KANSAS CITY, Mo. - One of the more interesting sights during this painful Royals' start to the 2012 season has been the scene in the Royals clubhouse afterward.
While it can be common practice for players to skirt the media during a losing spell, two Royals have been there waiting when the doors have opened for reporters to enter: third baseman Mike Moustakas and first baseman Eric Hosmer.
At ages 23 and 22, it just so happens Moustakas and Hosmer are two of the youngest Royals, and yet they already are showing signs of leadership - they have been there to face the music during the Royals' rough start.
In media circles, we call that being stand-up guys.
"Me and Hoz haven't planned that or talked about it," Moustakas said. "I don't know if it has been intentional. Not that we'd ever hide. But after tough losses, I know Hoz and me kind of sit in the clubhouse and just think about the game and what could have gone better.
"We're just reflecting on what happened. That's who we are. Then it just so happens that the reporters come in and we're still sitting there, I guess."
But Moustakas is a firm believer in being accountable, not just to the media, but ultimately to the fans.
"That's the thing about this game," Moustakas said. "One side is to play the game and the other part is to answer questions and be professional - own up to what you did on the field. Answer the questions.
"The older guys taught us that, particularly (Jeff) Francoeur. They taught us to be accountable. That's kind of who we are anyway. That's our personality.
"I really believe it's part of our job. You may not like it, having to answer questions when maybe you made a big error or you struck out. But hey, that's part of it. It has to get done, especially when the team is struggling. If you're there in the good times, you better be there in the bad times, too."
The signs of a clubhouse leader, at 23 years old?
"I've considered myself a leader my entire life," Moustakas said. "But I try to lead by example. You play hard and play with intensity. I don't know if answering questions after a game makes you a leader, though."
It does if no one else is around to answer those questions.
"I agree that it comes with the territory," Hosmer said. "If you are answering questions when you're winning, you should be there when you're losing."
That kind of professionalism from Moustakas and Hosmer has won over the media in Kansas City.
And Moustakas and Hosmer already have won over the fans, even with the dismal start. The loudest cheers each night are saved for the Royals' corner infielders.
Actually, the loudest cheers are reserved for Moutakas, whose nickname "Moose" has become the trendy thing to scream each night.
The "Moose Call" (Mooooooose!) was deafening on Opening Day with 40,000 throats behind it.
"Oh, man, that was amazing," Moustakas said. "I got chills listening to that. They've been doing it since I got here.
"Actually the first I heard it was during the Double-A-Triple-A game here (in 2010). Then when I got called up last year, I heard it some more. But it's never been this loud, and now it's when I'm in the field, too.
"Normally you kind of drown out the sound of the crowd. But you can't drown that out. It's a pretty distinctive sound."
Part of the cheer stems from Kansas City's longing for another third baseman to worship, though no one will likely ever fill George Brett's shoes. The other part of the fun behind the cheer is that fans everywhere simply like to make the 'oooooh' sound, whether it's Moose or a Lou (Piniella or Whitaker) or presently, John Kuhn with the Packers.
"Yeah, I've heard the 'Kooooohn' cheer on TV," Moustakas said. "I don't know about him but I know with me, it makes me want to do something special each night.
"And sometimes, I believe this, it makes me do some things I maybe normally couldn't do. It gives me that little bit of extra confidence. I can thank for the fans for that. I love them."
It is becoming clear the feeling is mutual.
"I want to reward them for their loyalty," Moustakas said. "Hopefully I can be a leader in that regard. I'm still a young guy and I got a whole lot to learn. But it's a young team, a young clubhouse."
With young leaders.