Salvador Perez takes oath of allegiance at Royals FanFest, becomes U.S. citizen

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- If you've ever witnessed a naturalization ceremony, it can be pretty powerful. It reminds you that even in these divisive times, there's something profound about someone becoming an American right before your eyes.

And when that someone is a fan favorite and local legend, it's quite the spectacle.

Royals catcher Salvador Perez took the oath of allegiance Friday at the team's FanFest surrounded by hundreds of fans.

Some of those fans admitted to getting a little emotional.

"He just loves America," Tammy Hiles said. "He's great for Kansas City. He's great with his family."

Perez said he's been listening to American government classes while driving in the car.

"From my house to the stadium, it's like 45 minutes," he said. "So I would listen to it in my car, and listen and answer, listen to questions, answer the questions. I did that for like two months."

As a big league baseball player, Perez stands for the national anthem 162 days a year. But Friday was the first day he did it as an American.

He made a big promise that, on stage at least, made even Salvy a little nervous.

"I would rather be in World Series, bases loaded, two out, 3-2 and hitting than do that thing again. I was shaking, my eyes were super big," he joked afterward.

Perez said there are a lot of reasons he spent years working on becoming a citizen, but he said the biggest reason is that it will now be easier for he and his wife to travel back to Venezuela to visit family.

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