It still feels crazy to say it, to write it. The Royals went to game 7 of the World Series last year.
It didn’t end the way we wanted, but it was like a month long gift that kept on giving. I still feel like a beneficiary because Spring Training is already here. I know, it starts the same time every year, but this one snuck up on me. I could get used to this shorter off season thing.
Like a “sneaky quick fastball”, the hot stove cooked right by me. Boom, here we are, making Spring Training lists. What to watch for, what to fear, what to hope for. I have always loved these types of articles. As a Royals fan, this time of the year is usually when we write and read the happiest pieces on the Royals. For obvious reasons, that is different this Spring.
In the past, I never felt like I was being negative when I would predict doom for an upcoming Royals season. I never felt guilt about not embracing the hope springs eternal attitude when piping off about my team. That has completely changed for me. My Royals Cheese, it has been moved and stuff! As I sit to write this, I am struggling (insert….”yeah Ed, I can tell” joke here)
I am struggling because A) I don’t want last season to be over yet. B) I don’t want to go back to my curmudgeon ways before the first pitch of the season is thrown.
Ed’s Issue A. ” Why does it have to be over?”
Look, last Summer and Fall were the most fun I have had in my “adult life”. I don’t mean the happiest moments, or most important, but without a doubt, the most fun.
As I write this, the Royals are the defending American League Champions, but that’s about to be over. I watched the White Sox actually win the Series in 2005, and it seemed over like 5 seconds after the parade. The Sox took everyone by surprise, and went right back to being just ok in 2006. Their wonderful achievement wafted away , like an Old Style induced fart in the 2nd City wind.
I think there is a good chance the Royals fall back to earth very hard this season, and I don’t want that magical ride parked and locked up in MLB’s memory garage ( I may have to write, specifically, about why the Royals will likely struggle in 2015 , but that itself hinges on my ability to grapple with Ed’s Issue B)
Ed’s Issue B. ” Why am I naturally inclined to be such an a-hole?
I can be the type of fan that relishes his slights and resentments. See Pre 2004 Red Sox Fan, see Mizzou Fan, see the entire city of Cleveland. That was us Royals fans too, and I was real good at it.
I saw it as a badge of honor. Pretty sad, a grown ass man, proud of himself for rooting for a specific team. Sad as that was, I know I am not alone here. What do we do now? I am confused. I can’t tell if my soon to come negative predictions are habits from a negative mindset, or just logical. Last year was such a unique and awesome experience, I feel unable to divorce my analytics from my gut. This must be how it feels to be Ned Yost, every damn day.
Intelligence has often been described as having the ability to hold two contrasting ideas in the mind at once. With that thought as a back drop, I’ll make a stab at making a few cogent points with this post.
The Royals thrilled their fan base by making it all the way to game 7 of the World Series, despite having one of the lowest win totals of any post season team in history.
The Royals showed the baseball world how a dominate bullpen can thrive in the post season, but failed to improve their rotation that needs to get them there.
The Royals bashed home runs and slugged their way through the ALDS and ALCS, but have not one player poised to hit over 20 home runs in 2015.
The Royals were remarkably healthy for the second year in a row last year, and have little chance of repeating that level of health in 2015.
The Royals could win the AL Central this year, and they could just as easily finish in last place.
We can hold onto the lessons of gratitude last year’s success taught us, even if this season goes to hell in a hand basket.
We can enjoy the Royals success this year, even if we predicted quite the opposite.
Well, I feel better. I feel like I owe you each $100 for that therapy session. Better out than in.
We’ll talk real ball next time.
Happy Spring Training !