Royals

Meet section 334: Royals employees gifted a trip to World Series

Section 334: It is a tiny blue pie slice among 40,000 fans.

But in games three, four and five of 2014 World Series, the faces of its 185 or so Kansas City occupants — both elated and glum, broadcast on national television — became the faces of Royals fandom in AT&T Park.

Nicole Bruce, 45, of Independence was seen on TV by her brother-in-law who was watching in Texas. Bob and Kathy Butler of Kansas City said their son and grandson back home saw them.

Throughout the ballpark, people could hear their voices calling out from high up in left field: “Let’s go Roy-als!”

In game three, Giants fans congratulated them. In game four, they rubbed in the hurt of an 11-4 loss, shouting, “You’re so qui-et!”

Section 334 shook it off and stood. “Let’s go Roy-als!”

“We want our boys to hear us,” said Kathy Butler, 67, of Overland Park.

When she said “our boys,” she meant it, but not in the way moms and dad mean it. The faces you’re seeing in Section 334 belong to the Royals’ organization who, after Kansas City clinched the American League Championship Series, were given a gift by team owner and president David and Dan Glass.

The gift: a free trip, including chartered plane and hotel, to all three World Series games in San Francisco for each member of the Royals’ front office staff, plus a guest. But in case the Series would continue Tuesday, eight or nine front office employees remained in Kansas City.

“People have been working like crazy, not getting any sleep,” said Royals Director of Human Resources Johnna Meyer.

The trip was a thank-you for their hard work, which is now far from over.

After Sunday’s game, the four busloads of fans were to be sped off to another charter jet. They were expected to arrive back in Kansas City at about 3 a.m. or later, snatch a few hours sleep, then head to Kauffman Stadium.

But, for a bit, Butler — who has worked as a switchboard operator for 31 years — got to tour the city with her husband, Bob, 67. Anthony Bruce, a member of the grounds crew since the Royals’ last World Series appearance in 1985, got to spend time with his wife touring Pier 39 and walking the Embarcadero stretching alongside San Francisco Bay.

Kevin Bell, 29, of Lee’s Summit, who works in group sales, brought his father, David Bell, 60, of Carl Junction, Mo.

“He called me on the phone. He said, ‘Do you want to go to the World Series?’ I laughed for 30 seconds,” the elder Bell said.

Master electrician Robert James, 45, of Kansas City, North, brought his 16-year-old son, Wyatt, letting the freshman at Park Hill South High School to miss school Thursday and Friday.

Except for one moment during game four, in which two Royals-heckling San Francisco fans sitting in Section 334 had to be ejected, most every San Franciscan they met, they said, had treated them kindly.

“There’s always a few knuckleheads,” James said.

That’s OK.

Because, on Tuesday, they’ll back at The K. This time, blue will fill the stadium, as will the sound of 40,000 shouting, “Let’s go Roy-als!”

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