For seven seasons, Eric Hosmer personified the Kansas City Royals. The 27-year-old was drafted by the club in the first-round, was a key member of the club’s rebuild, suffered along with the club early on and then led them to a World Series title.
With his contract set to expire, Hosmer geared up for what may be his final game with the franchise Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. If that winds up being the case, he gave the Royals fans the perfect sendoff.
In his first at-bat, Hosmer ripped a solo home run to left field to give the Royals the early 1-0 lead. To make things even more emotional, Hosmer tipped his cap and waved to fans just before the at-bat. On the 0-2 pitch, he brought them to their feet one more time.
In dramatic fashion, Eric Hosmer says goodbye to Kansas City. Chills. pic.twitter.com/0F5AqD7fyY
— Steve (@SteveMcCleary) October 1, 2017
That wouldn’t be the last time, either. In the top of the fifth, Royals manager Ned Yost allowed the fans to return the favor and give Hosmer — and the rest of the Royals’ core — their own sendoff.
With one out, Yost walked out to the umpire and removed Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas from the game. The Hosmer, Escobar and Moustakas started hugging every member of the infield while Cain embraced the outfielders. The trio then stood in the infield dirt and waited for Cain to reach them.
When the four were finally together, they all walked off the field at the same time, taking off their caps and waving as the fans stood and cheered for four of the most integral members of the Royals’ World Series run.
Cain, Moustakas, Hosmer, and Escobar walk off the field together for the final time. pic.twitter.com/RpoyfNsfFs
— Shaun Newkirk (@Shauncore) October 1, 2017
It was one of the few things the fans had to cheer, as the Royals lost the contest 14-2.
Both Moustakas and Hosmer were former first-round picks with the club. The team acquired Escobar and Cain after dealing Zack Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers during the 2010 offseason. At that point, Escobar was the only player of the quartet to have played in 50 games in the majors. He was joined by both Hosmer and Moustakas in 2011. Cain got a brief taste of the majors in 2011, but was up to stay in 2012.
From that point, all four players grew and blossomed together, becoming key members of the franchise as it turned into a World Series contender.
After seven seasons with Kansas City, all four players may be looking for a new home in 2018. Hosmer, Moustakas, Cain and Escobar are all set to hit free agency once the postseason ends. While the Royals may push hard to retain one or two of them, it’s assumed most will have to move on. The team can’t afford all of them.
If this was it, at least each member of the club was celebrated as they walked off the field together. It will be tough for Royals fans to see them playing in other uniforms next season, but this was the perfect goodbye for a core that brought the World Series trophy back to Kansas City.
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