The new year is here, and there’s plenty of excitement for the Kansas City Royals heading into this season and beyond. Will past disappointments launch the team into contention in the new era?
Anytime a team endures back-to-back 100-game losing seasons, it becomes numb to disappointment. There are waves of written pieces expecting more heartbreak within the next few seasons before the Royals get a taste of success. It’s like a tortured prisoner expecting more pain before being freed, while having the means and tools to escape, but missing the will to accomplish it.
A lot has happened and fallen into place that can give us all renewed hope that the team is on the cusp of finding their stride in the American League Central. This new decade should promise sustained success, and the most pessimists among us recognize that it’s coming, we just don’t know when.
It’s always difficult to predict ultimate success in baseball as winning a World Series title is not always guaranteed, regardless of which players take the field. So many things must happen to win it all, but that key phrase that keeps getting tossed around in “sustained success,” is certainly within the realm of possibility for the Kansas City Royals.
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It’s often said that history repeats itself. Usually, that phrase represents some sort of world tragedy, but it can also apply to positive occurrences. There are some parallels between the trajectory of this Royals team and the early 1990s Atlanta Braves, which coincidentally employed Ned Yost as their bullpen coach under manager Bobby Cox. Four young starting pitchers powered those teams: Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, and Steve Avery (two right-handed, and two left-handed pitchers).
The team had come off eight consecutive losing seasons, with back-to-back 97 losses, and then, suddenly won 94 games in 1991. Was it sudden, though? Not really. The team made legendary manager Bobby Cox their skipper in 1990, and stole (really hired, but what’s a world without some exaggeration?) general manager John Schuerholz from the Royals (who also, coincidentally was Dayton Moore’s boss in Atlanta), where he won a World Series title in 1985. The team also struck gold with young pitching. The offense was good enough to provide run support, but the decades long domination primarily happened on the mound.
The question then becomes… Will the Kansas City Royals follow the path from the highly successful 1990s Atlanta Braves? There are no guarantees, but it sure provides an exciting prospect heading into a new era.
Let’s take a look at our three reasons.