“After an outing like tonight (against Texas)…you kind of look foolish if you try to continue to hold your cards close to your chest. It’s the obvious. Everybody in Kansas City saw it today, and you know, it’s just, it’s obvious.”
Ned Yost, after the Royals’ 23-year-old pitcher, Yordano Ventura, dazzled against the Rangers for his fourth impressive outing in Arizona this spring and Yost acknowledged that he had won a spot in the Royals starting rotation and will pitch the Royals third game in Detroit, April 3rd, 610 AM
“Yordano Ventura is the size of a high school point guard with the fastball straight out of an exaggerated story about Bob Feller and, finally, he is officially in the Royals’ rotation. … He is the talk of the Cactus League, with a 102-mph fastball and jelly-kneeing curveball and a changeup that’s progressing very nicely. He is so talented, and so out-of-the-blue (he signed for about $50,000 out of the Dominican Republic) that in some ways the organization’s top priority here is in managing expectations.”
Sam Mellinger, Kansascity.com
GH: Is Ventura the Royals real-life Sidd Finch? When SI printed George Plimpton’s fictitious but oh-so-real-sounding story about the amazing exploits of Finch in their April Fools issue in 1985, both my former roommate and I believed every word of the Bunyan-esque tale. Re-reading Plimpton’s piece again today, (which by the way featured St. John’s Chris Mullin and Georgetown’s Patrick Ewing on the cover), I started to believe it was real all over again…
“I felt good and I was throwing a lot of strikes. Salvador Perez did a good job calling the game. I used to start off throwing hard right from when I was warming up. Tonight, I started off slower and built myself up. I’ve been working on that.”
Yordano Ventura, MLB.com
GH: Starting slow on the mound might be the only place the guy they are calling “Ace” Ventura gets a chance to put the brakes on his game. If he hits the scene like he has torched the Cactus League – where hitters dominate and pitchers pray for April – the Royals will be home to one of MLB’s brightest young phenoms.
“It’s been 10 years (Greinke) since the Royals put a true pitching phenom on the mound. I’m going to enjoy this ride as long as it lasts.”
Rany Jazayerli, @jazayerli, Twitter
“Everyone loves a new pitching phenom… In terms of raw stuff and upside Ventura is one of the top handful of pitching prospects in all of baseball, so even as a Twins fan destined to watch him dominate my favorite team’s lineup for the next decade or so I’m really looking forward to watching him pitch every fifth day.”
Aaron Gleeman, nbcsports.com
GH: The next decade or so? Can you even imagine the Royals franchise producing a pitching prospect that could dominate the game for a decade AND STAY HERE? Sidd Finch makes more sense…but the thought does make me smile.
“(Mike Moustakas) has been great. What does it mean? Who the heck knows? It is encouraging at least.”
Andy McCollough, Royals beat writer, 810 AM
“He’s just smokin’ the ball…He had a great spring last year, but there’s a huge difference in the two. Last year he was up there swinging, hacking. This year he’s up there w/ a real solid plan of attack…and that’s a big difference.”
Ned Yost, on Moustakas, via Josh Klingler on Twitter
GH: If you didn’t watch Moose last season it is difficult to convey how putrid he looked through July – after having a great camp in Arizona. Could the Moose be ready to fill his franchise-saving expectations? It is March – the month of hope. Somehow even the nastiest winters never kill the dream of baseball once spring has sprung.
“I think it’s the SEC’s problem because they’re perceived as a football conference and they don’t do much to change that perception. So you’ve got to live with it, guys.”
Mike Pratt, Kentucky Wildcats basketball color analyst, in an interview with The Border Patrol, discussing why the SEC received only three NCAA bids, 810 AM
GH: Kentucky is about as far from being a football school as Kansas – but both are basketball bluebloods in conferences that crave football. The Big 12 is a power conference in both sports. The SEC treats basketball like it does cross country. And you know what? It probably doesn’t matter a dime to the SEC school’s budgets with their football money. This is the conference that Mizzou was unable to play well enough this season to make the NCAA tourney.
“Auburn has reached an agreement with Bruce Pearl. He will be the Tigers’ next basketball coach, a source told @CBSSports.”
Gary Parrish, @GaryParrishCBS, Twitter
GH: Does this mean Auburn is taking basketball more seriously? I don’t think it says much for Auburn’s concern for integrity.
“What concerns me is that (Bruce Weber’s) team is a very physical team and at times Kentucky is bothered by teams that play physical. Everybody talks about Wichita State and Kentucky – but I think Kentucky has their hands full in that first game (against K-State). I’m wary of Kansas State and the physicality that they can play defense with.”
Mike Pratt, 810 AM
“All those goofy-ass blogs out there just crushed these (Harrison twins) kids. And they weren’t mature enough to handle it.”
Mike Pratt, 810 AM
GH: Those damn goofy-ass blogs! We should expect 18-year-old kids to be able to handle guys like Frank Martin yelling at them, “Answer the fucking question, asshole!” But those goofy-ass blogs are just a joke…
“Y BIG 12 fans r special. ISU fans applauded our players as they walked thru our hotel to the elevators. Class Act!!!! Great appreciated.”
Scott Drew, @BUDREW, Twitter
GH: Scott Drew handing out kudos to the Clones after Baylor dropped the Big 12 title game to ISU. Drew turned around what looked to be a no-win situation at Baylor and he just might do the same with his reputation.
“If you missed Jay Bilas, we’re gonna replay it coming up at 5:25. If you missed @bennyheis Joel Embiid song, it was awesome, that’s at 5:45.”
Danny Parkins, @DannyParkins, Twitter
GH: I heard both the Bilas interview – which I thought was excellent, and the new guy singing a song he wrote about Embiid – absolutely awful radio. Parkins and Harrison appear to not know what they want their show to be. They are not talented enough to be funny showman and they appear determined to prove it daily.
“To pass (Pete) Maravich for most points all-time, Doug McDermott needs to reach title game & avg 94 PPG in tourney.”
GH: So how many does McBuckets need if Creighton gets knocked out in the Elite Eight?
and Twitter @greghall24