An inside look at Vinnie Pasquantino’s first day with the Kansas City Royals

·4 min read
Pete Grathoff/pgrathoff@kcstar.com

First baseman Vinnie Pasquantino glove sat in the Kansas City Royals dugout at Kauffman Stadium as batting practice was set to begin, but he was nowhere to be seen.

This was about three hours after Pasquantino had been added to the Royals’ 40-man roster Monday and recalled from Triple-A Omaha. Before long, Pasquantino emerged from the tunnel, grabbed the glove and headed to the field.

Shortly after that, Pasquantino returned to the dugout and headed to the tunnel.

“I have no idea what’s going on,” Pasquantino said to no one in particular.

Pasquantino couldn’t be blamed for feeling a little dazed. He wasn’t expecting to get the call to the big leagues. Truth be told, Pasquantino, who is the No. 100 prospect in baseball, according to MLB.com, was doing laundry and cleaning his apartment when he got the news he’d always wanted.

“It was,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said, “a little bit different.”

The whole day was a little bit different for Pasquantino, starting with the reaction from his father to the news that the Royals were bringing him up.

After calling his girlfriend, Pasquantino phoned his father. It went something like this.:

Pasquantino: “Hey, I’m going up.”

His dad: “Yeah, OK.”

“No, I’m really not kidding. I’m going”

“Yeah, OK. I’ll believe it when I see it,” dad said.

Pasquantino handed the phone to his now former skipper.

”Hey, Dennis, this is Scott Thorman, the (Storm Chasers) manager. He’s really going.”

Dad’s response: “OK, sure.”

At this point, Pasquantino was a bit agitated.

“No, no, no. This is happening. You’ll see tonight if you don’t believe me, you’ll see tonight,” Pasquantino said.

Hopefully dad planned to watch Monday’s Royals-Rangers game and could finally believe his son is a big-leaguer.

After calling his mom, brother and other family members, Pasquantino waited for his clothes to dry before hitting the road.

That too was a memorable experience as Pasquantino pointed his 2015 Ford Escape south toward Kansas City.

“It’s a great vehicle,” Pasquantino said helpfully, “it fits everything that I need.”

Pasquantino put on some music, but for the first half of the drive, he heard just one song. Just don’t ask him to name that tune.

He couldn’t remember, because phone calls kept interrupting the tune.

“One song was on for about an hour and a half because within the 4-minute song there was a new phone call or new something,” Pasquantino said. “Because I tried to call people before they found out, like the people who I really felt should know. I tried to get to them before somebody could get to them first. So I was really trying my best.

“I was going down my contact list and just thinking, ‘Yep, that person should definitely be called’ because there’s so much going on, and today is just one of those days where it’s really cool to have all the support from my family and friends.”

Once he arrived at Kauffman Stadium, Pasquantino met with Royals president Dayton Moore, then Picollo and finally manager Mike Matheny.

Inside the clubhouse, Pasquantino saw he was assigned jersey No. 9, a change from the No. 25 at Omaha. Then came autographs.

“I tried to draw a nine earlier and I was really bad,” Pasquantino said. “So for my signature, I put my name and my number. I need to work on my nines a little bit.”

Pasquantino wasn’t part of the Royals’ starting nine on Monday, and that was planned.

Because of the lateness of the trade that sent first baseman Carlos Santana to the Seattle Mariners, Pasquantino wasn’t rushed into the lineup.

“We just thought it was best tonight to just let him kind of get his feet wet, get settled in and slow this thing down before his presumed debut tomorrow,” Picollo said Monday.

Pasquantino expects to have a large contingent of family and friends at Tuesday night’s game, although he was available to pinch hit Monday.

It will be a day Pasquantino long remembers, but he is not satisfied with just making it to the big leagues after being an 11th-round draft pick in 2019.

“I just want to play this game. That’s it,” he said. “And I think that has allowed me to ultimately get to this level. But just because I’m here now doesn’t mean I’m gonna stay and that is my goal. I want to stay here.

“So that’s what I’m going to try to do. I’m going to keep competing. I’m going to keep loving being here every day.”

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