We're at the mid-point of what looks like yet another championship-less season for the Royals. The Royals have gone nearly three decades now without even as much as a playoff appearance, and have had just two winning seasons since 1994. Why do we put up with this? How did we get indoctrinated into this cult? Let's ask our writing staff.
When did you become a Royals fan?
Tyler Drenon: I met George Brett at a meet and greet when I was about 6. I wrote a short story about it at Old Time Family Baseball during their Doctors Without Borders fundraiser. Check it out if you want.
Matthew LaMar: When I was a wee lad whose time spent in this world was measured in months and not years, my family moved to Cleveland. The coming years were the Golden Age of Indians baseball: 5 straight playoff appearances, 8 straight winning seasons, 2 World Series appearances, and the primes of Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Jim Thome, and Manny Ramirez. My first baseball game was at Jacobs Field. When I was 9 and the 21st century began, we moved to Kansas City, and I was still an Indians fan. But, as time went on, my allegiance changed, as the Royals grabbed my attention and did not let go, unfortunately. Life would be better as a Cleveland fan, but so it was. You don't choose to like the Royals, the Royals choose you. It is a curse.
Josh Duggan: As a little kid, I was a fan of baseball in general because of my uncle who happened to be a Cardinals fan. I was a fan of the Royals on account of my dad growing up in Kansas City. I used my allowance to buy packs of baseball cards every week. I probably bought the 1986-1989 Topps sets three times over in wax packs. When we moved to Mulvane in 1990, that pretty much sealed the deal, as we got to watch Royals games on TV. The last half of the 1990 season and the 1991 season were the only seasons I lived in market, so it was hard to stay a fan. The strike and teen pretension also drove me away for the bulk of the 1990s. I came back in college when I got into fantasy baseball, starting with the 1999 season.
Max Rieper: I grew up in Kansas City, but hated sports til I was 10, so I was pretty disinterested in the World Championship in 1985. I started hanging out with older kids in my neighborhood and they loved sports, particularly baseball, so I started really getting into baseball. By 1988, I was absolutely hooked. My dad started taking me to games at Royals Stadium and I found (a) I really loved going; and (b) Royals fans were extremely snarky. Seriously, you think we're bad? The comments I heard back in the day were just as bad, and that was for a good Royals team with a future Hall of Famer that was certainly not immune to criticism.
Shaun Newkirk: Always have been. Family is all from Kansas City (except some from Texas) and they are all Royals fans. Also explains why I am a Mizzou fan. De facto.
Why did you become a fan?
Tyler Drenon: I met George Brett at a meet and greet when I was about 6.
Josh Duggan: My dad, primarily. He was never a crazy fan, but I ended up getting stuck liking the Kansas City teams. I mean it was easy in the late 1980s, so it was easy to find a lot to like, even if they didn't win the World Series while I was of an age to appreciate them.
Matthew LaMar: I played various kinds of baseball through 7th grade. I liked the game. I was a casual fan of the Royals for years, not terribly bothered by the continuous losing, as I accepted it as a fact of the universe. Then 2009 came along and, for some reason, I read every article in the Kansas City Star season preview and randomly decided to pay closer attention; the Royals were supposed to be good. Then they got off to their fast start (18-11, never forget). However, it was the brilliance, the beauty, the grace at which Zack Greinke dismembered opponent lineups that hooked me. There was a magic to Greinke day starts that has proved illusive to replicate even today.
Shaun Newkirk: Tough question for me as I was a big fan when I was a teenager, but for some reason I drifted towards football for a couple years before getting bored and caring solely about baseball and Mizzou football/basketball. All three have been terrible decisions. A few years back I started following the minor leagues more and more which grew my love.
Max Rieper: My dad is originally from Detroit and a Tigers fan, so I kinda cheered for both teams initially, but we both adopted the Royals simply because they were the only team we ever saw, and they got pretty good while the Tigers went into one of their worst slides in franchise history in the late 80s and early 90s.
Who is your favorite Royals player of all-time?
Josh Duggan: I was of just the right age for the answer to this question to be Bo Jackson.
Tyler Drenon: Brett when I was a kid. Definitely Dan Quisenberry now.
Max Rieper: I grew up with a Bo Jackson poster and he's way up there with Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye, Zack Greinke, and of course Justin Huber. But my favorite player was probably Kevin Appier. I modeled my pitching style after his windup, and thought he was perennially screwed out of the All-Star Game. He always seemed like a spacy, kooky guy. And I thought he had no-hitter potential every-time out there.
Matthew LaMar: Zack Greinke, for the reasons mentioned above, and his penchant for brutal honesty and offbeat statements.
Shaun Newkirk: No idea why I like relievers so much, but Mike MacDougal and Jimmy Gobble were always personal favorites for me and David Riske for a while. On the offensive side it was Justin Huber (former Futures Game MVP!!!), Mark Quinn, Ken Harvey and Ryan Shealy. Still have my Shealy shersey.
