Have you noticed? The Kansas City Royals are in the thick of a pennant race. Again.
You can see it in the newspaper, which covers the team every day. Or on your television, or out at Kauffman Stadium.
Mostly, though, you can tell the Royals are playing well by the smiles in the office, or on the job site, or at the neighborhood block party. The chatter at the water cooler. The yak on radio talk shows.
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Kansas Citians of a certain age — say, 3 years old and older — will recognize the phenomenon.
Several people are responsible for another mid-summer blast of cool:
▪ The players, whose joy for the game seems apparent and whose skill in playing a difficult sport remains a marvel.
Eric Hosmer is hitting .320. Mike Moustakas has 30 bombs. Salvador Perez is an All-Star.
▪ The team’s management, which refused to panic after a poor start. In fact, instead of trading away longtime heroes, the team waited patiently until other clubs wilted. Now, we have three former Padres and a veteran White Sox outfielder on our side.
▪ The team’s ownership, which chipped in a few extra bucks to make the whole thing work.
This last point is important. This winter, when the Royals struggle to hold on to any of their established stars, owner David Glass and his family may catch heat for failing to keep the team fully intact.
We’re not buying it. Kansas Citians will always remember the magic runs of 2014 and 2015. Heck, even 2016 had its moments. Now, as the Royals make another push for glory, let’s not forget what fun we’ve had.
It’s hard to sustain a quality team in major league baseball. There were 10 teams in the playoffs in 2015 when the Royals won it all. Today, half of those teams, including the New York Mets, seem well out of the playoff picture.
There will be slumps in the years to come — Kansas Citians of a certain age know that. For now, let’s all enjoy the chase. Let’s go, Royals.