We re only about a week away from Opening Day, so it s time to start previewing the season. Inspired by an old feature on The Black Table, we re going team-by-team and distributing Four Things You Don t Know about them. If you have suggested oddities on your team, send them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Today: The Kansas City Royals.
• 1. Their Fans Have Sluggish, But Happy, Arteries. Royals fans get a free dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme for every game in which their team gets 12 or more hits. Of course, this has happened exactly zero times in the past decade. Kidding, of course. They probably have 10-12 Krispy Kreme days per season. 1 Royals ticket = 1 free dozen Krispy Kreme doughnuts. God Bless America.
• 2. They Kick-Started The Drug Era In Sports. In 1983, the Royals were headed for a second-place finish behind the White Sox when they were hit with a drug scandal. Center fielder Willie Wilson, first baseman Willie Aikens, outfielder Jerry Martin and pitcher Vida Blue were charged with attempting to purchase cocaine. The four were charged in October, pleaded guilty and spent three months in prison, becoming the first active players in sports history to serve a prison sentence.
• 3. They Are Not Ready For Prime Time. In 1997, first baseman Mike Sweeney, who is still with the Royals, made his acting debut on Saturday Night Live. Playing himself, he was in a sketch that involved obscure players appearing out of a boy's bedroom closet. The portion of the show's transcript involving Sweeney: Todd Hunley: "Ah, don't worry about it. He's gonna stop by later. We dropped him off at a strip joint down the street." [ballplayers cheer, as David Howard and Mike Sweeney step out of the closet with a keg]. David Howard: "Where's the party!" Danny: "David Howard and Mike Sweeney! Go away! Guys, you're gonna wake up my Mom!" The musical guest that night was Hanson.
• 4. They Take One, Or Several, For The Team. Right fielder Shane Costa, from Fullerton State, is among the top 10 in NCAA history for getting hit by pitches, having been plunked 57 times. And, quite frankly, he looks like he took some of them in the melon.
(Monday: The St. Louis Cardinals)