The Kansas City Royals added a veteran presence on Tuesday, signing first baseman Lucas Duda to a one-year, $3.5 million contract. He’ll try to help fill the void left by franchise cornerstone Eric Hosmer, who signed an eight-year, $144 million deal with the Padres earlier in February.
It’s a big opportunity for Duda to get back on track after injuries have limited him in each of the last two seasons. We’d also suggest joining Kansas City could be a good opportunity to exorcise the demons stemming from the 2015 World Series, where his Game 5 helped sink the Mets while opening the door for the Royals to end a 30-year championship drought.
Then again, that might prove impossible if the Royals keep reminding him of that crushing moment.
When Duda arrived to camp on Wednesday, his first media session as a Royal was held right next to a framed cover of Sports Illustrated commemorating their 2015 World Series triumph.
That exact photo wouldn’t exist if not for Duda’s blunder. With the Royals down a run in the ninth inning of Game 5, Duda committed a throwing error that coincidentally allowed Eric Hosmer to score the tying run. Kansas City would go on to win the game in 12 innings, silencing what had been a hopeful crowd at Citi Field.
Of all places at the Royals expansive spring training facility to hold Duda’s introductory media session, that photo just happened to be prominently featured. Either someone was doing some serious trolling, or this is the most unfortunate coincidence ever.
To Duda’s credit, he was a good sport about all of it.
“You learn from failure,” Duda said. “Makes you stronger as a person, as a player.”
Then again, what other option was there? He couldn’t yank the picture down and break the frame over his knee.
For the Royals sake, and more importantly for Duda’s sake, here’s hoping this is the lowest moment of his season and not a sign of misfortunes to come.
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