The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 4, 2012

Mike Pound: Area man gets chance to help K.C. and Royals shine

— When I called Larry Miller on Tuesday afternoon, he politely asked if I could wait a second.

“I’m just sending an email to my boss to find out what time I need to come in to work tomorrow,” he said.

A minute later when he came back on the phone, I asked him a question.

“So you have to work on the Fourth of July?”

“Yeah, but that’s not a problem,” Larry said. “I told Trevor that I would work any time, anyplace, and come in at any hour. I said I would put the tarp on in the middle of the night. I wanted to show him that I had the desire for the job.”

The job Larry wanted was as a member of the Kansas City Royals’ grounds crew. Larry spent more than 26 years working at Pittsburg State University, and for most of those years, he was the head of the school’s grounds crew. Larry was good at his job and, perhaps more importantly, loved what he did.

But earlier this year, Larry was told that Pitt State no longer needed his services, and for the first time in his adult life, he was unemployed.

Tam, Larry’s wife, suggested that he call Trevor Vance, the head of the Royals’ grounds crew. Larry had met him the previous summer when, as the result of being the highest bidder at an auction, Larry got to spend a day working with the baseball team’s crew.

After a quick conversation with Trevor, Larry was officially a member of the Royals’ crew. I wrote about Larry shortly before the baseball season began, and Tam has been kind enough to keep me updated since then.

Tam called Tuesday and left a message on my phone telling me that Larry was home for a day catching a quick break before shifting into high gear with the Royals, and I gave him a call.

I figured that things might be heating up (no pun intended) around Kauffman Stadium with the major league All-Star Game coming to Kansas City next week. Larry told me that I figured correctly.

“Oh, there is pressure for everyone,” he said. “It has sort of been building like a big dome, and it creates pressure all the way down. But, still, it’s been enjoyable.”

Larry said the pressure brought on by the All-Star Game is a good kind of pressure. It’s the sort of pressure created when everyone is working for the same thing — in this case, making sure Kansas City and the Royals create the best impression possible for the rest of the world.

I asked Larry if he might be tempted during batting practice for the All-Star Game to pick up a baseball and toss it to a guy such as Derek Jeter and say, “Would you please sign this?”

Larry laughed and told me that protocol discourages that sort of thing. That’s not to say that there isn’t interaction between grounds crew members and ballplayers. But most of the time, it’s initiated by the players, he said.

“Most of the guys I work with have been with the team for 10 or 20 years, so they have gotten to know a lot of the players,” he said.

Larry doesn’t know yet what his role will be during All-Star festivities; that announcement will come in the next few days.

“That will be a drumroll moment,” he said.

Regardless of his job assignment, Larry said he’s looking forward to the next few days.

“I’m just thrilled to be that close to something so big and to play a small part in such a huge event — to be able to say, ‘I was a part of that,’” he said.

Larry said the neat thing about working for the Royals is that everyone within the organization feels the same way.

“The Kansas City theme for the All-Star Game is ‘It’s our time,’” Larry said. “And in a neat way, that’s how it has worked out for me. It’s my time.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Pseudoephedrine sales in Pittsburg to require prescription

    Starting Friday, those who purchase pseudoephedrine and related products in Pittsburg will need a prescription to do so.

    July 22, 2014

  • Cherokee County Commission accepts general counsel's resignation

    Kevin Cure, who has served as general counsel for the Cherokee County Commission since 2005, submitted a handwritten resignation to the board on Monday in the aftermath of a landfill controversy.

    July 22, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Parents can get help with school supplies

    I don’t know much about demographics other than the fact that I no longer belong to a “targeted demographic.” When I was younger, I was bombarded by commercials and ads from companies that were trying to sell me things that I not only needed but wanted.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jasper County Commission reviews traffic plans

    The Jasper County Commission will hold public hearings today and Thursday on a number of traffic changes proposed in the county. No one spoke when the first hearing was held Tuesday as part of the regular commission meeting, according to Jim Honey, Eastern District associate commissioner.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin school board reviews audit procedures

    A team from the Missouri State Auditor’s Office has begun requesting documents in its task to audit the operations and management of the Joplin School District, the audit manager told the Board of Education on Tuesday.

    July 22, 2014

  • Joplin man to stand trial in accident case

    A passenger accused of causing an accident on Interstate 44 in Joplin that injured three others as well as himself was ordered bound over for trial Tuesday on three felony counts.

    July 22, 2014

  • r072214soroptimist3.jpg Volunteers spend week providing camp experience to foster youths

    Karen McGlamery is a massage therapist. Terri Falis-Cochran is a finance manager. Jane McCaulley is a retired art teacher. But for a week each summer, the three are among dozens of area residents who become camp counselors.

    July 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • Neosho school board hires company to manage substitutes

    Citing its hopes of shifting health care costs and utilizing more time from retired teachers, the Neosho Board of Education granted a contract Monday to a temporary employee company to manage its substitute teacher program.

    July 22, 2014

  • Main Street TIF district study to begin

    A measure that allows the city to charge its $15,000 in administrative costs for studying a proposal to create a tax increment financing district on South Main Street was approved Monday by the Joplin City Council.

    July 21, 2014

  • Carthage man pleads guilty in sexual abuse case

    A Carthage man pleaded guilty Monday to sexual abuse of a 12-year-old girl in a plea agreement that would cap the length of his prison term at no more than 15 years.

    July 21, 2014

Must Read


A state lawmaker who is one of two doctors in the Oklahoma Legislature is insisting that unaccompanied immigrant minors being housed at Fort Sill be quarantined. Do you think those kinds of measures should be taken?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter