Sal Perez’s booming, baritone voice fills the room when he sees a familiar face from back in Kansas City.
“How you doing my friend?” he says, with a smile as wide as home plate.
That’s pretty much how he’s greeting everyone this week, and why not? Perez is an All-Star, one of three first-timers from the Royals, and you don’t need to tell him to enjoy it.
“Oh my gosh, what a beautiful sight,” he says. “It’s awesome here. I’m so happy just to be here. I feel like a little kid right now. I feel like a little kid, when you give him something that makes him happy. That’s how I feel.”
Perez’s teammates Alex Gordon and Greg Holland feel pretty much the same way. Gordon jokes that he’s on the team because he “sucked up” while serving as an ambassador in Kansas City last year, and said he was looking forward to having his young son on the field with him during the Home Run Derby.
Holland had less time to prepare for this, having just been added to the team as a replacement on Sunday. He had planned to spend the break with his family in Asheville, N.C., cooking out and sitting by a fire.
Instead, he was booking flights for his family to meet him in New York. He hadn’t packed for this, so his wife bought a few new shirts.
“This is a dream come true,” Holland says. “Really, for any player.”