Opening Week at The K
On Monday morning, our email inboxes were full of photos from team photographer Chris Vleisides…all from Opening Week at Kauffman Stadium! Of course, there are lots of good photos. However, probably the best shot of the week, which welcomed more than 139,000 fans and two sell-out crowds to The K, was this one of pitcher Brian Bannister.
Bannister tossed a complete game Sunday afternoon to lead the Royals to a 5-1 victory over the Twins and a 3-3 mark for the homestand. The Royals are now 7-5 to start the season and are on their way to the West Coast for a seven-game road trip against Seattle (two games), the Los Angeles Angels (two) and the Oakland A’s (three). We are working on several photo galleries highlighting Opening Week at The K that should be posted this afternoon on royals.com. Until then, enjoy a couple of these highlights and feel free to share your thoughts from the Royals first homestand of the season!
WHY SHOULD THE ADULTS HAVE ALL THE “WIENIE” FUN?: For the first time in Kauffman Stadium history, we hosted the “Teenie Wienie” Hot Dog Derby. Soon to be a Kauffman Stadium tradition, the Sunday junior version of the popular in-stadium Hot Dog Derby featured three kids – Adam “Ketchup” Cook (age 10), Molly “Relish” Cook (9) and Logan “Mustard” Darr (8) – who donned mini versions of the costumes and raced down the first base line. The end result: a little win for Ketchup!
FUN RUN FUN FOR ALL: The Royals welcomed back the Sprint Fun Run to Sundays at Kauffman Stadium. For the first one of the season, the fans toughed it out through the cold weather – luckily the game lasted just more than two hours – to run the bases. Although actual numbers have not officially been reported, observers of the Sprint Fun Run noticed several adult Royals fans taking advantage of the opportunity to head down to the field following a Royals win!
AUTISM AWARENESS: The Royals hosted Autism Awareness Night at The K on Friday and, in honor of the evening, had Jason McElwin, a former high school basketball student manager with autism spectrum disorder, throw out the ceremonial first pitch. McElwin obtained national attention in 2006 after scoring 20 points in the final four minutes of a high school basketball game – a story that we found out Royals pitcher Brian Bannister knew pretty well. In fact, as soon as Banny heard that “J-Mac” was throwing out the first pitch he asked to be his catcher…and then asked Jason to send him a copy of his book!
POWDER BLUE MADNESS: The Billy Butler Powder Blue Replica Jerseys – which went to the first 20,000 fans and were presented by FSN Kansas City – were a huge “hit” Saturday. Reports are that fans began lining up – in practically freezing weather – around 11 a.m., and when the gates opened at 4 p.m., the first-time jersey promotion went quick…within 40 minutes, at least 20,000 fans had entered the stadium and many were already sporting the powder blue top. To all those who came out Saturday, did you take the time to notice who might have been handing you your jersey? That’s right, Billy Butler, along with six of his teammates and Manager Hillman, took a break from their pregame routines to greet fans (and thank them for waiting in the cold!) at the entrance gates into The K.
SPEAKING OF COLD…: If you came out to The K at all this past week, we really don’t need to remind you of the cold temperatures, right? Pretty sure most of us here in the front office haven’t warmed up completely yet! Regardless, we made it through and – as we all cross our fingers and toes – hopefully that’s the last frigid homestand of the 2008 season!
CLOSING SHOT: And, as a final note, here is the classic overview shot from the Royals 2008 home opener – enjoy!