Wild Card Fever: Once In A Lifetime

Gone. - Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

It's the final week of the regular season and the Royals are still alive. Just like Dayton Moore dreamed it up last December.

At this point, it's about keeping the faith, right?

The Royals are still mathematically alive, but those odds of surviving to October are now like a cold splash of water. As intoxicating as the Justin Maxwell grand slam was on Sunday, the Monday morning standings provide some clarity.

It's going to take 90 wins to qualify for October. With the Royals needing eight wins, with seven to play, that has them on the outs. Maybe something crazy happens where Cleveland or Tampa only win twice in the next week. Maybe. That just means the Royals would need to win six of their remaining seven to qualify. As I said, mathematically, they are still alive. But in your heart you knew Saturday's game was the end. That was even before you knew Baltimore and Houston rolled over for the Rays and the Francona's.

At least we had Sunday.

Maybe it's my perspective where I've been with this team for a long, long time and can remember the glory years. Maybe it's because I never really counted them as contenders this year. Maybe it's because I still think Dayton Moore should be fired. Whatever the reason, I've found myself enjoying these last couple of months more than I've enjoyed Royals baseball in years. Sure, it's always about making the playoffs - and this team, barring a massive miracle will miss October for the 28th consecutive season - but I'm not going to leave the 2013 season disappointed the team didn't make it. It's been a helluva ride. Moments like the Maxwell grand slam have just been epic. Name a bigger home run hit by a Royal in the last 10 years? Maybe you come up with Carlos Beltran on Opening Day in 2004. That was fun, but Maxwell's was much bigger. And the situation - Scoreless in the bottom of the 10th. Two outs. A 3-2 count. A standing room only crowd. Final home game of 2013.

Goosebumps. Still, goosebumps.

It's not over yet. Mathematically, at least. And until then, I will hold onto that glimmer of hope that the improbable may happen. As bad as the Royals can look on Saturday, for them to find the Maxwell Magic on Sunday, why not hope? It's a helluva lot more fun thinking you have a chance. For now, at least.

There have been a bunch of those kinds of moments this year. Thrilling wins and gut-churning losses. It's been an absolute wild - and for me at least, unexpected - ride. Just because the team is probably going to come up short doesn't mean I haven't enjoyed the second half. It's been fun. And maddening. And fun. And maddening. And fun again.

The Royals elimination number is four. Meaning any combination of four Cleveland wins and four Kansas City losses will put the final nail in the 2013 season. The good news is, elimination can't happen until Wednesday at the earliest.

I've said before, when the time comes to write the postmortem on the 2013 season, that will be one crazy post. So many thoughts. So many emotions. This season has been truly insane. And the Royals are still alive in the final week.

Figures.

Here are the current standings with the latest odds.

Team W L PCT GB %
Tampa Bay 86 69 .555 ---- 90.1
Cleveland 86 70 .551 ---- 72.8
Texas 84 71 .542 -1.5 35.0
Kansas City 82 73 .529 -3.5 1.5
New York 82 74 .526 -4.0 0.4
Baltimore 81 74 .523 -4.5 0.2


Today's slate of games:

Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays
Wei-Yin Chen vs Chris Archer

Seriously, thanks for showing up BLATIMORE. Really impressive how you rolled over during the most important four game series of your season. There's one game left. It doesn't even matter anymore. Just go away.

Houston Astros at Texas Rangers
Jordan Lyles vs Derek Holland

The Astros "Let's Play Dead For A Contender" tour rolls into Arlington after doing it's job in Cleveland.

Kansas City Royals at Seattle Mariners
Yordano Ventura vs Brandon Maurer

Finally, the Royals get their Postseason Patsy. Probably too little, too late.

For your music video of the day, this seems fitting.

"You may ask yourself... How did I get here?"

Go Royals.

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