It wasn’t “Turn Back The Clock Night” for Thursday’s Royals-Red Sox game, but there was a throwback feel.
Eric Hosmer was back at Kauffman Stadium with his new team, Boston, and it led to reminiscing among players, executives and fans. This was Hosmer’s first time back in Kansas City since he left as a free agent following the 2017 season.
But while flying into the city he once called home, Hosmer said it was like he was in Mr. Sherman’s Wayback Machine, not a plane.
“It felt like I was traveling in a time machine back about 10 years,” Hosmer said. “Just landing in the city, getting to see some familiar faces already after we touched down at the airport and getting to the hotel and all that.”
When he arrived Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium, one of the first people he saw was a former Royals teammate, catcher Salvador Perez.
The two talked about the 2014 Wild Card Game, which Perez won with an RBI single after Hosmer helped prolong the contest with a clutch triple in the 12th inning. They also reminisced about winning the 2015 World Series.
“You guys know the relationship I have with him. He’s my brother. He’s my brother from another mother,” Perez said with a laugh.
“We grew up together here. We played together in the minor leagues. We played together in the big leagues. We got called up the same year (2011). We won together, we lost together. To have him come back to Kansas City is special.”
Dayton Moore, the Royals’ president of baseball operations, was in a reflective mood, too. Moore scouted and drafted Hosmer, who was the third overall pick in the 2008 MLB Draft.
Moore vividly recalled the first time he saw Hosmer in high school, and how he evolved into a star player in Kansas City who has played 12 years in the big leagues.
“Obviously everybody’s going to remember the mad dash home, and they should,” Moore said of Hosmer’s tying run in Game 5 of the 2015 World Series. “Eric Hosmer is a fearless player, a player who has fun on the field; he’s fearless the way he plays. He loves his teammates, he loves the fans. He embraces everything about the game.”
Hosmer batted sixth in the lineup for the Red Sox, who acquired him Tuesday in a trade with the San Diego Padres. He was back at his familiar position of first base for the game against the Royals. And he was looking forward to stepping to the plate in KC for the first time since walking off the field at Kauffman Stadium on Oct. 1, 2017.
“It’s going to be special for me. I know speaking on a personal note, I’ve had a lot of relationships on and off the field here with the community, people throughout Kansas City, all throughout everywhere here in Missouri,’ Hosmer said. “My family has gotten really close with people who they still keep in contact with.
“And ultimately we won a world championship here together. I think that’s the most special bond you can have with a fan base.”
Those Royals supporters clearly were thrilled to see Hosmer, who hugged Perez as he received a standing ovation in the first inning.
The Royals also put together a great tribute video to Hosmer, and it was shown before first pitch.