Royals Caravan Update: Kansas Trip
After two days of FanFest and the first two days of the Royals Caravan tour through Kansas, we aren’t quite sure how these players – Billy Butler, David DeJesus and Joey Gathright – are still able to hold onto a pen. After all, the trio, along with Royals Hall of Fame pitcher Dennis Leonard, broadcaster Steve Stewart and GM Dayton Moore, have signed their John Hancocks to baseballs, bats, gloves, hats, autograph cards and even a Royals chip platter. That’s right, on the fourth leg of the 2008 Royals Caravan tour it’s all handshakes, ink pens and Sharpies…
We left from Kansas City Monday morning – not as early as the caravan trip to Nebraska, but still pretty early for those of us recovering from our busy FanFest weekend. Day one in Kansas included stops at a Junction City auto dealership, a Manhattan bar and grill as well as a Wal-Mart in Salina. At each stops, the crowds got larger and the Royal blue was more prominent. Once we put in some extra time at the Salina Wal-Mart – and loaded up on some extra snacks for the bus – we headed to our hotel for some much needed sleep before what we knew would be a long, long Tuesday.
It’s hard to forget about Greensburg, Kan. On May 4, 2007, a tornado hit the town and left it pretty much demolished. The Royals first visit to Greensburg was just a few short weeks after the twister touched ground. The second trip was Tuesday. We drove the Caravan bus into town around noon, just in time to stop in at The Lunch Box for a quick bite to eat. Following our lunch (and with our milkshakes in hand!) we headed over to the school to visit with the Greensburg students, who asked the players everything from who’s your favorite baseball player to "Joey, will you go to prom with me?" (Prom night was a game night, so Gath politely declined). Fred White closed out the assembly by announcing that the Royals would be hosting a "Field of Dreams" game in Greensburg later this season.
From Greensburg, we headed to Hutchinson, where the line of fans snaked around the mall’s food court and into the Hobby Lobby store. The players signed. The player shook hands. The players posed for pictures. The players got back on the bus. Onto Wichita…with a new set of fans to meet!
Now, all checked into the hotel in Wichita for the night, our heads are hitting the pillow fast. And, for the guys who have been signing their names like crazy all over Kansas…let’s hope their hands re-coop enough for Wednesday because it’s Emporia, Topeka and Lawrence and we are positive the Royal blue will continue to be out in record numbers!