Billy Butler mashes a two-run double against his old team, the Royals.
SURPRISE, Ariz. – Billy Butler admits he still feels the tug of the Kansas City blue, and the pull was particularly strong Friday when the A’s met the Royals for the first time in Cactus League play.
“I’ve got a lot of friends over there, and it doesn’t matter if you’re playing on the other side,” Butler said. “This game brings you together and bonds you, and what we accomplished last year, that stuff stays with you for life.”
Butler received a huge ovation from Royals fans when he came to bat with runners on first and third and one out in the first inning. He then gave A’s fans in attendance something to cheer about when he pulverized the second pitch he saw past fleet center fielder Lorenzo Cain for a two-run double.
“I told Cain I was going to burn him,” said Butler, who also had a fielding highlight at first base when he alertly tagged out Brett Eibner stepping inside the baseline toward second base following a single.
Butler spent time in the Kansas City clubhouse once the A’s arrived at the ballpark, even sitting on his old locker stool. The Royals also poked some fun at their former DH. Someone posted a bogus notice on an information board denoting “Billy Butler Tribute at 12:20.” Talkative outfielder Jarrod Dyson asked Butler if he’d like to step on a scale for old times’ sake.
“I think they would have mad if I didn’t go over to see them,” said Butler, who was lifted after two solid at-bats. “I had to let Dyson have his way with me for a little while.”
The A’s will visit Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City during the second week of the regular season and Butler believes that will be a lot more emotional.
“Spring training’s one thing, but in April when we go there, that’ll be the tough one,” he said. “I spent my whole career there. I did a lot of stuff in the community. Just being in the organization for so long, I have a lot of friends in the city that I’ve met. And it’ll just be weird going over to the other dugout.”