OTC: Maxwell’s Hammered Grand Slam Brings Out Best In Lefebvre And The Royals

“And here’s the 3-2 (pitch). Swing and A HIGH FLY BALL! DEEP INTO LEFT FIELD! IT! IS! GONE!!! A grand slam for Justin Maxwell!”
Ryan Lefebvre, Royals Radio
GH: I was limited to listening to Sunday’s final home game at The K on the radio as I and a friend traveled back from running the Omaha Marathon. We got into the car about 2:30 and caught the last half of the game via Denny Matthews’ and Ryan’s descriptions. Ryan’s call of Maxwell’s game-winning grand slam was classic. His voice quickly gave way that this was something special. The radio listener just has nothing else to go on but the play-by-play description of the broadcaster. Lefebvre’s voice rose quickly after announcing Maxwell’s swing. He had done a superb job of setting up the inning-deciding pitch by pointing out that there was no scenario where Escobar, who waited on deck, would bat in the tenth. How do you know a great play-by-play call when you hear it? When you want to hear it again. And again. And again. And… 

“Look at this! A walk-off grand slam!”
Steve Physioc, on his call of Maxwell’s game-winning jack, Fox Sports KC
GH: It is unfair to compare the work of a a radio play-by-play broadcaster to that of the television play-by-play man. The radio broadcaster’s job is to be fully descriptive in relaying what he sees, hears and feels to his audience. The television play-by-play guy is far less descriptive in that his audience has the benefit of sharing much of what he/she sees. But 810 was stuck with having to replay any call of Maxwell’s homer BUT Lefebvre’s call on the Royals’ Radio Network. 610 is the Royals radio rights holder and they retain exclusive rights to all Royals radio broadcasts in the KC listening area. 810 has a similar advantage over 610 when it comes to Mitch Holthus’ replays of the Chiefs’ games.  

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Photo taken by Chris Alvey, a Royals’ fan, from her seat inside The K on Sunday.

“This is just me talking…but I don’t think that’s a very good gamble.”
Denny Matthews, after the Rangers’ Alex Rios tested Alex Gordon’s arm when he tried to tag on a fly ball to left but was cut down by Gordon’s throw and Moustakas’ tag, Royals Radio
GH: A friend of mine made a great point to me – what if Maxwell’s slam happens in the ninth while Denny is still at the play-by-play mic in the Royals radio booth? Does he undersell the slam with his typical unimpressive description followed by a loud, “GONE!” or does he use all that stored excitement that for years he has told us he refuses to waste on meaningless plays, hits, and games? We will never know. Not this game, anyway. Maybe Denny’s chance at another iconic call is yet to happen this season. 

“10 innings and a walk-off grand slam? I don’t even know what to say? Is there really any need to go over the game? Let’s just have a good time. Holy cow! Forgive me for not being a very well-rounded broadcaster right now. But do you blame me?”
Josh Vernier, host of the Royals post-game show on 610 AM
GH: What a year for Vernier. He is the guy who was hired to replace Nick Wright by a now-departed program manager at 610 Sports. He was paired with Jay Binkley and Jayice Pearson to form what proved to be a short-lived afternoon drive show on 610. The new PM blew up the trio and moved Vernier to cover the Royals’ pre- and post-game radio shows. This is tough work. The hours are long and it can be incredibly tedious work when the home team stinks – as the Royals have under David Glass’ ownership. But Vernier seems to have found his niche here in KC as the Royals guy to field calls after a game. And what a game he had to cover on Sunday! His work was exactly what the situation called for – giddy goofiness and a lot of replays of Lefebvre’s call. 

“My voice probably sounds like I’m an 80-year-old smoker!”
Caller Christine, who called into Vernier’s post-game show after being at the Royals’ game with her boys, 810 AM

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Royals’ fans like Big Jimmy Fassler are what makes MLB great. Here he is with a bat he got from dancing with Salvy on Sunday.

“I was ready to give my (Royals’) tickets up last year. My wife says, ‘No, we’re keeping them.’ Now we’re definitely keeping them!”
Ronald Horner, Royals’ fan who was tailgating at The K with his wife and friends and listening to the end of the game on a radio, KMBC Channel 9
GH: How many Royals season tickets do you think Justin Maxwell sold with that grand slam? BTW, the Royals surpassed their 2012 attendance total with their final homestand – inflated All-Star numbers and all. This is a pretty damn good town for sports teams who underperform – and a damn jewel of a sports town for teams that succeed. 

