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Kansas City Royals Make Up For Lost Time With Fans With A Win On Opening Day

Opening day baseball at Kauffman Stadium Thursday served as a reminder in many ways about what’s been missed in the last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Mainly, a genuine atmosphere, albeit a smaller sellout crowd of 9,155 due to health precautions. No matter. It beat the artificially-created sound from the public address system last summer in an empty stadium.

And, of course, there was plenty to get jacked up about in the Royals record-setting 14-10 victory over the Texas Rangers.

It was the most runs ever scored by the Royals on Opening Day, which with the game’s final score resembling a football game, had to be pleasing to Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, a Royals co-owner who enjoyed it with majority owner John Sherman in the owners' box.

“Best opening day I’ve ever been part of,” said Royals manager Mike Matheny.

Retired outfielder Alex Gordon threw out the ceremonial first pitch in a moment of on-field recognition he didn’t receive last year. When this year’s starting left-fielder, Andrew Benintendi, missed a diving attempt on Joe Gallo’s 3-RBI double in the opening inning, one couldn’t help but wonder if Gordon would’ve come up with the catch.

But after spotting the Rangers a 5-0 lead that brought about some Bronx cheers when starter Brad Keller struggled in the first inning, the Royals clawed back.

“I think stuff like that happens because of some of the positive things we saw in the way that we saw this group started to believe in themselves,” said Matheny. “This is one we won’t forget.”

The biggest lift came from Michael A. Taylor, the newest center-fielder who with his fielding and hitting appears to be the best in center since Lorenzo Cain during the championship seasons in 2014 and 2015. Taylor threw out two runners trying to score and also batted in three runs.

“This opening day was pretty special,” said Taylor. “Starting with the Stealth Bomber flying over. That was awesome and just having fans back in the stands made it a lot better.”

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Ever since he set foot on the baseball diamond at Fernwood Park on Chicago's South Side, Greg Echlin began a love affair with the world of sports. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, he worked as a TV sports anchor and a radio sportscaster in Salina, Kansas. He moved to Kansas City in 1984 and has been there since covering sports. Through the years, he has covered multiple Super Bowls, Final Fours and Major League Baseball's World Series and All-Star games.