Champs load up truck for trip to spring home

Royals open Cactus League schedule March 2

Champs load up truck for trip to spring home

KANSAS CITY -- Yet another sign that Spring Training is almost here: It was Royals Truck Day at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday.

Royals clubhouse personnel packed almost 60,000 pounds worth of bats, balls, luggage, video equipment, medical supplies, strength and training equipment, jackets, pine tar, bubble gum, sunflower seeds and much more into an 18-wheeler headed for Surprise, Ariz., in preparation for the beginning of Spring Training next week.

Spring Training Information

The truck is scheduled to arrive in Surprise at 8 a.m. MT on Saturday. Royals pitchers and catchers report Feb. 18, while position players report Feb. 22.

Royals visiting clubhouse manager Chuck Hawke, who supervised the loading, admits there was a little more hop in everyone's step Wednesday.

"Just seeing that World Series championship logo on everything gets everyone a little more pumped up," Hawke said. "These are very exciting times."

Indeed, the Royals will be out to defend their first World Series title in 30 years.

"And the other cool thing is that we're moving to basically a brand new facility," Hawke said of the completed renovations at the Surprise complex. "We'll have 16,000 more square feet there. There'll be a lot more storage and a huge clubhouse. It's going to be great."

As usual, there were some interesting personal items loaded, such as the tricycles for Alex Gordon's sons, Sam and Max, and mountain bikes belonging to Jin Wong, Royals assistant general manager of baseball administration. And, of course, plenty of golf clubs.

"We don't get quite as many personal items as we used to," Hawke said. "The players usually take care of that shipping themselves."

Even team mascot Sluggerrr chipped in a bit with the loading.

And it should be noted that the temperature at Kauffman Stadium on Wednesday was 32 degrees. The forecast in Surprise was sunny and 85 degrees.

"Can't wait," Hawke said, smiling.

The Royals' first Cactus League game is March 2 against the Rangers in Surprise.

Jeffrey Flanagan is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.