First baseman Eric Hosmer walked into the Royals’ clubhouse Sunday with a little bounce in his step. From his locker in the corner, catcher Salvador Perez shouted at him, “San Diego!” Hosmer laughed at Perez then disappeared into the showers.
As Hosmer talked to the media, Perez scooted behind Hosmer and wrapped his arm around him. Perez promised that those 15 minutes Hosmer spent in the shower will be the last he gets alone through the All-Star break.
“Yeah,” Hosmer said of Perez being with him the whole way. “He’s going to show me the way, show me the ropes, show me how to do it.”
And Perez, well, he’s got a few things to show Hosmer this week in San Diego, site of Tuesday’s All-Star Game.
“Everything. Chicas,” Perez’s voice faded and became laughter. “See man, I got your back. Don’t worry.”
Over the last few years, as the Royals have risen and more of their players have been selected for the All-Star Game, Hosmer sat on the sidelines. When Perez or Alex Gordon would come back from the game, he’d get stories. But he's never experienced it himself.
Perez’s experience — this is his fourth game — will be a crutch for Hosmer through the week. But better yet, with Perez 90 feet from Hosmer on the diamond, it’s helped him realize how far the two have come together.
Long gone are the years when the Royals sent one player to the All-Star Game just to fill a quota. This year, Hosmer was one of four Royals selected for the game.
“It’ll be fun to be there as a player and get to experience the whole thing, especially with Salvy, (Kelvin) Herrera and these guys that I have been playing a long time with,” Hosmer said. “It’s special, it really is. It’s shown how far this organization has come.”
That part of the All-Star Game — the accomplishment of being voted in as a starter — Hosmer has realized and taken in stride. But although he experienced the Futures Game alongside Mike Moustakas in 2010 on the U.S. team, and a World Series championship team, he’s never been a part of anything quite like the All-Star Game.
For two days, he’ll become part of a team that includes his adversaries, training with them, spending time in the locker room with them.
“This is a totally different situation,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “They become a team for two days, and it’s like they played together for a while, and it’s the most fun thing. Then as soon as we finish that game and we go, then you get back to hating everybody.”
One of those teammates will be Boston’s David Ortiz.
“I’m a huge fan of his,” Hosmer said. “I’m sure he’ll have a nice speech afterward, it’s going to be his last (All-Star Game). I’m looking forward to that.”
When the cameras were shut off after Sunday’s game, All-Star week had officially begun. Hosmer turned to Perez, “Everything, huh?”
Perez started to walk out of the clubhouse, anxious to start his break: “Everything, bro.”