Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas knew something was coming.
After all, he broke the team’s home-run record held by Steve Balboni in Toronto 10 days ago, then drilled his 38th homer on Monday (a 371-foot shot at Yankee Stadium) to tie the all-time Kansas City major-league record set by Bob Cerv in 1958.
There was bound to be a celebration in Moustakas’ honor at Kauffman Stadium.
He just didn’t know his father, Mike, would be here on Saturday to see it.
In a pregame ceremony, Royals general manager Dayton Moore and manager Ned Yost presented Moustakas a glass award, and fans stood in ovation. Eric Hosmer gave Moustakas and his wife, Stephanie, a blue and white bouquet, and Jason Vargas delivered a mini floral arrangement to their daughter, Mila.
The three posed for pictures, then Moustakas took his daughter in his arms and out to the mound for the ceremonial first pitch.
Before he stood behind home plate to receive it, Hosmer grabbed a microphone and asked fans to yell the loudest Mooooose cheer they “ever have.”
As the stadium erupted, the elder Moustakas walked out of the visting dugout, a baseball gripped firmly in his hand. He hugged his son and granddaughter on the grass between the mound and home plate, then lined up to throw a pitch of his own to Vargas.
With a hand on his dad’s shoulder and the other on his wife’s back, Moustakas walked into the Royals dugout for a game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in what could be one of his last starts in a Kansas City uniform. He went 0 for 2 but a run scored in the fourth when he hit into a double play.
Yost removed Moustakas, Hosmer, Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain from the field throughout the night.
“I think it’s important that our fans get the opportunity to see our players play but also let our players know how much they appreciate them,” Yost said after the game. “I think that’s a good way to deal with those types of ovations where they’re coming off the field. Our fans, we know that they love these guys, but just give them an opportunity to express their gratitude and how much these players mean to them is important.”