KANSAS CITY -- Two All-Star players, not just one for the first time in 10 years. That's the reason the Royals were celebrating on Saturday.
Left fielder Alex Gordon and catcher Salvador Perez were chosen as Kansas City's two representatives on the 2013 American League All-Star team. They were selected in the players' vote and got the news from Royals manager Ned Yost after Saturday's 4-3 win over Oakland. Both are first-time All-Stars.
"Awesome, it seems like the last couple of years, Ned only announces one guy and then when he announced me, I was ecstatic," Gordon said. "But when he said, 'He's not going alone,' I was blown away. To have Salvy come with me is truly an honor and we're going to have some fun."
Perez had often been called a future All-Star by Yost, but the catcher didn't expect the honor yet.
"No, not this soon," Perez said. "Like I told you guys, I just play hard every day and do my best for my team every time. After the game, after going 0-for-4, the last thing I thought was that I'd be going to the All-Star Game."
However, for the season, Perez is hitting .302 with four home runs, 15 doubles and 36 RBIs in 71 games. He missed eight games to go to Venezuela after the passing of his maternal grandmother, who helped raise him.
Perez's mother, Yilda, was waiting outside the clubhouse door on Saturday and he couldn't wait to share the news and tell her to cancel her flight to Venezuela scheduled for Sunday.
"I'm just so happy right now. I'm going to tell mom as soon as I go out," Perez said. "She was supposed to leave tomorrow, but now she has to stay with me and we'll go together to New York."
Like Gordon, Perez is prized as much for his defensive skills as his hitting contributions. He has a strong arm, blocks balls well and calls games skillfully -- a true pitcher's friend.
"That's pretty cool in just his second year to already be an All-Star," Gordon said. "I think people are starting to take notice not only of his hitting but his all-around game and how he helps our team every day."
Gordon, who returned to the lineup on Saturday after missing two games because of a fence collision, has won the AL Gold Glove in left field for the past two seasons after moving to that position only in 2010. At the same time, his hitting came together and this year he's at .290 with eight homers, 15 doubles and 46 RBIs in 81 games.
"I think it's just cool to be selected by the players," Gordon said. "That's when you kind of get noticed and that's when you see that other players, your peers, are really respecting how you're playing. That's really cool and I couldn't be any happier."
Perez is the first Royals catcher to be selected an All-Star since Darrell Porter in 1980. He and Gordon give the Royals their first pair of All-Stars since first baseman Mike Sweeney and closer Mike MacDougal were named to the AL squad in 2003.
"Two very deserving guys, two homegrown guys. That's special," Yost said.
"It's kind of a gauge where you're going as an organization. When you've got two All-Stars on one team, it's not just the obligatory one pick any more. That's special. These guys both were voted on by their peers, which is special. It just shows how well they're perceived and how well they're doing in the American League."
The Royals thought that closer Greg Holland, who notched his 20th save on Saturday and has a 1.91 ERA, also deserved consideration.
"I think everybody in the clubhouse knows it. His numbers are pretty amazing and I told him, 'This is pretty cool but you're well-deserving as well,'" Gordon said. "And I hope he keeps it up and people will keep taking notice because he's going to be one of those players who's pretty amazing."
Gordon knows how meaningful becoming an All-Star can be.
"If you asked me three years ago, I would've said no chance," Gordon said. "As Ned says, it's something no one can ever take away from you so that's how we're going to take it."
Reliever Aaron Crow, who was the team's lone representative as a rookie in 2011, said, "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I was just excited. Middle relievers don't make it too often."
"It's like a milestone," said designated hitter Billy Butler, the team's All-Star last year in Kansas City. "It's something that never leaves you. I'll always be considered an All-Star. It's doesn't matter if it's nine times or one time, you're an All-Star and it's pretty cool to have it next to your name."
From Saturday, July 6 to Thursday, July 11, be sure to return to MLB.com and cast your 2013 All-Star Game Final Vote Sponsored by freecreditscore.com for the final player for each League's All-Star roster.
And the voting doesn't end there. The final phase of All-Star Game voting will again have fans participating in the official voting for the Ted Williams All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award presented by Chevrolet. During the Midsummer Classic, fans will vote exclusively online at MLB.com via the 2013 All-Star Game MLB.com MVP Vote, and their voice will represent 20 percent of the official vote determining the recipient of the Arch Ward Trophy.
The 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field on Tuesday, July 16. Come to MLB.com for extensive online coverage of the All-Star Week festivities.
The 84th All-Star Game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports, in Canada by Rogers Sportsnet and RDS, and worldwide by partners in more than 200 countries via MLB International's independent feed. ESPN Radio and ESPN Radio Deportes will provide national radio coverage of the All-Star Game. MLB Network and SiriusXM also will also provide comprehensive All-Star Week coverage. For more information, please visit allstargame.com.
As Gordon and Perez were talking to reporters about their selection, hitting coach George Brett walked by and gave them a congratulatory thumb's up.
What better source for praise? On his way to the Hall of Fame, Brett was an All-Star 13 times.
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com.