So, it’s been a bit of an exciting time here in Kansas City.
The last time the Kansas City Royals were in the World Series was the year I graduated high school. I’ve spent 21 of the ensuing 29 years living here, fate and circumstances having seen to it that my family and I now call the City of Fountains our home. As I’ve never been the biggest baseball fan, I honestly didn’t take much notice of the Royals, at least not beyond knowing how they fared each season and the occasional outing to the ball park for a game with friends.
(Why to the ball park? For one thing, there is no substitute for an actual hot dog purchased and consumed at a ball park. This isn’t up for debate, so put your hands down.)
This year was different, of course. I’m not claiming that I’m now a huge Royals fan or that I’ve converted into a monstrous lover of the game, but there’s no denying the excitement that gripped the city this summer as the Royals slowly but with ever-growing confidence began to stake a claim for post-season play. As football season began ramping up, I simply wasn’t paying that much attention to baseball, but there were the Royals, marching merrily along from August into September.
Then, we get to that crazy Wild Card game between Kansas City and Oakland, and that’s when the rollercoaster hit that first kick-ass drop. Everything after that was one hell of a ride.
My wife and I found ourselves getting sucked into each successive game. In the space of ten days, as the Royals swept their way through the playoffs, our conversations regarding the evening’s viewing went from, “We’ll catch the end of the game,” to “We can watch that other show after the game,” to “What time does the game start?”
As for the World Series? That was a hell of a thing, wasn’t it?
First off: Sincere congratulations to the San Francisco Giants for a series so very well played. I don’t know about anybody else, but I’m convinced Madison Bumgarner and that crazy arm of his really is a cyborg sent from the future. It would explain so many things, right?
To the people of San Francisco: you should know that your city by the bay was well-represented by those fans who traveled here to cheer on your team. Everyone I encountered was wonderful and enthusiastic.
To the Kansas City Royals: You have absolutely nothing about which to hang your heads. I haven’t been this excited to watch baseball since I was a kid. All of the experts said that the Royals and the Giants were evenly matched coming in to the series, and you proved them all right. To take it to Game 7, bottom of the ninth inning, down one run with the tying run in scoring position, two outs and down to your last strike? You can’t get any closer than that. It was just plain fun to watch, and you did my adopted home town proud.
To Royals fans, wherever you are: As a fellow long-suffering fan of a sports team that has struggled–often for years and even decades at a stretch–I was thrilled to see your undying loyalty rewarded this season in such stellar fashion. It reminded me of how I felt when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally reached the promised land and won their first-ever Super Bowl appearance back in 2002. The positive vibes from people everywhere around the city was just infectious.
So, when do pitchers and catchers report?