Benjamin Franklin got this one wrong.
Franklin’s saying “Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise” has been repeated for more than 200 years, but ol’ Ben never knew about the Kansas City Royals.
As a landscaper, Tim Brown of Shawnee gets to bed early, as Franklin advises, but Brown was told last month that he was the Sonic Slam contestant during the Royals’ 6-2 win over the A’s on Monday night, so sleep would have to wait.
“I usually miss the West Coast games because I have to get in bed to get up for work,” Brown said, “but I made a point to drink a bunch of coffee and stay up, so I was up for it.”
The lack of sleep was worth it. Royals rookie catcher Cam Gallagher hit a grand slam in the Sonic Slam inning, and that meant Brown won $25,000. He was just the eighth person to win the grand prize since the contest started in 1995.
Brown, 40, said his reaction was muted, but with good reason. He and his wife, Carrie, have two children under the age of 2, so they couldn’t be too loud.
“We were celebrating really quietly,” Brown noted.
There was a point in the sixth inning of Monday’s game when Brown thought he might fall short of the big prize. The Royals loaded the bases with one out, but left fielder Alex Gordon popped out to second baseman Chad Pinder.
“So they loaded the bases,” Brown said, “and I started looking at who was coming up. I was like, ‘OK, Gordon could run into one.’ When Cam got up, the count went to 3-0, and I was hoping they’d green-light him on 3-0 with bases loaded. They didn’t and he took a strike right down the middle. I thought, ‘He could have blown that out of the park, man.’
“So then I thought he (A’s starter Jharel Cotton) was going to end up walking him, because his control was really bad. He gets to 3-2 and I thought he’s not going to want to walk a run in, so he’s going to be in the zone somewhere. Right when I heard it on TV, I knew it was gone. I was just worried about whether it would stay fair or go foul, because it was close to that foul pole.”
But the ball landed in the seats in left field and meant that Brown will receive a really big check. Two, actually.
Brown, has lived in Shawnee for a year and moved to Kansas City in 2006 after growing up a Royals fan in Salina, Kan., will be at Friday’s game to receive an oversized ceremonial check. With two young children at home, Brown hasn’t had a chance to make it to Kauffman Stadium this season, but he can’t miss this.
As for the money, well, Brown doesn’t have a plan.
“I can’t even think what to do with it outside of put it in my bank and look at it for a while,” Brown said with a laugh.
Check that. There is one thing he will be buying.
“I told my wife, ‘I don’t know where I’m going to get a Cam Gallagher jersey, because I don’t think they make them,’ ” Brown said. “But I’m sure they’ll have them by the time I get out there Friday.
“I’ll definitely be making that purchase.”