GARDNER, KS (KCTV) -- Gardner has been buzzing all day and the town watched him play in high school for the Trailblazers and say they can’t wait to watch him blaze a new trail into the majors.
It’s no secret Gardner is proud of Bubba Starling. You can find fans anywhere, including Todd’s Diner on Main Street.
“I’m super excited. He’s a hometown kid and everybody wants him to do well,” Sandy Curtis, Starling fan, said.
Fans said Starling’s move is good for the team and good for the town.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Kansas City, I think. He’s an outstanding player,” Richard Gordon, Gardner resident, said.
“Everyone from the high school is like, ‘oh we actually have a program that can get you leveled up.’ A lot of people have started playing since he made it, even minor,” Lexi Hodkins, waitress, said.
Friday night, everyone’s cheering for the hometown hero, but people at Todd’s didn’t always root for Starling.
Owners Todd and Joy Lillich’s son, Cody, pitched against Starling in high school. They faced off over a decade ago, but he said Starling is a hard player to forget.
“I was a tough left-handed pitcher, I had good stuff. At the high school level, I would just dominate. This guy, he was a very tough out. I got him out a couple times, but he ripped a single back up the middle off me, he ripped another base hit and I was like, ‘who is this guy?’ voice of Cody Lillich, played against Starling,” said.
Now MLB fans across the country will know who Bubba Starling is.
“He deserves it. And you can look at him, I saw him on T.V. last night and looked at his eyes and looked at his face, and he’s serious. He has the love of baseball. He needs to be where he is,” Carleen Dempsey, Starling fan, said.