KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- As Alex Gordon and Dayton Moore took their seats at the news conference Wednesday, there was a special air in the room. It wasn't the loud ecstatic celebration of a World Series victory. It wasn't a sense the excitement of a promising, new prospect.
The sense in that room was pride.
It was the pride that general manager Dayton Moore felt for his player, an athlete who has played his heart out for his team through seasons good and bad.
It was the pride that Alex Gordon felt for his team, who fought its way to a World Series title and has always supported him as a player.
And there was a sense of pride that a city feels when one of its own turns out to be the real deal; who didn't abandon the city for a better deal somewhere else.
Gordon was his typical soft-spoken self, with nothing but glowing words for the Royals and this city.
"I just want to say my family and I are very excited and very happy to be back in Kansas City. My wife Jamie, my two boys Max and Sam. I've been here for 10 years and really established our home here. In the off-season we are very appreciative of all the teams that have showed us interest, but at the end of the day, my heart has been, and I think always will be in Kansas City," Gordon said.
That praise was reflected back on him from Moore.
“Those of you who work with Alex know he’s an easy player to root for. He’s a great husband. He’s a great father. He’s a great teammate and he represents the game of baseball so well and as I’ve said many times… Alex is one of the greatest players and stories that I’ve ever been around in the game; how he persevered and how he broke into the major leagues, the changes that he made and how he did it and the way he led and he didn’t complain, he just went to work and made himself an All Star, a Gold Glove winner, a platinum winner, an American League champion, a World Series champion. He is the pillar of our clubhouse and our organization. That’s why it was so crucial for us to commit this winner and figure out a way to get him back.”
Gordon said the market was a bit slow at first, but in the last week it started to heat up.
He hasn’t been very stressed about it, he said. He has been healthy this off-season; he wasn’t last year, he said. He’s been celebrating the World Series victory. It's been a good off-season, Gordon recalled.
Gordon was gracious and thanked Moore for always being respectful and honest. He also took the time to thank the Royals team owners, the Glass family.
“I just want to thank the Glass family for all their support and giving me the ability to come back and be a Kansas City Royal. I want to thank my good friend, Dayton Moore, for all of his support and for always communicating with me and always being honest with me. We go back a long ways and I want to thank you for all you've done for me," Gordon said as he turned to Moore, who patted him on the back.
Gordon said he's felt nothing but love from the fans on Wednesday, many of whom were calling it "Alex Gordon Day."
“Being out today, we went out to eat, people came up to me, congratulating me, giving me high-fives, so it’s been pretty amazing, especially over the last two years, so I got to thank them a lot.”
Gordon went to Barley's Brewhaus for lunch, where he spent plenty of time greeting fans and signing autographs. He has invested a lot of time in the Kansas City community, who has, he said, always been so generous to him.
“There will be give-back for sure. I feel like when something like this happens, you’re very fortunate and very blessed and you should be able to give back and be appreciative of where you’re at and the people that will support you. There definitely will be support from me in the community at some point in time. I’m very excited about that, too,” he said.
Gordon is involved in several charities, most notably Alex's Lemonade Stand, a foundation that emerged from the front yard lemonade stand of cancer patient Alex Scott, for which he has helped raise more than $1 million. He also supports the Lincoln Diamond Dogs, a 12-and-under baseball team in his hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska that raises awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.
Sentimentality aside, when asked about his health, Gordon expressed that it is a concern for him.
“Health is a big concern, especially coming off last year," Gordon said. He spent much of last off-season in a cast following wrist surgery.
“I feel pretty comfortable where I’m at right now and excited where I’m at."
With his new deal guaranteeing Gordon will spend at least 13 years with Kansas City, his legacy as a Royals legend is all but cemented. Gordon's not exactly focused on that. He's just focusing on what he's always done: performed to his highest standard.
“Hopefully my legacy will be a good one, but right now it’s not on my mind, I’d say,” Gordon explained.
Moore said that the team's decision to make the offer came from the heart, but at the end of the day, it was the logical choice for the team.
“At the end of the day... you know we talk about all the sentimental reasons... and that’s all important and those are decisions from the heart, But the bottom line is, Alex is here in Kansas City because we believe he can continue to help us win. That’s what we’ve all aspired to do; that’s why Alex is the great player he is today; because he always had that motivation to be the very best."