Every year, baseball fans around the country and the world eagerly wait for April, for April portends the start of the Major League Baseball regular season. For long, long months, there is mostly silence punctuated by pockets of news. It is worse for fans of the 22 teams that don’t make it into the playoff proper, as those fans must wait even longer until April.
And yet, every year without fail, we get to September and I rub my eyes and groan, “wait, the season is almost over already?” I do this as if we hadn’t slogged through 150 baseball contests over a course of five months. Every time.
This realization is easier to stomach if the team is bad. I have not watched all that many baseball games on television compared to years past. There was just no reason to tune in when Alcides Escobar, Lucas Duda, Abraham Almonte, Paulo Orlando, and Jason Hammel are all on the field at the same time. It was that way for an embarrassingly long amount of time, and even lately we’ve watched Ned Yost troll us by claiming there isn’t enough playing time for Frank Schwindel on the roster as he starts Escobar at third base and Cam Gallagher as the designated hitter.
But it’s still a bittersweet thing to realize, because baseball is awesome. Without fail, no matter how good or bad your team is, something happens in baseball that demands attention. For Royals fans, that moment was probably when Jorge Lopez took a perfect game into the ninth inning in Minnesota. That he didn’t do it was almost irrelevant: for a few innings, Royals fans were beside themselves that Jorge freaking Lopez was not far away from a perfect freaking game on the 2018 Kansas City freaking Royals.
I loathe when the baseball season ends. The winter is a terribly boring time to write for a baseball website. You, as a fan and reader, can sort of tune the Royals out until next spring if you want. We at Royals Review have to come up for ideas for pieces in January, after mostly nothing having changed for the team in December and November and October. And if something really does happen, well, we latch onto it like a plauge of locusts and strip it to its bare bones in weeks, if it even takes that long.
We can’t reasonably ask teams to play every day for an entire year. An offseason is necessary. But it is not fun, not fun for anyone. The players get restless and want to play. The coaches have no one to coach. Non-national baseball writers are bored out of their mind for months, yet still must create #content.
It feels like we just started this season, hoping Mike Moustakas would break his own home run record again. Instead, the team ended up 25-65 on July 9 and it took a heroic effort from a cabal of youngsters to make the Royals actually interesting (if still bad).
Regardless, this team was wildly successful this year. No, not in win totals; in long-term success. Everyone knew that they would be bad, but the Royals managed to accelerate the process, losing enough games to snag the second overall pick in the 2019 draft. And despite that, the Royals enter next year with intriguing youngsters at shortstop, first base, and center field that it could not claim it did a season ago.
There’s a long way to go for the Royals, but it can wait till next year. Then, the cycle will start all over again.