“They could win seven in a row. They have to.”
Gary Lezak, on the Royals who are still 3.5 games back in the wild-card race with just seven road games remaining, 810 AM
GH: The Royals are not getting into the postseason this season. We have a better chance of Ned Yost becoming a lovable character who flips the switch on The Plaza lighting ceremony this Thanksgiving. (Ned, that’s not a bad idea – you’re persona could use the positive pub.) But this was an entertaining last two months and one heck of a lot of fun at the ball park, at home, in our cars and even mowing the lawn. Was it enough? Hell, no. If you think competitive September baseball is fun, wait until you get a chance to play for real in October.  

“Information obtained by The Kansas City Star regarding postseason prices set by several clubs shows the Royals’ markup percentage to be among the highest, if not the highest, in baseball for season-ticketholders. … (These prices) represent increases of 297.4 percent, 464.1 percent and 605.1 percent. Seem high? Several professionals in the field say they are among the sharpest increases they’ve ever seen for any event.”
Bob Dutton, kansascity.com
GH: So how does David Glass celebrate his first real op[opportunity to sell postseason tickets to his loyal fans who have endured almost nothing but failure and disappointment since he took over ownership of the club? With a mark-up pen he must have grabbed off the counter at Neiman Marcus. It sure didn’t come from one of his Wal-Mart stores.

“The Royals sent us a pricing structure and we signed off on it.”
Pat Courtney, MLB’s senior vice president for public relations, basically saying, “Blame the Royals, not MLB,” kansascity.com

“The postseason ticket pricing is determined from a study of both the primary and secondary market by each individual club, with Major League Baseball having final approval on the pricing structure. Factors include recent postseason participation by the club and last year’s All-Star events, which supplies the club with enough data to determine fair market pricing. Analysis of just one particular seating section for a portion of the entire postseason schedule can lead to false conclusions as some teams will price heavier in the early rounds and less in later rounds, which is the direction we chose to follow.”
Official Royals’ Statement, on their playoff ticket pricing decisions
GH: Dutton wrote that the Royals decided not to comment on his story with any direct quotes from management but rather issue a statement. This is just all kinds of wrong. The Royals can be so ridiculously cold at times – and there just is no need for it. An official statement? Glass should have welcomed the chance to address this and done just that – and maybe even said, “We don’t need to gouge our fans like this. Let me see what I can do to get this more in line with the rest of the league.” The job just isn’t nearly as difficult as these guys make it appear.

“(Royals fans) remain lukewarm on Yost. It’s a fascinating and puzzling dynamic that seems to ignore a major part of Yost’s job — the human elements of his influence on the team — and is informed by the notion that Yost is a dunce in his decision-making and the Royals almost win despite him.”
Vahe Gregorian, columnist, Kansascity.com
GH: Puzzling? Where has Gregorian been? Oh yeah, St. Louis.

“Toward that end, Yost practices habits that enhance his focus, including a self-imposed media blackout. Those #yosted and #yosting hashtags that trend locally on Twitter after one of his questionable moves? Yost has decided there’s nothing to be gained and only distressing distractions to be had by allowing his antenna to crank up.”
Vahe Gregorian, columnist, Kansascity.com
GH: I have always just been stunned by how some people of importance react to criticism from those who have zero say in whether they keep their job or not. Yost is another who just doesn’t handle being negatively critiqued. Read on.

“There’s a lot of people out there that aren’t here with us every day that will write articles that make no sense to me. But mostly … the comments after the articles are … (what) just get you so mad. But you’ve got to realize, and this is what I’ve done, that it’s such a small minority of people who are on there, that it’s not reflective of the mass view. But still it (hacks) you off, and I don’t need that mad energy from somebody sitting in their basement writing a comment on the story.”
Ned Yost, kansascity.com
GH: Ned gets (hacked) off by guys like Smartman? How small is this guy? I find that kind of ego to be nothing I want in my leaders. What a thin-skinned little man Ned Yost is. He makes millions to manage a baseball team but he wastes “mad energy” on those anonymous posts on the Internet? Somebody get this guy a real job and see how often he can stop by Starbucks for Frank’s latte.

