I grew up in Topeka, Kansas, which is Royals territory. I was a big Royals fan growing up, and I lived about an hour away from the stadium.

I didn't go to a lot of Royals games, but I definitely went to my share when we could. I remember watching every game I could on TV. When I got older, I was playing ball so much, I rarely had time to make it to a game.

I was too young to watch George Brett, but I grew up admiring guys like Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye and Mike Sweeney. All those guys were great. I loved watching them.

When it came time to go to college, I selected the University of Missouri. My time at Columbia was great. It was probably three of the best years of my life. I had fun on and off the field. I also had a great time with my teammates and coaches.

My alma mater hasn't had a good run the last couple of years in baseball. When I was there and a couple years after, the baseball team had a lot of success. They've had a lot of good players come through there. Kyle Gibson, who played in the 2011 Futures Game, was one of my teammates. I think there are three or four guys who I played with in the program who are now in the big leagues. They have great coaches there, and hopefully, they can take it to the next level and challenge for a Big 12 title.

It was amazing being drafted by the Royals. I think my dad was happier than I was. He was excited that I would be close to home. Both the Double-A and Triple-A teams are close, so they could come and watch whenever they wanted to. It was awesome.

It's great for my family. My mom is a nurse, and my dad works for the state of Kansas. They usually come to one or two games during a homestand. If they don't want to travel, they can always watch the game on TV. The Royals games are always on.

As a team, the goal for us has always been to win right now. We don't want to win three or four years down the road. We want to win now. We have a lot of talent and energy. I think for us the biggest thing is to learn how to win. There are a lot of young guys on this team, and we just need to figure out how to close games out and win.

My dad has been a Royals fan through the thick and thin. He would be very happy if we were able to restore the winning ways back to Kansas City.

Royals reliever Aaron Crow was an All-Star in his first big league season. The right-hander pitched in 57 games and posted a 4-4 record and 2.76 ERA. He also struck out 65 batters over 62 innings pitched.