Thursday, October 16, 2014

Because It's not everyday your dreams come true

Not everyone can trace back to the moment they first became a fan. For me though it had to be when I was 6 or possible 7. That’s when I received to pair of elastic shorts from a garage sale. One was an awful red with an ornate StL thing, the other was blue with a KcR inside of a crown.
 With someone else’s outgrown garage sale junk I would forever be a Royals fan.
It wasn’t easy really and for the most part I had no clue what was going on. Being surrounded by Cardinals fans it was no walk in the park being a Royals fan especially when you have no ties to Kansas City. In fact one reason I think I never rooted for the Chiefs was because everyone was a Cardinals and Chiefs fan. Like what’s up with that? Yeah as I said earlier I cannot stand the color red. You better believe as the heat of the 1998 home run chase I rooted heavily for Sammy Sosa in his battle against Mark McGwire much to the chagrin of my classmates. I made a big Sammy Sosa cutout and a tiny McGwire in class, showing Sosa’s superiority. Yet everyone knows even though I could barely name any MLB players my heart belonged to the greatest slugger I who had ever lived, the mighty Jeff King.
Me circa 2004/2005

In 2002 I got my first real taste of Royals baseball, I had always rooted for them but never had a way to follow the day to day operations of the team. That year the local “Christian Tv” station would broadcast RSTN games on Sunday afternoons. I remember the Royals game being on and seeing Tony Muser the day I got online and eventually adopted my dog Flash from the Jefferson City Animal shelter. Oddly enough it was also a Sunday Royals game the day he got loose and almost attacked some teenagers walking down our road. We moved from Jeff to California, Mo in the winter of 2002. We had to get rid of my dog due to the move.


But it’s 2003 that would forever alter the course of my life. As an 11 year old kid I stumbled upon something on my radio. I had always heard Mike Shannon and his rants on my great grandma’s radio whenever I would come over. Which was every day since she lived next door to us in Jeff City. I couldn’t stand Mike Shannon. His macabre ramblings and ungodly fascination with the home run always struck a nerve with me. Something along the lines of “Ray Lankford at the plate and he hasn’t homered in 2 at bats, he’s due for a jack here!” No this was the opposite. A smooth voiced dream who called the games perfectly. You were there and could feel it. I fell deeply in love with Royals baseball because of Denny Matthews and Ryan Lefebvre. Occasionally Bob Davis and Fred White. I fell in love with Tony Pena and the 2003 Royals, clipping out newspaper clipping after newspaper clipping describing each game. Jose Lima! God what a beautiful man, no one in the history of the world had ever pitched as greatly as that man.

Me 2005

During this time my grandpa a Cardinals fan decided I the family should go to a real MLB game. I can still remember him and mom looking the computer going over possible dates in our basement. The only condition grandpa had was it had to be a Cardinals game. We could go to a game right away, but I wanted to go to a Royals game so we had to wait for what seemed like decades. On June 20th 2003 I went to my 1st MLB game. It was at Busch Stadium, Matt Morris against the greatest pitcher ever Jose Lima.  I refused my grandpa’s offer to buy me a Cardinals hat and in something you don’t see any more he bought me a Royals hat from a vendor inside the stadium. Even though I was just a fat kid I received a lot of slack from the Cardinals fans around us. Looking at the box score now I see that several Royals homered that day but I can only remember one. Ken Harvey. It was the first homerun I ever witnessed live and forever lives in my heart. The Royals would win the game 10-4. I was in euphoria. 

The Royals would go on to acquire such mythical players as Curtis Leskanic, Rondell White, Paul Abbott, Graeme Lloyd, Al Levine, and Brian Anderson. Kevin Appier was still pitching. Somehow we just fell short of the playoffs. It was awful.
In 2004 we would be graced by a crazy Royals team. Featuring the likes of decrepit old sluggers Juan Gonzalez, Benito Santiago and three of my all-time favorite Royals Matt Stairs, Tony Graffanino, and Jaime Cerda.

