The Kansas City Royals Awards Luncheon seemed to carry a theme this year with Hall Of Famer George Brett and young first baseman Eric Hosmer. The feeling in the room was unmistakable, the future has arrived in Kansas City.
You can hear it in George Brett’s voice. The proud Royal is ready for that next generation of successful Royals to take over the spotlight. Not that he does not enjoy the spotlight, quite the opposite. The Hall Of Famer is one of the most charismatic and comfortable former players in the lime light. Ask anyone and they will tell you, however, that he is true blue to the Royals. Just like any fan of the team, he’s ready for them to win.
During the awards ceremony, when asked about the young team, Brett was quick to state “It’s no secret that it has been a tough ten or fifteen years for this city”.
Prior to the awards luncheon, the winners and presenters joined the media for a quick question and answer session. Eric Hosmer, entering first, was moved to the center of the room and put on display like a show pony. As the media closed in, questions flew, and cameras rolled the young man took it in, answered every question, and showed confidence in himself and his teammates. Reporters had to remind themselves that they were face-to-face with a twenty-two year old ballplayer. The confidence and way with which Hosmer carried himself suggested a veteran player that was easily considered the face of the franchise.
When your franchise is the youngest in Major League Baseball, it should not surprise people that the face of that franchise is as young as Hosmer is. A young man who is comfortable letting his bat and glove speak for themselves has arrived in Kansas City and the weight of the team and the city are squarely on his shoulders.
When asked about his role when players that he has spent most of his career with are called up to the majors he confirmed his presence by saying “I think when guys first arrive, I’m the guy they come to with questions and finding out how the locker room works and things.” At the same time, Hosmer is quick to point out that his teammates “have been together for a long time and everyone knows their roles and how to conduct themselves.”
Throughout the day talking with the young players, there was a general feeling that this team was ready to compete, ready to win, and the expectations had changed. Conversations with manager Ned Yost and General Manager Dayton Moore revealed the same from their viewpoint, as they mentioned a need for this year’s team to transition from “learning” to “winning”. Manager Yost confirmed that his approach would be more focused on winning in every situation and less on sacrificing the win to help a young player mature.
The excitement in Kansas City is growing and is very apparent when you talk to the fans. Brett confirmed that saying that many fans are talking to him more and more about the current product on the field and cites solid attendance numbers towards the end of the 2011 season. The buzz of excitement for baseball is thick in the air of Kansas City.
This team is in a good position to take advantage of that. The Royals are ready for the first player to be the face of a winning franchise in Kansas City since Hall Of Famer George Brett retired.
Eric Hosmer is ready to be that player.
Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
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