With the song “Take me out to the ballgame” echoing through Union Station early Monday, Kansas City quickly got into the spirit of the Royals home opener.
The First Pitch Celebration, which began at 6:30 a.m., helped kick off Greater Kansas City Day, a day in which Rotary Club volunteers and donors sell special editions of the Kansas City Star on street corners across the metro area to raise money for the Rotary Youth Camp at Lake Jacomo and other causes. Volunteers also sell special Royals flags.
“The opening day for the Royals has always been an event,” said Christy Chester, president of the Rotary Youth Camp, which gives disadvantaged children and children with disabilities a chance to experience camping.
“It’s a great day for everyone in Kansas City to get involved. Our camp is a wonderful thing, and it helps a lot of youth in Kansas City,” she said.
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As for the weather, Monday is expected to be a great day without any inclement weather, Chester said.
“I think it’s going to be a fabulous day in KC,” she said.
Kayvon Adams of Olathe was at Union Station with her 21-month-old son, Christian, and 2-year-old grandson, Odin, to cheer on the Boys in Blue and to make memories.
Activities at Union Station Monday included face painting and balloon hats for kids. Sluggerrr and KC Wolf were there, and people could get their photos taken with huge heads of Royals players.
“I love Greater Kansas City Day,” Adams said.
Opening Day is special to them because not too long ago, Christian’s father passed away.
“We always went to Opening Day games,” Adams said.
“I have a passion for it more because his father was such a die-hard Kansas City Royals fan. Even when they had their losing streak, he was a die-hard Royals fan. I was inspired by him and his legacy and want to keep that going with his son.”
It’s the smell, the hotdogs and the crowd that makes baseball so special at Kauffman Stadium. And this is the first year baby Christian gets to join the family.
Lifelong Royals fan Michelle Espinoza of Kansas City held her 1-year-old nephew, Paul Grado Jr., as they posed for pictures with KC Wolf, mascot for the Kansas City Chiefs.
“He wanted to see (Royals mascot) Sluggerrr, but he saw KC Wolf first,” Espinoza said. “He was very excited.”
Jesse Wells of Grandview brought his children — Taegan, Noah and Selah — all under 8 years old.
“We love supporting the sports in Kansas City,” Wells said. “We’ve been watching Sporting KC (all season). We look forward to watching some Royals games. We’re a sports-oriented family.”
He said his children are very athletic and his son has a very good, left-handed pitch.
A Royal down the road perhaps?
“I wouldn’t be surprised if he was a future Royals player,” Wells said.