The Royals will celebrate their third straight Opening Day Monday, but this one will finally be their own. The club opened the season in Chicago and then played the home opener for the Phillies this weekend, but Monday marks the Royals home opener -- and will kick off a year-long celebration of 40 years of baseball at Kauffman Stadium.
"Three in a row for us," said Billy Butler, who drove in a career-high seven runs in a win Sunday to send the Royals home with a 3-3 record. "It will be fun. Our fans are going to be psyched. I can't wait; they're excited about this team, and we're excited about this team. You won't see an empty seat."
Counting Spring Training, the Royals have effectively been on the road for about seven weeks.
"It will be nice to get home and lighten up some of the luggage we've been carrying around for two months," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
"Saturday's loss was disappointing, but we came back strong and I think we're heading home on a really good note," James Shields said. "To come back off a loss like that, and go 3-3 on the first road trip? We'll take that."
The Royals Hall of Fame will help celebrate the 40th anniversary season of Kauffman Stadium with a retrospective exhibit of the ballpark and its place in history.
The "Home Sweet Home" exhibit features the origins of the original Royals Stadium and the Truman Sports Complex even before the franchise's inaugural season of 1969. Kauffman Stadium was known as Royals Stadium when the park opened in 1973. The Royals are 1,648-1,521 at home in their history.
The Royals Hall of Fame also is hosting a "Club 3,000" exhibit on batters with 3,000 or more hits and pitchers with 3,000 or more strikeouts. Artifacts from the National Baseball Hall of Fame include the baseball from Stan Musial's 3,000th hit and the cap worn by Nolan Ryan when he notched his 4,000th strikeout. Kansas City's George Brett is also part of the exhibit.
Among other stadium features this year:
• MLB Advanced Media is providing an At The Ballpark free app for iPhone, iPod touch and Android smartphones that allows fans to check in and manage their personal experiences at Kauffman. Included is expanded use of Passbook delivery for online ticket purchases.
• An enhanced sound system generated by the installation of a new digital console.
• A "Cool Zone" at Gate B includes cooling stations to help fans beat the heat this summer, plus live entertainment.
• A new Royals Authentics Store offers game-used bats, baseballs, jerseys and other collectibles.
Yost believes Royals can handle walk-off loss
Royals manager Ned Yost absolutely believes that there is a lingering hangover to tough losses like the one sustained by the Royals Saturday, when Greg Holland walked the bases loaded and allowed a three-run double by Kevin Frandsen to blow a save in a 4-3 loss to the Phillies.
But he's also confident the Royals are in better position to handle it this year.
"Look, a loss like that does hang around," Yost said. "That was a tough one. But the advantage we have in coming back from a tough loss is James Shields."
Having Shields penciled in as the Sunday starter should provide a bit of a lift following Saturday's loss.
Last year, the Royals had some tough losses that certainly seemed to carry over -- an April 11 loss to Oakland in which Jonathan Broxton blew a save right before the Royals arrived back in Kansas City was followed by a 12-game losing streak. The Royals were 10-16 in games following a one-run loss last season. But the upgrades to the rotation, Yost said, should curb this sort of thing.
"With our pitching, we're looking to prevent those kinds of losing streaks," Yost said.
Tejada returns to bench after starting Saturday
Miguel Tejada was back on the bench Sunday after a two-RBI game Saturday in his first start with the Royals. Tejada will turn 39 in May and his return to the Majors was certainly a question mark, but manager Ned Yost said Sunday he's been "a great addition" so far. Yost said he's not worrying about mixing Tejada into certain spots; he's confident the veteran infielder can help wherever he's needed.
"He's a bona fide player coming off the bench," Yost said. "With all the left-handed hitters in our infield, the fact that he can mix in at every position and do so efficiently is a big thing for us. He's ready to do whatever we need him to do."
• The Royals' home opener tomorrow will begin a year-long celebration of 40 years of baseball at Kauffman Stadium, which was known as Royals Stadium when the park opened in 1973. The Royals are 1,648-1,521 at home in their history.
• Friday's run of crooked numbers from the fifth through the ninth innings was one of historical proportion according to the folks at the Elias Sports Bureau. The Royals became just the third team in Major League history to be held scoreless through the game's first four innings and then record at least two runs in each of the next five innings. The only other teams ever were the 1896 Brooklyn Bridegrooms and the 1930 Chicago Cubs.
• The Royals entered Sunday one of only four teams in the majors without an error (Boston, Detroit and Tampa Bay are the others). The Royals handled 168 chances without error in the five games -- the first time in franchise history they've gone the first five games of a season without an error.
Kevin Roberts is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.