Sunday night, the Royals finished off their sweep of the Los Angeles Angels in convincing fashion, taking an 8-3 victory that featured just about everything that makes Royals baseball exciting to watch. Lorenzo Cain made consecutive highlight reel plays in the outfield, as he continued his quest to make the SportsCenter Top Ten plays segment a personal highlight reel. Billy Butler showed off the wheels, scoring from first on a double and even stealing a base. Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas hit home runs. The Royals held the Angels to a total of five runs in 31 innings, and are now set to face the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series.
Yet, for all the excitement and joy that the Royals continuing to advance to the ALCS has brought, it is a bittersweet moment for me personally. See, before any Royals and Orioles matchup, my friend Carl, who was an Orioles fan, and I would engage in a bit of fun banter back and forth, chatting about the matchups and how the Royals (or Orioles, in his case) would end up winning.
Unfortunately, now that the Royals and Orioles are facing off in the postseason for the first time, I will not have the ability to do so. Carl was tragically killed in a hit and run accident on September 28th, and his funeral was yesterday. A lifelong fan of Baltimore sports, I’m sure Carl would have been elated to see his Orioles sweep away the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.
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Instead of a week’s worth of conversation, my fiancee and I are left with memories of a great person who we were honored to call a friend. We will look back at his life and smile at how beloved he was, and the joy he brought to everyone around him. And we will look at this senseless tragedy with a true feeling of loss, as a truly caring and amazing person was taken from his friends far too soon.
While I look forward to watching the Royals face off against the Orioles this postseason, it just will not be the same. Something will be missing, as we won’t be able talk about the games and the series, a playoff series we were joking about only a couple of months before. Well, that matchup we wanted? It happened.
Rest in peace my friend. I hope that, wherever you are, you enjoy watching this series as much as I will.