Thirty minutes after the Royals had clinched their spot in the World Series, Patricia Cain carried the Lee McPhail Trophy and high-five Royals fans along the wall down the right-field line at Kauffman Stadium.
That award goes to the MVP of the American League Championship Series, but the man who received it Wednesday, Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain, cradled something more important while standing in right field.
His son Cameron Loe.
Cameron, who was born on Oct. 7, was dressed in a white onesie with red stripes meant to emulate a baseball. He was certainly safe in daddy’s hands. His ability to catch everything was a big reason he won the MVP award.
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That and Cain’s .533 average in the series.
As Cain stood in the grass with his wife, Jenny, fans chanted “MVP, MVP.” Mom meandered away with the trophy, and Cain peered over his shoulder.
“What’s she doing?” he said with a laugh. “She can take it home with her. She knows who it belongs to, that’s all that matters.”
Patricia’s son was a worthy recipient. Cain had a .667 slugging percentage, collected two doubles, scored five runs and, remarkably, stole the only base of the series for the Royals.
He also robbed J.J. Hardy with an amazing catch in game two and tracked down Nelson Cruz’s long fly in the ninth inning of game three.
“It’s been going great right now,” Cain said. “Just that mentality of wanting to step up and be that guy to kind of lead our ballclub, I feel like I’ve done a great job of that, and I’m going to continue to do that. Hopefully, we can win it all.”
Cain was hitting .667 going into Wednesday’s game, then dropped a surprise bunt in the top of the first inning that advanced two runners.
Both runners scored, and two runs were all the Royals needed to finish off the Orioles.
“Lorenzo Cain bunting on his own in the first inning won the ballgame for us,” manager Ned Yost said. “These guys, they’re willing to play selfless baseball, where all they’re concentrating on is winning the game. Nobody’s looking to be a hero right now, they’re just looking to win the ballgame.”
As the postgame celebration took place on the infield, Cain lingered with his family in the outfield grass and soaked it all in.
“God has definitely blessed me in all stages of my life., I just want to give him the thanks and praise for all that he’s done for us,” Cain said. “I’m more than happy. The emotion running through my body right now is unbelievable.”
Ten minutes later, Cain joined the celebration taking place in the clubhouse. Carrying the trophy he won, Cain lifted the plastic that protected the lockers from the splish-splash of champagne and beer.
Cain disappeared and for a minute, and with the award safely protected, reappeared.
“I need,” Cain said to no one in particular, “a bottle to pop!”
He earned it.
To reach Pete Grathoff, call 816-234-4330 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him at twitter.com/pgrathoff