Perez, Holland worthy All-Stars

By Steve Sell
July 08, 2014

Tuesday’s thoughts...

• THREE ROYALS ON ALL-STAR TEAM — Salvador Perez, Greg Holland and Alex Gordon will represent the Kansas City Royals in next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in Minneapolis.

Perez will be the American League's starting catcher, as he replaces the injured Matt Wieters of Baltimore. By all rights, he probably should have been voted in as a starter, but Wieters has the name recognition and Perez isn't that widely known outside of Kansas City.

Perez generally is regarded by baseball insiders as the brightest young catching prospect in the game for his leadership, defensive skills and better-than-average pop at the plate.

Holland was a no-brainer. He has been among the top two or three relievers in the American League for a couple of years now and is 23 of 24 in save chances. He has struck out an astounding 50 in 32 2/3 innings.

I wasn’t sure if Gordon was going to make it. He has fallen into one of those horrible skids that have punctuated his career, batting just .265. However, maybe he turned the corner Monday with his three-hit game, which could send him on a tear. But his game is more than just hitting, as he has few peers in left field as he’s well on track for yet another Golden Glove.

Given the fact Kansas City is in the middle of the pack in the American League record-wise, landing three berths is quite an achievement. And there could very well have been two more Royals chosen, shortstop Alcides Escobar (.291, 21 of 23 in steals and a glove wizard) and lights-out setup man Wade Davis (5-2, 1.23 ERA, 59 strikeouts in 37.2 innings).

The way Davis is pitching and with Luke Hochevar expected back next year, plus the expected departure of free agent James Shields, you have to wonder just what the Royals will do with their starting rotation in 2015. Davis much prefers starting, as does Hochevar. Going to the bullpen has been a revelation for both, but you have to wonder if they could carry it over to starting.

• KCAC FOOTBALL MEDIA DAY SET — I know the start of fall sports is getting closer as the invitation to attend KCAC Football Media Day was sent out Monday.

This year's annual get-together is scheduled for Aug. 6 at the Courtyard Marriott in Wichita. That's quite a step up from the old days in the early 1980s when the event was held in a cramped room at a local Wichita diner.

The KCAC coaches give their outlook of the season and there is much information provided by the sports information directors.

It will be interesting to see what new McPherson College coach Steve Fox has been up to this summer. From all reports, the Bulldogs could have anywhere from 80 to 90 players. Mac is coming off a 5-6 season and closed with a rush with a pair of 37-7 victories over Bethany College and Southwestern, respectively.

• WIMBLEDON WRAPUP — Quick, and without looking, name the two finalists on the women's side of Wimbledon.

Exactly.

I had to go back and look up that Petra Kvitova defeated Euegenie Bouchard on Saturday for the women's championship. For Kvitova, for those who don't know, it was her second Wimbledon title. I didn't even realize she had won one.

I have no clue who Bouchard is.

Women's tennis is hurting. The Williams sisters have carried the banner for so long, but Venus is at the end of her remarkable career and Serena seems to have as many issues off the court as she does on it. There's still the star power of Maria Sharapova, but she has so many business interests that you have to wonder how much longer she'll play.

At least the men's final, which was quite dramatic, had old reliables Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer. They gave a worthy five-setter, though you have to wonder how many more finals Federer will make.

Tennis definitely needs some new blood, much like golf which has struggled without Tiger Woods being in top form. The old standbys can't be counted on to carry the sport forever.


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