Mitch Maier was one of the more popular Royals among the players, but he unfortunately found himself sandwiched behind the team's current outfield starters and a crop of young prospects projected to be the Royals' outfield of the future.
The Royals' designated Maier for assignment earlier this week, ending a six-year stint with Kansas City for the team's first-round pick, 30th overall, in the 2003 MLB Draft. Maier, who just turned 30, had spent all six of years in the major leagues with the Royals. He has a career batting average of .248, with 10 home runs and 93 RBI in 360 career games. His best season was in 2010 when he played in 117 games and ended the year with a .263 batting average with five home runs and 39 RBI.
Maier made only 64 plate appearances this season in 32 games.
In addition to the current outfield trio of Alex Gordon, Jarrod Dyson and Jeff Francoeur, the Royals have center fielder Lorenzo Cain, who is near returning from an extended stay on the disabled list, plus top minor-league prospect Will Meyers is not that far from making the jump to the big leagues. Maier gave the Royals versatility in the outfield in that he was capable of playing all three positions and also filled in at first base, if necessary.
"He's as perfect a teammate as you'd want on your team," Royals' manager Ned Yost said. He's always ready, always prepared. He never complained. He just worked hard.
"We're just to the point where we've got so many outfielders who we want to look at," he said.
Nationwide Drops PGA Tour Sponsorship
The Nationwide golf tour is no longer. On June 27, what used to be the Nationwide Tour - and before that the Buy.com Tour and the Nike tour - changed its name to the Web.com Tour, recognizing a change in title sponsorship rights for the development tour that competes one level down from the PGA Tour, the top level among touring golf professionals.
It is not an unusual move for the title sponsorship to change, but it is highly unusual that the action would be taken in the middle of the season. The deal with new tour sponsor, Web.cam, reportedly is for 10 years. The golfers at this tour level have either not earned their PGA Tour card or have their tour credentials but have failed to earn enough money on the PGA Tour to remain at that level. The top 25 on the money list of what is now the Web.com Tour are awarded PGA Tour memberships for the following year.
Kansas City is one of the stops on the 2012 Web.com Tour schedule. The Midwest Classic will be held Aug. 16-19 at the Nicklaus Golf Club at LionsGate in Overland Park, Kan.
The Web.com tour started out in 1990 as the Ben Hogan Tour. After three seasons, title sponsorship shifted to Nike and it became the Nike Tour (1993-99). In 2000, sponsorship changed again, to Buy.com, and Nationwide Insurance became the title sponsor in 2003.
Bubba Starling Breaks Out
A week ago we reported that Royals' 2011 top draft pick Bubba Starling, the hometown product from Gardner-Edgerton, was finally seeing his first full professional game action as a member of the short-season Burlington Royals in the Appalachian Rookie League. Wednesday night, Starling went two for four with a triple and two walks and three runs scored in a 17-2 rout over Bristol.
In six games, the multi-sport star at Gardner-Edgerton High School was batting .360.
"You're Only As Old As You Look" Goes For Baseball Parks, Too
The Kansas City Royals baseball franchise is 44 years old this season, one of the younger teams in terms of the lifespan of Major League Baseball. The Royals started out playing in old Municipal Stadium in downtown Kansas City, Mo., which also served as the home of the Kansas City Blues minor league team, the Kansas City Athletics and, for 10 seasons, the home of the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 1973, the Royals moved into Royals Stadium, a beautiful new single-purpose ballpark at the Truman Sports Complex in Independence, Mo. That same year Kansas City hosted its second Major League Baseball All-Star Game, but first for the Royals.
Today, 39 year later, the same ballpark, now named Kauffman Stadium in honor of the club's founder and longtime owner Ewing Kauffman, is the sixth oldest venue in the major leagues. Only Fenway Park (Boston), Wrigley Field (Chicago), Dodgers Stadium (Los Angeles), Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, and Angels Stadium (Los Angeles/Anaheim) are older than "The K."
A $250 million remodeling project a couple of years ago helped update Kauffman Stadium and build in some modern day fan-friendly features and conveniences, but the fact remains, despite being one of the major league's oldest stadiums, it continues to be one of baseball's most beautiful facilities and a grand place to view a game.