Opinion

Royals kick it with Sporting KC players Friday at Kauffman Stadium

Sporting KC players Paulo Nagamura and Bernardo Añor delivered some of their new jerseys to Kansas City Royals players Alcides Escobar, Salvador Perez, Omar Infante and Paulo Orlando before Friday game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium.
Sporting KC players Paulo Nagamura and Bernardo Añor delivered some of their new jerseys to Kansas City Royals players Alcides Escobar, Salvador Perez, Omar Infante and Paulo Orlando before Friday game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. The Kansas City Star

Salvador Perez showed some fancy footwork with the soccer ball. So did Mike Moustakas.

Royals announcer Rex Hudler, not so much. But he put his best foot forward.

The occasion was a meeting of the teams Friday night: the Royals and Sporting KC during batting practice at Kauffman Stadium.

Royals players were presented with Sporting KC jerseys, the white and metallic silver kit that will be unveiled Sunday when Sporting KC plays the Chicago Fire.

Perez chatted with Sporting’s Bernardo Añor, a fellow Venezuelan who played baseball at an early age.

“When I was a kid my first love was baseball,” Añor said. “I liked the sport a lot and played it for two or three years.”

Añor’s father, Bernardo, was a professional soccer player in Venezuela, and it got to the point “where I never saw a baseball again,” Añor said, laughing.

At least Añor knew the sport. More than 300 countrymen have played in the major leagues, including current Royals Perez, Alcides Escobar, Omar Infante and Yohan Piño.

But outfielder Paulo Orlando is only the third Brazilian to play in the majors.

“It’s amazing there is a Brazilian player here in the major leagues, in Kansas City,” Sporting midfielder Paulo Nagamura said. “Coming from a country that doesn’t play much baseball, it’s very exciting.”

Sporting KC was to be part of the quintessential celebrity guest experience at The K, The Hot Dog Race. The lineup: Matt Besler in the mustard costume, Graham Zusi in ketchup and Dom Dwyer in relish.

To reach Blair Kerkhoff, call 816-234-4730 or send email to bkerkhoff@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @BlairKerkhoff.

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