As a kid, i remember being in awe of magicians. I watched with childlike wonder at the things they did, and felt as if anything was possible.
It's been 1 month and 21 days since the Royals took home the title. I still can't believe it when I think about it. This postseason was incredible, with comeback win after comeback win. The Royals held a lead in the world series for a mere 10 innings and won in 5 games. That's pretty incredible and speaks to just how much of the action took place at the end of the games when you consider that they played a total of 51 innings in those games. As incredible as it was, it almost made me forget just how incredible they've been since 2014.
I spent a good chunk of this morning re-watching the 2014 AL Wild Card game. I still think it's one of the best playoff games I've ever seen my obvious bias aside. Who knew at the time that a little more than a year later the Royals would mount yet another improbably comeback in an elimination game. As special as this season was and the run to the World Series in even 2014, I wanted to reflect on that wild night back in 2014, pun intended.
The date was September 30th, 2014. The Royals were ready to make their first postseason appearance in 29 years and there were jokes flying around that we might still not get to see 'October Baseball'. My phone buzzed nearly all day as friends and family discussed where they were watching the game, why we would win, why we would lose, etc...Very little work got done on my end that day as I researched umpire, pitcher, and hitter tendencies. Much to my dismay we had a company softball game that night. Here I was missing the middle innings of the first Royals playoff game in my lifetime trying to focus on a silly softball game. We listened to the game in the dugout as Brandon Moss hit a 3 run shot. 'Yosted again' was the conversation as we vehemently discussed the decision to use Ventura in that situation. The softball game seemed to drag on as another Oakland runner crossed the plate, and then another. (The league I play in gives outs for over the fence home runs. We lost the game on a 2 out grand slam that would have been a walk off. It seemed like one of those kind of nights all around as a Royals fan.) When I got home, the comeback started. The Royals did everything you're not supposed to do with that kind of deficit. I came flying off the living room sofa more than a few times my hands in the air and my wife telling me to 'calm down'. I watched a kid named Finnegan make history and probably pumped my fist as hard as he did after an iconic strikeout. I screamed 'go, go, go!' at the top of my lungs as the 'UN-pollitically correct' Jonny Gomes collided with Sam Fuld on Hosmer's triple. When Salvy, with that awful swing, found a hole to the right of the loathed Josh Donaldson, I'm pretty sure my neighbors were considering calling the police. I screamed, I cried, my wife laughed, not fully understanding my state at the time. It was magic. I still can't think of another word to describe it. Overnight, I watched the Royals go from a team no one cared about, to a team that the nation wanted to win it all. Living out of state, I received texts and calls from friends that don't even watch baseball saying how incredible that game was.
As I try not to get too caught up in the anticipation of what's to come, I fondly reflect on the now. The Royals have been nothing but magic since September 30, 2014. I honestly don't see how any seasons going forward can be as special as 2014-2015. I am forever grateful that I was able to experience first hand a team with no quit do what everyone thought they couldn't, including myself at certain times. What the Royals did was magic. I know that in time things are going to change. The players we fell in love with will depart, the magic will disappear, the memories will slowly fade, but I hope to always remember how I felt watching them. I felt that childlike sense of wonder again, as if anything is possible.
I found a video that I feel really captures the emotions that most Royals fan's felt during that wild card game. It's pretty lengthy but only the first 4-5 minutes deal with the wild card game (although I think the whole thing is worth a watch.) Enjoy the now, hold onto the good feelings, and always remember that we were treated with some real magic as Royals fans during these last two seasons.