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Hosmer’s First Weekend A Success

The Eric Hosmer era began over the weekend at Kauffman Stadium, and though the team won just one of three games he was as impressive as advertised. It started in the first inning of the game on Friday with a runner on first and one out. A fairly hard hit ball was hit to Hosmer which he fielded on a short hop. He fired to second for the first out and received the return through to complete the inning ending double play. It wasn’t a spectacular play or anything, but it was a play that we aren’t exactly accustomed to seeing in Kansas City. He made the play smoothly and effortlessly, and the inning was over just like that. I’m not sure I remember a time when a player got as loud an ovation for a relatively routine defensive play.

The thing that impressed me perhaps the most about Hosmer’s first game is the patience that he showed. I’m not a big league ball player, that’s something that can’t be argued, but if I was called up and there were 30,000+ fans there, most of whom had bought tickets to see me, I’m not sure that I’d be able to lay off some of the pitches that Hosmer laid off. It just showed what a patient hitter he is and that he goes up there with a plan that very few Royals have had over the years. It was refreshing to watch. While he went 0-2 in his debut with two strikeouts, you got the feeling that we were witnessing the start of something special. On that final strike in the ninth inning, you can’t complain about him taking that pitch as he’s probably used to getting that call in the minors, and he’ll get it soon enough in the Majors. For now, though, it goes down as a backwards K.

Saturday night was fun to watch. Hosmer got his first big league hit, but not before hitting a line drive in the left-center field gap that required Josh Willingham laying out to rob him of a double. It was a tremendous catch, and one that left the fans in the park grumbling that Hosmer’s first hit wasn’t a ringing double to left. The thing I thought was most interesting about the way the A’s played him was that they put the shift on. Now I haven’t seen much of Hosmer before this weekend, but I thought the report was that he hit the ball to all fields with regularity. Either the A’s didn’t get that memo or they were trying to get him to pull. Either way, as if on cue, he got his first Major League hit to the right side. It was probably the softest hit ball all night by him, but it found its way through. His next at bat was an absolute laser shot to center that almost had enough hop to get over Coco Crisp’s head, but Crisp reeled it in. Hosmer was 1-3, but you had the feeling that he could very easily be 2-3.

Then in the ninth, the rookie in his second big league game was intentionally walked. Now I know that it was a smart strategical move because his run meant nothing with runners on first and third and nobody out in a tie game, but it’s still pretty cool to see a guy with all of seven plate appearances under his belt get intentionally walked in a tie game in the ninth. I sort of wonder if that’s the A’s move in that situation or if they wouldn’t have walked someone like Alcides Escobar. I guess we’ll never know, but it was pretty cool to see Hosmer get walked like that. It was also pretty disappointing to the 25,000 in attendance who were thinking that he might get a walk-off hit. If he had, man, that crowd would have brought the stadium down.

Yesterday was when Hosmer made his presence known. He singled in the second on sort of a weird play that went off the glove of the second baseman. That wasn’t where he made his presence felt. Later in the game, he hit a ball that got Ryan Lefebvre very excited thinking it was a homer to right center field. It went off the top of the wall, but the comment Ryan made was that it looked like Hosmer was trying to hit it through the wall. I still haven’t seen the double, but if it was half as impressive as it sounded, I can’t wait to see a few of those over the next 15 years. Yes, I’m hoping for 15 years and that he doesn’t leave like most Scott Boras clients.

I think I might be the most excited about getting the opportunity to see him hit in Yankee Stadium where his left-handed bat and ability to hit it on a line could help him get his first big league home run. He strikes me as the type of guy who doesn’t feel pressure and can succeed in any environment. I half expect him to hit a ridiculous homer on his first at bat just to shut people up who will inevitably ask if he can perform in conditions like Yankee Stadium. To help matters, he’ll be facing three pitchers who I think provide a good matchup for Hosmer in Freddy Garcia, A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova. It should be fun to watch.

So Hosmer was able to get a lot of firsts out of the way in his first big league series. He got his first hit, first extra base hit, first RBI, first boneheaded Royals error when he dropped a throw in a rundown. All in all it was a good weekend for the future star of the Royals. I just can’t wait for the rest of his crew to make it up and turn this into an even more fun summer than we were already about to have.

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