“Our last homestand this year should be a celebration of Alex Gordon.”
When the Royals made an improbable run in 2014, Alex was a big part of the reason it happened. He did everything he needed to do for that team. He led by example. He was the cornerstone of that incredible defense. He got on base. He hit timely homers when the team needed it most. He obliterated Baltimore in the ALCS. Frankly, I’m still not sure they’ve recovered. And, just when we thought that 2014 run was over, Gordon delivered the unlikeliest of triples to put himself on third base as the tying run in the 9th inning. It was soul-crushing when they were not able to bring him home to tie Game 7. It felt like we blew a chance we would never be able to get back. But, by then, we all should have known the Alex Gordon story was never going to have that for its climax. Disappointment is merely fuel for Gordon.
There are plenty of plays, hits, pitches, lucky breaks from the 2015 Championship season that will always be remembered by Royals fans as if they happened seconds ago and not years. We will always recall exactly how we felt during those specific moments. But, the one memory that will always feel, to me, just a bit different was in the 9th inning of Game 1 of the World Series. If we lost that game and started in a hole it felt like the entire series would be an uphill struggle. Destined to repeat the 2014 ending of fighting to come so close only to never reach the Promised Land. And we were two outs away from squandering that game away. And then, just as if it was a prophecy, there was Alex… “Gordon in the air to center…” and 2000 miles away a 38-year-old Royals fan felt 8 years old all over again and began to tear up. Because Alex had once again made the impossible possible. Made the unlikeliest of outcomes seem as though it was destiny all along.
Alex would then go on to sign the big major league contract that he so richly deserved. And he has been here through the dismantling of that World Series team and the beginning of this rebuild. He is still the consummate professional. Still the best glove in left field in all of baseball. But just as my young nephew who grew up idolizing Alex Gordon is now preparing to finish high school, time just rolls on. Alex has also never hit over league average since 2015 and next year he will be 36. Bringing Alex back for another contract makes little sense, at this point.
If we are rebuilding, then we need to play young guys that can show us what they got. If, as Royals management keeps telling us, we are not in a rebuild then we need to have a left fielder out there that can hit. Such is the business.
Alex Gordon began his career as a sure thing. And he turned that into an improbable story of perseverance and determination. And finally, salvation. Guys just do not do what Alex has done. Even the best of them. And all the sacrifices he has made to turn himself into the best left fielder of his generation have been a gift to Royals fans as well as to baseball lovers everywhere. We have all been blessed just to get to watch him play.
Our last homestand this year should be a celebration of Alex Gordon. Of everything, he has meant to the team, to the city, to the fans. To baseball. Alex’s professional accomplishments will live on forever. From Nebraska to Missouri, and everywhere in between, he will always be a hero. I am of the mind that we should build the man a statue. Undoubtedly, that statue would be of him pointing his finger towards the heavens as he floats around first base in Game 1.
Every demigod deserves a good statue, right? And I am aware that no decision has been made by Alex when it comes to what he wants to do next year. But, maybe instead of continuously asking him the same question over and over, instead of suggesting the conquering hero return to the battlefield one last time when he has already done more than enough, we should just cheer for him. “We love you, Alex! Thanks for the years!”