The first place Royals

The Royals have moved into first place in the AL Central.  A nine-game winning streak tends to help with things like that.  The first place Kansas City Royals — that’s a phrase one doesn’t hear too often these days.

They had to claw their way up for it.  The Royals have hung around, mostly in the middle of the pack for most of the season, doing stints at the bottom of the division.  Excluding the first week of the season, which doesn’t count anyways, this is the first time this year that the Royals have made their way into the first place slot.

It’s a good feeling, if you’re a Royals fan.

Thing is, Kansas City fans are fickle.  Fair weather fans, and not just when it comes to baseball.  Chiefs games are always packed because this is football country, but that doesn’t stop Chiefs fans from dissing on their own team when things are going badly.  Royals fans show their lack of loyalty by not going to games.  In a stadium built to hold over 37,000 people, a crowd of 24,000 at a Royals game is considered a good crowd.  If the Royals hold onto first place for a while, I imagine attendance will peak even higher than that for awhile.  If they lose today and drop back into second place, however, the reaction will be, “Welp, that figures,” and Kansas Citians will continue about their business.

I probably shouldn’t be so harsh a judge about it.  For decades, the Royals have offered lots of hope, but few results.  Many fans have likened the team to a farm team, producing names like Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, and Zack Greinke, only to trade them off to other, bigger markets.  The frustration over that is justified.  It’s tough, being a small-market team.

But these last two seasons have brought more than just talking about having hope.  They have actually brought hope.  Playoff contenders last year, and looking to be about the same this year.  If we’re really lucky, we may even see a playoff berth this year, but I’m not holding my breath just yet.  Just as fans are fickle, streaks — both winning and losing streaks — are also fickle, and one streak in either direction can change everything.

It’s a long season, but I’m hopeful.

Kansas City Royals

8 thoughts on “The first place Royals

  1. Good Job! I am a long time fan(30 years) and I can personally tell you it’s hard to not expect the other shoe to drop. There isn’t anything wrong with being cautious, but also enjoy the way they are playing. I tend to be pretty realistic, so I don’t get too crazy either way, but it is really fun to watch this team right now. If they are still there come two months from now, then I will get REALLY excited.

  2. Nice to see KC back in contention. I remember the days of Brett, Wilson, Gura, and Ewing Kauffman. Finally, a chance to repeat some of those memories.
    And yes, I agree, KC fans, unlike St. Louis, fans are fair weather.
    Nice read.

  3. Complaining about one’s team seems like a religion with AM radio being the sanctuary. Maybe the only exception are Cub’s fans. It’s great to see three former Brewers in the Royal’s starting lineup and Yost-the Brewer’s former manager. I remember him guaranteeing a Royal’s playoff berth when he was hired in KC. Brewer fans will forever be grateful to the Royals for trading Greinke.

    1. Looks like Greinke will be pitching against the Royals next week when the Dodgers come to Kansas City. It will be interesting to see whether he gets cheered or booed. As for Yost, KC fans have spent the last couple years wanting to blame everything on him, but obviously it’s getting harder for them to do so. Managing always seems easier from the living room couch.

  4. I’m not sure I’d call us K.C. fans ‘fickle’, but we haven’t made the playoffs in nearly 30 years, and streaks like that do tend to put a hitch in one’s giddy-up. We’ve lost big-time talent over the years, and there’s no doubt that’s partly responsible for the long slide. Things are looking up, however — we beat Greinke tonight. He’s still a great pitcher, and we needed that win to break a poorly-timed four game losing streak. For the first time in a long while, I have hope. 🙂

    1. True, it’s hard to stick with a team that hasn’t seen much success in recent years. However, I do think most Kansas Citians are pretty fickle. The most loyal fans have been steady, yes. But I can’t help but remember a comment one of my high school teachers once made about me wearing a Royals shirt in public when most people seem embarrassed to do so.

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