Some stories deserve to be retold; with it breeds new life, purpose and most importantly understanding. It makes the process that much more magical -- an indelible piece of our history, if not in the physical, the mental and emotional.
That has been the script of the Kansas City Royals as they have gone on what has seemed to many, an elusive run. For the die-hard Royals fan it is "pens and needles" type of experience. You just hope your team could keep it going -- never fully appreciating what your club is doing on the field if it doesn't translate to wins. But as a fan of the game -- a baseball purist, what the Royals have accomplished since their last playoff birth in 1985 is just flat out great baseball.
Lets just take a moment to think about 29 years ago from a historical perspective. Frank Sinatra's New York, NY song became the official anthem of the city, Mike Tyson made his professional debut that year as an 18 year old defeating Hector Mercedes in a first round knockout. And Larry Bird scored a career high and franchise record of 60 points in a game against the Atlanta Hawks.
Now, 29 years later in 2014, Sinatra has passed, Bird is president of his hometown Indiana Pacers team that probably missed their window of winning a title, and Mike Tyson is somewhere making terrible one-man shows -- most likely trying to earn some of the money back that Don King helped him blow
But there is hope in all of this. On this day in 2014, the Royals are on a roll, winning all 4 of their playoff games they have played in defiant fashion. Their first game against the Oakland Athletics proved to be an historical night as Kansas City was down 7-3 going into the 8th inning. They were able to pile on 3 runs, all while stealing 4 bases in one inning and tied an MLB record for 7 stolen bags in a game. They eventually won in the 12th and would go on to sweep the Los Angeles Angels in the following series in dominant fashion
Though KC ranked first in the AL in strikeouts this season, we must also consider their number one ranking in stolen bases as well. In the whirlwind of Sabermetrics the Royals have proven two things: they will evolve with the game of baseball but not become confined by these new aged stats by rebuking the old ones. They realize the progress in statistical analytics but at the same time don't see it as sacred. From Lorenzo Cain down to even Billy Butler they can run, and quite frankly aren't afraid to utilize all their tools.
The great thing about this post-season is that there is something youthful and redemptive about it. Though Major League baseball might not be too happy with a Royals playoff run, for the game it's what baseball needs. KC plays with a sense of passion, excitement as well as a chip on their shoulder -- A trait that is often times admonished in the game of baseball. You can pump your fist just not too hard, you can celebrate, just not too much. There is always a fine line one must walk.
Players are taught to remain stoic, showing little to no emotion, even in the midst of their major feats. Not the Royals, they understand this was a long fought battle. One that many thought would end in a playoff birth last season before losing all hope. But this year the guys are a year older and are peaking at the right time.
Alex Gordon, has made one of his biggest impacts this season. He went from top prospect and 2nd overall pick coming out of Nebraska, to an almost bust, to a decent major league player -- but now, in his eighth season, finally an all-star caliber player. Eric Hosmer who went third overall to Kansas City in 2008, many considered this year to be his year, but he only boasted a .270 batting average with a forgettable 9 homers. However, we must keep in mind KC is not the best hitters ballpark. Nonetheless, he has turned the corner this post-season boasting a whopping .500 BA with an OPS of 1.774.
But there are still games to be played before we can crown Kansas City anything but a great memory. But something tells me this team is going to be here for years to come. That this isn't some type of underdog fluke that will fade, and we will eventually go back to seeing our standard American League teams in the hunt for October.
They are fun, exciting and deserve every piece of success that has come their way. And contrary to Lordes two Grammy Award winning song, I have no problem being caught up in "a Royal love affair." You should join in too.