This, by a Chicago doctor who’s never lived in our fair city (which is only slightly less odd than longtime superfan SungWoo Lee hailing from South Korea), is as succinct and well-written an assessment as you’ll find on the subject of the Royals’ improbable postseason.
What I can write about is how it felt to be in Kansas City this past month: It was wonderful. Downtown buildings were lit blue. The water in our 47 publicly owned fountains ran an unnatural royal blue as well. Blue flags fluttered from the streetlights. My church’s Sunday service is usually dismissed by the children of the parish, who remind us to go in peace to love and serve the Lord. Which they still did, adding, “Go Royals!”
The entire town was practically vibrating; I haven’t felt this kind of communal energy ever, not even in Chicago when the Bulls and White Sox were winning championships, and I was pretty happy then. One could argue that small-market Kansas Citians have fewer opportunities for distraction, and that is true. But another reason, I think, is just how charming the team in question is. There are no outsize egos, and only a couple of large (by local standards, not Yankees standards) salaries. It’s obvious from the season home run total that no one is on PEDs. Their down-home goofiness is exceeded only by their big hearts, whether it’s handing their waiters playoff tickets, meeting cancer fighters, playing catch with the young fans of opposing teams, or picking up the tab for everyone in a downtown pub.
Traffic’s been kinder. People are happier. More than that, they’re proud. Our city was on the national stage, and I don’t believe we disappointed. The amount of goodwill a little team gear can bring…I have several stories, but suffice to say that I’ve never been high-fived by several strangers upon walking into the corner bar when I wasn’t wearing a Royals cap.
Losing Game 7 — and the World Series — by 90 feet was crushing, much to my surprise. Somewhere along the line, I’d gone from saying any win past the wild card game was gravy — I don’t want to admit how many early-season games I had to turn off in disgust — to actually believing that the Series was the Royals’. They’d pulled out of so many tight spots; surely they could work one more miracle. But they didn’t, and my plans to take today off for the victory parade were for naught.
Even so, it’s hard to be down for long. It was a great run, and I’m Kansas City proud. Never was October baseball so much fun.