Recently, we’ve showcased the work of two new writers on Kings of Kauffman – Alan Barrington and Mike Vamosi – and I’m glad to announce a third new writer, Paul Thompson. As is KoK tradition, I’ll let him introduce himself:
I was born in August of 1986; 10 months after the Kansas City Royals won their last World Series title. In the interest of full disclosure, I should mention that it was also the last time the Royals went the playoffs.
In the subsequent years, especially after my fandom began in earnest during the mid 1990’s, I grew to love what were largely terrible baseball teams. The Royals toiled for years without an owner. They low-balled draft picks, traded star players, and went on epic losing streaks. Former first baseman Jeff King literally quit on the team in 1999, apparently retiring from baseball the day after earning his MLB pension.
We could jump into more of the gory details, but why harp on the past? Besides, there were plenty of bright spots. My first in-game Royals memory is of Hammerin’ Bob Hamelin smacking a game-winning home run down the right field line (thanks to the internet, I now know this occurred in either April or July of 1994). I remember listening to the radio as Carlos Beltran hit home runs from each side of the plate during a game in 2000*. In the middle of his sophomore slump, it was a welcome sight. And who could forget the magical 9-0 start to the 2003 season?
*Quick tangent here. It’s incredible to me that I was listening to Royals games on the radio in the year 2000. Not by choice, but because there was no other recourse. I know it’s hard to believe, but I’m almost certain that the Royals didn’t even televise half of their games in 2000. With no game on TV and limited success operating the family’s dial-up connection, the radio was my only option. Times have changed in a decade.
An eternal optimist, I was gung ho for the Chili Davis era, the Dos Carlos era, and yes, even the short-lived Juan Gonzalez era. When Mark Grudzielanek joined Kansas City in 2006, I thought his ability to turn the double play would make him a difference maker.
Of course, age and experience have a way of tempering expectations. The acquisition of Grudzielanek can only fool a guy into believing so many times. But a nucleus of Eric Hosmer, Alex Gordon, Billy Butler, Salvador Perez, and Mike Moustakas? I can’t help but buy into that.
On a personal note, I graduated from the University of Kansas in 2008 with a degree in English and a focus on creative writing. I eventually found work at a weekly community newspaper in Grandview, MO where I cover high school sports, go to school board meetings, write feature stories, and man the office. I’m also a big Chiefs fan and an NBA enthusiast, but no team trumps the Royals.
Follow Paul on Twitter at @pthomp21.