KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City Royals outfielder Lorenzo Cain probably will always remember the first grand slam of his career, which came during the Royals’ pulsating 10-7 win over Cleveland on Thursday afternoon at Kauffman Stadium.
But you can also bet that Debbie Hassed, a 50-year-old mother and homemaker from Overland Park, Kan., will remember Cain’s blast for the rest of her life.
With one swing of the bat, Cain made Hassed $25,000 richer.
Cain’s grand slam came during the sixth inning, which happens to be the “Sonic Slam Inning,” a promotion carried by Fox Sports Kansas City and the Royals Radio Network. During that inning, if a Royals player hits a home run, a contestant receives a rollover prize pool that is normally in the hundreds of dollars.
But if that homer is a grand slam over the wall — inside-the-park versions don’t count — the contestant instantly wins $25,000.
“I will tell you that I am the world’s biggest fan of Lorenzo Cain right now,” Hassed said by phone, “and probably forever!”
Hassed had been notified by the Royals that her name had been drawn to be a contestant for Thursday’s game. Naturally, she was at home watching the Royals-Indians game with her husband, John, and 13-year-old son, Nate.
The Royals trailed 5-0 entering the bottom of the sixth. Then Eric Hosmer and Billy Butler led off with walks off Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Mike Moustakas followed and reached on an error.
That loaded the bases.
“That’s when my heart really started pumping,” Hassed said. “I knew I had three chances to get the grand slam.”
Hassed only had to wait until the next batter. Cain worked the count full, fouled one off and then smashed a line drive that just cleared the left-center field wall.
“I didn’t know it was a homer right away when he hit it,” Hassed said. “But my husband was rooting and he kind of knew it had a great chance.
“I mean, when it went over the fence, I just jumped off the couch!”
Hassed’s excitement wasn’t exactly over. Royals catcher George Kottaras followed with another home run – that meant Hassed received an extra $100 because the home run rollover pool had reset to the beginning after Cain’s homer.
The $25,000 payday was just the third in the 15-year history of the promotion with the Royals. The other two came in 2004, courtesy of grand slams by Matt Stairs and Abraham Nunez.
Hassed said she isn’t sure what she’ll do yet with her payout.
“I’ve had plenty of suggestions already,” she said, laughing. “But I’ll just take my time to decide.”
You can follow Jeffrey Flanagan on Twitter at @jflanagankc or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org