Kansas City Royals, Fans, and the Price of Victory


The opening month of the 2015 campaign has been one of extremes for the Kansas City Royals.  The unexpected bombastic offense introduced Royals fans to a heavy dose of the long ball.  New members of the club are contributing. We even have a Brazilian career minor leaguer who finds it difficult to hit anything but triples. 

On the flip side, the Kansas City Royals face a reversal of fortune from a constant in 2014: the threat of season-ending injuries. Yordano Ventura sank to the ground on Opening Day, clutching his hand as he yelped in agony.  Needless to say, the entire capacity of Kauffman Stadium and Royals fans across the country collectively gasped.  It was nothing more than a cramp.  Ventura would scare us again on his next start, causing the fanbase to plead with The One Who Throws Fire to indulge in a heavy regiment of hydration and bananas. 

Alex Rios started the year off hot before he became the victim of the notorious HPB, a disease that spread through the offense a dozen times.  Although some consider these instances intentional acts, it’s more likely that it’s a combination of unpolished pitching at the seasons’ open and failing to tie up the Kansas City Royals’ bats with inside throws.  The Kansas City Royals offense is literally scaring the pitches out of the competition.

Regardless, the fanbase cries foul.

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The final nail in this coffin occurred yesterday in a rematch with the Oakland A’s, their first appearance at Kauffman since the dramatic Wild Card battle that propelled the Kansas City Royals to the postseason.  Brett Lawrie slid, feet first, into second base and banged his cleats into the side of Alcides Escobar’s foot.  Although it was later reported that the injury was nothing more than a mild sprain and a bruise, the video replay showcased horrific twisting and desperate thoughts of losing our beloved shortstop.

The benches cleared.  Shouts were exchanged.  A volatile situation on field was eventually contained with cooler heads prevailing. The television broadcast, meanwhile, showed Royals fans near the A’s dugout shouting, harassing, and screaming what I can only assume to be obscenities more violent that was on the field.  I later heard from friends attending the ballgame that Athletics fans were treated with hostility.

The revelation of this disgusting information nearly brought me to tears and nausea.  During the World Series, visiting Giants fans were quoted as being overwhelmed by the kindness of the Royals fanbase.  Somehow, a heavily outspoken few attending Royals games are tainting this shining facet of KC baseball culture.  It’s something that needs to stop.

Is this newly found sense of antagonism towards visiting ball clubs an unfortunate side effect of owning the Pennant? Without going into specifics, we all know of a few notorious fanbases with historical winning records.  Or is it merely a temporary symptom of newly a formed and rapidly evolving victorious attitude Kansas City has suddenly been thrust into?

I’m not ranting against being passionate or blaming the entire fan collective.  The Kansas City Royals need that passion in the stands as they drive to duplicate, and surpass, their achievements from last year.  But this passion cannot be fueled with anger for anyone who isn’t a Royals fan.  Twitter is boiling over with tweets by fans who suggest, if not outright demand, that our pitchers return the favor and plunk the other team with pitches.  Not only is this beyond the realm of sanity, it’s downright idiotic and only serves to work against what the Kansas City Royals want to achieve: Wins.  You hit a batter, that batter takes a base, and you’ve only helped the competition out of a deranged sense of machismo.

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The Kansas City Royals players, thankfully, have yet to sink to that level.  Instead of responding with blows and bruises, they answer by putting runs on the board and stifling the bats of the other team.  Yordano Ventura came very close to taking on Mike Trout, but ultimately it was nothing more than a stare down for the ages.  I pray it stays that way.

Although the Kansas City Royals won last night in spectacular fashion, the buzz of victory tarnished. We can be better than this, Kansas City.  We must be better than this.  We need to remind the world that we are the best fans in baseball, that we are fans of a team who’s first baseman spoils the hometown faithful with masterful defensive plays and picks up bar tabs after wins.  

After the game, I strolled through the neighborhood, desiring the fresh air to give negativity a flush.  As I passed a group of college students, I heard one of them shout out “Go Royals!”  I faced the gentleman, upon whose head was a cap adorned with the familiar logo of the Cleveland Indians.  We chatted briefly before shaking hands and agreeing that 2015 was going to be one hell of a year for the AL Central. 

Faith in humanity restored.

Next: Royals Enjoying The Improved Mike Moustakas