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Nicky Lopez shares baseball bond with his father

@FlannyMLB
June 16, 2019

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals second baseman Nicky Lopez knows the baseball diamond brought he and his father, Bob, closer together from an early age. Bob Lopez was a famous softball (the 16-inch kind) player from Chicago. And from as early as Nicky can remember, he wanted to be a star on

MINNEAPOLIS -- Royals second baseman Nicky Lopez knows the baseball diamond brought he and his father, Bob, closer together from an early age.

Bob Lopez was a famous softball (the 16-inch kind) player from Chicago.

And from as early as Nicky can remember, he wanted to be a star on the diamond, just like dad.

“Ever since I was a little kid, I was always drawn to his softball games,” Nicky said. “I would follow him around and sit on the bench. I’d want to go [retrieve] the bats. He’d always put his hamstring guard by the bench, and there’s a great picture of me with the hamstring guard on standing next to his bat, which is taller than me at the time. That was a really cool picture.

“I just grew up on a baseball field. That’s how we connected.”

And what does Nicky do for his dad on Father’s Day?

“Well, it starts with a phone call,” Nicky said. “But the past couple of Father’s Days, he has actually been where I am. And that will be the case again this year in Minnesota. I’d always wear light blue or use a light blue bat just out of appreciation for all he did for me. And we get him some gifts.”

During Father’s Day games, for the fourth consecutive year, players wore specially-designed New Era caps to raise awareness and funds for the fight against prostate cancer. Players also had the option to wear Stance multi-pattern blue-dyed socks. MLB will again donate 100 percent of its royalties from the sales of specialty caps and apparel emblazoned with the symbolic blue ribbon -- a minimum $300,000 collective donation -- to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and Stand Up To Cancer.

This effort also includes the annual Prostate Cancer Foundation “Home Run Challenge,” which has given fans the chance to make a one-time monetary donation or pledge for every home run hit by their favorite MLB Clubs during the time period of Saturday, June 1 through Father’s Day, Sunday, June 16, all the while tracking where their team stacks up in a “Team vs. Team” competition. Every dollar donated through the Home Run Challenge goes to PCF to fund critical research to defeat prostate cancer. As of June 13, more than $1.26 million has been pledged via the Home Run Challenge in 2019. Since inception, the Home Run Challenge has raised more than $51 million for PCF, the world’s leading philanthropic organization funding and accelerating prostate cancer research.

Founded in 1993, Prostate Cancer Foundation has funded nearly $800 million of cutting-edge research by 2,200 scientists at 220 leading cancer centers in 22 countries around the world. Because of PCF’s commitment to ending death and suffering from prostate cancer, the death rate is down more than 52 percent and 1.5 million men are alive today as a result. PCF research now impacts 67 forms of human cancer by focusing on immunotherapy, the microbiome, and food as medicine. Learn more at pcf.org.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @FlannyMLB.