Caravan News…Nebraska Edition
A recap of the Royals Caravan trip through Nebraska/Iowa…
The Nebraska/Iowa leg of the Royals Caravan found lots of “blue” in cities normally dominated by Husker red. Fans showed up in droves throughout the trip. We saw a line of fans snake its way through a restaurant in Kearney, 400 people lined up inside and outside of a sports bar in Alex Gordon’s hometown of Lincoln, and a sold-out luncheon with the Omaha Royals.
The caravan tour included Royals players Gordon and Mark Teahen, Royals Hall of Famer John Mayberry, Broadcaster Ryan Lefebvre, Vice President – Baseball Operations/Assistant General Manager Dean Taylor and Sluggerrr.
It was obvious from our first stop at Indian Creek Mall in Beatrice, Neb., that Nebraskans were excited to see one of their own in Gordon. The line of more than 250 worked its way out the door of the mall in anticipation of meeting the former collegiate Player of the Year at Nebraska. However, the fan base on the caravan was not completely one-sided. Several females came for autographs clad in “Mrs. Teahen” jerseys, seeking autographs from their favorite Royal.
In addition, many fans were excited to talk to “long-time” Royals announcer Lefebvre who has become very familiar on radios and television sets throughout the state. (The “long-time” distinction for Lefebvre became a hot topic on the bus as his 10-year tenure may not seem that long compared to Denny Matthews’ 40-plus years in the booth.) He was sought out by several fans including 78-year-old Chester who listens to Royals broadcasts from the tractor while working the fields in Ravenna, Neb., to 12-year-old LT who took on Gordon in a free-throw contest during a school assembly in York, Neb.
At Gomez Heritage Elementary school in Omaha, Lefebvre asked the audience “Who here has seen John Mayberry play?” Immediately, hundreds of 5- to 10-year-olds’ hands shot up in the air. Chuckles were heard from several teachers who knew the impact “Big John” had on the team while playing in a Royals uniform in the mid-1970’s. Mayberry, Gordon and Teahen joined Lefebvre to share baseball and life lessons.
Taylor was sought out for interviews along the trip from radio hosts looking to pick his brain about the direction of the team. He shared the updates on recent signings and the excitement the organization has for new manager Trey Hillman. We appreciated Taylor taking time away from a busy month full of arbitration negotiations and Spring Training planning.
As the caravan wrapped up another successful year, one thing was clear: the Royal Faithful in the Husker State cannot wait for baseball season.
Look for Caravan and FanFest photo galleries on royals.com tomorrow!