Time is a trippy thing: It simultaneously feels like last week and like a decade has passed since Kansas City and our beloved KC Royals went for a wild postseason ride. I already feel like one of those hippies-turned-boomers who claims to have been at Woodstock whenever I mention I attended the Wildcard game against the Oakland A’s.
I can’t blame people for the skepticism I see in their faces. For Kansas Citians in general, and Royals fans in particular, that truly was a transformative, seminal event. Every fan wishes they’d been there. It’s when the magic began.
And for those of us inside the stadium, it was transcendental, dude.
This April obviously can’t match last October, in terms of excitement, passion and fanatical frenzy. After all, baseball, unlike any other major sport, is a marathon. We are just over 15% through the gloriously long 2015 season. But there’s been a great deal of exciting baseball (and basebrawl) thus far.
Oakland third basemen Brett Lawrie (15) gets held back by home plate umpire Greg Gibson. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
It’s too early to get too up (or too down). But in some ways, for those of us who bleed Royals blue, this first month feels a lot like an extension of last October. And our defending AL Champs are playing now like they did then – with unbridled passion and a ton of talent. There has scarcely been an entire inning of Royals baseball played without something to get the hearts of even the semi-interested fan’s heart pumping.
Speaking of: a good friend of mine recently disagreed with my description of the length of the baseball season as being glorious.
“There are so many games left to play,” she said. “What happens in April is meaningless. Snooze.”
After picking my jaw up off the floor, I silently made a quick assessment: Do I need this person as a friend? Don’t I have enough already? I decided to keep gnawing on my tongue, saving my real-life unfriending for things that really matter, such as finding out someone is a Cardinals or a Yankees fan.
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To me, there have already been too many exciting highlight-reel-worthy plays and games for me to keep track of. And, as I write this, we are a mere 22 games in, with 140 left to play. Just last night, when the KC Royals trounced the defending Central Division Champs, Jarrod “Speed” Dyson ran down two pop flies (one running out and one running in) that looked like sure hits. He also went 3 for 4 at the plate. In the last week, Speedy has gone from not even batting his weight (listed as 160 lbs) to nearly batting a Salvy (listed at 240 lbs). And that diving catch that Alex Gordon made on Chicago’s south side – flying over the wall and into the seats like a superhero? Virtually everyone agrees that was THE play of the year so far.
There’s been much made over all our hit batsmen and the ejections and the bench-clearing. We can spew our opinions about it. But the facts are the facts: We’ve already had an entire soap opera season’s worth of drama and enough excitement to make the new Avenger’s movie look boring.
Kansas City Royals center fielder Lorenzo Cain (6) steals second base against Detroit in the fifth inning. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
In terms of series match-ups, our Boys in Blue are 6-2. The Royals are not only stealing bases, playing stellar defense and hitting for average – they are also continuing to hit for power … something they didn’t do a whole lot of until October last year. The power surge has more than made up for some less-than-stellar starting pitching.
And the fans are showing their support and love: School isn’t out yet and the series against the A’s was nearly sold out – as is the series we continue tonight against the Tigers.
The Royals came into April like a lion. (Lions usually whoop tigers, don’t they? I’d hate for my goofy analogy to be the reason we don’t take at least three out of four this weekend!)
Yes – it is just a month into the season. We have long way to go. I get it. And it all may come to a screeching halt. But I doubt it will. Our Blue October proved at least two things: 1) These young Royals are a great baseball team, capable of being crowned world champs, and 2) At heart, Kansas City is a baseball town … we’ve just been waiting for 29 years for a reason to live and breath and bleed Royal Blue once again.
The wait is over. Revel in it. Enjoy the summer. Believe.