SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The baby blue Royals uniform still slides on easily and looks quite natural on Bo Jackson."Like riding a bicycle," he said. "… I just have to go up one size."Jackson, one of the most popular players to ever don a Royals uniform, arrived in Royals camp on
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The baby blue Royals uniform still slides on easily and looks quite natural on Bo Jackson.
"Like riding a bicycle," he said. "… I just have to go up one size."
Jackson, one of the most popular players to ever don a Royals uniform, arrived in Royals camp on Sunday as a guest instructor, one of several guest instructors who'll arrive over the next two weeks. The list also includes Royals legends Fred Patek, Cookie Rojas, Amos Otis, John Mayberry, Willie Wilson and Dennis Leonard.
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Jackson, who played for the Royals from 1986-90, spoke briefly to the team in the clubhouse in the morning, then headed out to the practice fields.
Before that, he spoke with reporters as the players went through their morning stretches.
What's your assignment here?
"Anything I want to do. I've been told I have diplomatic immunity. I can [mess] with anybody. I'll go over and visit with the Minor Leaguers. I've actually been doing this sort of thing with the White Sox right up until this year. It's nothing new."
You still have your businesses in Chicago?
"Right now my baby is my food company -- Bo Jackson Signature Foods. I'm even doing some retail business in Kansas City. I'm not letting grass grow under my feet. I have my sports complex in Chicago and one in Columbus, Ohio, and am building a second one around Chicago. It's for summer sports in the winter. Each one is about 90,000 square feet."
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I assume the food company is health food?
"Do I look like I eat healthy? I'll leave that to the health nuts. No, it's mostly chicken and fish. High protein stuff."
What's it like to be back wearing a Royals uniform?
"It's fun. It's back where it all started. It's good to come back home, so to speak."
What do you get out of this?
"What I get out of it is meeting all the old Royals, and meeting some of today's players I only get to see on TV. Most of the [young] players weren't even born when I played, or they were babies. I just give them whatever advice I can."
They might have been babies but they know who Bo Jackson is.
"I hope so."
What did your former teammate George Brett have to say to you?
"Oh, we talk all the time. We golf once or twice a year. He's sort of like me -- he has diplomatic immunity here."
Do you still bowhunt?
"I do, just not this year. I had shoulder replacement surgery. It was a baseball injury that happened the night I hit three home runs [against the Yankees in 1990].
"I separated that shoulder diving for a ball that Deion Sanders hit. That [shoulder] finally caught up with me."
Are the players the same as they used to be?
"Nope. The players are bigger and stronger. The players look like football players. Looks like they should be playing for the Chiefs, not the Royals. Plus, the technical side is much greater. There's more computers, more analysis."
What was your prep and study for a game?
"Nothing. I just got up there and if the pitcher got one into the zone, I'd try to hit the hell out of it."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.