KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The artist who made Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez’s custom bats for the Home Run Derby knocked it out of the park.
If you watched the Home Run Derby Monday night, you might’ve noticed Salvy’s swanky bat. It was custom made, just for him.
Perez was on fire at home plate, and fans took notice. He swung for the fences in the Mile High City with custom bats designed for his Home Run Derby debut.
“He had a heck of a showing,” custom designer Bruce Tatem said.
Tatem, with Victus Sports in Pennsylvania, creates one-of-a-kind bats. Perez gave him a call with ideas. The MLB approved their collaboration, and it was a dead sprint to get them to Denver in about a week.
“I decided to wrap the handle with barbed wire and do the crown and the logo with the light beams coming out of it,” Tatem said.
Tatem wants to be a light for younger athletes. He coaches a youth All-Star team, hoping to show players the dream is within their reach.
“Players know, ‘Oh, Coach Bruce’s bats are going to be on TV!’ It’s exciting for everyone,” Tatem said. “I like it because it makes them feel like they’re closer to Major League Baseball.”
Tatem made the bats, and Salvy made history.
“I would like to think that the bats definitely helped him,” Tatem said, “but I know he works hard.”
Perez slammed a solid 28 home runs in the first round. That’s the most ever hit by a catcher in the derby.
“I love it. I’ve been a Royals fan since I was born, in 1979, for crying out loud,” Carlson said. “Moving here 10 years ago and just getting here right when the Royals started to do well, and Salvy being a key piece of that and the Salvy Splash and the infectious smile has made it just wonderful.”