A Retrospective on KC baseball--and RR

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

I haven't posted here in quite awhile, but I've thoroughly enjoyed reading all the commentary, and will continue to do so. Some folks might have a problem with all the so-called negativity at RR, but I think it's a fair reflection on what it's like being a tortured Royals fan. If RR is perceived as too negative or cynical, then I'd say it's because that's how the franchise has affected baseball fans who have stuck through thick and thin (mostly thin of course) with this team over many, many summers of frustration and disillusionment.

I was a little kid when the KC A's were stinking up the American League, but I couldn't have cared less about that. They had the absolute coolest uniforms in all of baseball, played on the most beautiful field I've ever seen in my life, and that was enough for me. Plus I got to meet future stars like Catfish Hunter, Blue Moon Odom and Campy Campaneris---the A's also had the coolest names as well. So when the A's departed KC in '68, I remember feeling very cheated. There was no longer a team to go see at old Municipal Stadium, and I felt a genuine summertime void---as much as a 10 year old could actually feel a void.

But just a year later, enter the KC Royals! I was old enough by then to appreciate (as still do to this day) that I was among the original fans of a baseball team from it's very founding. It's odd to think about, but the first thing I noticed about the Royals was that their uniforms seemed really boring, the opposite of the A's. Just blue and white.

However, within a very short time, it dawned on me that the Royals intended to be a serious, contending baseball organization, and not just the flashy looking laughingstock that the A's had been for so many years. And I don't know if Mr. Kauffman intended it, but the Royals instantly looked like say, the Yankees or the Dodgers. A "classic" looking team at least. But they also constructed a minor league system that certainly rivaled any other in baseball. GMs Joe Burke and Cedric Tallis also made some of the most shrewd and intelligent acquisitions in the history of baseball. There was Brett, White, Leonard and Busby of course, who came through the minor league system, but there was also acquisitions such as Mayberry, Rojas, Patek, Otis, McRae, Gura---the list goes on. But it's also odd to think about---whenever the Royals made trades or acquisitions back then, I was rarely ever impressed. Who is John Mayberry, a guy who couldn't make it with the Astros? Fred Patek, a 5'4" shortstop? Cookie Rojas, a washed up National Leaguer? Amos Otis, an NY Mets minor league castoff? All of them are in the Royals Hall of Fame now.

I'm well aware that the MLB landscape has changed dramatically over the years, but those old GMs sure as hell knew what they were doing. The Royal's GMs since then have all completely floundered by comparison. It might be a systemic problem, it might be an ownership problem, probably both. But within just a few short years in the early 70's, and very few losing seasons, the Royals' serious intent was played out in the mid and late 70's, by the time I was a full fledged adult. So as an old ballplayer myself, and an original Royals fan, it was impossible not to fall in love with such a franchise. The 80's, and '85 of course, saw the Royals at their pinnacle. Since that time, let's just say it's been rather difficult.

I'm not necessarily inclined to dwell on the past, but it's understandable for any longtime Royals fan to wonder about what has happened with this franchise since it's past excellence. We want to win like every other fan, but we're also attached to the team, win or lose. That might be typical of Cubs or Red Sox fans, but in my mind, I think of the Royals as unique from that. The Royals rose from a decidedly losing tradition, but brought baseball excellence to an area of the country that thought of KC as a minor league type of town. To this day, there's WAY too much red when the Cardinals visit, and it disgusts me when the Yankees come to town and there's cheering for them.

Some perceptions die hard I guess. Kansas City is a Major League town. We're a comparatively small city, our ball team came from humble and perhaps nefarious beginnings (the old A's). But as I'm sure Mr. Kauffman intended, this team will, and should, rise again. To sum up, Royals Review is simply an accurate reflection of the Royals franchise, to date. It often includes the warts and all, but there are many, MANY warts. If the Royals regain their past excellence to some degree, I have little doubt that the folks here will be cheering them on, and I will be among them.

This FanPost was written by a member of the Royals Review community. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the editors and writers of this site.

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