GARDNER, KS (KCTV) -- Baseball nights in Gardner remind parents of their time on the diamond.
“I actually played against this guy here,” Matthew Lyon, Gardner resident, said.
Many remember another young player.
“You can't go around this town without saying Bubba Stars and not knowing what you're talking about,” Clay Alstron, Gardner resident, said.
Bubba Starling, the three-sport athlete who graduated from Gardner in 2011, picked fifth overall in the MLB Draft, has been working his way through the Royals minor league system ever since.
“I mean you're talking about a guy who grew up here,” Lyon said.
Even their kids know the stories.
“Bubba Starling's a great player, he makes athletic plays and he deserves to be on the Royals,” Max Lyon, Lyon’s son, said.
“Knowing someone that played on these same fields is pretty cool,” Max Alstron, Alstron’s son said.
Coaches and parents bring him up as a motivator.
“He wants to know what he played and how he did,” Lyon said.
People are ready to see their local kid called up to the big leagues, especially their hometown Royals.
“It would mean the world to Gardner,” Lyon said.
“I think a lot of people are excited about it,” Alstron said.
In a small-town, Starling represents a dream come true.
“Gardner isn't the biggest town in the world, so a guy who can go from little league to the majors is pretty cool,” Max Lyon said.
Maybe someday one of these kids will get the call.
“It's encouraging. Anything's possible,” Matthew Lyon said.