Kansas City Royals: A Gouldian Team?

Kansas City Royals pitcher, Danny Duffy, poses with his dog, Sadie.

Here’s a short post and it’s about the Kansas City Royals. Now, a big fan of competitive sports I am not, however, this past summer I felt like watching some baseball. I suppose what drew me was the fact that it’s basically a quiet game, it’s pretty to look at with all of the green grass and finally, what other sport offers so much opportunity for quality people-watching? Think about it, for practically the entire game, the camera is directly facing the fans behind home plate.

With all of that people-watching, I began to notice something special about Royals fans and, sensitive as I am to loud and aggressive people, I was surprised to find that I was not alone in my observation of their polite, controlled behaviour and their friendliness. That is to say that even the announcers were commenting on the nice fans at Kauffman Stadium and of their support for the achievements of players from all teams. Watch a few home games and you’ll see. Of course, you’ll need to wait until next season (the Royals didn’t advance to the playoffs this year.) Anyhow, it all makes a person feel good and, completely against competition of any sort as Glenn was, I think that were he still alive and asked to pick a team, he might find reason to root for the Royals.

I have to admit that, as I write this post about watching baseball on tv, I have in my mind, a photo I had some trouble re-locating but, in the end, was successful. The photo below shows Glenn’s studio at the Inn on the Park. He maintained the studio from September 1976 until his death in 1982. Could there be a baseball game on that set of his? On second thought, probably it’s an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (click here to read, Why Glenn Gould Loved the MTM Show.)

Photo by Lorne Tulk and reprinted in Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould. “The studio Gould maintained, at the Inn on the Park hotel, in the suburb of Don Mills, from September 1976 until his death.”

Of course, Glenn’s character comes into play here, for in speculating that a team such as the Kansas City Royals might appeal to a side of his personality, one has to understand that “the Gould that most people remember,” writes Kevin Bazzana in Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould, “was also very much his parents’ son: the quintessential Nice Canadian Boy, at heart a man of decency and integrity.” The index of this thoroughly and thoughtfully prepared biography devotes a whopping eleven pages to the subject of Glenn’s “gentlemanly character.”

On one particular evening, May 15, 2019 to be exact, I was watching the Royals play a home game against the Texas Rangers, when the announcers started talking about how it was a Bark at the Park night. Fans were permitted to bring their dogs and so, for much of the game the cameras would pan over to various four-legged friends in the crowd. There were small and large dogs and, as far as I could tell (perhaps it was different for those actually in attendance) there was no barking. Big, pink tongues were hanging out and happily enjoying an evening out at the ballpark with their human family. Incidentally, that night there were over three hundred dogs in attendance and, thankfully, no bathroom accidents!

On that occasion, the announcers started having some fun with the whole “bring your dog to the ballpark” thing. For a few minutes during the broadcast, the announcers turned their attention to coming up with the breeds they thought might most enjoy attending a game. The shepherd, one announcer said, “would want control of everyone,” while the dacshund “would be confused by the hot dogs [vendors]” and the retrievers “would want to chase the ball.” Then there was the great dane, who would “enjoy running” and finally, the bull dog, who would “want to get into a fight and so there’d be an empty dugout.” For all of that time, there was no mention of player stats or anything related to competition. Totally Glenn approved.

And this continued, as the announcers then made a segue into talking about other nights at the ballpark devoted to animals besides dogs. My favourite was “rabbit night” because, as the announcer said, “they’d like the green grass!” The announcer seemed quite pleased with himself. On top of that, Royals announcers have some of the best on-air voices I was able to find. They sound completely warm and just plain nice. The fellow who does their radio broadcasting is particularly good and has a very distinctive voice. Denny Matthews is his name and he’s the franchise’s last remaining original employee. (Click here to watch a short video interview with Denny.)

As if that weren’t enough animal love, there’s this video (click here to watch) of Royals pitcher, Danny Duffy, cavorting around spring training with his Alaskan Malamute named Sadie. “It’s the best, man,” said Duffy. “Nothing beats having a dog.”

Glenn Gould and Nicky. Photo via glenngould.com

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