A long long time ago ...
A movie called “Star Wars” had its premiere in theaters. It’s been 38 years since Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia first led the Rebel alliance against Darth Vader and the Empire. The movie and the subsequent sequels and prequels have spawned millions of fans, and many of them will be at Kauffman Stadium on Sunday for “Star Wars” day.
In honor of that, my boss* tasked me with picking which Royals players would fit best as “Star Wars” characters.
*You’ll note that I never referred to Jeff Rosen as The Emperor
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I asked artist Neil Nakahodo to create a few visuals of the key characters, and he did a wonderful job. I suspect there will be some disagreement with my choices for the “Star Wars”/Royals players, so please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments or send me an email.
Here we go:
Yordano Ventura as Luke Skywalker
Like young Skywalker, there is certainly something special about Ventura. However, both have their moments when maturity is a question. Good thing Luke didn’t have Twitter back then or he’d have crushed his uncle while living on Tatooine. Instead, Luke was too busy moping about not being able to go to Toshi Station. For all their faults, however, the Force is strong in Ventura and Skywalker.
Lorenzo Cain as Han Solo
How many times have you watched an opposing hitter smash a ball into the gap and you’re thinking it’s going for extra bases? But then ... the swashbuckling Cain seems to come out of nowhere and save the day just like Han Solo. The odds of catching that ball? Can’t you hear Cain say, “Never tell me the odds!”
Alex Gordon as Obi-Wan Kenobi
Gordon is the longest-tenured Royals player, and he’s seen some terrible times in Kansas City. The 2009 team lost 97 games under Trey Hillman and Gordon was on the disabled list. Ben Kenobi has been through some rough times, too. He saw the Jedi nearly wiped out. But Gordon’s quiet, unflappable leadership has helped the younger players through tough times, just as Obi-Wan helped Luke.
Wade Davis as Chewbacca
Who doesn’t love Chewy? Ditto for Davis. At 6 foot 5, Davis is an imposing figure on the mound with that full beard. Chewbacca doesn’t always say a whole lot, but he has been known to pull arms out of sockets when he loses a game (as C-3PO was told). Davis is also the quiet type, and while he hasn’t threatened violence, he once killed a bear with a bow and arrow.
Salvador Perez as R2-D2
Does anyone chirp as much as R2-D2? Salvy does in his own way if you’ve ever seen one of his posts on social media. Perez is a happy guy who takes videos and shows the world on his Instagram account. You may recall that R2-D2 took a video of Princess Leia and showed it to Obi-Wan.
Jeremy Guthrie as C-3PO
While Guthrie can’t match C-3PO’s fluency in over six million forms of communication, he has translated for Ventura in the past and served as a missionary in Spain. C-3PO was always trying to do the right thing in the movies, and Guthrie is a former Eagle Scout.
Rusty Kuntz as Yoda
Kuntz isn’t pushing 800 years old, but he seemingly has 800 years of baseball knowledge. Unlike Luke brushing off Yoda’s advice in “Empire Strikes Back,” the Royals players soak up Kuntz’s advice. And can’t you hear this? “Move toward left-field line you must.” Truth be told, I wouldn’t put it past Rusty if he lifted an X-Wing out of a swamp using the Force.
Jarrod Dyson as Lando Calrissian
Lando is so smooth in all he does, and Dyson looks like he’s gliding while running the bases or in the outfield. One big difference: Dyson would never double-cross anyone and a make a deal with Darth Vader. Speaking of that...
Madison Bumgarner as Darth Vader
Yeah, it was uncool what the Giants pitcher did in the World Series last year. But having the Force on his side might explain why he had the greatest pitching performance in World Series history.
Star Wars Day
The Royals say that Star Wars entertainment will be featured throughout Sunday’s 1:10 p.m. game against the White Sox, and fans are encouraged to dress up as their favorite characters. However, replica weapons, including lightsabers, won’t be allowed in the ballpark. If you wear a mask, you may be asked to remove it briefly while entering the gates, but you will be able to put it on back on and wear it in the stadium.
The Royals offered a limited number of special Star Wars Day discounted ticket packages, and it sold out. Those who bought the package can get their Jedi Alex Gordon bobblehead at the Hall of Fame Pavilion Tent outside Gate A from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday.