Kansas City Royals

Some Royals pass surprise test with flying colors, others…not so much

Most professional athletes don’t care about taking tests or quizzes. They’re professional athletes after all, they don’t get paid the big bucks to ace pop quizzes. Nope, they get paid to act and react in the moment; it’s all about instinct. Unless you happen to play for the Kansas City Royals, then you better have you stuff together.

Royals’ first-base coach Rusty Kuntz has a history of administering tests on outfield play and baserunning techniques and odds are you know as much as some his players.

Not every player on the Royals was given the written quizzes. Among those who were, there was a wide range of success and failure.

“I’d say it was 50-50,” Kuntz said. “Some of them did relatively well. Some did OK. And some had no clue.”…

“These guys are major league players, but they’ve got a couple of years of minor league experience, and before that they were in high school,” Kuntz said. “I’m trying to get them out of the box. I’m trying to feed them bits and pieces so they can apply it once the game starts. Such as, can you have an infield fly rule on a bunt play?”

That’s one most of the Pirates two years ago and most of the Royals this spring got wrong.

“They say you can,” Kuntz said. “The answer is no, you can’t.”

Another one that gives everyone trouble has to do with umpires. If the ball hits an ump on the infield grass, is it alive or dead?

“I had experienced baserunners say it’s live,” Kuntz said. “Well, it’s actually dead. But if the same ball hits an umpire on the outfield grass, then the runners keep running because that’s a live ball.”

A lot of players didn’t know that the proper way to slide feet-first into a base is to have the front foot straight up, or that the sun and the wind should be taken into account as soon as a player leaves the clubhouse before a game. …

So which question was missed most often?

“When you’re waiting on a flyball, what part of the ball do you look at, the top or the bottom?” Kuntz said. “Everybody said the bottom. But you’ve got to concentrate on seeing the top.”

And the easiest question anyone missed?

“The distance between bases,” he said. “It’s 90 feet, of course. Some guys got that wrong.


[]: Royals Coach Tests Players With Baseball Quiz