Royals hoping there's no place like home

Royals hoping there's no place like home

KANSAS CITY -- Home, the Royals are convinced, certainly will be sweeter this April than it was in 2012. Last year they came to Kauffman Stadium after splitting six road games and lost 10 straight home games.

They're thinking more in terms of plentiful victories.

"That's what we have planned," first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "This is the first [chance] for your fans to see how you look for the season, and I think it's big for us to put up some wins at home. We can get these fans excited and make it a tough atmosphere for opposing teams to come in."

The first homestand includes three games against Minnesota and three against Toronto.

"We want to come in and put on a good show for our fans," manager Ned Yost said. "We don't want what happened last year to happen again this year. ... We definitely don't want to come home 3-3 like we did last year and go on a losing streak. We want to come home 3-3 and get on a winning streak."

The Royals this year provided the home-opener competition on their trip, losing at Chicago but winning at Philadelphia.

"On the road it's exciting, because you want to be the one to spoil the party a little bit. Being through two already, we want to put on the party," Hosmer said.

This year's party features Tate Stevens, a country singer from Belton, Mo., who won the "X Factor" competition in 2012.

"This is the first time in my career that I've had two openers on the road and then came home for one," designated hitter Billy Butler said. "This is definitely the most Opening Days I've had in one year. It'll be fun. We've got Tate singing the national anthem. It'll be great, man, packed house."

The home opener has special meaning for center fielder Lorenzo Cain and catcher Salvador Perez, both of whom missed last year's game because of injuries.

"I can't be more excited. I felt we had real good series against Chicago and the Phillies. We played really well," Cain said.

For all of the Royals, arriving in Kansas City meant the end of a stretch that included two months of Spring Training and a 10-day road trip.

"It's good to be back in Kansas City and get kind of settled in with all our housing arrangements and back in our own clubhouse and into our home routine," second baseman Chris Getz said.

Right fielder Jeff Francoeur thinks that the first road trip gave the Royals some stern tests -- hitting struggles in Chicago and some late-inning crises in Philadelphia, capped by Sunday's narrow escape.

"That's good. It tests you," Francoeur said. "It could have been a tough plane ride home, but instead it turned out to be nice. A win's a win."

That victory, Francoeur said, ensured a lively, optimistic pregame atmosphere in the clubhouse and in the stands.

"I think the fans are excited, and for good reason, because we do have a good baseball team," he said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.