The Royals managed to break a 3-game losing streak yesterday, defeating the Rangers 4-3. The win also broke a losing streak for me, as this was the first victory I was able to see in person this year.
With no promotions to entice me to the ballpark early (except Kansas State University day, and I’m not a K-State fan), and due to my laziness in getting up and around yesterday morning, I arrived at the ballpark a mere 45 minutes before game time. I had to park in the farthest spot from the K that I’ve ever had to park. Having attended games even throughout the Royals’ rough years, it is still strange to me arriving even when I did that I should have to park so far away. That is another benefit of low attendance: better parking, and less stress leaving when the game is finished. This is hardly a complaint, however, as I intentionally view my trips to the K as relaxing time, so even the extra time it takes to walk to and from my car and to deal with traffic I see as a chance to slow down mentally. It gives one the opportunity to take in the sensory experience, too — the early summer heat surrounding the event, the smell of hot dogs on tailgating grills, the sounds of parking lot games, and the smell of grease as one approaches the stadium.
To my surprise, the ballpark was only half-full by the time I took my seat, though it filled up quickly in the last twenty-or-so minutes before the game. I suppose that many folks in attendance were like me, with no incentive to arrive early for K-State day. My crowd experience was much more pleasant than the last game I attended, as the people whom I noticed not paying attention to the game were at least a couple rows away from me. This was also the first game where I’ve observed the ushers actually enforcing seating, as at one point a large, yellow-shirted man chased down a couple girls with smirks on their faces, demanding to see their tickets. The fuller a stadium gets, the more important it becomes for people to sit where they’re supposed to sit.
Jeremy Guthrie had another great start — it’s refreshing to see him have two consecutive good starts given how rough his season has been prior to now. The top of the seventh did give me a bit of a scare, however, when the Rangers put up a three-spot to tie the game. A friend of mine texted to me at that point, “Now this feels like it’s going to be a loss :(.” I, however, had come into this game determined that the Royals were going to win and I would end my losing streak, so I refused to agree. After all, the game was only tied.
I don’t consider myself a superstitious person, but I have to admit that I do get that way just a little bit when it comes to sports. At one point last year, it seemed like every time I tuned into a Royals game, they lost. So for two weeks straight, I refused to turn a game on until it seemed like it didn’t matter whether I was watching or not. Going into yesterday, a part of me feared that I was jinxing their chances for victory, but I decided that I would refuse to believe that they would lose, no matter what. A part of me feels that this resolve is what got the win, as cheesy as that sounds.
Salvador Perez was the hero once again, sending a solo home run over the left field fence in the bottom of the eighth. During his post-game interview, the crowd erupted in a chant of, “Sal-VEE! Sal-VEE!” The crowd lingered more than usual after a game. It’s nice to bask in a victory, once in a while.