I didn’t count how many people were at the Kroc Center in Omaha tonight for the Royals Caravan. I do know that the large parking lot was quite full well in advance of the event’s start, which put my car waaay at the back of the lot.
Tonight we had the company of Alex Gordon, MITCH Maier, and Johnny Giavotella. Ryan LeFebvre served as an emcee of sorts for a Q&A session with the exceptional crowd. (For those not in Omaha: The wind chill is somewhere below zero tonight. Nobody would hold it against these fans if they had stayed home. But they are hardcore, so they showed up in legion.)
-The players, especially Maier, worked the crowd really well.
-Someone asked Maier if he plans to ever pitch again, like he did in that one game. He said he would like to end his pitching career on that inning, and hopes the team is never in a position to have to ask him to pitch again.
-Gordon said he learned a lot from his time in Omaha as he learned to play in the outfield. He said he made some mistakes here, but it’s better to do that in the Minors than on the main stage.
-Someone asked who would be joining LeFebvre in the TV booth next summer. He does not know, nor does anyone, and he said he firmly believes that time will heal the wounds between Frank White and the Royals.
-After a few general questions, a little kid sitting right next to me cut to the heart of the matter: “Are you guys gonna win the division?”
Maier answered confidently in the affirmative. “Yeah, we’re gonna win the division!” To nobody’s surprise, the crowd liked that.
-Giavotella said his favorite place to play other than KC is Chicago. Maier and Gordon both love Fenway, despite the cramped quarters in the clubhouse there.
Look to Lee Warren for more complete coverage. I didn’t actually write down or record any quotes, but I know he did. All the local TV guys were also there, along with the World-Herald. This town, as always, is ready for baseball.
Picture Time! (I’ll let this post serve as Five Foto Friday for this week… here’s the full set.)
I like these events. It’s just nice to be around baseball people – whether that’s players, staff, fans, or media. I’ve never been big into autographs, but I’ve gone to at least one Caravan stop every year since I started college (except last year, when I was at FanFest). It’s a nice little tradition and I’m glad the team does it. How many days until Opening Day?