Shields 'Big' in game of life with foster kids
Royals ace will host 250 children, families over five home games this season
KANSAS CITY -- When James Shields was first called up to the Majors by Tampa Bay, he was asked to do a public service announcement for the Heart Gallery, an audio and photographic exhibit that tries to match foster children to adoptive families across the country.
Since that humble start, he and his wife Ryane, a photographer, have adopted the cause and continued their work with foster children.
When Shields was traded to the Royals in the offseason, the organization approached him about an opportunity to continue his work with foster children in Kansas City and he readily accepted. With the support of Kansas City Power & Light, Shields will host 250 foster children and their families in the "Big Game James Section" over five games this season.
"My wife and I are very fortunate," Shields said. "We've had parents and we've had families and to see these kids that don't have families, and to hear some of their stories, it's amazing. It is very sad and if I can do anything to help these kids out, it is definitely something I want to do."
On Friday afternoon, surrounded by smiling children in neon green shirts that read, "Big Game James," he continued his dedicated work.
"It is a time to bring foster kids in to watch baseball games and really create memories," Shields said. "This is a great way to give them good memories, and hopefully they can have some fun times with their foster families."
On each night, a group of participants will sit in a reserved section, meet Shields, receive T-shirts, eat a meal from Papa John's Pizza and Aramark, and take home a backpack that contains coloring books, sunglasses and a baseball.
"This is very special to these kids," said Brenda Williams, who has been fostering children for 10 years in Overland Park, Kan. "A lot of times, they don't get an opportunity to come out to the ballgame. They are like the guests of honor here."
In the first of his five events, Shields hosted children from KVC Behavioral Health Care, Inc., on Friday, when the Royals played the Angels.
"We are just thrilled to have this partnership," said Emily Snow, director of child placing for KVC. "For a few kids here, this is the first baseball game they've ever been to. Another exciting piece about this is it gets out the word about the need for foster care, and the fact that kids in care are no different than any other kids."
Shields said his biggest hope was that he could give the participants a memorable experience that might help them down the road.
"As a kid growing up, I used to go to Dodgers Stadium and whenever I met a baseball player, I thought it was the coolest thing," Shields said. "These kids have gone through so many trials and tribulations in their lives, just to have one good memory could save them and help them become adults, men and women, and go to school. If I can do anything to help them out, that would be great."
Though Shields and his wife have done a lot for foster kids already, the Royals' ace is not satisfied.
"I think every Major League Baseball city could really benefit from it," Shields said. "If I could bring it into every city, I would."
Royals honor late White with tribute video
KANSAS CITY -- A lively, nostalgic and moving tribute to the late Royals broadcaster Fred White is now posted in the video corner on Royals.com.
The 2 1/2-minute video features White's play-by-play calls of great Royals moments, including George Brett's 3,000th hit and his postseason home run off Yankees reliever Goose Gossage in the 1980 American League Championship Series. Also shown are his days broadcasting Kansas State athletics and his later years as director of the Royals Alumni.
The video, which was on the CrownVision screen at Kauffman Stadium before Thursday night's game, is narrated by former CBS News anchor and A&E documentary host Bill Kurtis. White and Kurtis, a Kansas native, knew each other through connections with WIBW-TV in Topeka.
White, 76, died on May 15 of complications of melanoma.
Getz enjoying role as Royals' leadoff man
KANSAS CITY -- Chris Getz is quickly warming up to his new responsibilities as the Royals' leadoff hitter.
"I love being up there," Getz said. "It gives me an opportunity and I feel good at the plate right now. I'm there to embrace the role if [manager Ned Yost] is going to put me out there."
Since moving up in the order he has reached base six times in 13 plate appearances.
On Friday night against the Angels, Getz made his third consecutive start in the top spot and finished 1-for-4 with an RBI and his first stolen base. On Thursday, he went 1-for-3 with two walks also against the Angels, and was 1-for-3 with one walk on Wednesday against the Astros.
Alex Gordon batted first most of the season (40 games). Also tried there were Lorenzo Cain, Jarrod Dyson, Alcides Escobar and David Lough.
Royals going to bat for tornado victims
KANSAS CITY -- The Royals are doing their part to help residents of Moore, Okla., who were affected by the tornado on Monday. Royals Charities donated $10,000 to Heart to Heart International, an emergency response organization based in Olathe, Kan.
They also partnered with the American Red Cross for a fund-raising campaign during the Angels series to support relief efforts. The Red Cross will coordinate in-stadium fundraising during the series through Sunday.
Money will be collected through 50/50 Raffles and cash donations. Fans can donate by texting REDCROSS to 90999, visiting www.redcross.org or calling 1-800-REDCROSS.
Kauffman Stadium set for busy weekend
KANSAS CITY -- It'll be busy at Kauffman Stadium for the final two games, both at 1:10 p.m. CT, against the Angels.
On Saturday, the first 10,000 fans receive the first of three racing condiments bobblehead, Ketchup. It's also Faith and Family Day with postgame appearances by the Angels' Josh Hamilton and Albert Pujols and the Royals' Luke Hochevar. There also will be music by the Christian rock group Crowder.
On Sunday, dogs will sit with their owners at the fifth annual Bark at the Park. Related activities will start at 11:30 a.m. in the Outfield Experience. Also on the agenda is Family FunDay Sunday featuring face painters, caricature and balloon artists and entertainment in the Outfield Experience.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.