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Examiner
  • Bill Althaus: Enjoy baseball like it used to be

  • Remember the golden era of the Kansas City Royals when George Brett, Frank White, Amos Otis, Bret Saberhagen and Dan Quisenberry were regulars on the American League All-Star roster?

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  • Remember the golden era of the Kansas City Royals when George Brett, Frank White, Amos Otis, Bret Saberhagen and Dan Quisenberry were regulars on the American League All-Star roster?
    I'm not about to say the golden days have returned, but it's nice to see Kansas City represented by legitimate all-stars like Alex Gordon, Sal Perez and late addition Greg Holland as we prepare to watch the mid-summer classic tonight from Citi Field in New York.
    I believe, barring injuries, this could be the first of eight to 10 All-Star appearances for Perez, the finest young catcher in baseball and one who could challenge Yadier Molina as the best overall backstop in the game (with apologies to Joe Mauer, who is simply one of the best hitters in either league).
    Perez is so good it's scary, and like Royals manager Ned Yost said at a recent news conference, the significance of a team having more than the mandatory one All-Star pick is huge.
    Not only do the Royals have three all-star selections, they could have more as “Big Game” James Shields should also be on the squad. But a lack of offensive support make his stats look mediocre. But the man dominates in the stats he controls.
    How much fun would it be to watch a Royals team that is still in the hunt in September, rather than getting excited when it nears the .500 mark?
    With talent like Gordon, Perez, Holland, Shields and some other up-and-coming stars, the Royals could once again make us proud. The last time I attended a Royals playoff game was the champagne-soaked celebration in 1985 when they overcame a 3-1 deficit to the Cardinals in the World Series to claim their lone world championship.
    I'm not even thinking about world championships, but with enough all-stars, we might be able to dream about a legitimate run to the postseason.
    n I spent more time at Hidden Valley Park last week than I did my own home as the 25th Annual American Legion Wood Bat Invitational took over the local baseball scene, and, boy, was it fun to watch some young men deal on the mound.
    Caleb Humphreys, Reece Eddins and Logan “Mowgs” Taylor all threw gems for the Blue Springs Post 499/Fike team that reached the semifinals before losing 2-1 to the O'Fallon (Mo.) West Jaguars.
    The aspect that I like about the Wood Bat is that it gives you the chance to watch real baseball. I have never been a fan of the composite or metal bats and you see how much they affect the game in a tournament like the Wood Bat Invitational.
    You aren't going to see many big scores, defense is essential and small ball is as much a part of the game as having a stud out on the mound.
    Page 2 of 2 - Congratulations to Wood Bat co-founder Jim Moran, who ran a near perfect tournament. There were no games delayed or cancelled due to rain, and when a water pipe broke behind home plate on Field No. 3, the workers for the city of Blue Springs put on their superhero costumes and got it fixed in record time.
    Moran, who was hobbling around on a walking cast, deserves an extra nod this year because I saw the man after many of his 12-hour days and the sight of that ugly black-and-purple, double-its-normal-size ankle, made me realize how special this tournament is to him and his Fike baseball family.
    I'm sure when he and the late Ron Johnson talked about a wood bat tournament 25 years ago, they never imagined it would grow into the beast that dominates the summer American Legion schedule.
    It's played host to as many as 40 teams from six teams in the past after a memorable 10-team beginning at Hidden Valley Park a quarter of a century ago.
    I'm betting that Jim's wife of 41 years, Kathy Moran, might be the only other person on the planet who realizes how much heart and soul the co-founder puts into the tournament – ranging from selecting the newest member of the Wood Bat Hall of Fame to figuring out the brackets on the final weekend of play.
    I know he probably didn't hear it enough this weekend, but thanks, Jim, for another memory-making event.
     
     
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