KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Sunday was a bittersweet day at the K: the last game of the 2017 Royals Season, and possibly the last time several Raised Royal players will be in KC uniforms.
The Arizona Diamondbacks were the last team the Royals faced in 2017. But for the fans we spoke with, they only have eyes for the boys in blue.
It will be the last time the gates clang open, or the crowd chants "Let's Go Royals" at the K in 2017. And the opportunity to be a part of that brought in people from Moberly, Manhattan, and even Midlothian, Virginia.
Hayven Fuemmeler has ridden up from mid-Missouri with her mother 10 times this year to watch the Royals play. (She's not yet 10 years old.). When asked, her answer was simple: "Because we love our Royals." She also loves getting their autographs.
Her mother, Erica, explained its a family tradition. "I grew up Royals, my mom and dad brought me up when I was little." Her mother also helped them draw the two posters they would hold up at Sunday's game.
College student Alex Kelsey watched the KState game in Manhattan on Saturday, then drove up to go to the K with her family on Sunday. "These group of boys gave Kansas City hope for baseball a few years ago," she said. As an 18 year old, she admits she also doesn't remember a time when Kansas City didn't have a strong baseball team.
Bo Hay grew up in Virginia with a Kansas City fan for a father. He's raising his sons (who he introduced as George Brett and Trent Green) to be Kansas City fans as well. He brought those teenage sons, and his understanding wife, to their first game at the K on Sunday.
"This is more special," he explained, as he waited for the gates to open, "to be a family. And I'm hoping this will make memories for them."
Fans said good bye in person and with posters to several players who raised the Royals' profile. "We feel like we know them, even though they have no idea who we are," said Kelsey, the college student. "We need to be here to support their last game together."
The atmosphere inside and outside the stadium Sunday was at times electric, euphoric, and certainly nostalgic.
"It's the last time a lot of them will get to play together in a Royals uniform," said a resigned Erica Fuemmeler. "It's kind of sad, and kind of awesome at the same time."
Because all good things must come to an end - just like the baseball season, and possibly just like the baseball team Kansas City has embraced the last several years.
"We wish at least one of them could stay," said Fuemmeler, "but we do understand. They got to to what's best for them and their family."
But don't lose hope: Royals Opening Day 2018 will be at the K on Thursday, March 29, 2018, against the Chicago White Sox.