When I was a kid, for reasons I don’t understand, I became a baseball fan. Since I grew up in bum-fuck Nebraska, my only exposure to MLB was watching the game of the week, which seemed only to show Yankees game., I became a Yankees fan. At 11, I got a subscription to Sporting News, which I kept through my junior year in high school. Once a week, I read every box-score, and tried to imagine the games. In the seventies, I found myself working a lot at nights, and listened to the Royals on radio as I worked. I came to love that team, through the magic of a young Denny Mathews. When the Royals started beating the Yankees, and becoming nationally relevant, I found myself as a Royals fan. The 80 team was special, and the World Series win in 85 was beyond belief.
I moved to Omaha in the 80’s, and I joined a group of folks from work who traveled to KC for every Yankees series. Most of the group were Yankee fans, but I was a holdout. After 4 years, I moved to New Jersey and was able to catch the Royals games in old Yankee Stadium. Due to work, I was lucky enough to see the Royals play in New York, Boston, Anaheim and Oakland.
The 90’s, life intervenes, and baseball became background noise to me. Living in Omaha at the time, college baseball would grab interest in the post-season, and would remain that way until 2005. My son somehow also became a baseball fan, and in 2005 we were able to see Big Red mash their way to the College World Series. Sharing that experience was the ultimate of what sports fandom could return in joy, agony, and about every other emotional experience.
When Alex Gordon joined the Royals, my interest in MLB, and in particular, the Royals, came back to life. I began to follow the Royals, but those teams were so pathetic, I could no longer watch. So, I quit following,
In the late fall of 2012, fate/life would have it that my son and I rejoined our lives, in Portland OR. Through a friend of my son’s, we were given access to an MLB account that would allow us to pick any team in America to follow for the season. After several months of discussion, we decided that we should follow the A’s. But for reasons known only to God, MLB blacked out the A’s from Portland. So, we picked the Royals. Talk about propitious timing. We watched most of every game that season, and saw the Royals play in Seattle, (losing, of course). But, at the end of the season, we came away with the view that this team was fun to watch, and could be good.
My son and I split up before the post season of the next year, with me returning to Omaha, but shared that UNBELIEVEABLE post season via phone. My son returned to Omaha for the next season, and we made our way to Kaufman for the Cueto first home game. Absolutely electric! A lot of folks that I know don’t get/appreciate sporting events, and I can understand that. But I feel sorry for those people, because they don’t get the chance to experience that kind of high.
In that 2013 season, I was also introduced to Royals Review. Now, I have never followed any kind of "fan chat" or "blog" or any other of that type of crap (old guy talk). But I was amazed at the intelligence of the posts, and I learned a great deal about the metrics and business aspects of the game. For that, I will forever be grateful. I also was entertained by the many memes and other nonsense that made following the Royals fun. All that said, the ongoing critique of the Royals management/ownership, though interesting, was mostly non-stop. It was hard for me to discern what is deserved, and what was just bitching. Which brings us today.
After watching 160 of 162 games last year, I came away with great anticipation for this year. The young pitchers showed great promise. I was able to watch Witt and Prado and Melendez in Omaha and could see that they were true talents. But when this season opened, and the roster still contained Ohearn and Dozier, I had doubts. The implosion of that young pitching staff, the melt down of Santana’s career, the utilization of an obviously hurt Perez, the incredibly crappy defense and inane base running, made the games nearly unwatchable.
But this stupid, self-centered, ignorant and irresponsible stance of refusing vaccination for God only knows what kind of idiotic rationalization that puts the rest of the team at risk is over the top. When the "club-house" leader says he would get the jab if the team was a contender, shouts out that this team is forever lost. If Merrifield is allowed to EVER wear a Royals uniform, that is a pox on the ownership of the club.
Not that it matters a tinker’s dam, but I for one will never follow a Royals game, until the entire management of this team is dismissed. I will burn all Royals gear that I own and encourage all fans to do the same.