According to at least one pundit, the Kansas City Royals are America’s team. Maybe so. Maybe no. Whether any of us want to go there, the Royals are garnering attention from more than just the traditional market for one of the smallest markets in the MLB.
When Alcides Escobar hit a lead-off homer on the first pitch at Wrigley Field yesterday, the roar of the crowd almost made it sound like it was just another great night for the Royals at the K. This was not the K, but it was another great night for the Royals. Royals fans took Wrigleyville by storm, and the Royals put on a hitting display in reward to the Blue Faithful who turned out for the Royals first trip to Wrigley since 2001.
The aforementioned article and statement that the Royals are America’s team comes during an interesting week. Earlier in the week, MLB announced the first count of the All Star Voting, which was a Royal Flush, with Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, Salvador Perez, Mike Moustakas, and Escobar in starting spots for the Midsummer Classic. Then, the Royals, to close the week, have an outstanding turnout at Wrigley Field. Even if the Royals aren’t really America’s team, they certainly have an increased fanbase from years past, most likely due to the magical run all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.
Maybe there are some bandwagon fans that decided, “Hey! These guys are cool!” Maybe the Royals are the cool team to root for now, and conversations will begin to emerge wherein hipsters discuss liking the Royals before they were cool. These are all possible scenarios, and we are all, most likely, Royals hipsters. Regardless, the Royals are worthy of the increased fanbase and attention. They play amazing defense, and now they have an offense to go along with it. The Royals hit for average and some power now, and they still steal bases and steal runs from other teams. The bottom line is that the Royals are fun to watch, and the nation is finally taking notice.
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Personally, it’s an interesting experience since I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and I wear something Royals almost every day. For the past several years, everyone stared at my Royals affiliation in disbelief. Now, however, I see many more Royals hats in Madison than there used to be. People consistently say “go Royals!” to me when I walk down the street or stop into local shops. People are noticing the Royals, and everybody, for now, seems to be reveling in the return of the Boys in Blue. The most obvious reason is that they are still an underdog: a small market team filled with names most people didn’t know before last October. The better reason, the one which I most believe, is that the Royals play baseball the right way.
The Royals play fun, interesting, and inspiring baseball. There is never a game, well … almost never a game, that isn’t fun to watch. The Royals play for the team; they play for each other. Even when the Royals were brawling with anyone who so much as looked at them funny, the Royals played with their hearts and for each other. Nothing, not even suspensions (which are thankfully a thing of the past), dampen the heart of this team, their passion for the game and for the city and each other. The Royals, truly, represent the best of baseball.
The Royals might not really be America’s team, but the Royals do represent the best of America’s pastime every time they step on the field. People are noticing, and people are recognizing the Royals for their heart and intensity. The Royals are the good guys of baseball, and they truly represent the game, which makes the recent release of All-Star votes seem all the better. The Royals truly represent the best of baseball, and America is loving it.