Last season, the Kansas City Royals run through the postseason finished in agonizing fashion. Although the Royals were not expected to get nearly as far as they did, to finish 90 feet from tying Game Seven of the World Series at Kauffman Stadium, after their rampage through the American League portion of the bracket, was truly devastating to watch. Much like that cool water or the tempting fruit that forever elude Tantalus, so too did the final victory elude the Royals.
Tonight, the Royals have a chance to take care of their unfinished business from last year. This season, they are far more prepared and ready to line up against the best that baseball has to offer. Instead of their biggest trades resulting in the acquisition of players like Josh Willingham or Jason Frasor, the Royals got Johnny Cueto and Ben Zobrist, two players who were considered to be amongst the best available at the time.
Add in the experience of last year’s playoff run, and the mantra that they had that unfinished business to take care of, and it would seem as though the Royals know exactly what is expected of them this time. For as much fun as last season’s unexpected trek through the postseason was, the Royals are considered one of the favorites to win the World Series this time through. Anything less, especially given the Royals expectations at the beginning of the year, would be a disappointment.
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It is amazing what a difference a year can make. At this time last season, the Kansas City Royals and their fans were simply happy to be there. Every victory, and improbable moment, was relished and savored. The power of Mike Moustakas, the torrid bat of Lorenzo Cain and even the speed of Billy Butler will remain firmly etched in our minds. Stories will be told years from now about how Yordano Ventura stared down the Giants lineup in Game Six, firing seven shutout innings in tribute of his late friend Oscar Taveras and extending the Royals season.
This year, there is a new story waiting to be told. The Royals will have new heroes, perhaps some as unlikely as Moustakas and Ventura were last postseason. Only this time, the Royals have home field advantage throughout the postseason, and the lofty expectations of both the fanbase and the front office upon them. Can they deliver in the face of that pressure?
The Kansas City Royals have some unfinished business to take care of. It is time for the Royals to take October by storm once again.