It’s not every day you get to follow in the footsteps of your heroes.
So it’s easy to see why two dozen Kansas City-area kids were so excited to tour Kauffman Stadium about a week ago and see where their baseball idols make fans’ dreams come true.
“You’re sitting and standing where players sit and stand,” said 12-year-old Alec Dubbert of Kansas City, who compares his style of play to outfielder Alex Gordon.
“It’s cool,” Alec said. “I rode in the same elevator he rides in. I used the same dug out he uses.”
Dubbert was among the day campers at Tony Aguirre Community who took a RideKC bus out to The K for a backstage glimpse into where their Royals’ stars of today battle for the pennant.
The stadium trip was part of Jackson County’s “Kids to Parks” program, which takes children to different parts of the county for fun things to do during the summer.
The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority partners with Jackson County to provide transportation to the venues such as The K, Longview Beach and Blue Springs Beach. More park trips are planned for this week.
The trip to Kauffman was special, especially for the kids who had never been to a ball game before.
“They loved it,” said Nancy Hazard, recreation director of the Tony Aguirre Center. “Some of the kids have never been here and they are getting a behind-the-scenes tour they many never see again.”
Day campers from the Tony Aguirre Community Center got to peer into the visitors' clubhouse at Kauffman Stadium.
The group visited the press box where sportswriters from across the country cover the Royals in action. Tour guides showed them dents in the press box wall caused by foul balls.
The kids toured the visitors’ clubhouse, but were limited to peeking through the doors of the Royals’ clubhouse since it’s locked to keep the players’ personal belongings protected.
Inside the visitors’ clubhouse, the kids learned of the different amenities offered players such as a PlayStation, an Xbox and massage chair.
They also poked their heads into the room where Manager Ned Yost meets the media and the Royals make big announcements such as a trade or a free-agent signing.
Another place on the Kauffman Stadium tour: the Royals' media room.
Also on the tour was the Royals Hall of Fame, home to exhibits such as the team’s World Series trophies from 1985 and 2015, the ball used for the final out of the 2015 World Series, the bat George Brett used for his 3,000 hit and many other exhibits dedicated to Royals’ greatness.
“I like everything about Royals’ Stadium,” said Stanley Worley.
The climactic moment of the tour came when the kids entered the hallowed Royals dugout where so much history was made in 2015 on the run to their World Series championship.
The kids embraced the chance to be in the same area as Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Salvador Perez, and Eric Hosmer.
“I like touching what they touched,” said Cooper Westra, 11, of Kansas City. “I like that Eric Hosmer and Alex Gordon touched that and you can touch it, too.”