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Tim Crone: Appreciate Alex Gordon for his work ethic, class

The Examiner
Tim Crone

Fall has given football fans a window of opportunity to tune out of our negative environment from Friday night high school games through Monday night NFL games. It at least provides a weekend break from the “us against them” chatter. 

In Kansas City it is important to thank Alex Gordon, a dedicated and committed Kansas City Royal, who has been a role model and leader. He has set an example of integrating hard work for the success of his sport into his everyday life.

He has achieved great accomplishments during his 14-year career with just one franchise. He was picked No. 2 in the draft. Although he struggled early in his career, he never quit working to improve and closed out his career on a high note and worked at his trade 24/7 until the very end.

During his career he won seven Gold Gloves, played in three All-Star games, played on two American League pennant championship teams, and was a member of the 2015 World Series championship team. The home run he hit in the ninth inning of Game 1 of the 2015 World Series will be a frozen moment in Royals history.

He will be inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame as soon as he is eligible. I think they should retire his number and place his statue in center field along with Frank White and George Brett. Alex Gordon played the game of baseball with total dedication and focus. Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda once stated, “The difference between the possible and the impossible lies in the man’s determination.”

Very few athletes have been as dedicated as Alex Gordon. He worked out on weights after playing games and he would be the first player up every game day to exercise and prepare for the next game. He took care of his body and worked harder than anyone else on the team. Stories of his work ethic are legendary. He did not just talk the talk. He walked the walk.

On the field he was a professional and stayed consistently under control. He was not a loud “I” guy – he was a leader by example. He was a teammate who did not say much, but when he did, everyone listened.

He had that special quality as a clutch player in the prime of his career. He was a winner on and off the field and was maybe the most mentally tough player in Royals history. He could have hung his head and given up when the organization sent him down to the minors to learn how to play left field, but instead he went on to become the best left fielder defensively in baseball history.

He played left field like a great composer or artist. He had tremendous range and a third basemen’s arm to add to his abilities. He was not afraid to run into the wall to make spectacular catch after catch.

Gordon and his wife were relentless charitable workers for the community. He was Kansas City loyal from top to bottom. He attended nearly every home Chiefs game when his baseball season was over. He grew up in the Midwest and was a perfect fit for our city. He chose retirement to spend more time with his family. His boys will start playing sports and he does not want to miss those special times in their lives.

If he ever did want to get back into the game of baseball he would make a great manager. He knows the game and what it takes to play at an extremely high level. The great Willie Mays once stated, “In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept constructive criticism. Without a total 100 percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this.” Alex Gordon fits that to the tee.

Kansas City should appreciate Gordon for his class both on and off the field throughout his career with the Royals.

The quote of the week comes from former College Football Hall of Fame coach and sports broadcaster Ara Parseghian: “I use the word hungry to describe what I mean when I talk about desire. Being hungry provides you with the physical and mental energies necessary for success. The sacrifices that are necessary become easier when one places a goal or objective at a high level.”  

– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.