KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Before the Royals began their first home game, it was all about their beloved pitcher Yordano Ventura, 25, who died in January in a car crash in Dominican Republic.
Banners emblazoned with "ACE 30" were displayed on the walls of Kauffman Stadium and inside the hall on the way to the Royals dugout. Royals players even unfurled a large ACE 30 banner during the opening ceremonies.
Perhaps the most touching moment was when Yordano's mom, Marisol Hernandez, threw out the first pitch. She threw the ball down to catcher Salvador Perez, who then came up to her on the mound and gave her a hug.
“I feel very happy, but mostly thankful to God to be here with the Kansas City Royals for Opening Day and for throwing the first pitch. I give thanks to God because He is the only one who can help us," Marisol said in a statement. "Through my pain and all my suffering I knew I had to come and do this and because what happened to my son I know many people will know that God is the only way. I am feeling well. And thank you.”
The Royals will also honor Ventura this season by wearing black patches with “Ace 30” written in white on their uniforms.