From the same dugout her son Yordano Ventura spent three seasons occupying, Marisol Hernández looked over the field Monday at Kauffman Stadium.
She had just spent several minutes receiving hugs from Salvador Perez, Raul Mondesi, Eric Hosmer, Christian Colon and other Royals, all offering condolences after the death of her son in a Dominican Republic vehicle crash in January.
But now it was time for silence.
As images of Ventura with his teammates and fans played on the video board in center field, Hernandez watched from the dugout with a baseball gripped in her right hand. She watched Alex Gordon, Mondesi, Drew Butera, Kelvin Herrera, Colon, Danny Duffy, Joakim Soria, Mike Moustakas, Chris Young and Alcides Escobar unfurl a black ACE 30 banner beyond the pitching mound.
Hosmer spoke to the crowd and thanked Royals fans.
“I can assure you that there was no place that felt more like home than on that mound for Yordano,” Hosmer said.
She listened to Michael Phillips, a saxophone soloist, play a rendition of “Amazing Grace.”
And as the final notes of the mournful tune faded into the breeze, Hernandez finally made her way onto the field arm in arm with manager Ned Yost. She stooped behind the same mound Ventura pitched from barely seven months ago and wrote the word “Dios,” Spanish for God, in the dirt.
She threw a one-hopper to Perez at the plate, waved to the crowd and walked off the field, her father at one side and Yost, with his arm slung around her shoulders, on the other.
After the game, she released a statement through the Royals.
“Through my pain and all my suffering I knew I had to come and do this,” she said in part, “and because what happened to my son I know many people will know that God is the only way.
“I am feeling well. And thank you.”