The KC Royals changed the course of the franchise with their wild card win over the Oakland A’s two years ago today. On September 30, 2014, Kansas City put an end to 29 years of failure with a victory for the ages.
It’s hard to remember what being a KC Royals fan was like before that Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium. The Royals hadn’t been relevant since winning the World Series in 1985. NINETEEN EIGHTY FIVE!
Ronald Reagan was president. Back To The Future was in theaters. Madonna was young and sexy. And most people didn’t own a home computer.
In short, it was an eternity ago.
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The biggest thing about being a Royals fan was living with failure. Kansas City fell out of contention by May in many seasons. The front office kept telling us to wait for prospects that rarely succeeded. And, when they did, they almost inevitably traded them away because they couldn’t afford to sign them.
It was baseball hell.
Just Winning The WIld Card Was A Big Success
At the time, just making the post-season was a major breakthrough. The thought of actually winning that wild card game seemed like gravy. Heck, Kansas City fans rocked Kauffman Stadium for the 2012 All-Star game. It was the first meaningful game in the City of Fountains in over 20 years. An actual playoff game would be great seasoning for an inexperienced Royals team that struggled with their confidence in 2014.
That’s the shocking thing to remember. That 2014 team had trouble believing in themselves because they knew nothing but failure at the major-league level. But, veteran mid-season signee Raul Ibanez to delivered a clubhouse speech after the team fell to 48-50 that helped his teammates believe in their own talent.
The KC Royals responded with a 41-23 second half finish that earned them the top wild card spot in the American league at 89-73.