Thursday, December 17, 2009


I know this is supposed be my KC Royals blog, but I’ll probably not start back up until Spring Training.

Today, I’m posting something that I had written 11 years ago on the 30-year anniversary of when I acquired my disability.


December 18, 1998 – (edited Dec. 2009)

Today I celebrate thirty 41 years as a person with a disability. At the time of my automobile accident, I was a sixteen-year-old kid who certainly didn't want to work too hard in school, or think about the future. Like most kids, I really just wanted to have some fun. Then at the age of sixteen, the day after I got my driver's license, a mother's worst nightmare happened... I had a very serious automobile accident. I wasn't drinking... I wasn't driving fast... there wasn't another driver involved... no passenger distracted me... no pedestrian or animal that I had to dodge... there was just me, a slippery road and a very steep hill. But of course, it WAS the other guy's fault!

Luckily, I was knocked out and don't remember anything about that evening... one week before Christmas.

Three daze (days) later, I woke up in the middle of the night. It was dark. I couldn't move my head (didn't know I was in traction). Couldn't feel my legs, (let alone move them). I was confused, bewildered, terrified. I thought someone was torturing me. They had me tied down and wouldn't let me up. I didn't know who they were, or why they were doing this to me. I yelled for help. I screamed bloody murder. A nurse turned on the lights and I said that someone had me tied down and wouldn't let me move. She told me that I wasn't supposed to move... that I had a bad car accident and was in the hospital... that I was in traction so I wouldn't move and hurt myself even more... that I needed to stop yelling a waking up the other patients. I said, "Oh my God. Tell the other patients I'm sorry. I didn't mean to bother anyone. I was just... a little... confused."

I asked what I did to myself. The nurse said the doctor would talk to me about it in the morning... that I needed to just go back to sleep. But I was still confused... why couldn't she say what happened to me. I then realized that besides having no movement in my legs... I couldn't FEEL my legs... I just knew they were gone... amputated... they had me tied down so I couldn't see they were missing. The nurse assured me that they were still there. But I couldn't feel them... they must be missing. I said, (being from Missouri and all) "Oh yeah, SHOW me." So she lifted one of my legs to show me. I'll be damned, she's holding up one of my body parts... and I don't feel ANYTHING. I was shocked... confused... had MORE questions... was told to hold them for the doctor in the morning and she left.

I had always been a "pronie"... I was very accident-prone... if something happened to one of us boys, it usually happened to me. I was laying there flat on my back. I tried to raise my arm in the air... and it fell back onto my face... I tried it again and it fell on my face, again... I tried it a third time with the same result... being rather quick to pick up on things... I decided to not try that again. I just laid there and said to myself, "Steve, I don't know what you did... but this time you really fucked up!"

The next day the doctor came in and told me that I had a skull fracture but more seriously I had a blood clot in my spine that had to be removed or it would have killed me. So I thought to myself... that's cool, I'm not dead and that is the reason why. I asked why I couldn't feel or move most of my body, and he told me that the blood clot (and the subsequent removal thereof) damaged my spinal cord. I thought to myself... the good news is that I'm not dead; the bad news is that I'm paralyzed... I didn't like this good news / bad news joke, at all.

Before the doctor left, I asked if I would be back up on my feet in time to start training for football next year (as if I was a talented jock or something). He said that most likely I would never walk again... ever. So that was the end of my brief career as a tackling dummy. After everyone left I thought... for the first time in my life... gee, I wonder what the rest of my life will be like. I made a mental list of all the things I probably wouldn't be able to do anymore... then made a mental list of the things I probably COULD do... I decided the things that I could do were more important than the things that I couldn't do... I made a decision right then that, for the rest of my life, I had to focus on the things I could do and not worry about those I couldn't do. As time went on, there were things on the couldn't-do list that I figured out ways to do them... and a few things on the could-do list that didn't pan out. But after a while I misplaced these mental lists but kept the concept of not worrying about what I physically couldn't do, and instead focus on exploring different ways to do things.

Thirty years. What a long strange trip its been. What have I accomplished... nothing special... but a lot more than some people may have expected. I got the feeling that people expected me to crawl into a corner... curl up and die. Suddenly, I was "special". People acted like I was Wyatt Earp... you know... the old TV western. The theme song was: Wyatt Earp. Wyatt Earp. Brave, Courageous and Bold. And why? Because I didn't fold my hand... I have played the cards dealt to me.

I've never been the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I have learned to work hard with the tools I have. I caught up with my class in school after living 6 months in three hospitals. I completed a goal I had before my accident of earning my Eagle Scout Award. My service project was a life long endeavor to teach others that a person with a disability can (and should) be just like everyone else. I was the first person in a wheelchair to graduate from my high school. I went to college and graduated with a three-point average (not bad for a quad who also has a perceptual problem). I was the first person in a wheelchair to graduate from my college with a four-year degree. I was stunned when everyone, including people who didn't even know me, gave me a standing ovation on graduation day. When it happened in high school, I understood that all these kids knew me before I acquired this disability and they were proud of me. When it happened in college, I became very cynical. Was it so far fetched to think that a person with a disability could be successful? Why is it that when others do something its expected of them… but when I do, its so astounding that I can?

