The Royals have been big supporters of the military and that continues with the launch of the 2010 Royals Caravan next Tuesday at Fort Riley in Kansas.
Hall of Famer George Brett will be joined by his old pal and former catcher Jamie Quirk and the noted “Joker” and ex-third baseman Joe Randa in meeting members of the Combat Aviation Brigade. The unit of more than 2,700 soldiers is preparing to deploy overseas in the nation’s war zone.
They’ll be joined by broadcaster Joel Goldberg for the visit from 11:15 to 12:45 p.m. CT on Tuesday. The group also will visit the Cottonwood Elementary School in Salina, Kan., at 2:15 p.m. and go to that night’s basketball game at Manhattan, Kansas State vs. Texas A&M.
Should be an interesting FanFest with the ’85 World Series boys coming in. Even Buddy Black, busy as the Padres manager, is taking time to join ex-pitching buddies such as Charlie Leibrandt, Bret Saberhagen and Danny Jackson. And Hal McRae will be there with his big smile and famous cackle. . . . We hear the Royals are planning to have an alumni game next summer with the ’85ers squaring off against some of the Cardinals’ alums from the I-70 Series. Wouldn’t it be nice if new Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog could join the fun? . . . Mike Sweeney will be at next Thursday night’s Royals Awards dinner to present the award named for him – which goes to the player who best represents the organization on and off the field. This year’s winner is first baseman Clint Robinson from the Wilmington Blue Rocks. He logged many hours at the community’s schools and camps and the local Children’s Hospital. He also hit .298 with 13 dingers. Sweeney last year was surprised with the Mr. Baseball Award for his long service to Kansas City. . . . Tickets for the dinner, by the way, are on sale at www.royals.com/awardsnight. It’s 75 bucks and gets you a look at Zack Greinke, Billy Butler, Brett, Frank White and many other celebs. It’s at the Overland Park Convention Center.
— Dick Kaegel
Good to see a good guy, Eddie Rodriguez, get the managerial job for the USA in next month’s World Cup competition.
He’s the Royals’ special assignments coach, his first year at the job but he’s been a Major League coach for a long time, including three years as Frank Robinson’s bench coach with the Montreal Expos. He’s played, coached and instructed in the Minor Leagues so he’s well qualified for the job given him by USA Baseball.
“I got a call in Boston and they wanted to know if I was interested, I was one of the finalists to be the manager,” he said.
Rodriguez was interested and USA Baseball got permission from the Royals to give him leave during September for the international competition. His team starts play on Sept. 10, playing Venezuela at Regensburg, Germany.
“It always looks good on the resume but, to me, it’s the honor. The same it was in Sydney, representing our country and representing it well and having players from different organizations and bringing them together in a short time – and bring back the medal,” he said.
Rodriguez was a coach on the 2000 U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal at Sydney.
He’ll have ex-Royals player and coach Jamie Quirk as his bench and third-base coach. Only players not on active Major League rosters can play in the World Cup competition. The one player from the Royals’ organization who is on the preliminary 60-man roster is infielder Tug Hulett, now with Triple-A Omaha.
— Dick Kaegel