Oct 15, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals right fielder Norichika Aoki (23) throws a t-shirt into the crowd from the top of the dugout after game four of the 2014 ALCS playoff baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals swept the Orioles to advance to the World Series. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Royals fans shocked the baseball world by coming out in droves to see the 2012 Midsummer Classic.
All-Star games are typically ho-hum affairs. They’re “showcase” games that hold little meaning, despite commissioner Bud Selig deciding to award home field advantage in the World Series to the winning league after the 2002 All-Star debacle.
But, the 2012 All-Star game was the first whiff of a baseball “event” that Kansas City had seen in 27 years. Locals fans came out in droves, and lent a charge to All-Star ceremonies that major league baseball hadn’t seen in years. The league RAVED about response from Kansas City fans and the electric atmosphere that the Midsummer Classic had not seen since the beginning of inter-league play.
At the time, numerous Kansas City Royals bloggers asserted that Kansas City’s All-Star response proved that if owner David Glass would bother to invest the resources to field a winner, that fans were waiting to explode.
Lo and behold, David Glass did just that.
He bumped team payroll from $64 million in 2012, to $81 million in 2013. Eighty one million was a massive jump from a mere $38 million just two years before in 2011, when the KC Royals had the lowest payroll in major-league baseball.
Not only did new funds allow the Kansas City Royals to trade for pitching upgrade Ervin Santana, the front office pulled the deal of the winter when they sent Wil Myers, Jake Odorizzi, Mike Montgomery, and Patrick Leonard to Tampa Bay in return for James Shields and Wade Davis.
While most pundits believed the move to be premature since the team had finished 72-90 in 2012, they at least gave the KC Royals credit for trying.
Kansas City Royals fans, and even most casual baseball fans all over the world, know what happened next. The KC Royals enjoyed their first winning season since 2003 by going 86-76 in 2013.
Then they won the American League pennant in 2014, by sweeping their way to the World Series with an unprecedented 8-0 run through the playoffs.
Though the KC Royals fell one run short in game seven of the 2014 World Series, and lost the title to the San Francisco Giants, Kansas City had once again gained baseball relevance.
Now, Kansas City Royal fan mania has surged to an all-time high with their team sporting the best record in the American League at 52-34. KC fans voted in crazed hordes to elect their beloved hometown heroes into the All-Star game. With two weeks to go, KC Royals fans had EIGHT players in position to win election as All-Star starters.
Only four would win the fan vote to start the 2015 All-Star game. But, AL manager Ned Yost named relievers Kelvin Herrera and Wade Davis to the squad. Then KC Royals fans pushed Mike Moustakas to victory in the “final vote”, upping the KC contingent to seven players.
Three years after Kansas City’s fan attack on Robinson Cano, the KC Royals boast the most rabid fan base in all of baseball—and maybe of any sports team in America.
Next: Did The 2012 All-Star Fan Outburst Help The KC Royals Break A Generation Of Failure?