You may notice an abundance of red T-shirts sprinkled among the crowd at Kaufman Stadium this afternoon. Those people probably came from Fort Scott, Kan., the small town where Adam LaRoche grew up and now owns a massive hunting and cattle ranch. A local company hatched a deal: buy a ticket to the Royals game, and receive a T-shirt that reads, “GO NATS” with “LaRoche 25” beneath.
“Pretty much anyone who has one of those red shirts on, I recognize somebody in their group,” LaRoche said.
LaRoche had been looking forward to this weekend all year. LaRoche had played in 29 of 30 major league cities before Friday night, all but the one about a 90-minute drive from his home.
LaRoche has been a National League player almost his whole career. In 2009, the Red Sox acquired LaRoche from the Pirates in a late-July trade. The Red Sox had a September series in Kansas City, but the Red Sox flipped LaRoche to the Braves a week later.
“Every year, I’ll check the schedule and we’ll be headed here, and then I’m traded,” LaRoche said. “Then I’ll be on that team, and whatever year this trip is coming up, I’ll get traded.”
Buck Commander, the hunting company LaRoche is a part of, sponsors a Little League team in Fort Scott. The kids came to the game last night and some were interviewed on the Royals’ broadcast. “They were pretty fired up,” LaRoche said.
Both LaRoche’s son, Drake, and his father, the former big league pitcher Dave LaRoche, came to the park with him all three games this series. LaRoche said about 1,000 people from Fort Scott received one of those t-shirts, which is impressive given the town has a population of roughly 5,000.
“It’s been a good weekend,” LaRoche said.
An earlier version of this post had incorrectly stated LaRoche played in Kansas City before this year. It has been changed to reflect the accurate information.