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2016 Season in Review: The best Royals moments of the year

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Forever Royal.

87th MLB All-Star Game Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

There will be no post-season moments for the Royals this season, but that doesn't mean there were plenty of reasons to smile this year. Here are the best Royals moments of the year

April 3 - The Royals raise the championship flag

To the victor go the spoils, and for the Royals, that means they got to raise the second championship flag in franchise history on Opening Night. To add another layer of deliciousness, they raised the flag on national television, in front of the team they had defeated the previous October - the New York Mets.

The Royals would hand out championship rings two days later, once again in front of the Mets.

April 10 - Terrence Gore's walk-off run against the Twins

The Royals were riding high the first week of the season, winning three of their first four games, but trailing by two runs in the ninth inning on the Sunday game against the Twins. They battled back to tie it in the ninth, taking the game to extra innings. Terrence Gore was a surprise to make the Opening Day roster over Whit Merrifield, but he showed just how dangerous he can be when he was inserted in the game as a pinch-runner in the tenth.Twins pitcher Trevor May was very pre-occupied with the speedster, and when he tried to pick him off, his throw was wild, skipping past first baseman Byung Ho Park, allowing Gore to get all the way to third. It looked like Gore might be stranded at third when the next two hitters were retired, but a wild pitch got a few feet away from catcher J.R. Murphy, allowing Gore to dash home with the game-winning run.

May 15 - Kendrys Morales walk-off homer against the Braves

Kendrys Morales struggled mightily to begin the year, and an 0-for-5 performance against the Braves had dragged his batting average below the Mendoza Line. He came up in the bottom of the thirteenth, with the Royals badly needing a win after a mid-May slide. With one on, Morales took a 3-2 pitch from Jason Grilli and hammered over the fence in dead-center field for a walk-off home run, the only walk-off home run of the season for the Royals.

May 24 - Whit Merrifield's grandpa becomes a star

Whit Merrifield was promoted to the big leagues in mid-May and immediately became a fan favorite with a hot start. But if his popularity was eclipsed by anyone, it was his own grandfather, who we got to meet during a telecast of a Royals-Twins game a week after Whit's promotion. Bill Merrifield, Sr. had driven in his Subaru 645 miles from his home in North Carolina to attend Whit's games in Chicago. He then traveled westward to see Whit play in Minnesota, where Fox Sports Kansas City reporter Joel Goldberg caught up with him.

A retired contractor, Bill Sr.'s son, Bill Jr. had been a minor leaguer who got as far as AAA. So it was a huge treat for him to see his grandson, Whit, in a big league uniform.

"I can't explain it. The insides are just rolling. Its just great."

Fans were endeared by his sincerity and love for his grandson, so it was no surprise that when Whit Merrifield began receiving fan mail, it was actually for his grandfather.

May 28 - Brett Eibner's walk-off in front of his family

Brett Eibner was a fan favorite in Omaha who finally made his Major League debut on May 27. The next day, he was hitting eighth as the Royals trailed the White Sox 7-1 heading into the ninth inning. With his family in attendance, Eibner would double and score the second run of the inning, a furious rally off a crumbling White Sox bullpen. The Royals would send twelve hitters to the plate, with Eibner batting again with the bases loaded in a 7-7 tie game. He laced a single off Tommy Kahnle that just got past first baseman Jose Abreu for the game winning hit, and gave fans their handsomest Salvy splash ever.

July 12 - Eric Hosmer named All-Star Game MVP

Complaints about Royals fans stuffing their ballot were put to rest as the American League won the All-Star Game for the second year in a row under the guidance of manager Ned Yost. Making up the entire offense for the Junior Circuit were Royals players doing Royals things. Eric Hosmer blasted a solo home run in the second off Johnny Cueto and Salvador Perez chipped in with a home run of his own. Hosmer added a second RBI in the fourth to give the American League the win, and earning Hosmer MVP honors

August 1 - Duffy sets the franchise strikeout record

Danny Duffy put together a career season in 2016, and the best performance of all came on August 1 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Duffy retired the first 21 hitters he faced, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning. Desmond Jennings would lead off that inning with a double. But Duffy would work around the hit and continue the shutout, and his strikeout of Nick Franklin to end the inning would set the franchise record for most strikeouts in a game, with 16. Duffy induced 35 swing-and-misses, tied with Clayton Kershaw for the most by a pitcher in the last fifteen seasons.

August 6 - Rally Mantis appears

A dreadful July had pretty much ended any hopes of post-season contention for the Royals by the time they hosted the Toronto Blue Jays in early August.They trailed the Blue Jays 1-0 in the second when a mantis wandered into the Royals dugout. Outfielder Billy Burns playfully adopted the arthropod and a new mascot was born. The Royals came back to win 4-2, spurring a hot streak where they would win 18 of 22 and climb back into contention for a Wild Card race. Before long, fans were donning mantis masks, the team was selling mantis-inspired memorabilia, and the team even took the mantis on the road with them with Billy Burns serving as the caretaker. That proved to be ill-fated, as apparently mantises are not equipped for travel and have very short lives. The rally mantis passed away, but the memory of the mantis lives on.

August 25 - Dyson makes an unbelievable catch in Miami

The Royals took their talents to South Beach, where they flashed some impressive leather. In the first inning, Raul Mondesi made a sensational play on Dee Gordon on a ground ball to his right, making an off-balance throw to get the speedster. That might have been the play everyone was talking about had it not been for a blast by Christian Yelich two batters later. Jarrod Dyson raced to right center field and in full sprint, jumped up to snag the ball before it left the park, depriving us all of an opportunity to see the monstrous home run machine at Marlins Park.