Teams from Special Olympics Missouri and Special Olympics Kansas played a baseball game in left field Wednesday afternoon, and a couple of big league pitchers -- the Royals' Bruce Chen and Everett Teaford -- lent their talents to the matchup.
"It's a blast to come out here and get to play with these kids," Teaford said. "I remember how I was as a kid and how much fun baseball was, and it wasn't quite a job yet. Being able to give back to the community, I'm so thankful that I'm in the position I am. I don't think there's enough stuff I could do like this to repay the gratitude I have of being in my position."
Kids and adults alike participated in the game, and had it been an official Major League game, Teaford and Chen would've seen a significant boost to their ERAs. But it was all in good fun, as was the bean ball Teaford threw.
"A guy had a Pujols jersey on, and he was telling me all about how good the Cardinals are. And then he hit a foul ball really far, so I had to brush him back and I just got a little out of control," Teaford joked. "Hopefully I don't get suspended by the league."
Also on hand was Royals legend Willie Wilson.
"It was fun for me," Wilson said. "I don't look at anything or anybody differently. To me, they're normal kids ... so I just try to hang with them and just have as much fun as they're having. They continue to have fun, and I'm going to have fun with them. I got hugged a lot and got talked to a lot, so for me it wasn't anything bad. It was just doing something good for myself and for them."
It wasn't the only Royals community event on Wednesday afternoon. Jeff Francoeur and his wife, Catie, hosted a toy donation event benefiting patients at Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics. Francoeur said the event went really well and he was joined by a slew of teammates including Alex Gordon, Billy Butler and Luke Hochevar, among others.