KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was a regular Royals tailgate with good food on a grill and yard games.
However, fans say Friday’s Buck Night is special because of the “local boy” in the lineup.
“Bubba Starling, batting 7th and in center field,” an announcer said.
After eight years, Bubba Starling got called up to play at The K with the Royals.
“Good to see all of his hard work all these years in the minors pay off,” Royals fan Chandra Kelly said.
One loyal Royals fan went to high school with Starling at Gardner Edgerton.
“We usually come out, but this was an extra perk on it,”Steve Merril said, “It’s a cool experience that he made it.”
Tyler Vancleave, baseball coach at Joplin High School, agrees.
“It’s just an added bonus for us to come see Bubba,” Vancleave said.
Vancleave said he’s the assistant to one Bubba’s former baseball coaches and plans to inspire his players with Starling’s story.
“Seeing Bubba Starling play and my small hometown, that’s super cool,” Vancleave said.
Royals Spokesperson Toby Cook said they sold 3,000 tickets Friday – 1,400 of them being walk-ups, meaning they bought the ticket at the game. Cook says that’s way up from what they usually sell on a Friday night.