It’s been a rough past couple of seasons for the KC Royals. Some of the team’s leaders are sick and tired of losing — and rightfully so.
This is no secret, but the 2018 and 2019 seasons were not kind to the KC Royals. Losing 104 games two years ago and then improving by just one win the following campaign, this marked the first time the team had lost 100-plus games in consecutive seasons since 2005 and 2006. In Ned Yost‘s last ride as a manager, he weathered the storm and passed the torch to Mike Matheny a few months ago.
The Royals aren’t without talent. Whether it’s young guns like Adalberto Mondesi and Brad Keller, or veteran leaders like Alex Gordon and Whit Merrifield, some pieces are there. Gordon has long been considered the leader of the team and at age 36, he’s back for another season. Merrifield has been the team’s best player for a couple of years now. They both want to win.
This was evident at the Royals’ 2020 FanFest. Gordon and Merrifield expressed that the team needs to have the mindset that it’s always time to compete. The Athletic’s Alec Lewis pulled some quotes from both players (subscription required), but this jumped out the most:
Tomorrow really is not promised to any of us, both in regards to life and also baseball. Players are one devastating injury away from being out for an entire season or, in the worst of cases, the rest of their careers. The MLB is in a constant state of change and if teams fail to adapt, they can get left behind.
Both Royals vets believe that talent-wise, the team is close to being competitive. Whether you agree with that or think it’s blasphemous, it’s a much-needed positive attitude. It’s a contagious one — and in a good way. When your team is losing a lot, having one or two guys around who can lift some spirits and inspire teammates is a great thing.
Who knows what the 2020 KC Royals’ final record will look like. If Whit Merrifield and Alex Gordon have anything to say about it, though, any lack of success won’t be because of a lack of effort.