1985. I was a sophomore in high school. The first commercially available cell-phones had just been introduced, and the Cold War was still alive and well…and I nearly forgot, the Kansas City Royals won the World Series! Let me repeat that, the Kansas City Royals WON the WORLD SERIES!
Sadly, they haven’t sniffed the post-season since. A once proud franchise that rose from the depths of expansion in 1969 and built itself arguably into baseball’s model franchise by the mid-70s, culminating with Wold Series appearances in 1980 and again in 1985, has surely paid a high price to the baseball gods for its glorious but all too brief stay in baseball’s limelight.
Many of you fans probably don’t remember seeing the Royals in the playoffs. Heck, a good number of you weren’t even alive the last time the Royals were relevant, much less experienced the pride that came in knowing that your team was one of the best in baseball.
To have the sense, year in and year out, that your Royals had a good chance of winning the World Series, was the stuff of dreams and as Royals fans, we’d come to expect it.
For those of you who never experienced that era, I feel bad for you, you missed something truly special. Kansas City was a great baseball town and going out to Royals Stadium on any given day to watch our boys terrorize visiting teams was truly epic.
Beating up on baseball’s elite like Boston, Baltimore, Detroit, Milwaukee, and the Yankees was more fun than you could ever imagine. In the pre-ESPN era (pre-cable, pre-satellite, and pre-internet, for that matter), the Royals were actually mainstays on ABC’s Major League Game of the Week, and the national media actually knew who the Royals players were.
While last season, for many Royals fans and for ALL Royals players, represented the high-water mark of their major league memories, it pales in comparison to how things used to be in Kansas City. Those of us who remember those years, enter this season with more than just the excitement that a winning record tends to inspire.