Royals mania hits close to home
By Colton Swaim
(Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015)
The Kansas City Royals have been named baseball’s best for the 2015 season. The Royals rallied late in post-season games to pick off the Houston Astros, Toronto Blue Jays, and ultimately the New York Mets to clinch the World Series for the first time in 30 years.
Alan Cunningham, math teacher, has been a Royals fan for decades and was very emotional about the World Series title.
“I was so happy! Then I felt kind of embarrassed that the outcome of something as trivial to the real world as a baseball game could give me that much joy. Then that guilt went away, and I’m still really, really happy!” Cunningham explained.
However, his favorite player was one of the more recent acquisitions.
“Ben Zobrist turned out to be my favorite. As a coach, I appreciate his versatility and his unassuming, low-key approach. Plus, he’s really good!” Cunningham said.
Even though they did not have many fans for a number of years, he is not surprised that as many people support them as they do.
“I was not that surprised at the fans. Everyone loves a winner. It’s why so many support KU basketball and so few support KU football. I’ve been there all along, since 1969 when I was 8,” Cunningham stated.
He is optimistic about the Royals chances for success next year.
“With how fickle baseball seasons can be, it’s really hard to predict. However, with winning the World Series this year, they’ve set a high level of expectation that should give them a good chance to make it,” he commented.
Achieving a World Series win is no easy feat, so there had to be something unique about the team.
“I think the team had a nice balance of pitching, defense, opportunistic hitting and scoring. And, as most have said, they had a gritty determination to compete hard regardless of the score or inning. With no real superstars or future ‘Hall of Famers,’ they had to rely on each other and trust each other to ‘keep the line moving,’” Cunningham stated.
Many other teachers are huge fans, and one of them is Michelle Taylor, speech teacher. Taylor talked about how this year’s team was unique.
“I remember when I went to my first game in 2006, there was one of the vendors trying to sell beer and he was saying, ‘Get your beer folks, you can’t watch these guys sober.’ That team didn’t play with fire, they didn’t care and neither did a lot of the fan base. Now, they care. Now, they play with hunger,” she said.
Now that the team has played better recently, there are many reasons why someone would want to watch Royals baseball.
“They keep things exciting. When they are on, it is fun seeing their passion for the game. It is fun watching a team play very well,” Taylor responded.
With a team where everyone seems to contribute, some find it hard to pick just one key player.
“It’s so hard to choose just one player! But if I had to choose, my favorite player is Lorenzo Cain. I feel like he is the most steady and consistent. I have rarely seen him just go through the motions,” Taylor added.
Just because others may not have experienced the Royals win both titles doesn’t mean that they aren’t fans. Brianna Womack, senior, is a huge fan of the team. Womack explained why she enjoys this baseball team.
“I’ve watched Royals baseball since before I can remember, but I really fell in love with Royals baseball in 2011 (the same year Hosmer had his first big season). Not only did I fall for Hosmer, but I fell for the entire team. The comradery was admirable, and they were absolutely inspiring, even though they had losing seasons up until 2014,” Womack said.
Her favorite player is also her role model.
“My favorite player is Eric Hosmer, hands down. He and I fell in love with Royals baseball at the same time, and we’ve stuck with it ever since. His love and passion for the game and leadership makes him my ideal role model,” Womack commented. She would love to have a different position if she was playing in the big leagues.
“If I could play for the Royals, I would be the designated hitter so that I would only have one thing to perfect, and I could be in the dugout cheering on my team most of the game (I would say first base, but I don’t want to steal Eric Hosmer’s position),” Womack explained.
The Royals not only had to work together, but they had to push themselves. Womack also explained what she thought the chances of another World Series appearance.
“The Royals were absolutely going to go to the World Series! The Royals were not a fluke, and have amazing talent. The Royals, up until now, were a team that had nothing to lose. I knew they’d give it their all and prove all of the doubters wrong,” she said.
After the team secured their victory, many had to get shirts. Womack was one of them.
“I went out in the middle of the night to wait for a shirt because I absolutely had to have one. The night already was one I will never forget, but waiting for a shirt just added to it. The atmosphere in in line was electric. Everyone was so excited, and there was cheering and celebrating the whole time,” she said.
Just because the season was over, it didn’t mean that there weren’t other exciting activities. The Royals parade was attended by double the population of Kansas City. Among those were Mariah Cook, senior, and some of her friends. Cook told why she wanted to attend.
“I am a huge Royals fan and it would be such a fun time to be a part of history, so Madi (Wegner), Jordan (Yoder), and I decided to road trip it down to KC!”
With the amount of people attending, the parade was bound to be chaotic. Many people could not even get through. Cook explained the amount of people at the parade.
“I was so surprised at how many fans showed up. I don’t think we were prepared for such a big crowd. It took us one hour just to move .8 miles in the car,” Cook stated.
Although that may not have been the best part, there were plenty of favorable memories to go around.
“My favorite part was definitely the car ride with Madi and Jord. They made a fun day turn into a lifetime memory!” Cook commented.
The size of the crowd nearly blocked out the view of others. Some, like Cook and her friends, only got to see a reflection.
“The closest thing I got to see of a player was Hosmer’s reflection off of the Sprint Center building, so I was a little sad about that,” Cook elaborated.
Even though winning a World Series title is good, it can cause uncertainty about the team in the upcoming season.
“Honestly, I don’t really know what to expect from next year’s team. Although, they are losing Alex Gordon, so I’m really sad because he was my favorite player ever!”
Another parade attendee, Deeann Frieden, high school math instructor, said that traffic was insane.
“Honestly, the parade was extremely chaotic. People were cheering, yelling and doing everything else possible. For me, the crowd was definitely not the best part.”
Frieden also got to be on the sidelines of the parade.
“I got to see Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, and Ben Zobrist. They all seemed like they were having a great time, just like all of us, even though most of us didn’t get to see anyone,” she said.
Frieden also talked about what she enjoys about the team.
“For me, it’s all about the energy. They actually want to be playing, and enjoy it. It makes me smile to see that,” Frieden commented.
Even though most of the Midwest is caught with Royals fever, some people have refused to get involved. Keith Nagy, sophomore, is one of them who doesn’t really care for baseball.
“Baseball is not a sport for which I care much. It’s not the Royals specifically that I don’t like, it’s the activity in general,” Nagy commented.
Nagy went on to talk about what people like about the Royals so much.
“Silver Lake’s location in relation to Kansas City is the main reason people actually care for them. If we lived in Newark or the Bronx, we would most likely cheer for the New York Mets,” Nagy mentioned.
Nagy said he thinks that people who love the Royals so much just don’t have anything better to do.
“I think that people have too much time on their hands, as they wouldn’t dedicate themselves fully if they had better things to do,” Nagy proclaimed.
Nagy was unsure about watching the team next year.
“Perhaps since the franchise has proven successful lately, I may watch next season,” Nagy said.