This was originally published at Missing Filter by Basic Pitch on October 17, 2016.
STRIKE THREE CALL! IT’S OVER! THEY’VE DONE IT! THE ROYALS ARE WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS! THE WORLD CHAMPION KANSAS CITY ROYALS!
The past two baseball seasons have spoiled me. My favorite baseball team has been exciting in ways I had forgotten possible. Their late-inning heroics have been exhilarating, the seemingly endless bag of tricks they found that allowed them to come back time and time again was intoxicating. They took the Crown. They finally did it. The Kansas City Royals are World Champions for the first time since 1985. It’s been so much fun. I got to watch them collect their World Series rings in front of the NY Mets in April. It was real. It was amazing. Ryan Lefebvre’s call still gives me chills and, in the right mood, can bring tears to my eyes.
This season seemed to get out of the gate limping, those little things that had been clicking since the 2014 All Star Break through game five of the 2015 World Series, seemed not to always click. The magnificent Chris Young from 2015 did not return in 2016, the potential we saw in Kris Medlen was lost to injury. Alex Gordon started slow, got injured and never really got up to speed. Steady Eddie Volquez was steadily subpar. Yordano Ventura completely refuses to turn that corner to the brilliant talent we’ve only seen in breathtaking glimpses. Joakim Soria, once a closer of legendary skill and talent and one of the very few bright spots on a team of loveable losers, could not locate his pitches and was incapable of leaving runners stranded. Mike Moustakas, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Luke Hochevar, Chris Young, Kris Medlen, Jarrod Dyson, Mike Minor, Jason Vargas, and Wade Davis all spent all or significant portions of the season on the disabled list. Their bats didn’t pop, their legendary defense downgraded to merely very good, and their once airtight bullpen showed many leaks.
None of this matters though. They already did it. They have changed this city and fan base in such a way that it will never be the same. This city now knows victory and celebration. New friendships have been forged, people who have never found any common ground now have it. They’ve given hope, they’ve created community. We experienced this together, the thrill of the Wild Card game, the heartbreak of 2014 game 7, the joy of game 5 2015, they belong to all of us.
Thank you, Royals. You’ll get ’em next year.