Every so often, there are things that get pointed out online that spark some interest, even if they are not, in a conventional sense, related to the Royals. One such fact was brought to my attention last night, when I learned that the average age of the residents of Kansas City is 35.2 years old. This means that, in theory, approximately half of the city likely cannot remember a September that the Royals were in first place before this year.
To those fans, welcome to what it feels like to have the Royals make a push towards the playoffs! It is a glorious time, and one to be treasured. Enjoy every moment, revel in the victories and the success of the Royals this year. After all, as the past 28 years have proven, you never know when the next playoff chase, or trip to the postseason, will occur.
We have all heard the stories of what it was like to be a Royals fan back int he mid 1970’s through the end of Ewing Kauffman’s life. The stories of the time when the Royals were one of the preeminent franchises in baseball, perennially in the playoffs and battling with the New York Yankees for supremacy in the American League. A time when the Royals were feared, when Kauffman Stadium (known then as Royals Stadium) was packed and the tranquility of the night punctured by those screaming fans. A time that, hopefully, the Royals are recreating.
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Personally, I have vague recollections of the 1985 World Series. I recall being fascinated that Dan Quisenberry‘s hand would hit the mounds as he pitched, forever cementing my enjoyment of submarine pitchers. I recall Darryl Motley crushing a ball foul on a 3-2 pitch, changing his bat and sending the very next offering into orbit. And I recall the final out, when Bret Saberhagen was mobbed on the mound as the Royals became champions of the world.
These are the memories that can only be created by getting to enjoy the thrill of playoff baseball when it happens. Sure, we have all seen the cached highlights and rewatched that 1985 World Series numerous times, but it is just not the same. Those memories belong to a different generation of Royals fans, while those of us on the other side of the demographic are left with misery and the improbable 2003 season.
That may well be about to change. As of right now, the Royals have an 83% chance at making the playoffs. The Royals have come roaring back with an amazing second half, getting hot just as they did last season. Only this time, they were close enough to catch both the Detroit Tigers and the Cleveland Indians, setting up the first September of meaningful baseball in a generation.
Now, for all the years of misery and ineptitude, for the years of enduring cost cutting and general incompetence, for the years of watching managers like Tony Muser, it is time for the younger fans of the Royals to have that moment. To create their own memories, and the stories that will be told to the generation of Royals fans that follow. Just like the slogan the Royals used in 2012 said, it is Our Time. That time just came two years later.
Hold on to these moments and enjoy the ride. You never know when it will happen again.