For the Kansas City Royals, 2014 was as magical as it gets. From a broken 29-year playoff drought to a stunning walk-off Wild Card win to the AL Pennant to 90 feet from a world championship at Kauffman Stadium, the Royals' season was extraordinarily memorable.
In this weekly series, I will interview a fan, writer, or member of the Kansas City community about their thoughts regarding the Royals' 2014 and their place in it.
Today's interviewee is Chris Kamler, @TheFakeNed. Kamler's antics on Twitter have been read and enjoyed by many a reader. He also contributes to Pine Tar Press, The KC Post, and The Platte County Landmark. Most recently, Kamler was a key member of the Sung Woo welcoming committee and helped the Korean superfan enjoy two amazing trips to see his beloved Royals. Kamler has written a book about this experience titled The Silence, The Series, and The Season of Sungwoo to be released in March. You can find out more about the book at thekcpost.com/book.
How did you become a Royals fan?
It sucked. I was angry. I was mean. I had a fatalistic sensation about everything. And we weren't even adorable like the Cubs. We were just stupid losers who were stupid. 2004 almost killed me. It was like getting a date with the hottest girl and she turns out to have a hatchet in her trunk. It was awful. It was worse than awful.
What did the AL pennant and World Series appearance mean to you?
It sucked way less. I think the thing I remember most, however, was the impending sense of dread. I didn't really enjoy it as much as I should have. 29 years will do that to a person. You're constantly looking up at the sky waiting for the other shoe to make its way onto your head like a Monty Python sketch. Down the stretch waiting for them to fade like Nervous Ned did in Milwaukee. So during the sixth inning of the Wild Card game, you are almost relieved when you're like, "welp, that's it then." And then the m'effers come back and make it one of the greatest games you've ever seen. And then the 8-0 streak happened and then you get right to the bring and Salvy pops out. THAT is true persecution, my friend. I didn't enjoy any of it. I bought into the Chessmaster. I bought into things flaming out in the most epic way. I guess if I had it to do over again, I would've drank a LOT more instead of chugged metamucil by the gallon. But dammit, what a ride.
You had a unique viewpoint as a key member of the Sung Woo welcoming committee--what did you learn about the fanbase from that experience? Were you surprised by anything?
I was surprised by all of it. It changed my life. Here I was, a miserable, crotchety (albeit handsome) faux Twitter celebrity who thrived on snark and the worst parts of things. And here comes this guy. This very special guy. The truest iteration of the word "Fan" And he just melts your heart. And my heart. And the city's heart. And the city hugged him right back. That's what I think was most shocking - how the city reacted. The most "community" thing I've ever felt in my life. People would come up to us on the street and be super polite and just want to tell him "thanks for coming to Kansas City. Thanks for picking our little corner of the world to grace." It was beyond special. It was beyond inspiring. Just this fan. Picked the Royals nearly out of a hat. And I got to see all of that up close. The world became a lot less terrible that week. Royals fans are just an amazing group. Royals Twitter even moreso.Which player did you enjoy watching most on the 2014 AL Champion Kansas City Royals?
Do you think the Royals can sustain this energy going into 2015?