KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Royals owner David Glass still believes his team will be in contention by the All-Star break. If not, the Royals plan to put on a tremendous party anyway.
Glass appeared at Kauffman Stadium for a news conference Thursday to promote the All-Star game, which Kansas City will host for the first time since 1973. The game is scheduled for July 10 at the recently renovated ballpark, still considered among the jewels of Major League Baseball.
If only the team stacked up to the picturesque facility.
The rare public appearance by Glass came in the midst of a 3-9 start and back-to-back home sweeps by the Indians and Tigers, a pair of AL Central rivals. The Royals are on a seven-game skid marked by pitching meltdowns, extra-inning defeats and generally poor play.
"I have a lot of confidence in this team," Glass said. "I'm disappointed in our won-loss record at this point, but I have no concern about the fact that this team will turn it around."
Glass said the All-Star game represents a chance for Kansas City to show off for a national audience, and rated the exposure it generates second only to the World Series, something the club has failed to reach since its last playoff berth in 1985.
Expectations were higher than normal this season after a wave of young talent graduated from the minor leagues last year. But already, many fans are bemoaning the same 'ol Royals.
"We have a great group — a core group — of young players that we intend to keep together. I think these kids are winners," Glass said. "They think they're winners, I'm looking forward to not just this year, but the next few years with these kids."
The Royals, who were off Thursday, begin a four-game series against Toronto on Friday night.
Even if they fail to climb back into contention by the All-Star break, baseball-starved fans in the City of Fountains can still look forward to the Midsummer Classic.
Kansas City aggressively sought annual showcase game after extensive renovations to Kauffman Stadium, which opened just months before its last All-Star game. Just about every area of the park has been touched during the construction, though is modernist styling is still evident.
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