KANSAS CITY -- Justin Maxwell's family was headed back home to Union Bridge, Md., after Friday night's game, so he wanted to give his 4-year-old son Jaidon a night to remember.
Maxwell arranged for Jaidon to participate in a hitting contest in the Little K, a miniature playing field at Kauffman Stadium, which was shown on the scoreboard during the game. Jaidon knocked a ball deep into the outfield with his proud father watching the screen.
"I thought it was pretty great," Maxwell said. "I knew he would do well, too, just because of how much he loves the game. He practices all the time."
Jaidon is the oldest of Maxwell's three children, followed by Leiana, who is 3 years old and Jett, who is 2. All three children frequently accompany Maxwell's wife, Loren, to the games, but he said that Jaidon is the only one who really understands what their dad does for a living.
"I had a strikeout or something when we were on the road one time and he told my daughter, with a serious face, 'That's why I always keep my eye on the ball, Leiana, so I don't strike out,'" Maxwell said. "He knows what's going on. My daughter and my younger son like to come to the ballpark because they have a family room here and they are friends with all the other guys' kids."
The kids are even allowed into the clubhouse when the Royals win. Maxwell said he's grateful for the opportunity to share his career with his kids.
"It's a pretty neat lifestyle that we get to live, and I thank God for it every day, for all the experiences my kids get on and off the field," Maxwell said.
Maxwell is also grateful for the opportunity to be in a playoff race with the Royals following his July 31 trade from the Houston Astros, who have the worst record in baseball.
"The energy that I got coming over here in the beginning of August was night and day," Maxwell said. "With the Astros, we were just learning to win, just learning the subtleties of the game and whatnot, but here, every game counts and they have mattered since August. You just have a different mindset going into each game, and you want to do your best with any opportunity that you get."
Entering Saturday's game, Maxwell had batted .292 with four home runs through 27 games with the Royals.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Kathleen Gier is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less