KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Royals fell 2- 0 to the visiting Oakland A’s Monday. Before the game the team paid tribute to Yordano Ventura, the young pitcher killed in the offseason in a Jeep accident in his native Dominican Republic.
“It’s Opening Day, how could it be any better? It's a beautiful day,” Jerry Baker said.
"It's the beginning of 100 some odd games that are going to be played. There's a great family spirit, the K has always been a fantastic place to watch the game and come out here and enjoy ourselves,” Larry Hutchison said.
But as fans enjoyed baseball being back at Kauffman Stadium, they were well aware of the Kansas City Royal they lost this offseason. Ventura’s mother, Marisol, threw out the first pitch taking the same mound where he delivered a memorable World Series Game 6 performance in 2014. In the dirt she spelled out the word "Dios", Spanish for God.
“It was an incredible tribute he was an incredible young man and it’s really sad that he’s not here with us today,” Mindy White said.
Royals players unfurled a banner that read ACE 30, the same patch they’ll wear on their jerseys all year long. Gold, white and blue balloons were released as a single saxophone played "Amazing Grace."
Some fans said they can only imagine how difficult it must have been for the team, which could explain Monday's loss.
“He’d want us to go out and win so that’s what we tried to do today and that’s what we think we are going to do this year, we are making it back to the playoffs we hope,” Darin Stevens said.
“There’s nothing like Kauffman Stadium, it’s absolutely incredible. I wish we could have done even more to honor his memory today, but it was still an incredible day and a great day to be a Royals fan,” White said.