KANSAS CITY -- It's Cinco de Mayo -- and Viva Los Royals -- on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals will hold their annual celebration of Latino heritage starting before Sunday's Royals-White Sox game, which begins at 1:10 p.m. CT. There'll be a pregame party from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Outfield Experience with entertainment by Willy Vela y sus Aguilillos and El Grupo Atotonilco.
Fans can taste samples and vote for the best salsa in Kansas City as local restaurants -- El Camino Real, La Fonda El Taquito, Palomino's Restaurante, Pardo's Grand Buffet -- compete in the third annual "Salsa Showdown." The location is a tent near Gate E in the Outfield Experience across from Rivals Sports Bar.
The first 10,000 fans through the gates will receive a Royals Cooler provided by Sprint. Gates open at 11:30 a.m.
For more information and tickets, visit www.royals.com/viva. Groups of 20 or more should contact Ariel Peralta at 816-504-4166.
Game starts as planned, later postponed
KANSAS CITY -- It's late Thursday morning at Kauffman Stadium, the gray skies are spitting rain, the tarp covers the infield, it's 39 degrees and the flags on the right-field poles are pointing stiffly toward the east.
Inside, Royals manager Ned Yost is peering through his reading glasses at his computer screen. A radar reading shows a green mass (rain) and behind that a blue mass (snow). Yost is tracking the pattern. He's become something of an amateur meteorologist, and is rarely wrong about whether or not a game will be played.
Expecting to play?
"Yeah!" Yost said. "We'll do everything we can to play."
The Royals and the Tampa Bay Rays are settling in for what could be a long day. The weather promises to be cold, wet and miserable, but they want to get the series finale in.
"These guys don't come back [to Kansas City] and it creates a whole myriad of problems," Yost said.
Bad weather haunted the Majors throughout April, but this is May when you're supposed to have flowers, not showers or, for pity sakes, snow. So outfielders Alex Gordon and Jeff Francoeur are putting on their cold weather gear in the clubhouse.
Ever seen such nasty weather in May?
"Not that I can remember," Gordon said.
Not even in his University of Nebraska days?
"Not this bad," he said.
Cold, wet and windy is not baseball weather.
"From a hitter's standpoint, you definitely don't feel as comfortable," Francoeur said.
Standing around in the outfield during a long inning is not pleasant either.
"Your glove gets stiff, the ball doesn't go as well. Just a lot of things," Gordon said.
"I don't mind the cold that bad, it's just when it's windy and cold," Francoeur said. "Like today."
Gordon suddenly had a sunny thought.
"Our record's pretty good in cruddy weather right now, so maybe we should play in cold weather," Gordon said.
Which led to some positive thinking about playing this game despite the weather.
"Should be able to get it in today, though," Gordon said.
As it developed, Gordon's optimism was unfulfilled. The game was postponed after 3½ innings because of heavy snow.
'King of the Game' awarded after each Royals win
KANSAS CITY -- When the Royals win a game, a neon sign lights up on the clubhouse wall and is symbolically presented to the "King of the Game."
"It's the Texas Heart Shot Award," pitcher James Shields said. "I guess it's a hunting thing."
Shields called a neon sign company and had the thing custom-made. It features a deer, a crown for the "king" and a "W" for a win.
"I like to have fun," Shields said. "I'll tell you what, the whole meaning behind it is just basically, if a guy goes 0-for-3, 0-for-4 and we win the game, that's all that really matters. So the sooner we celebrate the win, the sooner they're going to forget about their 0-for-4 game and we move on to the next day and they're going to want to be the next guy to win the next ballgame."
The post-victory award occasions whooping, hollering and frivolity.
Manager Ned Yost endorses the idea.
"It cultivates a winning attitude," Yost said. "It puts foremost and out front that our job is to win a baseball game, every single day, and it doesn't matter if you've gone 0-for-4 or 4-for-4. At the end of the day, if we've won a baseball game, we celebrate it as a team and I think it's a great thing to do."
Who decides the winning player?
"It's collective bargaining," Shields said. "I get final say."
For example, relief pitcher Bruce Chen got the award after Wednesday night's 9-8 win over the Rays, notably for escaping a perilous one-out, runners on second and third jam.
"It's not necessarily going to be the guy who plays the best. We're going to distribute it out evenly as much as we can," Shields said. "He struck two guys out before they got to the meat of the lineup and I think that was a big momentum shifter in the game. We ended up scoring five runs in the next inning and there you have it."
The award is presented only after a victory.
"You can't take wins lightly," Shields said.
Fans can use tickets from Thursday as rain checks
KANSAS CITY -- No makeup date has been determined for Thursday's postponed game between the Royals and the Rays, which will be re-played in its entirety.
However, the Royals have asked fans to keep their ticket stubs and parking receipts from the game to use as rain checks for the rescheduled game. Details for their redemption will be announced when the game is rescheduled.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.