KANSAS CITY -- For some, Memorial Day might just mean a day off from work or school, and an excuse to light up the grill. But the importance of taking the time to honor the men and women who serve in the military isn't lost on Royals manager Ned Yost.
"I do this all the time, I forget that there's people in another country giving everything they have for me, and for us. That's kind of a shame," Yost said. "I always try to make a point every time during the national anthem that I remember them, that I'm thankful for their service and what they provide for us: The ability for us to go about our life we have."
In honor of Memorial Day, both the Royals and the visiting Angels were wearing alternate Stars and Stripes caps, part of an MLB initiative to promote Welcome Back Veterans, an organization that offers Post Traumatic Stress Disorder treatment for returning veterans.
Four veterans of foreign wars were honored prior to the game: Gonzaolo Reyes, Kent Schroeder, Joe Liles and Lou Kadera. Army Commander Edward Slater, a veteran of the Korean War, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
A three-volley salute was also given in honor of military personnel from Kansas and Missouri who lost their lives in recent operations overseas.
A moment of silence was also observed for the people of Joplin, Mo. and Reading, Kan., who experienced devastating tornadoes a week ago.
And according to Yost, one day isn't enough to honor those who have served.
"This day should be 365 days a year, but we all get caught up in our everyday stuff with what we're doing," Yost said. "These are very, very important people. They're very special people and it's a time to stop and reflect on how great they really are."
Royals on learning curve with expectations
KANSAS CITY -- Just 18 days ago, the Royals had won two out of three games at Yankee Stadium, an uplifting experience they'd rarely encountered. They had a 20-17 record and were in second place, three games behind Cleveland.
On Monday, after finishing a 1-5 road trip and losing 12 of the last 15 games, Royals manager Ned Yost had a question.
"You know what this is?" Yost asked and provided his own answer. "This is where you start to play with expectation. From when I've been here, and I'm sure in the last three or four years, there's never been any expectation from the fans or the organization that we can and will win baseball games. And we got off to a great start this year and expectations have risen, and they will continue to rise. But the last little hurdle that you have to get over is, you have to learn how to play with that expectation.
"Because it's real easy to play where there's no expectation on you. You go out and play and you either win or lose, it doesn't matter. Who cares? But when you're expected to win, the pressure mounts big time. You have to learn how to deal with that, how to continue to be productive and play your game through expectation. So, this is why for us a good start is huge because expectation rises. These are all fires we're going to have to walk through before we become champions."
Yost experienced the same thing as Milwaukee manager and as a coach at Atlanta when those clubs were beginning to rise. It's one of the hardest things a club has to learn -- to win when it's expected to win and handle that pressure.
Despite the recent spate of losses, not all is gloom in his eyes.
"As rough as it's been the last two weeks, there are a lot of good things going on out there," Yost said.
Skipper says Pena lost his way at home plate
KANSAS CITY -- Not much mystery about what Royals catcher Brayan Pena should have done on the game-ending play at the plate in Sunday's game at Texas. Not to former catcher Ned Yost.
"Just get out in front of the plate, so there's no way around you," Yost said. "If you've got the plate blocked off and you make a high tag, you make a high tag -- you've got the plate blocked off. If you step behind the plate and make a high tag, the guy's safe."
Pena failed to get in front of the plate and the Rangers' Mike Napoli was safe to deal the Royals a 7-6 loss.
"You've got to know where you are at all times on that play," Yost said, noting that if a play is developing a catcher must position himself in front of the plate.
It's something that Pena failed to do at times last year, but not this season, until Sunday.
"He hasn't done it this year. He's made some great blocks at home plate, he's done great there," Yost said. "It wasn't because he was scared or afraid of contact, he just got lost to where he was."
Splitt receives Memorial Day video tribute
KANSAS CITY -- Past and present military personnel weren't the only ones recognized during Monday's Memorial Day game between the Royals and Angels.
Former Kansas City pitcher and broadcaster Paul Splittorff, who died on May 25, was honored in a video tribute that drew much applause prior to the game. This was the first home game for the Royals since Splittorff's death.
The montage included photos and video, with much of the footage showcasing the left-hander's high leg kick and his subsequent broadcasting career as a television color commentator for the Royals.
Splittorff, the Royals' all-time wins leader with 166, died from melanoma. He was 64 years old.
Visitation is from 5 to 8 p.m. CT, at First United Methodist Church, located at 301 South Woods Chapel Road in Blue Springs, Mo.
The funeral is Tuesday at 11 a.m. at St. Robert Bellarmine Catholic Church, 4313 Southwest State Route 7 in Blue Springs.
The Splittorff family is asking for donations to be made in lieu of flowers, to:
St. Mary's Medical Center Foundation
201 NW R.D. Mize Rd.
Blue Springs, MO 64014
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. Adam Holt is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.