Last season, the Kansas City Royals won the American League pennant, galvanizing the community and forging a generation of Royals fans. I talked to multiple members of the community about the exciting season, and asked them what it meant to them.
This season, the Royals won the World Series, completing a journey through the desert that lasted 30 years. Again, I will talk with important members of the community about this achievement, their place in it, and the joy of the World Champions Royals.
Bob Dutton was the longtime beat writer for the Royals for decades. His last season with the team was 2013, as the Royals won their first winning season in a decade. Though he now covers the Seattle Mariners, Bob's time in Kansas City presents a unique and fascinating perspective on the team.
- Brian Anderson telling me, "Dude, you’ve got to write that we lost because we hit the cutoff man" on the night when Matt Stairs drilled Ken Harvey in the back in San Diego on a throw to the plate with the score tied.
- Zack Greinke saying he was "annoyed" at home fans chanting Cy Young as he entered from the bullpen in 2009. And when club officials tried to soften it by saying he meant "distracted," him telling me, "No, I meant annoyed."
- Buddy Bell saying of one his own players: "He can beat you in so many ways" and not meaning it as a compliment.
- James Shields showing what leadership meant by going on road trips in spring training and coming in on his off-days to talk to other young pitchers after they came out of games.
- Jeff Foxworthy telling me that Ned Yost is the funniest guy he knows. When I treated that as just another joke, he turned serious and reassured me that he wasn’t kidding.
- Alex Gordon telling me late in 2010 that he was going to dominate in 2011, then not trying to deny it or suggest he was misquoted when he received a ton of scorn after the story hit.
- Joakim Soria asking me to stop referring to him as the Mexicutioner (because of the killings in his home country) because he felt if I stopped, everyone else would stop. This is the first time I’ve typed that word since then.
- Watching Wil Myers argue with George Brett on a bench at a back field in Surprise on the proper way to use pine tar when batting.
- Watching Mike Moustakas take command of a photo shoot with Myers and Eric Hosmer in spring training for our special section of the club’s farm system. Moose barked: "Hats on straight, arms folded, no smiles." The other two complied immediately without a word. Somewhere, you can probably locate John Sleezer’s great picture.