On Monday, the Royals began their annual Dads Road Trip, the portion of the schedule where a group of fathers joins the sons on the road and becomes an official part of the traveling party. The fathers ride buses. They spend time in the clubhouse. They sit in the dugout during batting practice.
For Sal Butera, father of Royals reserve catcher Drew Butera, the trip meant scheduling around his job as a major-league scout for the Toronto Blue Jays. For one night, it also meant that the elder Butera was inside Tropicana Field to watch his son finish 2 for 4 with two RBIs and a solo homer against Tampa Bay starter Blake Snell.
“He’s always watching, whether he’s here or not,” Butera said. “But it’s cool. When he’s here and I get to play, I don’t try to do more, but just have a good game for him.”
Butera’s performance aided an offense that displayed signs of life in a 7-3 victory. The Royals finished with a season-high 13 hits. They took advantage of four errors by the Rays’ defense. They opened a brief four-game Dads Trip with a 1-0 mark.
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“It felt exactly like our brand of baseball,” Butera said. “Grind out at-bats. Get on base. Take some bags. Put pressure on the pitcher and the defense.”