Like everyone else in Kansas City, we’re going to ride this train until the wheels fall off. The Royals have firmly planted themselves in the history books of postseason baseball. In fact, we’re well past the point of the “Ah shucks we’re just happy to be here” feeling the rest of the country apparently expected us to have, and now we’re so hyped it’s like “Whoa. Let’s win the whole damn thing!”
In honor of the Royals and the way they’ve enthralled an entire city, here are some reasons they’re going to win the World Series. None of these are independent of one another, and they’re in no particular order:
1. Homegrown Players
For years and years, Royals fans were sold on prospects and first round draft picks. Well, it may have taken longer than we would’ve liked, but the Royals, for the most part, aren’t built on big name players with bloated contracts acquired through trades or free agency. Instead they’ve stuck with the plan of developing their prospects like Eric Hosmer, Mike Moustakas, Yordano Ventura, Danny Duffy and Salvador Perez. Even Escobar and Cain, who were acquired in the Greinke trade years back, have been right there with the others either playing in Omaha or taking their licks in the majors early on to get to this point.
2. Perfect Chemistry
If you watch baseball over the course of a whole season, you’ll see a lot of teams going through the motions from June to August until the race for the playoffs lights the fire within. This never happened with this year’s Royals. They literally have a party after every win. They celebrate wildly for home runs, great defensive plays and big strikeouts. It may seem goofy and childish to salty baseball lifers, but really it’s a testament to the fact that these guys truly like each other. They remind us that baseball is supposed to be fun. They’ve certainly experienced their dramatic ups and downs throughout this Mamba-like ride of a season. But all along the players and front office have stuck with each other while other teams made moves to get better (on paper) and fans jumped back and forth from ship to shore to ship again.
3. Rights Guys at the Right Time
Who hasn’t come up big this postseason? Salvy’s walk-off to win the wildcard, Nori and LoCain’s defense throughout the ALDS, Vargy’s solid outing and Moose’s huge homer to win game 1, Yordano Ventura’s performance and Hosmer’s game winning blast in game 2, Gordo getting the party started in game 3, Billy’s stolen base (!) and another big homer from both Moose and Hosmer to leave the Angels grasping for air. And on top of all that, the brigade of Brandon Finnegan, Jason Frasor, Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland has been nails the whole time. It’s gotten to the point where, whether you’re watching at Kauffman, the visiting stadium, a bar or at home with friends, you’re almost expecting the guy at the plate or on the mound to come up big.
4. The Nation’s On Our Side
The wildcard game against the A’s captivated the country and now four games into their first visit to the playoffs in 29 years, the Royals have proved they’re for real. If you’ve been listening to sports talk radio or reading columns, both local and national, over the past week, you’ve surely heard how rival executives and rival fans of non-playoff teams are rooting for KC. In a way, the Royals have become America’s darlings. I mean, seriously, check out this SportsNation poll…
5. Kansas City Faithful
Arrowhead’s fandom is well documented. But Kauffman, in its two chances this year, has shown up like no one could’ve imagined. James Shields said he could feel the ground shaking before the wildcard game. The crowd noise 100 percent played a role in the 12th inning of that same game. The crowds and support around the city has been so incredible that a postgame interview can’t go more than a couple minutes without the fans being mentioned, and the sense of pride and overall feeling of “we’re all in this together” led Eric Hosmer and a group of Royals to treat a large crowd of revelers at McFadden’s to free drinks in downtown Kansas City after they swept the Angels.
6. Sheer Belief
From the fans to the players, this is a city that many of its citizens have never even seen a postseason game. Still everyone remains relentless in the pursuit, and it definitely has trickled down to the players. We've dealt with being the underdog for decades, so quite frankly we have nothing to lose at this point. From the members of the 1985 squad, the guys at the coffee shop or the neighbor you rarely speak to, this 'team' is united, and we continue to believe. Through years of expecting the worst, we've finally brought a winning attitude all around. Our continued belief that we will win is what is going to take us to the promised land and maybe a little luck from the arm chair of Don Denkinger or our adorned international son Sung Woo Lee won't hurt either. This is a city on the rise in a major way and together we can do anything, as long as we all continue to just BELIEVE!
Now these reasons aren’t scientific or necessarily objective, so in addition to all of those the team’s timely hitting, solid pitching and excellent defense should provide everyone with a bit of confidence going into a tough ALCS against Baltimore. Let’s go Royals!
A special thanks to Aaron Dana for the image created for this post. To see more of his work be sure to check him out at aarondana.com or follow him on Twitter.