Kirk grew up in KC, back when the Royals were notorious for racking up losses, and he would chase down autographs after games.
“My favorite players were Mike Sweeney, Alex Gordon, and a young Zack Greinke. His stuff was just filthy back then.”
I loved those days of going to the K and cheering on Greinke to a Cy Young Award, even as the Royals lost 96 games that year.
A pitcher and infielder during high school, Kirk played catch with his dad (Day #305) and older brother all the time. After his junior year, however, he had to have Tommy John surgery. Kirk threw right handed, but hit left handed. His senior year, he was moved to the outfield and kept hitting. His hitting coach during high school was Kevin Seitzer, who is now the hitting coach for the Atlanta Braves, which is the perfect setup for his best day on the field. As a freshman at Master’s University in Santa Clarita, California, in his first at bat, Kirk hit a walk-off double. He kept the ball, as he should.
Kirk now lives in Arkansas which helps to explain why his oldest son, Kole, is a Bryce Harper fan. He and his family were passing through Springfield on their way to celebrate Christmas with his family and needed a good playground to burn off energy.
We met at the Miracle League field and played catch and talked all things Royals.
The 2014 AL Wild Card game.
Sitting anywhere in the stadium when only 12K fans were in attendance.
Kirk now coaches the ball team for his two oldest boys, passing on the love of the game to the next generation.
“Every time you step on the field, you get to feel like a kid again,” Kirk said.
No matter how many trips you make around the sun, playing catch keeps you young.
Thanks much to Shane and Shaun (Day #153, 258, 259) for the early Christmas gifts!
Only Drew Butera days of catch left!