KANSAS CITY, MO (January 29, 2013) – As the month of January draws to a close, the Kansas City Royals reflect on a busy month in the community, highlighted by the success of the annual Royals Caravan and the return of Royals FanFest presented by Sprint and Teva Neuroscience.
Royals Caravan, which dates back to 1968 prior to the club's inaugural 1969 season, traveled across the Midwest from January 17-22 with 20 stops scheduled around Royals FanFest on Saturday, January 19. During the five-day tour, the Royals logged more than 2,000 miles to meet fans in four states.
The 2013 Caravan included 10 current players, including 2012 All-Star and Silver Slugger ™ Award winner Billy Butler and 2012 Bruce Rice Royals Pitcher of the Year Greg Holland, as well as Hall of Fame third baseman George Brett and four other Royals Hall of Famers, club broadcasters, front office personnel and mascot Sluggerrr.
Along the way, the Royals encouraged fans to donate items for care packages for military members serving overseas and returning from service. In addition, the Caravan stops featured a station for fans to make "Thank You" cards for our troops. For every card received during Caravan and FanFest, Royals Charities donated $1, which resulted in a $10,000 grant to the USO.
The 2013 Caravan culminated with a military salute on Tuesday, January 22. A contingent made up of Brett, pitcher Jeremy Guthrie, Royals Hall of Fame pitcher Jeff Montgomery, former big leaguer and current FOX Sports Kansas City announcer Rex Hudler and Sluggerrr visited troops and military families at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The group then took part in a homecoming ceremony at Fort Riley, Kan., as more than 200 soldiers from the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division returned from a nine-month deployment in Afghanistan.
In the midst of Royals Caravan trips, the Royals hosted its fifth Royals FanFest at the Overland Park Convention Center in Overland Park, Kan. A record 9,100 Royals enthusiasts attended the one-day event, which returned after a year hiatus. A portion of the proceeds benefitted Royals Charities.
New Royals pitchers Wade Davis, Ervin Santana and James Shields joined Manager Ned Yost and 17 teammates at the event. In addition, more than 20 former players, Royals broadcasters and club personalities participated.
Royals FanFest featured continuous autograph sessions, as well as select interactive games for kids and roundtable discussions with players and front office executives. ARAMARK and Royals Charities also sold the latest merchandise and unique Royals memorabilia at the event. In addition, the club's 2012 Major League Award winners were recognized during Royals FanFest.