Last year seemed like a dream. And now they’re playing in the World Series for the second consecutive season. After last year, this is exactly what the Royals planned to do – and us fans, too (even as the national media didn’t have a clue) – at the beginning of the season. …
For nearly three decades, the Royals weren't just bad, they were irrelevant. They were ignored by everyone, their supposed rivals, their division foes, both coasts. From 1994 to 2012, the Royals had a winning season once. That's nearly 20 years where the home fans saw their team lose more than it won every year. That hasn't happened once to, say, Yankees fans since 1995. Until last season, the Royals had the longest playoff drought in North American professional sports. Kansas City fans know nothing but misery and frustration … until last year. And they didn't even win the World Series last year. In fact, they lost it in a particularly brutal way: In seven games, by one run, at home, with the tying run 90 feet away. ...
The Royals not only are underdogs throughout their history: They're underdogs this year. Even though they'd been to the World Series last year, virtually no experts picked them to win the AL Central this season. The 2014 run was considered a fluke, a one-off. As SI.com's Jay Jaffe noted, no one, whether they were analytically minded or more traditionally oriented, thought the Royals would be good this year. A Kansas City Star reporter noted back in April that not a single one of 149 prognosticators had them back in the World Series. More people predicted the Cubs, Mets and Blue Jays to make it this far than ever predicted the Royals.
From The New York Times …
Their loss to the Giants in Game 7, with the tying run at third base in the bottom of the ninth inning, became an instantly indelible moment in baseball history. If Salvador Perez had hit a home run against Madison Bumgarner, as he had done in the opener, the Royals would have won it all. Instead, he popped out to end the season.
“I got too excited,” Perez said this spring. “That’s why I swung at a lot of pitches up. But now I got experience. I know what happened. Maybe next time I’ll be more patient.”
The Royals were convinced there would, in fact, be a next time. They fought all season to make it happen, and did it in a way that exemplified their style of play. In Game 6 of the American League Championship Series against Toronto on Friday, Lorenzo Cain scored the winning run by running from first to home on a single. Then Wade Davis struck out two hitters with the tying run at third before winning the pennant by inducing a ground ball to third.
Speed, dominant relief pitching and defense — that was the formula that nearly produced a title the last time, and now the Royals try again.In my dream world, I had hoped to be heading to tonight’s Game 1 at Kauffman Stadium. Throughout this postseason, I’ve had it in my head that I made it to the ALCS last year – and what a day that was – so, if the Royals got there, I was gunning for a World Series game this year.
Well, that didn’t go over well the first time I suggested it to Kates. She has parent-teacher conferences this week, which makes for a stressful few days for her. Then, Phoebe came down with a virus of some kind and I’ve stayed home with her the last two days. So that pretty much dashed any hope of going to tonight’s game.
Kates and I have come to a consensus now, though. I’m hoping for a Game 6 at Kauffman. Stay tuned.
Here’s some good reads and stuff as we get ready for tonight’s first pitch …
- Today in Postseason History: Royals, Mets clinch World Series championships … Let's talk about fate.
- The Royals Are the Epitome of a Moneyball Team
- Royals changing how the game is played
- Advance scout work gives Royals leg up … I talked for much of the second half how much the Blue Jays scared me when it came to a potential matchup with the Royals. Turns out Dayton Moore and Co. were on it. Fascinating read.
- 5 moves that got the Royals to the World Series
- With Mets in World Series, the Wilpons Are Also Owning the Moment
- 2015 Mets have chance to escape 1986 team's shadow in World Series
ESPN’s 30 for 30 Finally Reveals the Troubling True Story Behind Angels in the Outfield … In the great tradition of College Humor