“He never wavered in his consistency of just handling things emotionally and also keeping the expectations remaining very high. He always came through that clubhouse door with his head held high and a lot of energy.”
Dayton Moore, on Yost, Kansascity.com
GH: I would suggest to Yost to start showing that same kind of respect and energy toward the Royals’ fans. He is simply not a very likable sort. And that will play if a manager wins – a lot. But why not combine the two and live a great life? BTW, Andy Reid received a 100% approval rating in a poll taken by ArrowheadPride.com. It can be done in this town.

“You have to be able to communicate, you have to be able to trust, and you have to be able to respect each other to an extremely high degree.”
Ned Yost, on his relationship with Dayton Moore, kansascity.com
GH: So how about that same attitude toward the media and the fans, Ned?

and Twitter / greghall24

About Greg Hall

Software guy who has been writing my Off The Couch column in KC newspapers, publications and websites since 1994. Has been bounced from some of the finest media establishments this side of State Line Road. Dad first and everything else second...and there are a lot of everything elses.
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42 Responses to OTC: Maxwell’s Hammered Grand Slam Brings Out Best In Lefebvre And The Royals

  1. Joe says:

    I just wanted to be the first person to comment on the new OTC. Go Royals! JH

  2. Kyle says:

    One thing I will say about Yost. He has made some HORRID decisions this year with the pitching staff and his lineup keeping guys like Getz in there. I know he is testy with the media (which does not bother me too much. There are way too many thin skinned members of the press running around). However, if we are going to rip him for things like that, he is due a large amount of credit for the chemistry of this team. The guys obviously love playing for him and his steady demeanor is likely a large factor in this team never quitting and being so resilient. So while we can say that he has cost us some games on one side, he has likely gained us some wins on the other. I think it would be a pretty tough sell to these players if we fire a manager that wins 85-88 games for this franchise and would be going into 2014 with tons of momentum. None of us who consider ourselves true Royals fans have been through a real playoff race in over 2 decades. I think we all learned a lot about how to react after each game. Every time they lost, we wanted to place all of the blame on Yost, but when they bounced back the next night and won 4 of the next 5, we did not want to give him any credit. I include myself because I have over reacted big time after some of the losses. But this team just kept coming back. Even though we are not going to make the playoffs, this has been the most enjoyable baseball season since 1985 for me personally. For that, the manger deserves at least a little credit.

  3. Sportswaves Minneapolis says:

    I took my not-quite five-year-old son to the game on Sunday to give him his long-promised chance to run the bases afterward (our earlier attempts were foiled by weather/double-headers). What he got, in addition to that sprint around the infield, was a game for the ages: A beautiful Sunday afternoon, a packed house, playoff implications, 0-0 tie, bottom of the tenth, bases loaded, two out, full count — all as the setup to a walk-off grand slam?! It’s hard to get any better than that! It was the sort of rare, thrilling game that can be life-altering for an impressionable child, converting him from a casual fan to a lifelong fanatic. I’m desperately hoping that my son is old enough to hold on to the memory of this one!

  4. Ryan says:

    A truly fantastic compilation! Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work!

  5. Joe says:

    I was watching the replay and (just now) realized it was off of Joakim Soria. It seems like there would have been more emphasis on Maxwell doing this off of a former Royal? JH

    • Greg Hall says:

      Joe, I understand your point but as loved as Soria was here as the Mexictioner, he really wasn’t much more than a footnote in Maxwell’s heroic act. I feel bad that Soria takes the loss but it really doesn’t alter the magic of the moment — unless maybe it was against the Indians and Chris Perez was on the hill…

  6. Joe Blow says:

    GH: So how does David Glass celebrate his first real op[opportunity to sell postseason tickets to his loyal fans who have endured almost nothing but failure and disappointment since he took over ownership of the club? With a mark-up pen he must have grabbed off the counter at Neiman Marcus. It sure didn’t come from one of his Wal-Mart stores.

    Do you not remember the massive increase in 2003 when they thought they might make the playoffs and printed playoff ticket prices? Every team does that shit..

    GH: Ned gets (hacked) off by guys like Smartman? How small is this guy? I find that kind of ego to be nothing I want in my leaders. What a thin-skinned little man Ned Yost is. He makes millions to manage a baseball team but he wastes “mad energy” on those anonymous posts on the Internet? Somebody get this guy a real job and see how often he can stop by Starbucks for Frank’s latte.

