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.
Today, we look at your stories. The Royals' success is meaningless in a vacuum. It is the context of our lives that make it important.
What was your experience purchasing playoff tickets and going to playoff games like the last two years? Was it worth the hassle? What was your favorite playoff experience at Kauffman Stadium?
I didn't miss a pitch of the 2015 season, and once the Royals opened up their AL Central lead to six or seven games I knew, after attending every postseason game in 2014, that I would do anything in my power to go to all 2015 playoff games.
I had a friend with a full-season ticket package in the lower level (section 200) and, due to the insane demand for playoff seats, the Royals put his playoff tickets up in section 433. He was miffed by the whole process, as season ticket holders in his section - who had smaller ticket packages and hadn't held theirs as long as he had - got much better postseason ticket packages, but he was told that section 433 was the best the Royals could do.
After a lengthy back-and-forth with the team where he felt betrayed by the whole process, he was soured on the idea of paying them more money when they hadn't shown him a shred of loyalty. While I completely sympathized with his situation and was annoyed at the team for screwing him around, one man's loss is another man's gain, and I purchased the whole postseason ticket package from him. I was back in business.
Taylor, Roeland Park KS
For some fateful reason, I decided it would be a good year to invest in the Royals as a 10 game season ticket holder during the 2014 season. When October rolled around I was convinced I was a genius! But I’m an idiot… I wanted to be guaranteed to see more than just one postseason game so I sold the wildcard game tickets. I still have no words for just how stupid I feel about selling those tickets. I enjoyed every single one of the postseason games, even when Alex gordon gave me a heart attack in the bottom of the ninth triple with two out and Salvy up.
Mac, Concordia MO
At what point did you finally start to believe that this team was special, or did you always have nagging doubts?
I’ve been a Royals fan my whole life. I’ve always thought this team was special (even in the dark times), and being a fan of KC sports, there is always lingering doubt. That was erased for me in the Wild Card game. After we were down 4 in the 7th, I started making some remarks (ala Randy Quaid in Major League 2). A little girl in front of me turned around and told me we were going to win. I thought to myself ‘Aw that’s cute, but no. You have a lot to learn about how things work in KC’. When we scored 3 in the 8th, she turned back and said ‘Told ya so’. I’ll never doubt this team (or that little girl) again.
Chris, Olathe KS
I first realized this Royals team was special on the final game of 2013, when Justin Maxwell hit a walk-off grand slam off Joakim Soria in an otherwise meaningless game. You could tell they were poised for something bigger. There were times where I was doubtful in the 2014 season, especially near the All-Star break when the team could barely crack .500, but September 26, 2014 is a date permanently etched into my mind as The Day of Redemption for my Royals fanhood. I distinctly remember watching that low-key game (thanks J-Guts!) in a bar in midtown Houston with some friends who didn’t care about sports, then going home and bawling my eyes out for a few hours while my wife and dog were sleeping. I was only 3 years old during the 1985 World Series, so this was the first taste of the postseason that I could savor in my lifetime.
Matthew, Houston TX
What moment from the last two years' fall postseasons will you never forget?
I was in the stadium when the Royals won their first World Series in 30 years. There were a lot of great, unforgettable moments, and I'm thoroughly enjoying Rany's countdown. But I was in the stadium when the Royals won their first World Series in 30 years. If you're asking for what single moment from the last two years' fall postseasons I will never forget, it's that I was in the stadium when the Royals won their first World Series in 30 years. (Sorry to repeat myself, but I can't say that enough. I was in the stadium when the Royals won their first World Series in 30 years.)
Brett, Washington DC
Although winning a championship and crying like a newborn baby after that final out was made was truly special and something I will remember forever, it was not the best moment for me. That moment was the wild card game in 2014. I was able to sneak up to KC to surprise my dad so that we could watch it together. After all, he is the reason I'm the fan that I am. We ate KC BBQ and drank Boulevard beer and got depressed as the Royals floundered. The comeback was storybook, and experiencing my first Royals playoff game with my dad was simply untouchable as a memory.
Matt, Oklahoma City OK
Watching Hosmer dash home and Citi Field going completely silent. I shouted an expletive and a lone Mets fan a couple rows up softly shouting "sit down". I looked down the aisle to a couple other Royals fans and said "Get ready, because we are going to win". As we walked over to the Royals dugout to the celebration a woman in the group told me that I was their barometer. When anything happened they looked at me to check my reaction and then decided how they should feel. She said they were never worried because I never seemed worried as Harvey was mowing us down.
Ryan, New York City NY
Who have you grown closer to over the last few years through the Royals' exciting success?
My sons and I have always been pretty close over baseball. It was fun watching my daughter ("ugh, baseball") secretly following the games from her phone in her room and then coming out to watch the last three outs of the World Series with us.
Chuck, Witchita KS
Our family is all Royals fans, this did give my kids a source of pride that they have the Royals hats and shirts, especially here in New Mexico where there are not very many KC fans.
Ron, Rio Rancho NM
What has this World Series victory meant for you personally?
My family grew up going to Royals games, and we're still a Royals family. That has meant my mom and I have bonded over the Royals. But my dad passed away when I was 17, back in 2007. I do wish that my dad was here to see this World Series victory. My dad was a total sports nerd. He taught me how to keep a scorecard - would even give me little problems of weird plays to see if I could figure out how to score them. He was my softball coach when I was a kid, so all of my knowledge of the sport comes from him (my mom was also my coach, but she was my pitching coach, which is one part of softball knowledge that doesn't apply to baseball knowledge at all). In third grade, when you're first allowed to bunt in softball, my dad, who was the first base coach, devised a strategy for my softball team - if we had a runner on, I would show bunt. Because it was new that year, the pitchers weren't used to it, they would think something was wrong, and balk, so the runners would advance. And if they didn't balk, I was a halfway decent bunter. Every time one of our guys bunts (of F. Mo gets called for a balk) I think of that. I wish I could share that with him. I wish I could share all of this with him.
Jesi, Shawnee KS
How, if at all, do you see your fandom changing after the last two years?
Honestly, for me it can only grow. I grew up in Saint Louis and really just couldn't get into baseball, mostly because I couldn't stand going to the games with the fans I had to deal with there. I was mostly a fast paced type of sports fan and I never really gave baseball the chance it deserved. But when I went to my first game here in KC almost 5 years ago now, I knew there was something different about this town and I had never been that excited after leaving a baseball game. These last two years have only grown my interest not only in the team but the sport itself and I am now a lifelong Royals fan, something I will definitely pass on to my future kids.
Ryan, Kansas City MO