So, here it is, just about 36 hours after the Kansas City Royals won the World Series in five games over the New York Mets. The Royals won the World Series. Right now, there is a victory parade winding through downtown Kansas City, and the Commissioner’s Trophy is, after thirty long years, once again in the hands of baseball’s royalty.
This realization still has a generally surreal feeling. The Royals had been doormats for so long, with players like Bob Hamelin, Chris George, Angel Berroa and Ken Harvey all expected to be the saviors of the franchise, players that would lead them back to the Promised Land. This was a team that once had Mark Redman, yes, Mark Redman, as their token All-Star in 2006 – a year where he posted a 5.71 ERA and a 1.587 WHiP. This was the team that had one winning season in an 18 year span, a feat that should be enough to canonize Tony Pena.
Yes, the Royals had made the World Series last year, an improbable run that reignited the fanbase and the franchise. While it was certainly a cause for celebration, to fall so agonizingly short in Game Seven led to a number of ‘What if’ questions. What if Alex Gordon had headed for home instead of stopping at third? What if Salvador Perez had not been hit earlier in the game? What if Jeremy Guthrie was taken out sooner?
Even though the World Series was won in five games, it certainly was not easy. The Kansas City Royals won six games while behind heading into the ninth inning. They were behind, at one point, in every game against the Mets. They fought back from seemingly certain death against the Astros in Game Four of the ALDS. Just a normal, run of the mill postseason, right?
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This postseason run exemplified everything that the Royals had been built upon. They had a dramatic advantage when it came to defense and in the bullpen, two areas that the Royals were able to exploit against the Mets. Their offense, a throwback to the days of contact and speed, proved that the 1980’s could return in ways that did not involve polyester or a Warrant reunion tour.
This was also a season of redemption in a way. After the Royals improbable run last season, few expected them to even be a winning ballclub again this season. The Royals were supposed to sink back to the realm of mediocrity that they knew for so long. Instead, Dayton Moore and the Royals proved that their formula was more than a one time hit, riding that belief in contact, speed, defense and a strong bullpen all the way to the title.
As David Glass said, losing is for losers. Well, the Kansas City Royals are losers no more. This is one dream that, now that we have awoken from, has actually come true.