It was also during the Royals 2004 that the Royals Caravan stopped in California, Mo. It was here at California Ford I would met the incredible Jaime Cerda, Calvin Pickering, Dennis Leonard, and Ryan Lefebvre. Returning at 11:10am to Cal’s Thriftway to swipe the poster….
2004 was also the first time I would ever make it to the oasis that is Kauffman Stadium. I was 12 and it was crazy. I was given those two tickets by a man from church named Chris. I’m not entirely sure he wasn’t an angel. He came to our house for a 40 Days of Purpose study group and saw my Royals flag and ended up giving us four tickets. RIGHT BEHIND HOME PLATE!!!! I brought my favorite Royals baseball for some reason that day. I had hit it and lost it in my grandpa’s field for over a month but one day they cut the field and I found the ball completely unharmed. That was a miracle, and the fact I had never damaged the Royals logo on the ball by hitting it was also a miracle.  And on this day of miracles I met and got the autograph of the legendary Buck O’Neil!

The only downside was Jimmy Gobble and the Royals lost to Johan Santana after one of my all-time least favorite Royals Ryan Bukvich blew the game. (Santana was on and we never had a chance but someone had to take the blame) And if you are wondering Rudy Seanez is my all-time least favorite Royal, looking back he really was not to terrible but I couldn’t stand the guy.

The next few years were filled with many losses and long nights listen to Denny Matthews call the game as I lay out on our trampoline with my brother and sister, or setting on the porch with a glass of mint tea and a scorecard as the night slowly enveloped the Mid-Missouri sky. It was a time of highs that to the casual baseball fan didn’t mean a lot but to me each win was special. Every player was legend just waiting to turn the team around. Yeah I got slack for being a Royals fan but when the Royals on Radio would come over the crackling sounds of KRLL 1420 AM California, Mo it was pure nirvana.

 And when I wasn’t outside I was in my room following along in front of my radio. I had a ton of tacks and kept my “broadcast” all filled out.

I even had a magical Royals rally root.

 And believe it or not when I would tap it on my clipboard when the Royals desperately needed a rally it actually worked more times than not.  And every year I would make a book of players and keep stats. 

In 2006 I was 15 and cutting grass. Rather than getting paid for my work I received stamps from my parents. It started as an idea for a school assignment to write to a couple MLB players and ask them what glove company they used and maybe score an autograph if they weren’t too busy.

One man, Jim Thome would put an end to my index card campaign. I sent him an index card and he sent me this instead of returning the index card. A DH sending me and signing a card of him with his glove company visible. It was truly something special. So that summer and the next I spent the year writing to numerous ballplayers. Sending the most to One Royal Way.

Sometimes a player wouldn’t write back and that was to be expected. But the only one that ever truly hurt was the one I wanted to get an autograph for someone else, my sister. Mike Sweeney was her favorite player, once she cried when some drunk fans in the outfield chanted “Sweeney Sucks”. So I wrote to the captain and asked if he could please give me an autograph for my sister. But that autograph never came, even as I received signatures from way bigger stars. Eventually she stopped caring about baseball and go rid of her Sweeney stuff. I kept her keychain though to remind myself that faith in the Captain was unwarranted.

But on a positive note, I also wrote Ryan Lefebvre and got this amazing card that made my whole month!!!

In 2007 I joined the old Royals Nation proboard that eventually led me to create this blog and the rest is history.

I write all this because I wanted to, I’ve felt the agony numerous 100 loss seasons, and a 19 game losing streak. But I’ve also felt the joy of Matt Stairs grand slam in the Sonic Slam inning, and Zack Grienke Cy Young. The crushing loss of having KRLL 1420Am drop the Royals on Radio at the start of this season. Yet nothing can compare to the feeling I have felt today. Never thought in a million years this team would make the World Series. I write now because I have been afraid to all season, baseball by it's very nature is a superstitious man's game. honestly I didn't write because I was afraid it would mess them up. But I feel safe doing it now that they are in the World Series.

I owe a sincere heartfelt apology to Dayton Moore, Ned Yost, Rex Hudler and even David Glass. Call me Aaron Thomas because I’m eating Crow and doubted the process. But never gave up. You’ve got to remember that after losing all the time and getting picked on by Cardinals* fans and others all the time you get pretty angry and ready to just win already for Brett’s sake!!! *(Not the classy ones that run blogs but the ones at your local grocery store or the ones you find on twitter)

The day the Royals clinched the postseason for the 1st time in my 23 years on earth I was running sound for a local theatre production and could barely focus on the play I was so excited.
I so wanted to write a blog post then and again after me and my brother went to the AL Wildcard game and watched the greatest game I’ve ever seen in my life from Section 423 Row ZZ. Literally the top of Kauffman Stadium, perhaps the closet to heaven I have ever been!
But now we are here.

The World Series!!!!!!

I really want to put into words what this means to me, but they seem so inadequate. The hours I’ve spent, the cheers I’ve yelled, the anger I’ve felt and the tears I’ve cried all coming to this moment. 

