Hot Stove #188 – Spring Training, Opening Day, Zack Greinke, Ralph Terry and Campy Campaneris

Baseball is back! Time to talk about spring training and opening day. But first a personal note.

Rita, Lonnie and Cooking: The next Hot Stove may be delayed. Nothing to do with the lockout. Rita gets a new hip on Wednesday, so my honey-do-list (not normally very long) will have several additions and cut into research and writing time.

Rita and I went through a similar scenario ten years ago when she had her bout with breast cancer. The biggest hurdles (from my end) were breakfast, lunch and dinner. I don’t cook. Anything. Well, I put bread in the toaster for breakfast. Although we relied heavily on carry-out and catered-in meals, there were many situations where I needed to be educated on meal preparation and (for the first time) use certain kitchen appliances. Learned a lot. Cored a pineapple (new term to me). Made instant mashed potatoes (somewhat magical to see). And on and on. It’s very complicated.

And then things returned to normal. Rita was cancer free. I forgot everything I learned about the kitchen. Rita and I got a big laugh out of last’s week’s Doonesbury which captures the phenomena:


Many of you are familiar with this story and others from Rita’s journey in 2012. After Rita received her diagnosis, she sent emails to some friends, and then as word got out, her support village blossomed. As she got into treatment, I took over the messaging duties, but always with her expert editorial contributions. We kept the village updated on her status and recovery, and also shared stories about movies, our favorite music, baseball, etc.

Sound familiar? Emails written by me and edited by Rita. Music in Lonnie’s Jukebox. Movies seen in Telluride. That mailing list was used and expanded when I wrote about the Royals in the World Series in 2014 and 2015, which then evolved into Hot Stove.

Thanks for being part of our village.

Spring Training: The lockout has faded from the headlines, replaced by big-name free agents signing contracts at high numbers. The Royals are not in that stratosphere, but free agency has brought Zack Greinke home. And a trade with Cincinnati netted left-handed reliever Amir Garrett (great video of him here).

I do not have my usual Hot Stove photos of friends watching the games in Surprise, Arizona. Most did not go because of the lockout, and those who did make the trek returned to KC before the delayed schedule began. And sad to say, there were also no photos the last two years – that Covid thing.


The good news is that spring training is underway. Borrowing from Dan Quisenberry, “I hear the pop of ball hitting bat/ball smothered in loved leather/and even the whoosh of ball/spinning with raised seams cutting through air.” Salvy is still splashing. The Royals have too many good infielders (wonderful problem). Rookies are showing potential. Maybe the young pitching will click. Some spring training stats looking good. Will it carry over to the regular season? Stay tuned.

Opening Day – Cleveland Guardians: On opening day April 7, the Royals will host the Cleveland Guardians (the team formerly known as the Indians). This will be the first regular season game for Cleveland as the Guardians. The new name honors a Cleveland landmark, the four “Guardians of Traffic” on the Hope Memorial Bridge that leads into Progressive Field.

Cleveland Guardians

The Cleveland (Indians) were the featured team in the 1989 movie Major League. The memorable scene in the film shows Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn (Charlie Sheen) coming in from the bullpen to the sounds of the song “Wild Thing” (click here). But now there is another scene in the movie that is drawing attention. The very first shot in the opening credits is of one of the Guardians (click here). That’s a cool coincidence from 33 years ago.

 Nostradamus Panel: After MLB confirmed we would have 162 games this year, I gathered the Hot Stove “Nostradamus Panel” to predict the number of Royals victories for 2022. Bob White – 74. David Matson – 75. Lonnie – 78. Steve Roling – 80. Jeb Bayer – 81. Primary worries: (i) Young pitching may not be quite ready, and (ii) division rivals Minnesota, Chicago and Detroit look improved. I’ll be back at the end of the year, hopefully to say we were all too low.

Zack Greinke: From 2004 to 2010, Zack Greinke toiled for the Royals. He was a rising pitching star, winning a Cy Young in 2009.

Image 1 - 2010 Topps Zack Greinke #155 Kansas City Royals

The Royals never had a winning season in those Greinke years. In his last game in 2010, this was the Royals lineup:


This lineup is a good indicator of why Zack asked be traded after the 2010 season. The Royals honored his request, and the result was a win-win.

