a glove.

But too often, tragedy happens.

Segment 1: The changing culture of language-learning in professional baseball.

About 25 percent of Major League Baseball players were from Spanish-speaking countries on Opening Day in March. What role do professional baseball teams play in incorporating language-learning into their players' transitions to living and playing in the United States?

Segment 1: Should Kansas City move the Royals to a downtown baseball stadium?

In March, the Kansas City Star's editorial board issued an article stating that "it's time" to start talking about a downtown baseball stadium. In this conversation, we look into how that might play out, evaluate the pros and cons, and hear from Kansas Citians about the idea.

Branch Rickey III is part of a legendary baseball family that has been entwined with the sport for more than 100 years.

His grandfather, Branch Rickey, is best remembered as the man who signed Jackie Robinson and broke baseball’s unwritten rule against using black players. His father, Branch Rickey Jr., spent more than 25 years working in baseball before dying at the age of 47 in 1961.

Branch Rickey III, 73, is president of the Pacific Coast League, which Wichita will join next year when the New Orleans Baby Cakes move to town.

New York Yankees

Major League Baseball is staring down a gender problem. And despite initiatives meant to bring more women into its dugouts, executive offices and broadcast booths, everyone — including women in high-powered positions — says things won’t change quickly.

“Look, I think there’s no sugar-coating this. There’s a lot to do,” said Renee Tirado, MLB’s chief diversity officer.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite rain showers that delayed the start of the game by two hours, thousands of baseball fans turned out at Kauffman Stadium for Opening Day of the Kansas City Royals' 2019 season.

It was the first opportunity for fans to see this year's team in action, but Royals staff have been preparing for months.

"As soon as one season ends," says Nicole Averso, "we're getting ready for the next."

Royals Opening Day

Mar 28, 2019

In a live broadcast from Kauffman Stadium staff members of the Kansas City Royals revealed what they do to ensure a memorable experience at "The K."

From who sings the national anthem to the guy who sells you peanuts in the stands to how the Royals will rebuild the team, guest host Brian Ellison talked to the people who keep the ballpark humming.
 

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Seg. 1: A recent poll shows Jolie Justus and Steve Miller leading the race for Kansas City mayor, but nearly 30 percent of voters are undecided.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

Despite the second-to-worst season in Kansas City Royals’ history (58-104), manager Ned Yost wants to stick around for at least one more year.

And he’ll do just that, agreeing to a one-year extension Sunday for an undisclosed amount to manage in 2019. 

Jeremy Bernfeld / KCUR 89.3 file photo

The Kansas City Royals are on pace to break a team record. It’s not one they’ll be proud of.

In 2005, the team lost 106 games. There are 29 left this season, and whatever the Royals’ record is by then, it may not be the worst in baseball.

This weekend’s series between the Royals and Baltimore Orioles will have a say: Two teams mathematically eliminated only four years after they played each other in the American League Championship Series.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game is taking place this week in Washington, D.C., with Salvador Perez representing the Royals.

But there’s another Kansas City tie: The first All-Star game was played in 1933, the same year the Washington (D.C.) Senators went to the World Series with a first baseman who was known around Kansas City, Missouri. His name was Joe Kuhel (pronounced “cool”).

Minda Haas Kuhlmann / Flickr - CC

Here’s a newsflash: It’s hot. The sky is blue. The grass is brown. And the Kansas City Royals are really, really bad. Commentator Victor Wishna doesn’t need to elaborate, but he does in this July edition of 'A Fan’s Notes.'

Ah, the dog days of summer. The heat. The humidity. The sense of powerlessness and impending doom. And that’s just for local sports fans.

Coy Dugger / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The Urban Youth Academy at 18th and Vine is up and running. How is it affecting nearby neighborhoods?

When the Urban Youth Academy was first announced some people were concerned it would be primarily used by suburban visitors rather than kids in the surrounding neighborhoods. We get an update on how people are feeling about the facility now that it is up and running.

Erica Hunzinger / KCUR 89.3

As the Kansas City Royals celebrate the franchise’s 50th year, the team is hoping to rekindle what made them successful early on. And that all started by trading an obscure pitcher named John Gelnar.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Despite some disappointing off-season roster changes and a freak knee injury for veteran catcher Salvador Perez, at least a few Kansas City Royals fans are excited for the 2018 season to get under way. In what has become a tradition, we spent opening day at Kauffman Stadium speaking with everyone from announcers and reporters to chefs and brewers to get a sense for what's new — on the field and off.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

To many the new  Kansas City Urban Youth Academy near 18th and Vine in Kansas City is more than just a place for kids to play baseball and softball.

Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed calls it "a sacred place for everyone in Kansas City."

"This is where it should be," says Tony Reagins, who is head of youth sports for  Major League Baseball.

Charles Sollars / Flickr - CC

Commentator Victor Wishna attended his first Royals game as a toddler, and he was there in person to witness the final out of game seven of the World Series. But he'd never journeyed to where it all begins: spring training. That changed this week. Victor reports back from Surprise, Arizona, with this travelogue edition of 'A Fan's Notes.'

If, like me, you’ve never been to spring training, it’s quite a trip.

Sam Zeff / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Royals appear to really want free agent Eric Hosmer to stay in Kansas City. 

USA Today reported Wednesday that the team is offering the first baseman what would be a franchise-record deal: seven years, $147 million. That offer would top another offer reportedly before Hosmer, a seven-year, $140 million deal from the San Diego Padres. 

Keith Allison / Flickr — CC

The Kansas City Royals have faced plenty of on-field troubles recently. Now, it appears they have a problem to worry about off the field as well. 

Pitcher Danny Duffy was cited Sunday night for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Greg Echlin / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas is on the verge of breaking the team’s home run record. Former slugger Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni’s record of 36 home runs in one season has stood since 1985.

But if you consider the Kansas City A’s era, the record is further away — but still within reach. Some die-hard Kansas City fans don’t want that record to fall.

Keith Allison / Flickr - CC

As the Major League Baseball season enters the stretch run to fall, this is shaping up to be the summer of slam: Baseballs are flying out of the park at a record pace. But nowhere is this power surge more noticeable than right here in Kansas City. Commentator Victor Wishna explains, in this mid-season edition of “A Fan’s Notes.”

The sound ... is unmistakable.

Crack. “High fly ball! Deep left field! Gone!”

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