When I look at the individuals who make up Royals fans, I see a separation of 3 groups. There are the individuals who observe/analyze/verbally abuse every move the Royals make 24/7…365 days a year. These are the true sons who will continue to follow the Royals through thick and thin. These are the fans who have suffered over these recent years of horrid play and questionable moves made by the front office. These are the fans who are never going away.
The second group of fans I see are what most people would call the “bandwagon” fans. Now, unlike most true sons, I don’t necessarily have a problem with bandwagon fans. Sure, they’re going to say some of those silly things that bandwagon fans say* that will make you chuckle and probably roll your eyes, but I think that the more support that the Royals can get from the fan base the better. Besides, if** the Royals get better, we’re going to see more and more of these bandwagon fans who will come to watch the Royals play simply because they’re good. We might as well get used to them and in all honesty, somewhat embrace them because the more bandwagon fans we see, the better our team has become.
*When the Royals signed Rick Ankiel, I had a guy try to convince me that we should trade him immediately….I tried to explain to him that he had been a Royal all of one week and the reason that we were able to obtain him was that no one else was really giving him much of a shot and that if he produced for the Royals we would be able to ship him at the trade deadline…..The guy didn’t understand a word of what I was saying. In his mind the Royals had won out on some type of free agent bidding war for Ankiel and should now immediately ship this prized chip we had been able to secure….What can you do but laugh and let it go?
The final group of fans I see are the ones who seem trapped between these two groups. These are the fans who have been bandwagon fans for awhile, but wish to make that transition into becoming true sons of the Royal kingdom.* These are the fans who say, “Ethan, I really want to be a serious fan, but when August is about to start and the Royals are 46-62, it’s really hard for me to stay with them throughout the year.” Well worry not my friends, because I have some surefire ways to help you become what you were born to be….A full-time Kansas City Royals addict.
*Am I wearing out that “true sons” line? Probably, but you know it sounds good.
Here are some tips:
1. Take Royals games one series…or even game at a time. - Seriously….this is the best way for Royals fans to keep the faith all the way through September. Unless you’re the Ankiel guy I referenced above, you realize that we’re not going to the playoffs this year. It’s a bummer, but it’s not altogether much of a surprise. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t follow the Royals as they continue to gel as a team and get better. That sounds pretty corny when I read it, but I’m not changing it because it’s true. It’d be nice not to lose 100 games this year. Or to put a more positive spin on that, we could say it’d be nice to win 70 games this year. Tune in and see if they can do it. Basically I’m saying that you can stay interested by watching the Royals split a series against Boston on the road. Boston is the best team in the American League by the way. You can stay interested by watching/following the Royals as they take 2 of 3 against Cleveland..again on the road. You can stay interested by realizing that the Royals have won 8 of their last 12 games. Just take it in small portions and look for the positives.
2. Follow particular players who are having success. – I’ll be the first to admit that I had some serious doubts about Alex “He Hate Me” Gordon going into this season. I desperately wanted Alex to have a good year but didn’t have much hope that he would and even stipulated that this might be a make or break year for him. He has resoundingly proven me wrong. He currently sits at .302/.376/.495 with 14 homers. This is the kind of production I’ve wanted to see from Alex all along and he has risen to the challenge. It seems like every time I watch him bat he’s getting a hit. He’s also played strong defense which has been a bonus.
Let’s also not forget Billy “He Only Thinks I Can Hit Doubles So He Also Hate Me” Butler. The guy is mashing the ball. He hit 5 home runs in 4 games spanning from July 26th-29th. All of this comes during the constant discussion surrounding the guy’s lack of power. I’ve always liked how that guy hits and if he can hit some homers to shut people up then I’m all for it.
You can also follow Danny Duffy as he continues to become a young star in the Royals rotation or Eric Hosmer‘s possible bid for rookie of the year. You can also watch the plethora of young talent in the Royals’ bullpen. There’s a lot of young guys to keep tabs on.
3. Follow the minor league teams. - On Friday I went to Springfield to watch the NW Arkansas Naturals play the Springfield Cardinals. The Naturals got clobbered but Christian Colon had a single and a home run. I also got to watch Manny Pina play just before he got called up to the majors to back up Brayan Pena after Treanor got hurt. It’s exciting to see what the Royals have coming down the tube.
4. Read everything Royals-related that you can get your physical or virtual hands on. - I realize I’m shamelessly promoting the very site I write for, but only because there are some fantastic writers here who love the Royals and believe in doing their best to bring you relevant (and hopefully amusing) material about the Boys in Blue so that you can be as knowledgeable about the Royals as you want. There is also plenty of other material out there on the internet that that will give you some good reading during the season and even during the dog days of the MLB offseason. Take advantage of it. I know I have been.
I hope that this article might be something that will push those fans on the brink of legitimate Royals fanhood into the fold of the die-hards. There is nothing more fulfilling than being a serious fan and having a team that’s on the uptake.
Here’s to August and seeing if the Royals can stay as hot as the weather has been.