Hats Off To Dad…
The Royals made Father’s Day very special. The Royals Senior Director of Team Travel/Clubhouse Operations tried something that was apparently new for a baseball team (hockey teams have done it)…and that was to have a Dad’s trip. The players and other clubhouse personnel were allowed to invite their dad (or in a couple of cases their sons) to join the club for an entire 2-city, 7-game road trip. The trip covered Father’s Day weekend, as we traveled to St. Petersburg and Cleveland.
The trip began with a 4-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. The Royals team hotel is across the street from the marina near downtown St. Pete. The dads got to fly on the team charter, stay in the team hotel. The Royals even provided a special Dad’s bus about 45 minutes before each game. The team had a reception for fathers and sons in both cities upon arrival. The players and their dad’s really appreciated the chance to spend some in-season time together.
The low point of the trip was when a hard line drive hit Tampa Bay pitcher Alex Cobb in the head. You could hear a pin drop after Cobb went down. He was taken to a local hospital and was conscious the entire time. But at Tropicana Field the incident was on everyone’s mind the rest of the game. It seemed as though everyone in the building had been punched in the gut. The Royals lost that game…the incident really seemed to take the wind out of their sails. Prognosis for Cobb is very good.
The second leg of the Father’s Day trip was Cleveland. Before one of the games they had a special “Dad’s Batting Practice.” The dads and sons had lots of fun. A lot of the dads had played in their younger years…and several reported feeling sore a few hours later. Here, George Brett pitches to his son Jackson, who came along on the trip.
Being mid-June and our first trip to Cleveland, it marked one of the first times in Cleveland I remember not having to worry about rain or cold. Unfortunately, after winning the first game, the Royals lost the next two. But the Royals finished the trip 4-3 and the father/son week gave all involved a memory that will last a lifetime.