Imagine a hot summer day in Chicago, say July 19th, 2009. For kicks, imagine that current Royal Jeremy Guthrie is on the mound for the Baltimore Orioles. A gritty, determined, 25-year old second baseman for the White Sox digs in at the plate. Guthrie rears back and delivers the pitch. The batter takes a mighty hack and connects squarely with the ball, sending it soaring over the outfield fence. The home crowd goes wild as that scrappy hitter runs around the bases. Who knew that would be the last regular season home run Chris Getz would hit?
Chris Getz has played 254 games for the Kansas City Royals over the past three years and has had 887 plate appearances. He has 31 extra base hits and exactly zero home runs. In a strange turn of events Friday, Getz homered to tie the game in the 6th inning against the Cincinnati Reds in Surprise, Arizona. The Royals would eventually win the game 3-2 when catcher Brett Hayes led off the 8th inning with a dinger of his own. Hayes only has 8 home runs himself in his 4-year career. The win gave the Royals a 7-0-1 start in the Cactus League.
As unlikely as Hayes’ home run was, it was nothing compared to Getz’s big swing. Royals’ fans have really given up on seeing him go big fly in a Royals uniform. Of course, it was just Spring Training and not in a game that counts. Still, if nothing as meaningless as a spring home run can’t get everyone in a baseball mood, maybe a meaningless home run by Getz and an undefeated first week in Spring Training can. Chris Getz may never hit a regular season round tripper for the Royals, but his home run today, when it is below freezing with piles of snow everywhere here at home, gave us all something to smile about. Incredulous smiles, but smiles nonetheless.
There was other good news from Surprise today. Ervin Santana pitched two scoreless innings, allowing a walk and a double. His fastballs were consistently 92-93 mph, a good sign in his first spring outing. Rookie lefty Donnie Joseph struck out his 7th straight spring batter before the streak was broken with a bunt from former Royal farm hand Derrick Robinson.
Jeremy Guthrie, this time with Getz as a teammate, is slated to pitch tomorrow against former Minnesota Twin Boof Bonser (evidently this guy is still around) as Kansas City meets up with the San Francisco Giants in Arizona.