Yasuhika Yabuta always has a soft spot in my heart because I don't think at any point when I worked there I saw a single staff member or player interact with him.
Mark Teahen was an awesome person.
Who is your least favorite Royals player of all-time?
Tyler Drenon: Chris Getz, I suppose. Seems like a fine person, but he was just such an awful player.
Matthew LaMar: Probably Chris Getz. Yuni wasn't really blocking anybody, but Giavotella deserved a better shot than he got, and Getz was so overrated by the mainstream media and the Royals FO.
Josh Duggan: Yuniesky Betancourt.
Max Rieper: Neifi Perez. Just a nonsensical trade, sending away one of my favorite players of all-time for a player who couldn't seem to care less about being here.
What is your favorite moment as a Royals fan?
Tyler Drenon: I saw Carlos Beltran rob a homer and hit a game-winning homer over a weekend once, but the best moment was probably meeting Brett at that meet and greet. Or really anything that includes Bo Jackson. My memories from childhood are sort of all souped together so it's hard to sharpen out a single moment from the blur of it, but Bo Jackson was pretty cool. Oh, and Danny Tartabull was on "Seinfeld", so that sort of counts probably.
Matthew LaMar: I was at Greinke's 15 strikeout game against Cleveland, which was my favorite game of all time. My favorite moment, though, was probably Justin Maxwell's walkoff grand slam last year. It was the only game that I saw that year with my then-girlfriend-now-fiancee, and that moment was special.
Josh Duggan: Just about any Greinke day in 2009.
Shaun Newkirk: Probably my favorite sporting moment I've ever actually attended is the answer as well. May 19th, 2009. Kerry Wood on to close the ninth for the Indians up 5-2. Mike Jacobs homers. 5-3. Mark Teahen homers 5-4. Miguel Olivo walks; Mitch Maier pinch runs. David DeJesus triples and Maier scores. 5-5. Willie Bloomquist sac fly to right. 5-6.
I was watching the game in the third base camera bay with Joel Goldberg chatting about how this game was over.
Right up there with the Mizzou/KU 2007 football game for me.
Max Rieper: This August 13, 2003 game against the Yankees where Kevin Appier seemingly walked off his farm in Paola to give the Royals one-last hurrah, and the team set an MLB record for most doubles in a game as they drilled the Yankees to maintain a slim lead in the Central Division. I was a pretty jaded fan by then who expected the club to lose their lead eventually, but that thrilling victory was enough to get even me to believe.
What was your worst moment as a Royals fan?
Tyler Drenon: I accidentally cheered for John Buck one time.
Josh Duggan: All of them? I guess if I had to pick one, the day of The Trade.
Matthew LaMar: Right now, and every moment the Royals aren't in the playoffs with Dayton Moore at the helm. It's torture.
Max Rieper: The day of the Yuniesky Betancourt trade. I was a big Dayton Moore fan initially, and I liked some of his earlier moves, but as time went on, his moves became more and more puzzling to me. The Betancourt deal was the one where I said to myself, "okay, this guy isn't who I thought he was. He just doesn't get it."
Shaun Newkirk: I don't have one honestly. This franchise isn't very good so I don't expect much. Being a Royals and Mizzou fan has left me consistently empty inside.
Did you ever consider shifting allegiances? Why do you think you have remained a fan all this time?
Tyler Drenon: Oh man. All the time. In fact, I've made several bold declarations to myself that I no longer care what the organization does, but it never sticks. I think I'm stuck with them. I can appreciate other organizations, and I don't care for others, but it'd take something monumentally awful for me to truly give up on the Royals.
Max Rieper: I moved to Washington D.C. just as they landed the Nationals and tried to make them my alternate team. But it was such a boring team. Maybe if they had more talent than Brad Wilkerson and Jose Vidro I would have jumped ship. I'd probably be a Tigers fan if they weren't in the Royals division now. But I just can't shake the Royals. I've been with them this long, I feel like I have to see it through, until David Glass finally contracts this team for good.
Josh Duggan: I liked the Braves in the 1990s. I watch a lot of Dodgers games. Probably more than I do Royals games at this point, which only partially owes to the fact that the games are late and Jack has gone to bed at that point. I often wish I hadn't come back to baseball at all or that I'd been able to just enjoy the sport without a rooting interest. The only saving grace is the community here.
Shaun Newkirk: I'm a Braves fan as a backup because I used to watch a ton of TBS when WCW was on there. My dream city to live in is Chicago so if I ever moved there I'd be a Cubs fan as well, but I'll always love the Royals.
Matthew LaMar: You can't just switch allegiances willingly. I attempted to root for the Cardinals when I was like 13 or 14 in the midst of the horrendous 2004-2006 years, but it was such an artificial connection that it didn't work. And because St. Louis is evil. Why am I still a fan? A lot of reasons. But I keep regularly coming back because of Royals Review. You rock, guys.
What about you? Why are you a Royals fan?