Win for the Royals: Zack went to Milwaukee in exchange for Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Jake Odorizzi. The Royals then sent Odorizzi to Tampa Bay in the deal that netted Wade Davis and James Shields. .

Zack’s boys (Cain, Escobar, Davis and Shields) plus some prospects from the minors (Hosmer, Moose, Salvy, etc.) combined to propel the Royals to the AL pennant in 2014. They lost to the Giants in the World Series, but came back (other than Shields) in 2015 to win the World Series over the Mets.

Thank you Zack.

Win for Zack Greinke: Zack became one of the premier pitchers in the majors, playing for the Brewers, Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Astros. He has been in the postseason 8 times in the 11 seasons since he left the Royals. His career WAR is 73.1, which is Hall of Fame territory. The big question will be what team’s cap Zack will wear on his Hall of Fame plaque. He is getting ready to play his 8th season with the Royals. His longest tenure otherwise has been Arizona (4 seasons). I vote for a Royals cap.

Welcome back Zack.

[James Shields Trivia: Shields was a free agent after his 2014 season with the Royals, and he left to sign a lucrative deal with San Diego. In 2016, the Padres traded Shields to the White Sox for two minor league prospects. Shields went 16-35 in three seasons with the Sox and then retired. One of the minor leaguers sent by the Sox to San Diego was Fernando Tatis, Jr. who was 17 at the time of the trade. He has become one of the biggest stars in the game. The trade of Tatis by the White Sox is reminiscent of a similar lopsided deal out of Chicago. In 1964, the Cubs traded future superstar Lou Brock to the Cardinals for pitcher Ernie Broglio. Tatis will be slow out of the gate this year – he broke his wrist in a motorcycle accident during the lockout.]

Kansas City A’s – Ralph Terry – RIP: Ralph Terry died in Larned, Kansas, on March 16, 2022. He was 85.

Terry’s professional baseball career began when he signed with the Yankees in 1953. He was one of the primary starters for the Yankees when they went to the World Series five years in a row from 1960 to 1964. So why is there this baseball card from 1958 showing Terry with the Kanas City A’s? 1958 Topps #169 Ralph Terry Kansas City Athletics UER MLB  Baseball Card EX Excellent : Collectibles & Fine Art

After Arnold Johnson brought the A’s to Kansas City in 1955, he regularly made trades with the Yankees. Many joked that the Yankees still had a farm club in Kansas City. The trades often involved several players and some players went back and forth. Here are the two trades that involved Terry (get ready for some nostalgia):

June 15, 1957: The Yankees traded Terry and Woodie Held, Billy Martin and Bob Martyn to the A’s for Ryne Duren, Jim Pisoni and Harry “Suitcase” Simpson.

May 26, 1959: The A’s traded Terry back to the Yankees, along with Hector Lopez, for Johnny Kucks, Jerry Lumpe and Tom Sturdivant.

When Charlie Finley bought the A’s in 1960, the A’s/Yankees shuttle was discontinued.

Terry is most remembered for throwing the final pitch in Game 7 of two World Series. The first was in 1960. With the Yankees and Pirates tied 9-9 in the bottom of the 9th, Terry faced the Bill Mazeroski. Maz homered to win for the Pirates, the first time in MLB history that a walk-off homer won a World Series (video here). Terry: “I don’t know what that pitch to Mazeroski was. All I know is that it was the wrong one.”

In 1962, the Yankees led the Giants 1-0 in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7. With Giants on second and third and two out, Terry faced Willie McCovey. A hit would likely score two, and the Giants would win the Series. An out would win it for the Yankees. McCovey hit a screaming liner toward right field that almost knocked over second baseman Bobby Richardson. But he held on to the ball, and the Yankees celebrated (click here).

McCovey: “One foot higher, or either way, and I guess I would have been a hero.” Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts, was an avid Giants fan and agreed with McCovey. Schulz memorialized McCovey’s blast off Terry in two strips featuring Charlie Brown and Linus (12/22/62 and 1/28/63):

Screenshot 2022-03-25 at 9.42.24 AM.png

Joe Posnanski/Bill Mazeroski: In the 1980s and 1990s, Bill Mazeroski’s Baseball was a popular annual magazine analyzing the coming MLB season. Below, George Brett on the cover of the 1986 edition.

