Grand idea: Billy Butler and Cole Hamels combine for first slam by either

David Brown
Big League Stew

As many who frequent Denny's realize, the greasy spoon diner chain features the "Grand Slam" breakfast. It is not called the "Country Breakfast." Also, as those who frequent Kauffman Stadium know, Kansas City Royals slugger Billy Butler is known as "Country Breakfast" — but had never hit a grand slam until Sunday.

And now that Butler finally has gone deep with the bases loaded, a regional marketing gimmick finally makes sense.

Denny's of Greater Kansas City should rename their signature item the "Grand Slam Country Breakfast" in honor of Butler, who connected against Cole Hamels of the Philadelphia Phillies to make personal history in the Royals' 9-8 victory.

It also should be noted that nobody had ever hit a granny against Hamels in 86 plate appearances with the bases loaded, and 168 homers allowed overall. Until, that is, Butler, who came into Sunday 2 for 15 to start the season before taking a 1-0 pitch from Hamels just over the fence in left in the fifth inning. Boom — just like that (plus a video replay delay) — K.C. took a 6-4 lead.

Butler seems like a grand-slam kind of guy, coming in with 103 home runs before age 27, but luck and other factors apparently were conspiring against him when the bases have been loaded. Butler actually has been a relatively weak hitter with that leverage; his .310 batting average is OK, but he has never drawn a walk, he's hit only four doubles, and connected for four sacrifice flies in 63 plate appearances. He also hit into five double plays.

His grand slam might signal that a run of better luck is coming. And it should definitely signal the beginning of an expansion of his personal marketing.

Butler already has food named after him. A regional barbecue chain called Zarda (good sauce), offers a sandwich called "Billy's Ton of BBQ," which ties in with his Hit It A Ton charity. It's good, too, consisting of beef, smoked provolone, topped with two onion rings on a toasted bun. And yes, Billy will eat his own sandwich.

And now that Butler has a grand slam against Hamels, they could add Cole slaw to Billy's sandwich to make it even better.

The groundwork has been laid for the "Country Breakfast" to come to K.C. Denny's. Butler has a grand slam now. There's no more popular active Royals player. The marketing puns write themselves. The time for exploitation has arrived.

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