So the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are again going to the World Series.
Ho hum. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Now, don’t get me wrong, both of the ALCS and NLCS offered some solid baseball, dramatic moments, and the games were entertaining and compelling. The quality of play was usually what you’d expect from the best teams in baseball this year.
But it does start to feel a bit old, doesn’t it?
These teams faced off in 2004 in the World Series when Boston finally shook off the Curse of the Bambino. Since, Boston has also won it all in 2007. The Cardinals won in 2006 and 2011. They’re both well-run organizations. The national narratives will pitch the Cards as the homegrown scrappers and the Red Sox as the big market team with a ton of heart – the one quality that the Yankees and Dodgers couldn’t buy.
And yes, I’m jealous.
The Cardinals fanbase will often claim the title of Best Fans in Baseball ©. There’s talk of the “Cardinal Way” and endless praise for how they “play the right way” and it’s all really insufferable. During the Dodgers series, writers ran amok to heap adoration on the Cardinals and scorn the Dodgers and their “antics”. It struck me as a lot of curmudgeonly fist-shaking, trying to restore the great status of the game. The grand protectors.
And you know what? I guess the Cardinals have earned that kind of allegiance from many. There are two kinds of people: Cardinals fans, and people who hate the Cardinals. And as a Royals fan, looking across the state, I want that to be the Royals. I want teams to hate seeing the Royals in the playoffs every year.
“Oh, gee, the Royals in the playoffs again. Ho hum.”
Prior to the 2011 season, the Royals received attention for having a highly regarded group of prospects. Over and over, there were charts and graphs showing how other organizations had done with those sorts of accolades heaped upon them, and most got to the playoffs, and many had a pipeline of talent to continuously reload. So far, the Royals are still looking for that first step, and rather than a constant stream of talent, it’s been more of a series of waves.
The long term options are in place, and while some still have adjustments and developing to do, that long-term run of success is still possible. But you get the feeling – and maybe this is just because very little has gone right for the Royals since Ewing Kauffman’s passing in 1993 – that the Royals have until 2017, when the Royals may be in their last year of control of Eric Hosmer, to get the dynasty in motion.
Meanwhile the Tigers have been consistent contenders since Jim Leyland came to town in 2006. The Cardinals have one sub-.500 season since 2000. The Red Sox had their chicken-and-beer problems in 2012, but are again loaded and have home field advantage in the World Series. The Rays have won 90 games in five of their last six seasons.
And the Royals are celebrating an 86 win year.
This season was a step in the right direction. There were no significant injuries that will concern the 2014 team and nothing major in the minor leagues either. Salvador Perez and Eric Hosmer look to be mainstays. The bullpen is loaded with talent.
But for all the good things, I look across the state, and I look at other teams and I want what they have. I want to be able to crow about how many playoff appearances we have.