    There’s a large community of Royals fans who thrive on the team being crappy, and hating every move anyone associated with the team makes. I’m pretty sure that’s who Ned is referencing..

    “This is just me talking…but I don’t think that’s a very good gamble.”
    Denny Matthews, after the Rangers’ Alex Rios tested Alex Gordon’s arm when he tried to tag on a fly ball to left but was cut down by Gordon’s throw and Moustakas’ tag, Royals Radio

    And, see, you wondered about Denny’s call if it would have happened in the 9th, and I just wondered WTF Rios was thinking..

  7. Kyle Rohde says:

    Greg – not sure where you’re getting the stats that say the Royals attendance improved. Though the Star was nice enough to post a misleading headline of “With Royals’ best season in a decade, attendance at Kauffman Stadium edges up”, their article says that attendance dropped from 21,748 last year to 21,614 this year.

    The TV numbers are awesome, but the fact that the first winning season in a decade couldn’t produce more attendance than last year is sad. Especially when you consider how miserably hot last summer was compared to the fantastic weather we’ve had this summer.

    Leaving out huge markets, this puts the Royals behind the following teams in attendance: Colorado, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Oakland and Seattle. Some of those teams had good years too but others (CO, MN, MIL, SEA) sure didn’t. They finished 5th from the bottom in attendance, one spot ahead of the AAA-level Houston Astros who, admittedly, play in a massive market.

    It’s sad that more people didn’t get out to the ballpark this year. Hopefully this strong finish leads to more ticket sales next year. What’s even sadder is that Cleveland finished below the Royals in attendance, and Tampa dead last. The people of Tampa don’t deserve a franchise.

    • Joe Blow says:

      Attendance is different these days.

      That being said, people in Milwaukee are total dicks..

    • Joe says:

      I have no statistics to support this, but I saw a ton of empty seats in all of the wild card contender’s stadiums. Baltimore was playing the Yankees a couple of weeks ago, and it looked half full. Is MLB attendance down across the board? Is the MLB experiencing the same issue that the NFL is? Cheap HDTV at home vs. $8 beers and $25 parking at the stadium?

      • Kyle Rohde says:

        The ESPN page I normally pull from doesn’t do total attendance (http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance) for all of MLB, unfortunately, but this 12 year study does a good look at how attendance is up significantly: http://bizofbaseball.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5848:a-12-year-look-at-mlb-attendance-shows-new-ballparks-key-clubs-factors-in-growth&catid=26:editorials&Itemid=39

    • HawkeyeEdward says:

      The Bankrupt City of Detroit hit 3 million fans over the weekend. The team had t-shirts made for the players to wear during batting practice thanking the fans.

  8. Arte says:

    Denny wouldn’t have called it a grand slam. He would have said 4 run homer.

  9. Scott says:

    I was mowing the lawn and listened to Ryan’s call. One of my first thoughts (after, “holy crap that was awesome”) when I heard the replay was thank goodness it wasn’t “Maxwell GONE. . .Royals Win. . .And Ryan will be back with the totals”

    I saw Rob Neyer crapped on Royals fans about attendance. It’s convenient to forget about the All Star boost as well as the debilitating May to strike down fan enthusiasm. Just look at the weekend series. . .the fans show up for a good product!

    As far as the ticket price gouge, it irritates me. I guess the only “saving” grace is that the Royals are probably trying to take the margins away from the brokers and that, I’m OK with.

  10. donkeypunch says:

    GH, can you post a link to the audio of the HR? Thanks in advance

  11. donkeypunch says:

    thanks

  12. tiad says:

    “Information obtained by The Kansas City Star regarding postseason prices set by several clubs shows the Royals’ markup percentage to be among the highest, if not the highest, in baseball for season-ticketholders. … (These prices) represent increases of 297.4 percent, 464.1 percent and 605.1 percent. Seem high? Several professionals in the field say they are among the sharpest increases they’ve ever seen for any event.”

    And they had to cut the Field-Level Plaza (?) ticket prices in half in order
    to beg 21,614 souls per game (average) to show up on this final homestand?
    I wasn’t one of them.

    • T Rich says:

      I was. It was fun.They made another $30 off of me in food and beverage. The Royals won and the atmosphere was the best I can remember since the ’80′s.

