It had been a quiet past few months for the Kansas City Royals. After their various dustups against the Oakland A’s and the Chicago White Sox, the Royals had been given the label of being a team of hot heads, unable to control their emotions or deal with their new found success in a mature fashion. After all, the Royals appeared to be the common denominator, making such analysis easy.
Then, yesterday happened. In the Toronto Blue Jays 5-2 victory over the Royals, the benches cleared, batters were hit and tempers flared once more. This time, the ringleader to the shenanigans would appear to have been Edinson Volquez, who started everything by hitting Josh Donaldson in the first inning. After Donaldson was almost hit by Volquez again in the third, and by Ryan Madson in the seventh, he began yelling at the Royals bench and home plate umpire.
As it turns out, there is a common denominator to these incidents, but it is not the easy target that the Kansas City Royals would be. Let us look at the players that the Royals have had issues with this season. Brett Lawrie and, in general, the entirety of the Oakland A’s. Jeff Samardzija. Now, Josh Donaldson. Notice a trend?
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Yes, it all comes back to the Oakland A’s. After last season’s stunning defeat in the Wild Card Game, the A’s appear to have had difficulties in leaving the past behind. Players from that 2014 A’s team, regardless of where they are currently playing, seemingly have yet to make peace with the fact that they lost to the Kansas City Royals. How else can one explain the chip on the shoulder required to perform a bat flip after drawing a walk?
It is interesting to see how the opinion of the Royals has changed over this season. Instead of being that fun, exciting team that did not know they were not supposed to make it as far they did, the Royals had been viewed as a team that could not handle success. Given the incidents yesterday, that narrative may begin once more.
This, simply, is not a fair view of the circumstances. Could the Royals have handled things better at times? Yes, especially when Kelvin Herrera pointed at this head after throwing a pitch behind Lawrie. Yet, let us not forget that these actions were, at the very least, mirrored by those who the Royals were facing. In fact, at times when bygones were supposed to be bygones, hostilities renewed themselves when a member of that 2014 Oakland A’s team caused an issue.
Hopefully, the incidents Sunday involving Josh Donaldson will not turn into another series of articles about how the Kansas City Royals are an insufferable collection of hotheaded youngsters who are disrespecting the game. Yes, there may be a common thread in these issues, but it appears to date back to September 30, 2014.
At least Josh Donaldson does not need to worry abut being hated in Kansas City. After all, he will hold a special place in our hearts because of this play.