4 Wins away from being World Champions. 

I still can’t fully understand it, like perhaps I am in a coma or possibly dead and this is all a crazy dream. Perhaps Ebola already killed us all and we just haven’t realized it yet?
 I don’t know for sure but I can’t stop smiling!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

See the Royals are the closet I have ever been to a relationship, I’ve only ever really fallen for one girl and that’s yet to take off yet..... So the Royals have always been my “bae” as the kids now in days call it. It’s been rough, but beautiful, and today every single loss, tear, and moment of frustration and remorse are all so very worth it.
My 18th Birthday Cake

I don’t know if I’m going to make it to a World Series game, it’s a bucket list thing to see the Royals in a World Series game so we’ll see. I don’t know if I have an extra $700 or so dollars, but I do have a kidney, so we’ll see……..

But in the meantime it’s champagne showers and smiles from ear to ear. I’d be remorse if I didn’t stop to think the many Royals fans who’ve been there with me the whole way, you guys I can’t believe this is happening!
Me and my brother after the Royals won the AL Wildcard

And as I close this for tonight I leave you with a partial list of past Royals since 2003 that have forever made an impact on our hearts and made us who we are today:

Angel Berroa, Dee Brown, Adrian Brown, Emil Brown, Gookie Dawkins, David DeJesus, Mike DiFelice, Carlos Febles, Aaron Guiel, Ken Harvey, Mendy Lopez, Brett Mayne, Joe Randa, Michel Tucker, Miguel Asencio, DJ Carrasco, Chris George, Jason Grimsley, Runelvys Hernandez, Darrel May, Mike MacDougal, Kyle Snyder, Brad Voyles, Les Walrond, Kris Wilson, Jose Bautista, Andres Blanco, Byron Gettis, John Buck, Tony Graffanino, Wilton Gurrero, Aaron Guiel, Ruben Mateo, Abraham Nunez, Paul Phillips, Desi Releford, Kelly Stinnett, Mike Tonis, Denny Bautista, Shawn Camp, Nate Field, Matt Kinney, Dennys “Big Sweat” Reyes, Jimmy Serrano (Was at his MLB debut), Eduardo Villacis, Mike Wood, john Buck, Mark Teahen, Chip Ambres, Shane Costa, Alberto Castillo, Matt Diaz, Ruben Gotay, Dennis Hocking, Jon Huber, Terrance Long, Eli Marrero, Joe McEwing, Jonah Bayliss, Ambiorix Burgos, Chris Demaria, Ryan Jenson, Leo Nunez, Andrew Sisco, Steve Stemle, Paul Bako, joey Gathright, Esteban German, Mark Grudzielanek, Jeff Keppinger, Mitch Maier, Kerry Robinson, Angel Sanchez, Reggie Sanders, Ryan Shealy (We both call August 29th our birthday), Doug Mientkiewicz, Steve Andrade, Chris Booker, Elmer Dessens, Scott Dohmann, Brandon Duckworth, Scott Elarton , Seth Etherton, Luke Hudson, Bobby Keppel, Joe Mays, Joe Nelson, Joel Peralta, Odalis Perez, Mark Redman, Todd Wellemeyer, Craig Brazell, Fernando Cortez, Jason LaRue, Tony Pena Jr, Jason Smith, John Bale, Ryan Braun, Kyle Davies, Jorge De la Rosa, Gil Meche, David Riske, Jason Standridge, Jon Thomson, Kila Ka’aihue, Jose Guillen, Matt Tupman, Jeff Fulchino, Devon Lowery, Ron Mahay, Neal Musser, Hideo Nomo, Horacio Rameriz, Carlos Rosa, Brett Tomko, Kip Wells, Yashuhik Yabuta, Robinson Tejeda, Lenny DiNardo, Roman Colon, Luis Hernandez, Willie Bloomquist, Tug Hulett, Mike Jacobs, Rick Ankiel, Yuniesky Betancourt, Wilson Betemit, Jason Kendall, Bryan Bullington, Jesse Chavez, Juan Cruz, Andrew Lerew, Victor Marte, Sean O’Sullivan, Josh Rupe, Kanekoa Texeria, Phillip Humber, Lucas May, Josh Fields, Matt Treanor, Nate Adcock, Ramon Ramierez, and many more!

And that one time Garth Brooks was at Spring Training....


Me ALCS Game 3
Thanks as always for reading!!