Matt Fulks

Matt's Articles and Columns

Matt's work has appeared in various publications including newspapers such as The Kansas City Star, the Denver Post, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram and the Tennessean; and magazines such as USA Today's Sports Weekly.

Below are links to a few of his articles or columns. (When you click on the links below, you will be leaving, but we hope you hit the "Back" button to return.) The following will be updated often.

[Click here] for a 2007 feature article on Royals catcher John Buck for Gameday.

[Click here] for a "Behind the Stats" about broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre's battle with depression.

[Click here] for the 2006 article on former Royals first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz for Gameday.

The following is Matt's February 23, 2007 "Behind the Stats" column for Metro Sports on Denny Matthews:

Matthews gets deserved call

As the clock passed 10:30 Thursday morning, Denny Matthews figured this wasn’t his year. His phone remained basically quiet. Disappointed? Sure, but he’s been close before. Two years ago, he finished in the top three in the voting for the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Last year, he’s been told, Gene Elston beat him by one vote.

So, Matthews continued with his Thursday. He walked around the outside of his home, surveying the trees with a friend who’s a tree expert. Then, he sat back down at the desk in his kitchen and paid the bills. As he finished placing the stamp on the final bill, at 11:15, the phone rang.

“Denny, this is Dale Petroskey with the Hall of Fame. I’m calling to make your day.”

With that call from the president of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Matthews found out his name will be alongside the likes of Vin Scully and Harry Caray and Jack Buck and the other greatest baseball announcers of all-time.

“I have a tingle all over,” Matthews said with a grin. “Even though you know you’re a finalist and you hear you’ve been close before, this isn’t something you can count on. I didn’t want to get my hopes too high, but the butterflies have been going since (Wednesday). It’s been great to be on the list (of candidates), but it’s nice to be off the list.

“I think I’m a couple layers above cloud nine.”

Even though Matthews has been with the Royals since the club’s inception 38 years ago, he’s one of the few broadcasters in baseball history to be with the same team, without interruption, in five different decades. He’s also one of only six broadcasters to spend his entire career with the same club and broadcast, without interruption, for at least 35 years.

For anyone who has grown up with the Royals, Matthews has been the one constant throughout the club’s existence. In Kansas City, his voice means everything good about summer. For me, the voices of Matthews and long-time partner Fred White helped form my view of the Royals during the club’s hey-day. Before that, it was Matthews and the club’s first “voice,” Buddy Blattner. For my children, it’s Matthews and Ryan Lefebvre.

That longevity certainly was in Matthews’ favor for the Hall of Fame.

“That’s an amazing duration,” said author/historian Curt Smith, who is a member of the 20-member electorate that chooses the Frick winner. Smith is generally regarded as the authority on baseball broadcasters. “That is something extraordinarily good about Denny. Plus, he’s a terrific voice and a very good guy.

“As I’ve often written, I think Denny’s been underestimated nationally, and taken for granted too often by fans and critics who should know better.”

Matthews will receive the award on July 29 during the Baseball Hall of Fame ceremonies with Cal Ripken Jr., Tony Gwynn and long-time St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer Rick Hummel, the J.G. Taylor Spink Award winner.

“Cal Ripken spent his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles,” Matthews points out, “Tony Gwynn spent his entire career with the San Diego Padres and Rick Hummel has spent his entire career with the newspaper. I guess you could say this is the class of stability.”

It also could be considered a class of just that: class. Ripken and Gwynn both embodied that. Hummel’s a highly-respected writer. Although I’m biased about Matthews, don’t take only my word for it.

“Believe it or not, some guys politic or hire publicists, but Denny has not schmoozed for the Hall of Fame,” Smith said. “He’s not engaged in self-promotion. He’s not engaged in jock shock or screaming or publicizing himself. He has let his work speak for itself, which I admire enormously.”

Since Dale Petroskey’s call, especially once the Hall of Fame made the official announcement at 1 p.m., Matthews’ phone hasn’t stopped ringing. Royals owner David Glass called before the news got out. So did fellow Hall of Fame broadcasters Ernie Harwell and Milo Hamilton. They made it through before the rush.

Almost as soon as I sit down at Matthews’ kitchen table, Fred White, Denny’s radio partner for 25 years, calls.

“This is as much about you as it is me,” Matthews tells White after Fred’s initial congratulations. “I couldn’t have done this without you.”

Immediately after they hang up, calls for an interview. While Matthews does that interview, a crew from a local TV station shows up for an interview. Of course, two more people call before he has a chance to do the TV interview. Quickly Matthews takes his phone off the hook for a few minutes.

Then, it’s back to his kitchen desk as the calls start flooding in again. WIBW radio in Topeka. The Daily Pantagraph Newspaper in Matthews’ hometown of Bloomington, Ill. A couple friends get through. WHB radio’s Kevin Kietzman calls for “Between the Lines.” All the interviews are similar.

Shoot, Matthews hasn’t answered this many questions about his most memorable moments and how he got the Royals’ job and his favorite announcers growing up since we worked on “Tales from the Royals Dugout” together. (C’mon, did you really think I’d avoid a shameless plug?)

It’s now nearly 5 p.m. The phone hasn’t stopped ringing. In fact, during my two hours with Denny, we’ve talked for about 15 minutes. Matthews, a life-long bachelor who likely would be a recluse if it weren’t for the Royals and hockey, doesn’t mind the fuss. After all, this is both cool and surreal. Talking to friends and family and other members of the media about the highest honor for a baseball announcer.

“Kind of like (former Royals pitcher) Jeff Montgomery told me before going into the Royals Hall of Fame, I don’t think this will really hit me until the actual induction,” said Matthews. “The induction will hit me like a ton of bricks. That’s when it’ll be emotional.

“Today is fun. I’ll never experience this again. I just want to soak it in and make it last as long as I can.”

(c) 2007 Matt Fulks and Metro Sports, a division of Time Warner

Website Builder