Playing Hard To Get


We’ve been studying figurative language in my classroom recently. Metaphors, similes, personification, foreshadowing, irony…All the good stuff really.

And as I’ve listened/been text-updated/twitter followed the Royals ever since I’ve made my way back down into blacked-out part of the state that doesn’t let me watch the boys in blue, I’ve been thinking of a particular SIMILE that I constantly find myself using to describe the Royals.

“The Royals are like that girl (or guy)* who can’t stop playing hard-to-get.” For those of you who don’t know, a simile is a comparison between two things using the words “like” or “as.” There. I feel as if I’ve done my educational duty for the day.

*No sexism here, yo.

Seriously. I know it’s not exactly a new concept, but I’ve felt like this about the Royals all season. They go 12-8 during the first month of the season before that delightful month of flowers that resulted in an 8-20 record over the course of 31 days. Brutal.

At this point, the Royals were 22-30 and I was confident that we were in line for another embarrassing season. The pitching hadn’t been awful but the offense averaged just over 3.5 runs a game throughout the month. This was the team that was supposed to take huge steps forward and lead the league in multiple offensive categories. But they were struggling. In only eight of those games in May did the Royals score more than four runs.

But the Royals had a winning month of June and finished that month at 38-41 and were only 4.5 games back of both Cleveland and Detroit. I started to let myself hope again.

Three weeks later and the Royals were 45-50 and were seven games back of the Tigers with several teams in front of them in the wild-card race and I figured it was time for Dayton Moore to maybe sell some assets. He didn’t and the Royals went 17-3 from July 23rd to August 12th.  It was maybe the best stretch of Royals baseball I’ve ever witnessed. (I wasn’t super cognizant of the Royals in 2003. I was in middle school and we didn’t have a baseball team, so the MLB was sort of off my radar.) Unfortunately, the other A.L. Central teams were not cooperating. Detroit was winning too and despite all those games the Royals won, the were still 6.5 games back of Detroit at the end of it.

In August, the Royals went 16-15 but suffered a 6-game losing streak during that time that turned what could have been a great month into a good one.  At the end of this month, the Royals had a winning record, which was exciting, but they were still 6.5 games back and I thought “Well, it’s been fun, but too little, too late.” School was starting and I was unable to watch/follow the games aside from text updates. I wasn’t giving up on the team, but I had plenty of things going on at the start of the school year and the Royals weren’t demanding that I stay focused.

But that changed.  The Royals went 8-3 through the first 11 games of this last month of the season. They were a mere 2.5 games back of Tampa Bay for the 2nd wild card on September 12th. 2.5 games! And I was yo-yo(ing)? back to the side of hope.

Unfortunately, the Royals lost a tough series in Detroit this weekend. Luckily for them, the teams ahead of them haven’t won consistently and the Royals are currently only 3.0 games back of the second Wild Card spot*. They have series against the Indians and Rangers this week, both of which are teams ahead of them in the Wild Card race. They need to win (probably all of) these games. They need some serious help from the teams in front of them in the form of falling apart.

*The Royals/Indians game isn’t quite over as I’m posting this, but it would appear they’re about to gain a game on Cleveland.

The Royals have made me swing back and forth between angry and hopeful so many times this year that it makes my stomach hurt. I want the Royals to win SO BADLY, but when I look at the roster, it’s often hard for me to believe that they’re a playoff team. But then they win games and I start to think, “Why not?”

Why not?

Forget it. I’m all set up for more heartbreak .

By the end of this week I’ll be excited beyond all belief or walking in a Royal-blue cloud of despair.