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A Fan's Notes: An Ode To The Kansas City Royals

Keith Allison

The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Royals at the end.

The score stood three to two, with only one chance to extend
This magnificent, magical season. And from where we sat,
With Bumgarner in, hope was dim as K.C. came to bat.

Hosmer: down. Butler: out. Is this how we’d end the story?
Would the heroes of ’85 not pass on their glory?
Gordo stepped to the batter’s box, locked in, and snapped his gum,
And thousands—make that millions—pondered just how far we’d come.

For the outlook wasn't brilliant for this team back in May,
When they seemed like toast, even with a hundred games to play.
They surged and streaked in June, catching the Tigers by their tails,
Then let them slip away again—we’re used to such travails.

But in the August sun, once more the Royals heated up,
And hits and wins kept spilling from our over-runneth cup.
Nori, LoCain, Country Breakfast, servin’ up some sizzle—
Yet that little voice persisted: “Surely, this must fizzle.”

From halfway around the world, then came a panacea:
Rally sauce in human form, who hailed from South Korea.
Sung Woo arrived to fanfare, and embraced his starring role,
Letting us know a K.C. heart beat proudly out in Seoul.

September brought expanded rosters, and extended dreams.
“They could keep this going,” we dared. “At least that’s how it seems.”
“The Hunt for Blue October”—once a slogan, now a task;
“When does football season start?” is a question no one asked.

It happened in Chicago, just after Rosh Hashanah;
Salvy squeezed the final out, and brought on blue nirvana.
Or so we thought, lost as we were, in such sweet elation.
Nirvana? After decades, this was reincarnation.

The wild ride would have to start with a Wild-Card scrum.
New sweatshirts: “Always October.” But October hadn’t come.
And by the seventh inning, we thought it never would.
Okay. No shame in a B+; the A’s are just too good.

Then something special happened: the Royals were un-Yosted,
In the most amazing game the K had ever hosted.
“What speed do” is steal bases—and then the victory, late,
When Salvy found a pitch he liked, just three feet off the plate.

From there, the Royals rode the wave; from west to east, they swept.
Kansas City watched, enraptured, and hardly ever slept.
ALDS… ALCS… ‘Twas one big, “Who’d a thunk?”
Hosmer bought the city drinks, and everyone got drunk.

Royals Fever spread like, in the words of Emile Zola,
“truth and justice.” (Come on, you thought I would say, “ebola?”)
Blue Fridays, blue fountains, countless tributes in song and prose—
How many awful “Royals” parodies, Lorde only knows.

The boys were having fun, and good things happen when you’re loose.
There’s no need to manufacture runs when you have a Moose.
They were swinging freely; their opponents were running scared.
Oh, and now it’s the World Series? “We ready,” they declared.

The narrative had evolved, from “the little team that could”
To something more respectable: “These guys are [bleeping] good!”
Even the national media had become aware:
“Look, in the middle of our country—quite a city there!”

Online polls showed every state was bathed in Royals blue,
From Maine out to Minnesota, and California, too.
The Giants were the Goliaths. Duh. No need to pretend.
And even the dimmest philistine knew how this would end.

But the Giants gave our boys in blue their first sour taste,
The real San Francisco treatment, their fates now interlaced.
The series went to seven, a rare and beautiful thing,
’Cuz it ain’t over ’til it’s over—hashtag, LetJoyceSing.

And now the bottom of the ninth, just one more out, “Last call!”
But Alex lined a single—wait!—it skittered to the wall!
This wasn’t finished yet, not after one more crazy play.
And thus, a new beginning was just ninety feet away.

Salvador Perez stepped in, with a chance to now repeat
His Wild-Card heroics, in a season-saving feat.
But we know what happened next… Just silence, not a shout.
The crown would not be taken—mighty Salvy had popped out.

So all of this, and the result is heartbreak—or is it?
After years of numbness, such pain was almost exquisite.
“Let’s go, Royals,” the chants resumed, and spread all over town,
And in the days that followed, they’ve hardly quieted down.

Twenty-nine cloudy years have passed; the sun is shining bright.
The cheers have come back to the K (and to Power & Light).
Our city’s been inspired, and that feeling’s here to stay,
For the best is yet to come—five months ’til Opening Day.

Victor Wishna is a contributing author and commentator for Up to Date.
As senior producer of Up To Date, I want our listeners to hear familiar and new voices that shine light on the issues and challenges facing the myriad communities KCUR serves, and to expose our audiences to the wonderful and the creative in the Kansas City area. Just as important to me is an obligation to mentor the next generation of producers to ensure that the important conversations continue. Reach me at alexanderdk@kcur.org.