Sunday, November 1, 2015

THAT'S [YOUR TEAM HERE] BASEBALL


It's a sunny November 1 in Kansas City after a fine Halloween party last night with friends and neighbors and a Royals win.  Coming back to KC two years ago and being so close to a World Series crown two year later feels like standing by for a birth or the conclusion of a great project.  That's a self-involved way to look at it, but that's how it feels--like something in life will be complete, that we timed it just right.  

That is how anyone feels when their baseball team is on the verge of winning the big one.  In the case of the Royals it's a 30 year process and all the better because of that.  The way this team wins is something else--badgering, taking every opportunity they're given and opportunities they create, never relying on the three-run home run.  It's such a rollercoaster--and so much fun.  They were so flat for all of Game 3 and about half of Game 4.  It really seemed like the tide had turned.  Then a double, an error, a single, a single…and Wade Davis, the unholy child of Dirty Harry and Nolan Ryan.  A kind man, a good man, but seemingly raised by Marines in a quonset hut.

Last year was sentimental. There were grown men in tears, hugging and rolling on the floor in peanut shells, maybe feeling things Daniel Murphy does not approve of,  just seeing the team in the ALCS at all.  Family relationships, friendships, those who are gone, relationships that may be remote or broken--all of those things echo and resonate when it's your team. I had a lump in my throat all day, the day of Game 7.  You can try to feel it resonate the same way when it's another team, and some enlightened fans may be able to.  But when it is your team, and you are a fan, you time travel, you take stock, you remember people and moments.  That's what its all about.  That's what makes it ritual.  That's what makes it [Royals] baseball.

This year isn't like last year. 

It feels more present and yanks you by the jersey into 2015,  to enjoy an era of baseball that may not be equal, yet, to the dominance of the baby-blue-on-astro-turf glory years, but is just as exciting.  Let's face it: more exciting.  Who wants to live in the past, discussing past glories, talking about George Brett for the millionth time?  Probably not George Brett.  He's intently into these games.  He is their biggest fan.  That was great video of him checking his pulse in the ALCS.

Nothing's in the bag, but it's looking good for these guys, and I'm grateful.  In September 2013 we moved to KC and within days I caught a Gordo foul ball and saw Justin Maxwell's game-winning grand slam light up the K, full of fans already looking to 2014.  The energy was up.  (I also saw Iron Maiden--wut?!)  My phone blew up in 2014, multiple times, and I danced in living rooms with new neighbors and high-fived co-workers who weren't wearing Ducks swag.  


This year it's different.  Nothing guaranteed, disappointment could be around the corner--but this thing is happening right in front of us with three shots, no holes in the lineup and a groovy Dominican frontline backed by my favorite Royal, Chris Young.  I'll be in front of the TV at 7:00 with the sound down low or even muted as Joe Buck turns the game into the equivalent of a WWII tank battle documentary with his penchant for the obvious, delivered with max volume gravitas, like the 60's never happened.  The other team always seem to be the Americans in Joe Buck's tank battle documentary version of our games. 

There's only one voice I want to hear call the last out.  That voice belongs to Denny Mathews.

 
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