Kansas City Royals: The Drought Is Finally Over


The words Royals and postseason are two words that generally aren’t put together unless they’re immediately followed by the word drought. When the mile-high pop up off the bat of White Sox left fielder Michael Taylor finally found its way into Salvador Perez‘s mitt, the skies opened up. The 29-year drought was over.

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The Kansas City Royals are no longer North America’s most futile team, which made me realize something. Somewhere along the way, I lost the fun in watching sports.

Friday night was fun. A lot of fun. It felt weird. I don’t know how long it will last, hopefully another three or four weeks. But if the fun doesn’t last any longer than Tuesday evening, that shouldn’t make what this season became any less enjoyable.

The thing is, I didn’t enjoy it as much as I should have. Maybe it’s because I was at home instead of at a bar in Westport or the Power and Light District. But I had very little reaction other than to smile.

Now the Royals are back in the postseason. It could last a day or it could last a month. Either way, finding enjoyment should be the goal of what lies ahead for Royals fans. We can’t let the previous 29 years of awful, limit our joy.

Which made me think of something I was asked by my wife Wednesday evening as Jason Vargas was throwing batting practice to the Cleveland Indians. Do I get any enjoyment out of being a Royals fan? Other than anger and disappointment, what am I getting out of this lifelong relationship with a largely crummy baseball team?

Sports are supposed to be fun, and somewhere along the line, that fact has totally escaped me, something the Royals are largely at fault for.

With this new territory, uncharted waters for a generation of Royals fans, and watching the players and the fans that were in Chicago celebrate, something clicked. Handling every low the Royals have dealt me like its the end of the world, while not properly appreciating the highs, is no way to be a fan.

Admittedly, I’m a “glass is half empty” sports fan, always afraid something is going to go terribly wrong. For the better part of three decades it has.

When the Royals fell behind 2-1 in the third inning of Thursday night’s game, I was convinced the White Sox were primed for a sweep, while at the same time, the Seattle Mariners we’re going to win four straight. In my mind, this scenario was a certainty.

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A's slug their way past Kansas City, wins 6-4
A's slug their way past Kansas City, wins 6-4 /

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  • Yet, this Royals team clawed back. Sure it took a little luck, in the form of a botched double play by the White Sox, which gave the Royals the lead. When Billy Butler hit the ball, I was sure the inning was over. It should have been, but It wasn’t.

    Now the Royals are back in the postseason. It could last a day or it could last a month. Either way, finding enjoyment should be the goal of what lies ahead for Royals fans. We can’t let the previous 29 years of awful, limit our joy.

    Will it be crushing when and if postseason ends with a loss rather than a win? Of course. But we can’t let it diminish the feeling of accomplishment we felt as Perez was camped out under that popup.

    This isn’t a perfect team by any stretch of the imagination. The offense isn’t great. The manager makes curious decisions at times. Perez and Omar Infante have been two of the worst hitters in baseball in the second half and Mike Moustakas has been one of the worst offensive players in the game all season.

    But none of that matters now. There are no perfect teams in this year. Yes, the Angels are good, but their not without flaws and literally anything could happen in the next week.

    This has been a season of ups and downs for the Royals, and when they’re up, they can play with anyone. It’s just a matter of peaking at the right time. Hopefully that time is now.

    I wasn’t old enough in 1985 to really remember any facts in great detail. Youthful innocence can be a wonderful thing. My favorite player wasn’t Frank White, George Brett or Bret Saberhagen. It was Steve Balboni. I don’t know why or how I came to that decision, who knows how any four year-old comes to any decision. But Balboni was my guy.

    I recall thinking my mother was a crazy person for screaming at the television during game seven of the World Series, and I vaguely remember attending the parade. My parents were interested, so I was interested.

    Now I have a son that’s five, and the Royals are in the playoffs for the first time since I was his age. And sure, his main concern during Royals games typically involve sno-cones, Sluggerr and the playground, but I’m going to try my hardest to make sure he has memories like I do of 1985.

    He doesn’t have to understand them now, but someday he will and I’d hope they’d mean as much to him as my 30-year old memories of 1985 do to me today. For now, he’d just think it was cool to go to a parade.

    The Royals just have to give us an excuse to attend one.