The Royals are giving grieving fans a chance to remember the late Yordano Ventura at FanFest, which begins Friday.
Royals FanFest was bound to be a somber affair compared to years past because it is being held just days after the stunning death of Ventura.
The annual event is this Friday and Saturday at the Kansas City Convention Center, and the team announced a few more details Wednesday about the tribute to Ventura, who died Sunday in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.
The Royals said a memorial to Ventura will be located in an area just as fans enter Bartle Hall at the Convention Center. This area will have a signature wall for fans to sign, and a pitcher’s mound in the center of this area, which will also include a framed Ventura game-worn jersey and video boards showing Ventura highlights.
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Both days of FanFest will start with a moment of silence to honor Ventura, followed by tributes on the main stage throughout each day.
The Royals emphasized that this memorial at this two-day event will serve as the main tribute to Ventura.
“We are not doing a public sort of memorial this week,” said Toby Cook, the Royals’ vice president of publicity. “It really comes down to the timing of when this would happen.”
Ventura was laid to rest Tuesday in Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, and fewer than three weeks after FanFest, the Royals will start spring training.
Cook said Ventura will be honored before the Royals’ first spring-training game and at the home opener on April 10. He said no decision has been made on how the team will remember Ventura during the regular season. Other teams that have dealt with a player’s death have worn patches on the team’s uniform and honored their teammate at the stadium.
There was a fan-led vigil for Ventura on Sunday night at Kauffman Stadium, and a few players attended.
The timing of FanFest makes it a perfect place for a memorial to Ventura, Cook said.
“The interesting thing about FanFest,” Cook said, “is we were setting up for the best (player) participation that we’ve had and we are figuring out it’s not such a bad thing that all of these guys will be at the same place at the same time.”
Ventura was not expected to be at FanFest, Cook said.
FanFest opens at noon for season-ticket holders only. At 2 p.m., it will be open to all fans. On Saturday, the exclusive access for season-ticket holders is from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and will be open to all fans from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The cost for a one-day pass is $17 for adults and $11 for children ages 6-17. A two-day pass is $23 for adults and $15 for children ages 6-17. Children 5 and under will be admitted for free.
Tickets are available at royals.com/fanfest, by calling 816-504-4040 or at the Kauffman Stadium box office (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Tickets will be available at the Convention Center, and there again will be timed entry for the tickets.
The Royals stressed that tickets are for specific entry times and each slot is limited. The team encouraged fans to buy tickets early to secure the date and time of their choice. Fans will not be able to enter FanFest until their slotted time but once inside are allowed to stay as long as they wish.