It was a tight game, and Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar was trying to encourage a teammate.
“Come on Kendrys, come on,” Escobar muttered.
This wasn’t a real game. Or a real spring-training game. Escobar was playing the video game RBI 16 against 13-year-old Phoenix Downs of Kansas City, Kan.
It was part of a short video that the MLB Network made to promote the video game. That is expected to be shown on the MLB Network close to when the video game is released on opening day.
Downs and a four others from the Kansas Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program were in Surprise as guests of the Royals. It was a happy coincidence for the producer of the promotional video, and Escobar cracked up the kids during a game Saturday.
“Where you going, bro?” Escobar asked as a base runner seemed to have a mind of his own, and the kids giggled.
At one point, Escobar waved his arm to encourage a Royals player in the video game to score.
Again, laughter from the kids, who all got autographed baseballs from Escobar and their picture taken with him.
“It was a fun game,” Escobar said. “I like it. I enjoyed the kids, too.”
The feeling was mutual.