Royals' opener brings back happy memories for Gardy

Royals' opener brings back happy memories for Gardy

KANSAS CITY -- The home-opener festivities for the Royals on Monday sparked some happy memories for manager Ron Gardenhire.

It was on Opening Day 2002, in Kansas City, that Gardenhire made his managerial debut. The first batter on the Gardenhire watch was Jacque Jones, who promptly homered to left-center off Jeff Suppan. The Twins went on to an 8-6 victory.

"I've got a huge picture in my office of Jacque hitting the leadoff home run," Gardenhire said. "I see that all the time, and we talk about it all the time. First day as a manager, how exciting it was. It was a great way to start it."

The Twins have now been part of three Opening Days this year.

"Opening Days are always special," Gardenhire said. "I always tell my guys, 'Take it all in.'"

Robert Falkoff is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.