What more can be said about the 2012 season? It sucked. Again. Disappointment is no longer disappointment if it's what's expected. So I embark today on a simple discussion which I hope to spark. The primary question I want to ask you, the reader is why you became a Royals fan and why you continue.
The simplest explanation on how I became a Royals fan is that I was born in Kansas City. At that time, the Royals were beginning a dramatic surge. But that doesn't just assure one of becoming a fan, it's something that's built.
As I got a bit older, I became absolutely obsessed with baseball in general. Oddly, it didn't necessarily begin with the Royals but more with the Cubs, baseball cards and little league. When I was younger, both of my parents worked and I spent a lot of time at my grandmother's house during the day. At the time my grandma had cable television, which was just starting to get really popular (though still absent at my primary home). With her cable package she received WGN which meant that during the day, I could watch the Chicago Cubs, and I did.
I became obsessed with the Cubs. I watched them all the time. I pretended to do play-by-play and I fell in love with baseball. I had a wool fitted official Cubs hat which had to be modified to fit my small head and eventually I would get one of those awesome satin Starter warm up jackets. But the height of my Cubs love was felt for Andre Dawson, "the Hawk". While other young Kansas Citians said that they loved George Brett and his number 5, I was taking the number 8 of Dawson and making it my own.
That's not to say I didn't love the Royals, but they were harder to watch since they weren't on TV all that often. The Cubs were also in the National League (no Inter-league play) so it was almost like having a college and pro football team to root for. There just wasn't much overlap.
My grandpa was a bit flummoxed at my love of the Cubs since he was a season ticket holder to the Royals and listened to every game he could on his small, silver, portable transistor radio. He'd sit in his chair after a long day of work, relax and take in the sounds of Denny Matthews.
The important thing is that I began to love baseball. I subscribed to Baseball Digest AND some other baseball newspaper which I don't recall. I read them over and over and over. I still remember taking a long drive in my dad's truck, getting carsick and puking on a copy of one of my baseball publications. I didn't throw it away, I just wiped it off, dried it out and continued to re-read it. I still remember that smelly copy which had Pete Rose on the cover. I also became obsessed with baseball cards like many kids of my generation.
Eventually my love of the Royals superseded my love of the Cubs and I was a fully formed fan of the team. I went to games with my grandpa including the 1985 World Series. I've been a fan ever since.
So why do I continue? Sometimes I don't know. A few times I've actually quit, but it doesn't take. The Royals and I just have too much history. I'm still listening to the same announcer my grandfather did. It's still the same team that was good once-upon-a-time. But more importantly the games, the uniform and the disappointment has just become part of the fabric of my life.
I know that the players that I despise and the management which I don't like will someday be gone. My fandom has outlived Allard Baird and it will outlast Dayton Moore. I've seen Scott Elarton come and go and so it will be with Jeff Francoeur. Just like with the Cubs, the Royals are available to me. I can watch nearly every game on television with my sons. They can grow up to tell their kids about the time we spent at the park or discussing baseball.
I still believe that baseball has a huge impact on my life and the Royals are the outlet which has been provided to me by my geography and my family. I could never leave baseball the sport and changing horses at this time of the race just seems fake. Maybe I'm like Dayton Moore in that I don't understand sunk costs. just because I've put so much time into this team before doesn't mean I should do so in the future.
So what is it that created this burden in you and why do you still carry it?