KANSAS CITY — In the sea of blue that was Royals batting practice at Kauffman Stadium on Monday afternoon, a pop of red stood out near home plate.
One player was wearing a No. 12 jersey with “Brady” on the back, but it wasn’t Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady. It was Royals catcher Salvador Perez, making good on a bet he made with his former teammate, Seminole, Fla., native and current Rays outfielder Brett Phillips before Super Bowl LV in February.
The bet was simple: If Phillips’ Bucs won, Perez would wear a Tampa Bay jersey to batting practice when the Royals and Rays met for their April series at Kauffman Stadium. If Perez’s Chiefs won — led by quarterback and Royals part-owner Patrick Mahomes — Phillips would have to wear a Kansas City jersey.
More than two and a half months after the Bucs beat the Chiefs, 31-9, there was Perez on the field — in a jersey that Phillips bought for him.
“I just went and bought a Tom Brady jersey because I know Patrick Mahomes is part-owner of the Kansas City Royals,” Phillips said. “I hope he sees the photo of Salvy — you know, one of his prized possessions — wearing a Tom Brady jersey. That’s just pure comedy right there. But it’s all fun and games.
“I love Salvador Perez. I can’t say enough about the man. Everything that’s came his way is more than deserving.”
After the Rays got to Kauffman Stadium on Monday, Phillips ran out of the visitors’ dugout to see Perez waiting in red and bent over laughing, going up to him for a hug with a football in hand. After the obligatory photo was taken, Phillips handed Perez the football.
Perez does have a good arm, after all.
“A little Tom Brady-to-Brett Phillips action for a touchdown,” Phillips said. “Celebrated on their own home turf. Wow, glorious.”
Phillips spent 2 1/2 seasons with the Royals before being traded to his hometown Rays in 2020 and going to the World Series with Tampa Bay last season.
“I can’t say enough about Salvador Perez as a person, as a teammate,” Phillips said. “Man, he is just one of those guys that I’ll be praising the rest of my life. He’s an awesome teammate. I wish him nothing but the best.
“He took the bet like a champ, and he’s a man of his word out there and wearing the Tom Brady jersey. So it was a sight to see and a sight for sore eyes, no doubt.”
In case there was any doubt, Perez made sure to remind everyone where his loyalty remains.
“Patrick Mahomes is the best,” he said, shaking his finger and pointing to the jersey, to the Royals’ videographer as he walked off the field.