The Kansas City Royals, the country bumpkin baseball team, the laughable losers, went all the way to the seventh game of the 2014 World Series before relinquishing the title to the San Francisco Giants.
The following spring, other teams responded to the Royals by trying to beat them up. By May 10, 2015, the number of Royals batters hit by pitches was 24 during a 31 game stretch that began April 8.
Accidents? Highly doubtful.
Last year, everybody who was anybody predicted the Royals would have a losing season. But after 95 wins, the Royals became World Champions after five games. (As a side note, I’ll add that the Kansas City Police Department had no arrests [that’s zero] the day the Royals won the World Series. Compare this to 2014 San Francisco the day the Giants won the series: two people were shot, one was stabbed, about 40 were arrested, fires were set in the streets, buildings were vandalized and police turned out in riot gear.)
So what about 2016? Again, the experts are predicting the Royals will lose. Obviously, as a Royals fan, I hope they’re wrong. As one sportswriter put it, the statistics don’t consider chemistry and confidence. Or sheer determination. Or good old Midwestern stubbornness. If there is a crack they can get a fingernail into, the Royals hang on.
Yes, the Kansas City team is much more than the sum of its parts. The Royals have an intangible factor that fans and prognosticators just can't put their finger on. It's something that's difficult to quantify on a boxscore.
So, this summer you’ll find me drinking ale, playing cornhole, and watching to the Royals. I'll celebrate the tenacity of the team that recently has come to personify what the people around here have always known. We may be from the country, but we can be winners.