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By Randy York
Maybe it’s not such a good idea to use a New York song to lead a Midwestern blog, but I’m going to do it anyway. So start spreading the news and think about leaving today or at least sometime soon. You know you want to be a part of it. Okay, cut, and let’s change the lyrics because deep down, after watching the Royals beat the Yankees Saturday night, you know you want to go to Kansas City, Kansas City here you come. They got a crazy way of playing there and surely you want to see a certain one. That would be Alex Gordon, Lincoln’s hometown hero and the new face of Kansas City … the left-fielder who couldn’t buy a hit the first three weeks in April and has suddenly caught fire and is showing why the Royals were willing to shell out $37.5 million for four years of his bat, glove and arm, not to mention his speed, passion and loyalty. For those of you who were sitting on your patio, catching a movie or playing a card game Saturday night, shame on you for not catching the Royals beating the Yankees for a second time in three days. All Gordon did was get four hits in his first four at bats, singling his first three times up and then smashing a double to drive in a run and give KC a 5-0 lead in a 5-1 win.
It was Gordon’s eighth career four-hit MLB game as a Royal, and I thought he was going to set a career record until he decided not to swing on a 2-2 pitch in the bottom of the eighth. The umpire called a third strike on a ball that looked outside to me, but what do I know? Gordon, the Lincoln Southeast graduate, Nebraska baseball legend and new Lincoln homeowner, walked back to the dugout looking like a pitcher had outfoxed him and put the ball across a part of the plate he wasn’t expecting. Fortunately, all that matters is Kansas City’s 12-game April losing streak has been pushed to the recesses of our minds, nearly 30,000 fans were inside Kauffman Stadium Saturday night and KC will host the Major League All-Star Game on July 10th. The time is right for Nebraskans to make plans to catch Gordon’s act ASAP. He did, after all, raise his batting average 28 points from .237 to .265 Saturday night, and I couldn’t help but hold up my smart phone and record what Gordon said on television almost immediately after the game.
“We got off to a slow start, but so what? It’s early on,” Gordon told Fox Sports. “We have a great team, and we believe in ourselves. You know Eric Hosmer’s been hitting rockets right at everybody, so he’s going to come around. He’s the best hitter in the lineup. We have all the confidence in the world in 1 through 9. I love hitting in front of Billy Butler. I’m going to get a lot of pitches to hit. You know all I’m trying to do is get on for Billy, Jeff Francouer and Hosmer and those guys and try to put some runs together.” One of “those guys” is third baseman Mike Moustakas, who’s hitting .304 and just might be the Royals’ leading candidate to make the American League All-Star Team. I certainly would not count out Gordon, however, after he barely missed that opportunity a year ago. “Gordo” is getting hot, and that means it’s time for all Nebraska fans to plan at least one baseball-related trip to Kansas City this spring or summer. Use this link to buy your tickets directly from the Royals. We should point out that after the Royals finish their four-game home series with the Yankees on Sunday, they host the Boston Red Sox in three night games on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Since Bo Pelini can’t see his Cleveland Indians play the Royals in Kansas City on Sept. 21-22-23, look for Nebraska’s head coach to consider catching his favorite team at Kauffman on July 31 or Aug. 1 or 2. Nebraska Baseball Coach Darin Erstad’s favorite MLB team, the California Angels, play at Kauffman on Friday/Saturday/Sunday Sept. 14-15-16. If you’re looking for a marquee matchup, book your tickets now to the Royals hosting in-state rival St. Louis on Friday/Saturday/Sunday June 22-23-24. I know what Gordon means to Nebraska because even my wife, who’s not a Major League Baseball Fan, always tries to keep track of how he performs. We both remember when almost everyone was calling the injury-plagued Gordon a “bust” in 2008 before he hit .303 last season, knocked 23 homers out of the park and stole 17 bases while winning a Gold Glove in just his second season as an outfielder. Here’s hoping Gordon stays hot because he’s on track for free agency after the 2013 season and has a $12.5 million player option for that fifth season. So start spreading the news and use any hybrid lyric you can find to tell everyone that Kansas City, Here I come!
Editor's note: Gordon went 1-for-4 Sunday against the Yankees. He scored a run and had an RBI in the Royals' 10-4 loss.
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