To this day, I try to preach that I am many things... a man... a sports fan... a husband... a dad... a sexual human being... a friend... a voter... a driver... a consumer... a bowler... a wanna-be comedian... a pain in the ass... a dirty old man... and... a person with a disability. Having this thing called disability is but one part of me.

Please celebrate life with me on the thirty 41-year anniversary of the day I acquired this thing called disability.

Steven A Hurst

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Watching Billy Butler...

... is like watching a little leaguer play. When he gets a big hit, he's like"Wow, see what I did!"

It's fun to see.

Now, when he isn't getting those big hits, he'a poutty faced.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Now Pitching For The Royals… Tony Pena. Jr.

So, Tony Pena, Jr. is heading to AZ… Surprise! He’s converting into a pitcher. All I can say is, go for it. He’d need to know how to operate a bat to be a position player (even a Short Stop)… and he hasn’t been able to accomplish that task. He has a strong arm, so that should help.

TJ does have a pretty good career pitching line:
1 I, 0 R, 1 SO, 0 BB… here’s the video:

TJ also seems to be a good kid, so I like keeping him in the organization. The only other way to keep him is to make him Zack Greinke’s & Brian Bannister’s valet Short Stop… DH the SS spot… and let the pitchers hit. I don’t think even Tony LaRussa would do that!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

People with disabilities will find the new Kauffman Stadium far friendlier

People with disabilities will find the new Kauffman Stadium far friendlier

Forty years ago, when I acquired my disability, there were NO equal rights laws for people with disabilities. I was young, skinny & used a manual wheelchair and ready willing & able to be lifted, bounced & banged up steps, curbs & steep inclines.

Since then I’ve seen (& have been involved in) the passage of: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Amendments to National Transportation & Safety Board regulations, Amendments to the Fair Housing Act, as well as the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Now, I don’t do steps… nor do I “go in the back door” at restaurants (which needs to ramped so they can get their kegs of beer in). So when we (Jackson County residents) passed the bonds to renovate The K, I was excited to see how they would include integrated seating in the retro-fit and new seating configurations.

I sent several emails to Royals inquiring about accessible seating and their only reply was to send me a Seating & Pricing link, which I already knew how to navigate to. That bothered me on two fronts. First of all, they didn’t directly answer my question, nor route me to someone who COULD. So, I was kind of worried that my issues weren’t being addressed.

My other problem has to do with the fact that I can’t order accessible tickets online… they always make me send an email that they may or may not respond to in a timely manner… but I’ll go deeper into this issue in another blog-post.

Anyway, I know and trust some of the people sited in the KC Star article and mostly just wish I had been involved in the process… jealousy is an ugly thing. (insert emotion)

So when I go to The K, I’ll know who to bitch to if I see accessibility issues.

Side note… this article includes proper terminology when referring to people with disabilities. It’s not that hard to get it right, but not done well on a consistent basis… kudos KC Star!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Sheridan's Signature Store

Kauffman Stadium will feature the only frozen custard parlor in a professional sports venue (Sheridan's Signature Store).

Sheridan's Signature Store in the Outfield Experience will feature the famous "Dirt and Worms" concrete, Royal Turtle sundaes, gourmet hot chocolate, smoothies, fresh-baked cookies and more. The Sheridan's Signature Store at Kauffman Stadium will operate on the same hours as the Outfield Experience.

Sheridan's will be easy to spot --- here's a sneak peek at a six-foot frozen custard cone that will be outside the store!

The Buddha Gut will haveta check this one out on a hot day at The K!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Friday RLBLUE Report – 3/27/09

DRI DUCK Fountain Seats

We’re getting General Admission back… Yeah! With all the high end seating additions at The K, I was glad to see some aimed at people like me. I could save up and go to a game or two at the higher priced seats, or go several times. I just need to remember to bring a plastic bag to cover joystick control box. If the wind is blowing just right (wrong?), I could see fans getting a little wet (On a fishing trip in WI a couple years ago, I sat out in the rain catching some nice small-mouth bass and the controller shorted out… this fat old man doesn’t like to have people push his chair around!). I don’t know how many people this area seats but “The first 100 fans arriving at these seats each game receive a special edition Royals cap made exclusively by DRI DUCK. The featured cap design will change for every homestand.”

The Bob Evans Bases Loaded 4-Pack sounds good, too. “Get four (4) View Level Infield tickets and $10 of loaded value per ticket for concessions and merchandise - over a $100 value - all for just $60!”