Vintage MLB 1986 Bill Mazeroski's Baseball Jumbo Magazine GEORGE BRETT  Cover | eBay

Joe Posnanski: “I loved Bill Mazeroski’s Baseball – it is a big reason I became a sportswriter.” And now Joe has decided to write a Mazeroski-esque team-by-team, division by division, preview of the 2022 season. It starts today, and Joe is offering a seven-day free trial to see if you want to subscribe to his blog. Check out his offer here.

Kansas City A’s – Campy Campaneris – Octogenarian: Earlier this month, Bert “Campy” Campaneris turned 80. Campy was a fan favorite in Kansas City where he played for the A’s from 1964 to 1967. Then Charlie Finley moved the team to Oakland where Campy was one of the key players when the A’s won the World Series in 1972, 1973 and 1974.

Campy’s 80th birthday was noted by many pundits, and one of the favorite stories came from Campy’s time in Kansas City. On September 8, 1965, at Municipal Stadium, Campy played an inning at each of the nine positions. It was the first time it had been done in the major leagues. The A’s lost 5-3. Ken Harrelson played in the game, and he and Campy reminisced over that night in this clip (1:45).

Image 1 - 1965 Topps Bert Campaneris  EX+ Rookie Kansas City Athletics #266

Campy was also remembered in this tweet from Rick Sutcliffe:


Why would Sutcliffe pick Campy in an answer to a question about watching a former player for nine innings? Sutcliffe grew up in the Kansas City area and was nine years old when Campy played all nine positions. I’m guessing he remembers the game. I know I do.

[Sutcliffe Trivia:  Both Sutcliffe and I attended Van Horn High School in Independence and played little league baseball. While I could not hit a curve ball and quit at age 15, Sutcliffe became a major leaguer. I don’t know him. I was in the Class of 1959. He was Class of 1974. His nickname is “The Red Baron” – note the red hair in his baseball card below.]

Oct 24 1984 - NL Cy Young - Rick Sutcliffe | Cubs baseball, Chicago cubs  baseball, Cubs fan

Which brings us back to Peanuts: Snoopy vs. the Red Baron (The Complete Peanuts Book 0) eBook :  Schulz, Charles, Schulz, Charles: Tienda Kindle

The Final Four: The Peter principle caught up with the Cinderella team in the Elite Eight. North Carolina beat St. Peter’s, but the Peacocks sure gave us a fun ride.

Only four college teams have more than 2,000 victories in men’s basketball: Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina and Duke. Three are in the Final Four this year (Kentucky is left out because it got beat by…St. Peter’s). The fourth team in the field is Villanova, the champion in 2016 and 2018. Talk about a Final Four of bluebloods.


I’m not a born fan of Kansas. I attended MU at Rolla and in Kansas City and naturally lean to the Missouri side. But unlike my friends who attended MU at the Columbia campus, I never developed a distaste for KU basketball. I’m sort of a KU agnostic. The clincher for me is that Rita is an avid KU basketball fan, and I want her to be very happy during this surgery week. Go Jayhawks!

The Oscars: When Rita and I left the Telluride Film Festival last September, we thought three of the movies might be nominated for best picture: Belfast (my personal choice out of Telluride), King Richard (really enjoyed) and Power of the Dog (good cinematography and score, nice twist at the end, but took too long to get there). They were all nominated.

The other seven nominees were not at Telluride, but we were able to stream all of them. Our favorite from these was the heartwarming CODA. Enjoyed Licorice Pizza (especially Alana Heim who should have been nominated) and Nightmare Alley. Appreciated the metaphorical message of Don’t Look Up (the intended one, global warming, and the unintended one, the Big Lie). Dune was not our thing. Drive my Car was fine, but no Parasite. West Side Story had its cinematic moments, but at least two other movie musicals were better in our opinion: tick, tick…Boom! (directed by Lin-Manual Miranda with an outstanding performance by Andrew Garfield) and In the Heights (written by Lin-Manuel Miranda). Yes, we are Miranda groupies.

And at the Academy Awards last night, the Oscar went to…CODA!


That’s my headline for the 2022 Academy Awards. Not Will Smith.

Telluride Film Festival 2022 in Telluride, CO | Everfest

Rita and I have our passes, condo, flights and rental car lined up for Labor Day Weekend in Telluride in 2022. See you at the movies.

Lonnie’s Jukebox – Rock ‘n’ Rollers Standing With Ukraine: Ukraine has embraced some classic rock ‘n’ roll as part of the resistance to Russia. Click on the bold song titles to listen.

The 1984 hit song “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister has become an unofficial anthem for Ukrainians protesting the Russian invasion. Lead singer Dee Snider tweeted “I absolutely approve of Ukrainians using ‘We’re Not Gonna Take It’ as their battle cry,” adding that his grandfather was Ukrainian.

We’ve got the right to choose, and
There ain’t no way we’ll lose it
This is our life, this is our song
We’ll fight the powers that be, just
Don’t pick our destiny, ’cause
You don’t know us, you don’t belong

 “We’re Not Gonna Take It” by Twisted Sister (1984).

Workers in Odessa preparing sandbag fortifications were entertained by a drummer backed by Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life”:

It’s my life
And it’s now or never
I ain’t gonna live forever
I just want to live while I’m alive
(It’s my life)
My heart is like an open highway
Like Frankie said, “I did it my way”
I just want to live while I’m alive
‘Cause it’s my life

Bon Jovi sent an approving tweet, quoting lyrics from the song.


“It’s My Life” in Odessa, Ukraine (2022)

“It’s My Life” by Bon Jovi (2000)

My son Brian gave me a head’s up about one of his favorite songs, “London Calling,” being converted to a resistance anthem in Ukraine. The song was a 1979 hit by The Clash and voiced concerns about world problems (nuclear war, London flooding, etc.). The Clash has given permission to Beton, a Ukrainian punk rock band, to cover the song with new lyrics to protest the Russian invasion. Beton borrows the staccato guitar riffs of The Clash for a compelling version titled “Kyiv Calling.” The Beton trio includes an orthopedic doctor now treating war victims, and the other two are members of the Ukrainian territorial defense. All proceeds go the resistance movement.

“Kyiv Calling” by Beton, recorded in Lviv, Ukraine (2022). Lyrics are captioned in the video.

“London Calling” by The Clash (1979).

I spotted another rock ‘n’ roll connection to Ukraine, but it will take some connecting of the dots to explain. In the 1990s, I started doing work for Extell Development Company which would grow to (and still is) one of the top developers in New York. In 2005, Extell bought a building at 221 W. 57th that housed the Hard Rock Café, featuring the iconic Cadillac tail-fin canopy (in the center in the photo below).

Pin on Hard Rock Cafe Visits

Hard Rock had announced its planned move to Times Square, and Gary Barnett, Extell’s president, thought the block was ripe for a major assemblage. I worked on the project for years as my client acquired additional development rights in the block. Construction started in 2013, I retired in 2017, and the building topped out in 2019.

The end result: Central Park Tower, the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere (1,550’). The tallest is One World Trade Center which is topped with an architectural beacon that takes it to 1,776’.

Central Park Tower is primarily a residential condominium tower, but the first few floors house Nordstrom’s NY flagship store. The old Cadillac entrance of the Hard Rock Café has been replaced in the new structure with a curved façade which has recently been put to good use by Nordstrom’s to honor Ukraine.


From Hard Rock Café to Nordstrom’s to “Standing with Ukraine.”

Never passing up a chance to play Carole King, here is “Hard Rock Café” from her Welcome to My Living Room album (2005).

To finish this long post, I’m circling back to Rita’s cancer journey. Over the months of treatment and recovery, she took in a lot of “Good Vibrations” as a supplement to thoughts and prayers. We liked the joyous message of the Beach Boys’ record and how it captured the good vibes from her support village. Now, paying it forward, we are sending out good vibrations to Ukraine (and closer to home, to Polly, John and Nancy).

Image result for good vibrations

“Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys (1966)