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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Reflection on the Royals

                The Royals are in the World Series.

                Words I never thought I would hear, or say. The Royals are in the World Series. MY Royals, in the World Series. A life full of losing, and it is finally over. That chapter is finally closed. 24 long years of waiting for the tide to turn.
                My Royals fandom started when I went to a Royals game against the Blue Jays with my mom. It was a night game, I think, and I don’t know if the Royals won or lost, but it is the earliest memory I have of going to the K.
                It continued with Jeff King. The first baseman who played for the Royals in the late 90s. I had played first base and was number 7 so naturally I was drawn to the #7 first baseman for the Royals.
                Michael Tucker became one of my favorite players when I witnessed him rob a home run in the left field corner up against the Pepsi sign.
                For 24 years I seemingly had a different favorite player every year. Keith Lockhart, Rey Sanchez, Smilin’ Joe Randa, Jose Offerman, Angel Berroa, and many others.
I watched and hoped as prospects came and went. Dos Carlos, Johnny Damon, Jermaine Dye.
I watched as Sammy Sosa hit two home runs at the K and a streaker ran onto the field.
I watched as Carlos Beltran scaled the centerfield wall to rob a home run from the Mariners’ Dan Wilson. Still the greatest catch I have ever seen.
I watched as Mike Sweeny stole home against Andy Pettitte and the Yankees.
I watched as Aaron Guiel, Brandon Berger, Kit Pellow, Abraham Nunez, Ruben Gotay, Byron Gettis, Ambiorix Burgos, Eli Marrero, Chip Ambres, Emil Brown, Calvin Pickering, Elmer Dessens, and Brandon Duckworth, struggled to even be considered Major League caliber players. But there was still hope that one of them would work into a superstar.
I watched as Mark Teahen was moved from third base to right field to third base to right field to second base to third base to Oakland.
I watched as Delmon Young let the whole Twins team down when he let a Teahen fly ball get by him for a three run inside the park home run.
I watched Jose Guillen and Mike Aviles carry a team into New York only to be beaten by Johnny Damon and a 6 for 6 day at the plate.
I watched former Royals become superstars on other teams.
I watched Mark Redman get selected to the All Star game.
I watched Mike Sweeney throw his helmet at Jeff Weaver.
I watched as David DeJesus smiled and slid into home on a walk off sac fly against Cleveland.
I watched as 2,000 fans started the wave in the second loss of a double header against the Angels, and I was fine with it.
I wear a Royals shirt that says “Wieners are Champions.”
I have stacks of t-shirt Tuesday shirts, blankets, travel mugs, nacho plates, lunch boxes and flags that were handed out before an inevitable Royals loss.
I joyfully went through the turnstiles of the K before the Indians, White Sox, Twins, Tigers, Orioles, Rays, Blue Jays, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels, Rangers, Mariners, A’s and others handed the Royals another loss.
The Royals kept losing, but I kept coming back for more. There was always hope at the beginning of every year. No matter how many losses we had the previous year, the new season always started at zero.
And now, the Royals have finally rewarded this town. This is the start of a brand new chapter. The years and years of losing have come to an end. Moose, Hos, Duffman, Yordy, Big Game James, J Guts, Country Breakfast, Gordo, Vargy, Holly, Wade, Herrera, Esky, Mr. Zoombiya, Omar, Salvy, Kratz, Frank Good, Crow, Frasor, Hendricks, Gore, Collins, Finny, Downs, Nori Aoki Dokie, Lo Cain, Willingham, Ibanez. These are the guys that have turned the page in Royals history. These are the guys that have brought new hope and new life to a starving city. These are the guys who have changed the way we watch baseball, and the way baseball is played. These are the guys who are going to bring a championship back to the city that deserves it most.
The Royals are going to the World Series.

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