Royals catcher Drew Butera left church Sunday and had hitched a ride from his dad back to his parents’ home in Florida.
En route, Butera was interviewed on KCSP (610 AM) in Kansas City and was asked about two pitchers in particular: Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura.
“I think it was 10:30, and I went over to my parents’ house for breakfast and my dad goes, ‘Oh, my God,’ ” Butera recalled. “I was sitting at my parents house and pulled it up on Twitter and was like, ‘No way, this can’t be real.’ Ten minutes ago, I was just talking about him.”
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It’s a memory that Butera won’t forget. Hearing the news of Ventura’s death in a car accident Sunday in the Dominican Republic is one of those moments people just won’t forget.
During Royals FanFest on Friday, Royals players and fans recalled how and when they heard the unthinkable had happened.
Here are those memories.
Royals infielder Christian Colon
“I had just woken up from a text from some teammates. I just got up and I remember saying, ‘No, no, no, no this can’t happen again.’ Because with Oscar (Taveras), with Jose (Fernandez). I just couldn’t believe it. Immediately, I started calling and verifying that this was true. I wanted to triple check. …
“I received a picture with his Jeep and I was still like, ‘Well, are you sure he was the one driving?’ ” Then they confirmed it, the Royals confirmed it and I just couldn’t believe it. I sat in the room by myself. My 7-year-old daughter came and she gave me a hug, and my wife, but I needed time alone to really understand what had just happened. It was a pretty rough Sunday … and Monday as well.”
Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas
“I was at home, laying in bed. In California, the time (zone) is different. I got a text and I didn’t believe it was real, and then started seeing everything on TV and it ended up being pretty real. Just everything has happened so fast. I just really couldn’t believe that he’s not here.”
Joe Williams, a season-ticket holder from Kansas City
“I was actually at church, and I have a group of cousins, we went to the World Series games together, and in the middle of church, I got a text message with the original article. I was in shock. I’m a season-ticket holder and haven’t missed a postseason game during the run. It was something that was pretty hard to deal with. He has a tremendous legacy.”
Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer
“I was in Boston, actually. A buddy of mine had an extra ticket for the football game up there (AFC Championship Game), so I went to meet him. I woke up on Sunday morning at around 9, 9:30 and saw a bunch of text messages. It’s just something that hasn’t really hit any of us I don’t think. I still feel like he’s going to be right there sitting at his locker in spring training.”
Royals manager Ned Yost
“I had my grandson at the farm and we got up early. In my farm, I don’t get service at the back of the barn where we live. At 11:15, I thought where’s my phone? Something was telling me I better get my phone. I went back there and when I came out into the room and finally got service, I saw a voice message from Dayton (Moore) and it was like 10 minutes old. He said, ‘Look, I’m getting on a plane. I’ve got some bad news about Yordano. If you can’t catch me, call J.J. (Picollo) or Sharpie (Scott Sharp).’
“So I’m like, what did he do? Did he hurt his ankle, did he hurt his knee, did he hurt his elbow, his shoulder? You don’t dream about things like that. You just don’t. My first thought was whatever it is, we’ll be able to fix it and see where he’s at in spring training.
“I called Dayton right after that and they were taxing down the runway and that’s when Dayton informed me.”
Renee Sharp of Kansas City
“I was in bed. (My husband Paul) came in and told me. He goes, I don’t know how to tell you this, but it’s going to make you sick. I’m like, ‘oh, god,’ I thought something had happened to one of our kids. I was like what? Oh, no, no, no, no. It’s just tragic. Too young.”
Royals pitcher Danny Duffy
“Gordo (Alex Gordon) texted me. I had just gotten done with a run. Gordo texted me and I was like, ‘Hey, is there any truth to this?’ I was like, ‘No chance, dude. This is a hoax.’ For about 36 hours, I didn’t sleep. For about 36 hours, I was just sitting there, trying to process even the prospect that he was gone and not being able to see him walk through the clubhouse and talk my trash to him and him talking right back.”
Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain
“My agent called me at like 9:30. It was weird because he never calls that early, so I was like something must be wrong. He called me and the first thing I said was, ‘What happened? Did I get traded?’ He said, ‘No, you didn’t hear the news?’ I said, ‘What news?’ Then he told me about the incident that happened and I was speechless. I didn’t even say anything to him. I just sat there on the phone. Once I got off the phone, that’s when you start searching and looking for stuff, trying to find if it’s really true.”
Amanda Crossland, Overland Park
“I was on my way to church and I just didn’t believe it. I logged on Twitter and saw something from MLB and was just waiting for confirmation. … Especially with him being the Dominican Republic, hoping that it had to be a false rumor.”