Each year, spring training brings new hopes for so many. From players to fans, many have high hopes for the new season.
Spring training can also bring high expectations. The KC Royals are usually a really good team in spring training and third baseman Mike Moustakas tends to be the hottest player on Earth during the month of March.
Then the season begins and things go south.
The Royals turned things around in 2014 during the summer months, securing the top Wild Card spot and sweeping their way to the World Series.
Despite losing players like Billy Butler, Nori Aoki, and James Shields to free agency (though only Butler has signed with a new team), their are high hopes for the 2015 season. The Royals went out and spent money on the free agent market and have a good, young core returning. Plus, they have some prospect pitchers who are making strides in the minors.
What better way to get an early look at the Royals then to head to sunny and warm Surprise, Arizona for spring training in the month of March? I know I want to get away from cold and snowy New Jersey that time of year (or anytime in the winter for that matter).
While the players arrive for spring training in February, Cactus League games for the Royals begin on Wednesday, March 4th against complex partner Texas. That game is considered a “road” game, but Thursday’s game is the Royals first home game of the Cactus League season. The Royals then do not play the Rangers again until March 30th.
If you want to get a look at former Royal Spencer Patton, those would be the three games to check out. Patton should have a legitimate shot at making the Rangers Opening Day roster, especially after his showing in his September callup. If you do not make it to one of those games, you could always check out a Rangers game at Surprise, or walk down the dirt road to the Rangers complex to see Patton throwing on the back fields.
The Royals play their first American League Central division foe on March 6th when they travel to Goodyear to face Cleveland. They make another trip to play the Indians the following week (March 12th), before hosting Cleveland on March 15th.
They play the Chicago White Sox three times, twice at Surprise (March 10th and 25th) and once at Glendale (March 21st).
The Royals have a rematch against World Series champion San Francisco in a home-and-home series on March 22nd and 23rd. The Royals host the first game and then travel to Scottsdale on the 23rd.
Longtime Royals fans will probably want to give Billy Butler a nice salute, so be there for the Friday, March 13th game when Oakland travels to Surprise. That is the only time the Royals play the A’s during spring training.
The Royals will face the LA Angels, the team they swept out of the Division Series, on Sunday, March 8th at Tempe and then host the Angels on Saturday, March 14th. That game will be a split squad game, so be prepared to see a bunch of minor leaguers.
The Royals traded lefty reliever Kyle Bartsch earlier in the offseason and he could be on the fast track to San Diego. As of right now, Bartsch will not be on the big league roster this spring (though he could be a non-roster invitee). Peoria, the Padres spring training complex, is only about 15 minutes away from Surprise, so you could make the drive to check him out on the backfields. Or Bartsch could be on the roster to face the Royals on either March 11th when the Padres travel to Surprise or either March 20th or the 31st when the Royals travel to Peoria to play the Padres.
The Royals play just three night games (which will get chilly in Arizona): Friday, March 20th and Tuesday, March 31st at Peoria (SD), and Wednesday, March 25th against the CWS.
If you want to check out some National League teams, the Royals play 15 games against the NL (I already mentioned the games against the Padres and the Giants). They play the new look Chicago Cubs at Mesa on March 17th (St. Patrick’s Day) and at Surprise on March 29th.
The Royals play Milwaukee at Maryvale on March 9th and host the Brewers on March 18th. They host Cincinnati on March 7th and then travel to Goodyear to play the Reds on March 11th. That day, the Royals will play a split squad game with both the Padres (at Surprise) and the Reds.
The Royals travel to Salt River to play Colorado on March 15th and Arizona on March 28th. They host the Rockies on March 19th.
They Royals end their time in Arizona on April 1st when they host the LA Dodgers. After a day off, they travel to Houston for two exhibition games (April 3-4) before Opening Day on April 6th.
The lone day off for the Royals comes on March 24th. Click HERE for the entire Royals spring training schedule in monthly format.
Sure, Cactus League games mean nothing in the scheme of things, but it is nice to see the boys in blue play well. And why not enjoy the weather while you are at it.
Don’t forget to check out the backfields to see the minor league Royals in action!