The diamond World Series ring with a blue sapphire Kansas City Royals logo has a home in Jarrod Dyson’s locker in Seattle. In a profession that requires constant travel, he often leaves the championship ring behind.
But as he packed his belongings for a trip that included a stop in Kansas City, Dyson grabbed the piece of jewelry appraised at $23,700.
“I’m going home,” he said. “That comes with me.”
Dyson returned to Kauffman Stadium on Thursday for the first time since an offseason trade sent him to the Pacific Northwest.
As he stepped to the plate in the second inning Thursday for the Mariners, he was greeted with a standing ovation from the Kansas City crowd. He removed his helmet and tapped his heart in response.
“They love him, and how can you not love him?” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He’s a special type of player. He’s an energy player. He has a great personality. He was part of our great run here in Kansas City and a big part of it.”
Dyson spent a decade in the Royals’ organization, including parts of seven seasons with the big-league club. In January, the Royals moved him to Seattle in exchange for pitcher Nate Karns.
Dyson, who expressed a desire for a full-time role, has received that in Seattle. He has already reached a career-high in plate appearances. He’s batting .241 with career highs in home runs (5) and RBI (26).
As he returned to Kansas City, the memories over the past several seasons rushed back. Most prominent: the heartbreak of losing the 2014 World Series Game 7 to the Giants, he said.
And the following season, predictably, when the Royals won their first championship in 30 years.
“I still go home at night and think about those days and get goosebumps and chills running up my arm,” Dyson said.
The Royals lingo hasn’t left Dyson’s vocabulary — probably because he was responsible for much of it. Over the course of a 10-minute interview with media before Thursday’s game, Dyson issued “keep the line moving,” “zoom zoom” and of course, his signature, “that’s what speed do.”
In Kansas City, he used the latter two to describe his quickness on the basepaths. That remains a big part of his game. He has 24 steals in 29 attempts this season, including one against Royals catcher Salvador Perez in a series in Seattle earlier this season.
If he steals one in Kansas City ...
“Yes, I will hit ’em with the zoom,” Dyson said without hesitation. “They will get that.”
On a personal level, Dyson said he talks with his former teammates often. Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer called him a best friend. “He (was) the voice of the team when we were going through some rough times,” Hosmer said.
True to that form, Dyson and Hosmer had a FaceTime call in April, each of them frustrated by their own team’s slow start to the season.
“I’m always checking on the boys, man,” Dyson said. “We were so close over there — it’s like family. You never shy away from those guys.
“Even when it was going bad, I said ... ‘You guys will be all right. You know what it takes to get back to where you need to be.’