Just a few years ago, Marisol Hernandez was amidst a roaring sea of Royals blue with more than 40,000 fans at Kauffman Stadium.
The date was Oct. 28, 2014. Her son Yordano Ventura, who was a long way from his native Las Terrenas, Dominican Republic, kept the San Francisco Giants so off-balance they could muster only three hits off him in a 10-0 victory in Game 6 that forced one more showdown for the World Series championship.
It was Hernandez’s proudest moment.
“On that field, with thousands of people surrounding him, it was like the pressure didn’t affect him,” she said in February. “He became a man that day. Even though he had the mind of a child, he became a man that day.”
Her return to the Midwest won’t be nearly as gleeful.
Hernandez and her father Raul will join the Royals for their home opener on Monday to throw out the first pitch as part of a pregame tribute to Ventura, who died in a car crash in his homeland on Jan. 22.
The family’s participation in the ceremony was announced Thursday without including names of who would take part in case of travel issues.
On Friday, Raul Hernandez, Ventura’s grandfather, told The Star that he and his daughter plan to be in attendance.
“God willing, that’s where we’ll be,” he wrote in a text message.
First pitch against the Oakland A’s is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. Stadium gates will open at 1 p.m., with Truman Sports Complex opening for tailgaters at 9 a.m.
“We know a lot of fans will want to see that,” said Toby Cook, the Royals’ vice president of publicity. “There will be a moment of silence for Yordano and a video tribute, and his family members will be taking part in a ceremony honoring him and throwing out the first pitch.”