OMAHA — “No truth,” Alex Gordon said in response to a recent story that he had no chance of signing a new contract with the Kansas City Royals.
A crowd of 200 kids, coaches and others who braved Monday’s snowstorm roared approval at Creighton’s Sokol Arena, where they had gathered for a night of baseball instruction.
There is no joy in free agency — at least until you sign a contract with a Major League Baseball team, Gordon said.
The former Lincoln Southeast and Nebraska standout said the waiting for a new contract is “frustrating and exciting” at the same time.
The Royals left fielder said his family — wife Jamie and sons Max and Sam — is his first concern when looking into which offer to accept for the future. “I hope to sign sooner than later, but this will all work out for the best,” he said.
Gordon has played for Kansas City since 2007 and brought his bat and glove that helped the once-hopeless Royals reach the World Series in 2014 and win it this fall.
“We had so much fun, and to be around to see a team grow like Kansas City did and win the World Series was unbelievable,” he said.
“Right now I’m unemployed and I pay an agent 4 percent to make the calls, take the calls and let me know what’s going on,” said Gordon, considered one of the top-producing outfielders in the major leagues and certainly among the elite defensively.
Brian Duensing, Gordon’s former Husker teammate who pitched for the Minnesota Twins the last seven years, is also a free agent.
“Waiting for a new contract is very scary and stressful, but you can’t let it bother you,” said Duensing, who played high school baseball at Millard South. “They say you never have too much pitching, but I’m waiting to see that come true.”
Former major-league player and now MLB commentator Harold Reynolds brought Gordon and others, including Jake Diekman, a Rangers pitcher from Wymore; Cody Asche, a Phillie who was one of Nebraska’s best hitters since Gordon; and current baseball hitting instructor Dwayne Hosey to conduct the clinic.
“I never had a chance to meet a major-league player; I’m from Wymore,” said Diekman, who played at Cloud County Community College in Kansas and at Doane before signing with Philadelphia in 2007. He was traded to Texas this season. “I think this kind of thing is a great chance for kids.”
Reynolds said he drove from his home in Corvallis, Oregon, to Portland to see Rod Carew and Brooks Robinson.
“That opportunity gave me a chance, and I want to give others that same chance,” he said.
“I’m in Omaha a lot, family here, back in the CWS days at Rosenblatt, and when I asked these guys from Omaha and Nebraska, every one of them said they’d be here, no question, no problem with snow, cold or anything else.”
Gordon added, “Heck, we all grew up here. Got a big four-wheel-drive pickup; getting to Omaha was no problem.
“I want to be a part of working with the younger kids and anybody else interested in learning the game.”