Royals vs. Mariners (Steven Bisig-US PRESSWIRE)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariners: Part 2

I wrote an article last year with a similar title. At that time, the Royals were on the brink of sweeping the M’s early in the season and I had reason to be hopeful about the Royals. I guess the key words in that sentence are “early” and “hopeful.”

This article comes on the heels of a four-game sweep by those same fish and my emotions regarding the Royals are on the opposite side of the spectrum. We’re now the worst team in the American League and in last place in our division after losing four straight games to the third-worst team in the American League. Watching this team makes my stomach hurt. And not even Jeff Francoeur’s dazzling smile can make me feel better. Particularly when it’s coupled with his dazzling line of .238/.275/.366.

I don’t know how many of you have read The Rime Of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.* It’s a great poem and is applicable to the my feelings today, not merely because of it’s name, but also because of the story it tells.

*I’m an English major. You’ve got give me a chance to be snarky here.

The story is essentially about an old man telling a tale about a ship he was on in a storm. When he and the crew start to lose hope, they see an albatross flying over their ship. This heartens the crew until the old man inexplicably shoots the albatross from the sky and kills it. As punishment for killing this symbol of hope, the soldiers force the old man to wear the dead albatross around his neck for the remainder of the voyage. The crew ends up meeting a ship that Death is sailing on who happens to kill the crew while conveniently leaving the old man alive. As the crew dies, they glare at the old man cursing him to their grave. Happy, right? At the end, the old man is finally able to find peace as he sees beauty in the world again, and the albatross slips from his neck into the sea.

Epic poetry may not be your thing, but I can find some connections between this story and the story of the Royals. For instance, the man in the story kills a token of good fortune and is forced to endure more bad luck as a result. The Royals have certainly made some stupid decisions in the past and present and seem to have a penchant for continual blundering. If there’s any team that I feel comfortable saying has an albatross around their neck, it’s this team.

Another similarity: I’m sure you and I, as crew-mates on this ship christened “Failure,” have cursed this team over and over as it’s caused us figurative death and pain over the years. I know I have.

The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner has a happy ending. Sort of. I mean, the guy gets rid of the dead albatross around his neck. I don’t know if this team has a happy ending in them. Every time something hopeful floats out of the darkness, this organization or team shoots it down. Or loses 21 of it’s last 27 games.

It’s giving me an ulcer.

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Tags: AL Central Baseball Jeff Francoeur Kansas City Royals Mariners MLB Royals Seattle Mariners

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