There’s an old joke about the weather in Missouri: if you don’t like it, just wait five minutes and it’ll change. The punchline reminds me of the highs and lows that my local baseball team, the Kansas City Royals, have experienced this year.
It has been a season of highs and lows, losing stretches converted without warning into winning streaks; frustration turning into elation overnight. The postseason has accelerated the process, with all of these feelings happening during the course of a single game on an almost daily basis.
As I write this, the Royals are up two games to none in their series versus the Baltimore Orioles, only two wins away from the World Series. It looks like the roller coaster ride isn’t over yet for the Royals and their fans; there is anxiety and worry ahead, and hopefully joy as well.
Whatever the next two weeks hold for them, the Royals players appear confident in their ability to overcome any adversity that comes their way. After 29 years on the outside of the post-season looking in, it has taken Royals fans a bit longer to attain that level of confidence. After six straight wins this post season, the fans are believing in them as well. This post-season run is uniting Kansas City in ways that I haven’t seen since the Chiefs went to the AFC title game after the 1993 season. Regardless of race, age or state of residence, everyone is sharing in the excitement and optimism.
Many of my Facebook friends will already know that I was born and raised a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals. I moved to Kansas City in the late 1980s, but the Cardinals remained my favorite team. I wanted the Royals to do well, but primarily because it made baseball season more interesting if they did, there was no emotional attachment to them for a long time.
That has changed over the past couple of years. As the Royals have developed good young players and suffered through the growing pains as they learned how to win, I have become a Royals fan. It might be an indication that I now consider myself a Kansas Citian at heart, or maybe I’m overcome with the excitement of living in a city going deep into the playoffs for the first time in a generation. If the Royals and Cardinals both reach the World Series, it’s likely that I’ll be rooting for the Royals. I celebrated Cardinal wins in 2006 and 2011, I figure it’s the Royals turn now.