Honestly, I like both the Royals and the Braves. Seems like a cop-out - right? Please let me explain. Having grown up in the South, including metro ATL for high school, I grew up with the Braves. I came of age with guys like Dale Murphy, Bob Horner and Phil Neikro on sometimes good, but often bad, Braves teams. (In fact for you younger fans, the 1980s Braves are right there with the Royals of the past decade or so in terms of on-field futility.)
After graduating, I went into the Air Force, and found myself at Offutt AFB in 1981 at the tender age of 18. It was there and then that I fell in love with the Royals. Wins came easily to the teams of Brett, Wilson, White, Gura, Leonard and Splittorff. Denny Matthews on the radio was a revelation, with Fred White as an able sidekick. It was not long before I found myself at Royals Stadium.
While in Omaha, I usually made the 175 mile trek to KC about five times a year - all for Royals baseball. The 1985 comebacks in the playoffs against Toronto and STL remain among my fondest baseball memories to this day.
I shipped out of Omaha in late 1985, and I've not been back to KC since. But I never stopped appreciating the memories, and hoping that the Royals would find their way back to relevancy. After all, it's one of the great cities in America with some of the most passionate and knowledgeable fans - if any community truly deserves a winning team it's KC.
So I look forward to coming back and seeing the stadium renovation, and seeing the team play. My older self also has a taste for history and jazz, and so I'll be taking some time to check out the Truman stuff in Independence, as well as wandering 18th and Vine to check out the Negro Leagues Museum and the Jazz Museum. It'll be fun to see a few of the other things that make KC such a unique and special place.
As for baseball I look forward to the games immensely. While in my heart I want both teams to do well overall, I plan to cheer my ass off for the Royals. Not for Dayton, or Glass ... or in any particular belief that this year's team has the chops to earn a playoff berth. But for KC and for all those great memories of when I was younger - and when Kansas City showed me what winning baseball looked and felt like.
Hopefully this year's team is taking the steps toward reclaiming that proud tradition.