  13. Renton says:

    Much like the entree, Denny’s Grand Slam call would be underwhelming.

  14. harwood benjamin says:

    That profile of Yost by Gregorian really irritated me. First he loads the deck hamhandedly so that the reader is supposed to feel sympathy for Ned–his mother is ill, may be dying but loyally watches the Royals and her Neddy from her hospital bed; what fan would be so callous to criticize the baseball strategies of such a man? Ned comes back to work hours after a gallstone procedure because personal pain is of no consequence when it comes to his commitment to the KC Royals (except if your daughter has scheduled her wedding in the middle of the season on a game day). Why, Vahe wants to know, are all those mean so-called Royals fans picking on the saintly Ned Yost? Gee, all the players Vahe asked seem to think Ned is just swell, and you have to believe them because a professional athlete would never spew obvious cliches to a reporter and avoid criticizing the man who could send him to Omaha or some town in Arkansas. Based on Vahe’s reportage, you wouldn’t have a clue why anybody would be down on Ned, despite the Royals’ success.
    Maybe somebody who has watched Yost for most of four baseball seasons and seen how arrogant, snide and unpleasant he is might have formed a different opinion, one that was unjustified in three years of lousy play and is no more acceptable now that the team is doing better. Maybe somebody who has followed baseball know that he got run of Milwaukee because his unrelenting dickishness made him toxic to the team even though they were on the verge of the playoffs. Maybe the boneheaded strategic moves that Yost continues to embrace wouldn’t be so aggravating if he were a nicer person.

  15. nick says:

    Greg Hall on Ned Yost: “He is simply not a very likable sort.”

    Agree. And that was the sentiment of Milwaukee fans years ago. Yost DOES seem to have chilled a bit, but “likable” isn’t a word I’d use to describe him. Neither is it a word to describe David Glass or even Dayton Moore. That’s a problem.

    There seems to be a number of people, including some in this comment section, who feel the need to defend the Royals. Those people have to remember that some of us got to experience the Royals’ glory years. It was GREAT. Incredible! But eventually Glass took over, and led us on a long downward spiral, culminating with THREE STRAIGHT SEASONS of 100 losses. Losing 100 games is hard to do once.

    What began as disappointment in the 90′s, turned into anger. Eventually, for MANY years, many of us settled into apathy. Many of us started laughing at talk-show hosts making the Royals a butt of their jokes. Many of us started rooting for the Royals to lose, in hopes we’d get a new owner and new direction. The last few years, Moore has teased us a bit, but still has under-achieved in my opinion. Last year felt like a bill of goods was sold to us. In a panic move, our hero fired Kevin Seitzer and brought in….um….hell, I can’t remember their names. George Brett came in and taught the team how to play loose and fun and un-Ned like. And now, FINALLY, after years of torture, we get an above-average team who’s likely to miss the playoffs. Now we’re supposed to jump for joy and french kiss strangers because, by golly, our baseball team is a winner!

    I don’t feel like being happy about them. And I have that right. I love Hosmer’s all-around game, and Moose’s grittiness, and our insane pitching staff. But I’m still not in a Royal-loving mood. Next year’s gonna be the Royals chance to fully win over a lot of us holdouts like myself.

    • Joe Blow says:

      You should maybe Tweet Rany.

      No, seriously…you like Moose’s grittiness? He fuckin sucks. He’s one of the main reasons this team is not going to make the playoffs.

      There are a number of people who understand what Moore is doing and has done, but we have to listen to a bunch of whiners who will never be happy until the Royals have the best MLB season ever. And, even then, we’ll have to see assholes like Rob & Rany shitting themselves that they totally predicted the Royals would be winners that year..

      • Barles James says:

        Contending is fantastic, but not grabbing a wild card spot once every 10 years or so is pathetic, whether we give Dayton Moore is GM that long or not. Every manager makes mistakes, but I shouldn’t be able to point out eight to 10 games off the top of my head that he cost them because of majorly boneheaded decisions. Couple this with the organization’s audacity to price gouge beyond Yankees-level ruthlessness, and I’m hanging onto my money more tightly than David “I won the Wal-Mart lottery” Glass. The Royals still have a lot to prove.

      • Kyle says:

        At the All Star break, Rany revised his prediction to 77-85. So, wrong again!

    • david says:

      dude, bitter much? You hold a grudge like nobody’s business.

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