There have been quite a few thorns in the KC Royals’ side over the years. Is there a current player that’s the team’s archenemy?
Rivals are a part of every sport. Teams have specific squads and players that never fail to get under their skin and make every matchup a bit more important. For the KC Royals, that’s no different.
Over the years, the Royals have developed both player and division rivals. There was a brief period, one that coincided with the team’s back-to-back trips to the World Series, in which the franchise had a “bad boy” mentality at times. This was partially a result of the do-or-die attitudes of players like the late, great Yordano Ventura. The team was successful, and it wasn’t going to be taken lightly.
MLB.com recently published an article listing every team’s top rival. For the Royals, the selection committee picked New York Mets second baseman Robinson Canó. Canó has spent 15 years in the MLB, playing as a member of the New York Yankees, Seattle Mariners, and now the Mets. The reasoning behind the pick was that Canó didn’t choose former Royals slugger Billy Butler for the Home Run Derby squad in 2012, the year Kauffman Stadium hosted the event. The article continued:
"“Canó was booed loudly when introduced before the Derby, and fans cheered every time he made an out. In fact, Canó didn’t hit a single home run, a year after winning the event in Arizona. Since then, every time Canó has returned to Kansas City, he has been booed. Royals fans don’t forget.”"
Although it’s true that KC Royals fans don’t forget, there’s something far more pressing still on many of their minds. My pick for the team’s biggest enemy would be current Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Madison Bumgarner — and by a landslide. His complete and utter dominance of the Boys in Blue in the 2014 World Series will always be a part of the franchise’s history, representing a missed chance at winning a ring.
Bumgarner tossed seven innings of one-run ball in Game 1. He then pitched a complete game shutout four contests later, which led many to believe he’d be done for the remainder of the series. Not to go out without a grand finale, Bumgarner’s five-inning save in Game 7 was the first of its kind during a Fall Classic, and his 0.43 ERA in the World Series cemented his status as a postseason legend.
That is far tougher a pill to swallow than a fan favorite not being picked for the Home Run Derby team. Canó can certainly be one of the KC Royals’ enemies, but to pick him ahead of Bumgarner is asinine. There may never be another instance in which a pitcher flat-out dominates the opposing team not just once or twice, but three times in a World Series to put their hopes of winning a championship to rest.
Did I forget someone? Let us know who your pick is for the Royals’ No. 1 nemesis in the comments below.