• Bill Althaus: Royals, Gordon prove naysayers wrong

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  • Although the weather was better suited to an Iditarod or duck hunting, there's always something special about the home opener at Kauffman Stadium.
    Since the majestic stadium opened on April 10, 1973, I have been lucky enough to have attended every Kansas City Royals home or season opener, and few were more rewarding than Friday's 7-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox.
    I'm still a bit in awe when I see Royals and Major League Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett take his place on the field during pre-game introductions, and members of the armed service branches carried a massive American flag that covered most of the playing field at The K that was breathtaking.
    So was the play of Alex Gordon, a former No. 1 draft pick who appeared not too long ago to be another miss in the Royals’ long line of frustrating picks.
    Since his switch to the outfield, Gordon has become an elite major league player. He showed how valuable he is in left field – gunning down a base runner for his second assist of the season – and leading the Royals’ offense with a bases-clearing double in the bottom of the first inning after Chicago took a short-lived 1-0 lead off Jeremy Guthrie in the top of the frame.
    This was the type of home opener that hopefully wipes out all the negativity that keeps me from listening to talk radio. After the Royals two late-inning losses at Detroit, every baseball guru in the Midwest was giving his take on how awful the team was going to be this season.
    I happened to hear what they were saying when I switched out my Todd Rundgren “A Wizard and True Star” CD for Lou Reed's Berlin.
    I thought Reed's rock opus was dark and without any ray of hope, but it sounded like KC & The Sunshine Band compared to all the nitwits who were giving their two cents worth on the Royals.
    This team is not going to win a World Series and I don't think it has much of a chance of making it to the postseason. But it's not going to embarrass anyone in Kansas City.
    The Royals have some players like Gordon, first baseman Eric Hosmer and catcher Salvador Perez – who I believe is the best backstop in the big leagues – who are worth the price of admission.
    It might be 41 years young, but somehow The K just keeps getting better and better each year. If we had a team that made postseason with any regularity, the stadium would not need a ferris wheel to anchor the attractions in center field.
    But we're getting closer and closer to having a team that doesn't need a stadium full of gimmicks to entice fans to watch it play.
    Page 2 of 2 - Friday started with Gordon's defensive gem and big hit and ended with a 1-2-3 ninth inning by All-Star reliever Greg Holland.
    Hey, they're only 1-2 on the season, but I like this team. Gordon is a natural for the No. 5 spot in the lineup and Hosmer is developing into one of the best young players in the game.
    Billy Butler still looks like he does most of his training at McDonald's and Mike Moustakas better be thankful his nickname is Moose, because he can always believe that fans are screaming, “Moose!” instead of “Boo!” as he has started out hitless in the first three games of the season after leading the Cactus League in RBIs with 18 in spring training.
    I'm going to be spending a lot more time at The K this summer, and if I see a repeat of the performance that put a smile on my face Friday afternoon, I'm anticipating a summer full of baseball memories.
    Bill Althaus is a sports writer and columnist for The Examiner. Reach him at 350-6333 or bill.althaus@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter: @AlthausEJC
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