Ponson has ups and downs in debut

Sir Sid did well for 5 innings… then lost it. He seems to have been an OK pick-up. I wouldn’t mind seeing a starting rotation of Meche, Greinke, and Davies, with Hochevar & Ponson in the final two spots. Bannister can go to Omaha to find his consistency, like he did in ’07.

Aviles has big day for Royals

Looks like Aviles is heating up, now that he’s back from the WBC & getting consistent AB’s. We need a good offensive showing from him this year. It just concerns me a little to have both middle infielders being big O little D players (assuming Teabag wins 2B).

Royals' Olivo content as the starting catcher

Miggy certainly made it clear enough late last year that he wasn’t happy being the number 2 catcher for the Royals. He got the lion’s share of the playing time behind the plate in September. I like the way Buck is hitting this spring. If Bryan Pena can pass through waivers at the end of ST… and… if both Olivo & Buck hit well in the first half of the season… maybe… we can turn one of these guys into some good prospects near the trading dead-line. That’s a lot of if’s… so we’ll see.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

One Sign Of A Good Team...

... is that there are some ML capable players in Spring Training who will NOT make the club. If that is true, maybe the Royals WILL be a contender this year. Wednesday (3/18/09), the club announced that they released Jimmy Gobble. OK, so last year he was horrible against right handed hitters... but what do you expect from a lefty specialist?

No whining about how poorly he was used in 2008, he's gone now... we move on.

I say. "Bye, Jimmy. Good luck. Hope we don't get to see ya soon."

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No Way, TJ

OK... so my TJ canpaign is over.

If he clears waivers... goes to Omaha & turns things around offensively, MAYBE he gets another shot in KC. I'm not holding my breath. Too bad... I like speed & D... not sure why I'm skeptical about Bloomer-boy.

Oh well, time to move on to other fun shtuff.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tony Pena, Jr. Should Be Our SS

I know many people would like to sweep TJ under the rug… but I don’t.

The man carries a gold glove onto the field. He has the range that could help make the left side of the infield awesome. With his absence last year, Alex Gordon had to range WAY to his left to fill in the hole between third base & Short Stop. With TJ in there, Gordon could set-up closer to the line (taking away doubles down the line) and letting TJ range far to his right & gun down runners (even on his knees). The improved defense would boost our already great pitching.

With his new eyes , he can now see the ball & have better pitch recognition. It IS true that you can’t hit what you can’t see. George Brett had 20/10 vision during his playing career, and that gave him such an advantage over other players. TJ will never resemble Brett at the plate, but he showed great improvement in winter ball, after he had Lasik (AVE .275, OBP .347.). Once on base, TJ gives us very good base running speed.

The big question is whether TJ will get a true shot during Spring Training… Trey Hillman says he’ll get his opportunities… time will tell. A great spring by TJ will give MTH & GMDM more roster options. Mike Aviles can move over to his natural position at second base. Mark Teahen, Esteban German, Alberto Callaspo and Willie Bloomquist can fight out the back-up roles.

I’d REALLY hate to see Tony Pena, Jr. go elsewhere to become an All-Star Gold Glove SS.

Let The Flames Begin.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bob Kaegel & Dick Dutton

Is it just me, or does anyone else think these 2 clones arrive at the ST complex (or ballparks during the regular season) and say, "Who are you interviewing today... Wow, that sounds good, mind if I tag along?"

I understand that there are group interviews & everyone basically gets the same sound bites, etc., but I also know that there are 64 players on the spring roster & all the regular & extra coaches & spare parts players (like the minor leaguers needed for "live" batting practice before Wednesday).

I guess I should just remind myself that this is not like "real" journalism where getting your OWN story is important. These two guys are just a couple old beat writers beaten down by many long (& loosing) seasons.

02/16/09 5:44 PM EST
Silent authority of Meche inspires KC
Right-hander has become quiet leader in Royals' clubhouse
By Dick Kaegel /

Posted on Mon, Feb. 16, 2009 10:15 PM
Meche believes in this Royals team
By BOB DUTTONThe Kansas City Star

Monday, February 16, 2009

How Are We Going To Do This Year?

Some of the moves made by the Royals during the off-season are ones that Daytona Moore had the do to rev up our offense. The additions of Jacobs & Crisp will help to that end. We’ll miss Noonie & Ho Ram, but ya gotta give up talent to obtain talent in trades.

Moore has said that he’d give up offense up the middle for defense, but the corners have to be power guys. Teahen doesn’t fit into this prototype corner-fielder. So the great Teahen @ 2B experiment of 09 will be underway this spring / summer. Funny, but I still have a gut feeling that TJ just MIGHT have a shot at winning back SS (moving Aviles to 2B)… or not.

Anyway, I believe our offense will be improved (tho Gordon & Butler HAVE to become MEN for that to fully come true). Our pitching should prove to be a force.

So my fearless projection for the 2009 Royals is 90 wins… with the beginning of several post-season appearances in the next decade.

HEY… it could happen!