Like most folks in the Kansas City metro, I have dropped everything, including sleep, to watch October baseball.
This is weird, because I’ve never been the type to follow any teams, college or pro. Years ago, when I worked in television and had to write promos for my station’s sports department, nothing came naturally. I’ll never forget the frozen smiles on the anchors’ faces when they asked me to write a spot for a visiting Dick Vitale. I said something like, “Who’s that?”
And here we are now, with the Royals in the World Series. I’ve lived in other cities at times when the home teams grabbed national headlines, but it never knocked me over like this. Even when I worked in Washington, D.C., in the late ’80s, I found myself on a plane with Doug Williams. This was just weeks after he led the Redskins to a Super Bowl victory. People were swarming him for autographs. I had to ask who he was. I might have missed that game.
So, given this history, I am shocked that I can see the images of any Royal and say things like, “Oh, that’s Hosmer,” or, “Gordon, he smacked that wall but caught the ball — game four of the ALCS clincher.” I even know the exact centimeter-by-centimeter parameters of the Ned Yost smile.
The biggest surprise: Never in a billion years would I have guessed I’d ever watch enough of any sport to be able to lip synch the latest Viagra and Cialis commercials, including possible side effects. That’s how many hours I’ve spent cheering for this team.
But aside from the baffling big pharma blitz, it has all been joyous. Joyous.
I’m cheerfully doing things I’ve never done this charmed October of 2014. For instance, my husband’s schedule has been packed, so I volunteered to mow the lawn. Twice. In his grass-stained mowing shoes. Which fit. That’s right. I wear the same size sneakers as my husband and I’m publicly shouting it here. Because who cares? The Royals are in the World Series!And you know what else — the second time I mowed I pretty much ran with the machine to avoid missing a single minute of the final game of the ALCS pennant sweep.
Recap. This clueless-about-sports gal has been altering her life to watch games, mowing the lawn in “that’s what speed do” style, and proudly wearing man shoes. What’s next? Shot-gunning beer? Growing a postseason beard? I mean, just look at the paragraph above. I wrote “final game of the ALCS pennant sweep.” And I know what it means! Who puts abbreviations and sporty words together like that? Broadcasters in suits with ESPN microphones, or lifelong Royals fans chatting by the office coffee pot.
What is happening to me? The spell of baseball, Royals baseball, that’s what. As the Boys in Blue were sweeping, I was getting swept up.
I should have seen this brewing. My husband and sons have always been Royals fans, and I have joined them at The K for some games. Most of the time I stayed home, but when I did go, I always found the experience pleasant. There was a definite buzz of human electricity at each game, maybe the undying support of people who knew better. I shrugged and simply found things like seas of blue shirts and the fountains charming. As in, ah yes, nice to have an MLB team here.
Pleasant? Charming? Nice? I had it all wrong.
I understand now. And it’s not just because the Royals are winners — sweepers even — it’s because for years an entire city has been witnessing their hard work, patience, intelligence, gratitude and above all, their classic never-give-up attitude. Good life lessons. (Plus, did you see the Cain/Moustakas/Gordon catches?)
Wow. I just wrote a baseball column. Something magical is indeed happening here in Kansas City.
Freelancer Denise Snodell writes alternate weeks.