Tuesday, November 3, 2015

An Epilogue from a Kansas City Royals Fan Upon Their 2015 Championship

It's Tuesday, but Sunday night is still fresh in my mind. I feel a need to articulate everything I've processed during these wonderfully surreal 24 hours. Additionally, I want to assure anyone who is growing annoyed by the near-constant baseball posts that this will be the last one for awhile. (Someone unfriended me on Facebook during the 12th inning last night, so clearly I rankled at least one person.)

First of all, my thanks to everyone who was pulling for me these last couple of years. The vast majority of the people that have commented on my status updates were high school and college buddies, a group of mostly White Sox fans that gave me significant grief during the Royals' wilderness years in the late '90s and throughout the 2000s. It took it all in stride, and even though I don't miss the losing, I will miss telling people that the Royals are "last in the AL Central, first in your hearts."

I didn't really know a whole lot of other Royals fans in person --my Dad, who lived in Overland Park, KS in the late '40s, is a Cards fan-- but upon immersing myself into the Chicago improv community, I met a number of Missouri and Kansas natives that bleed Royals blue. Even though we all kind of did our own thing on Sunday night, I'm glad we were able to watch last year's Game 7 letdown as a proud, united front.

This is for Salvador Perez, who was on a season-long quest for redemption. After getting completely stymied by the Giants' pitching in last year's Fall Classic --a WAR around 1.0, incidentally-- our faithful catcher was a man with a mission. Even if two RBIs and two runs in five games may look pedestrian, his .348 average in the series was more than enough to justify winning Most Valuable Player. When Drew Butera caught the 12th inning, I knew Salvy had earned his rest.

This is for Gordo, Moose, and Hos, three top prospects that initially struggled upon first playing the majors and were nearly written off as busts. Alex was moved from third to left, Moose went back to Ohama to learn how to hit through an infield shift, and Hosmer just needed to figure out major league pitching. Patience and perseverence pays off.

This is for Edinson Volquez, who pitched twice in the series with a heavy heart. I don't know if he knew his father passed away before Game 1, and it doesn't matter now, but Eddie didn't let tragedy get in the way of his goals.

This is for manager Ned Yost, who finally shook off the "idiot" label. For now, anyway.

This is for the Kane County Cougars, the single-A team that was KC's minor league affiliate in 2011 and 2012. Getting to see the Royals' stars of tomorrow (including that one-hit wonder, Christian Colon) 45 minutes from where I grew up was a delight and a pleasure.

This is for Matt Harvey, who insisted on pitching the 9th inning, and is now assuring Terry Collins that he can finish nine Bud Light pitchers in one sitting.

This is for Addison Reed and Bartolo Colon, because quite frankly, no matter where we are Royals are always going to feast on White Sox pitching. (Maybe I should be thanking Don Cooper instead.)

This is for Howser, Quiz, and Splitt, the Royals greats that weren't alive to see this.

Above all, this is for my dad's side of the family, and especially my great-aunt Bea Stewart, who would regale visiting relatives with inappropriate comments about George Brett's butt.

It feels so redeeming to say this, and it still feels a little heterodox, but dreams have become reality. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2015 World Series Champion Kansas City Royals. #Crowned

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