It was perhaps the most moving part of the Royals' pregame ceremony Monday before the 2-0 loss to the A's in their home opener, as they honored the memory of Yordano Ventura, who died tragically in a January car accident in the Dominican Republic.
From near home plate, Eric Hosmer spoke to the crowd as he was flanked by manager Ned Yost, general manager Dayton Moore and catcher Salvador Perez: "On behalf of Ned and Dayton and Sal and the rest of the Royals, we want to thank you, Royals fans, for your tremendous support through all of this. Today we celebrate the life of Yordano."
Moments earlier, a saxophone rendition of "Amazing Grace" solemnly played as images of Ventura's life flashed on the scoreboard.
There were images of Ventura on and off the field. Images of him as a child. Images of him as a Royal, in the playoffs and in the World Series. Images of him at the World Series championship parade. Images of him with his Royals buddies, Hosmer and Kelvin Herrera and Raul Mondesi and Perez.
And, of course, images of that smile.
"That's what you don't forget," Duffy said.
As the ceremony ended, Marisol Hernandez, Ventura's mother, walked to the mound, the place where her son electrified crowds with his blazing fastball and playful showmanship.
She threw a one-hop strike to Perez as the crowd roared its approval.
After the game, Hernandez released a statement:
"I feel very happy, but mostly thankful to God to be here with the Kansas City Royals for Opening Day and for throwing the first pitch. I give thanks to God because He is the only one who can help us. Through my pain and all my suffering I knew I had to come and do this and because what happened to my son I know many people will know that God is the only way. I am feeling well. And thank you."